So we are now coming into our 6th month of restrictions under Covid-19. Who would have thought back in March that our conversation about whether we should serve coffee after Sunday worship with the infection around, would have become irrelevant after the pandemic gripped the world. This has clearly made life very different and indeed difficult for so many, including us moving our worship to gathering online and stopping our building based activities to seek new ways of being church and to take time out to discern what God is saying to us. From our increased communication with each other, it is becoming clear that to return to things just as they were is not an option. We must all consider what God has taught us during this time in the bad and good to agree together the direction we are now being called in.
Church has always been a movement not a static institution and in the words of William Temple;
‘The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members.’
Which is added to by C.S.Lewis who said
‘The Church exists for nothing else but to draw them into Christ, to make them little christs.’
With restrictions being lifted against a backdrop of further local outbreaks, the future is still unclear but now is a time as we consider reopening our buildings that we should be asking ourselves the question; in what ways will reopening our buildings benefit those who are not part of our church and how will it enable our community to be drawn to Christ and become ‘little Christs’? If opening the church building just benefits us then it would sound like we have our focus wrong.
In worship recently we heard again the words from Hebrews 12.1-3
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’
These words from God cause us to reconsider what hinders us from being a church that we may need to ‘throw off’ and then full of the Spirit be a church running with perseverance the race marked out for us. Fixed on Jesus we can do in Him amazing things together and indeed we are now stronger together as a Pastorate and our prayer is to ask God to lead us on as pioneers willing to change and be transformed over and over again.
Now is not the time to ‘get back into church’ but to get out to be church.
Your friend and servant