[drop cap type=”]When we travel back to Radcliffe to visit family or should I say when we used to be able to travel back, I am always surprised by the changes in the town. Of course some of these are good and some not so good and Shelley and I always joke together ‘eeeee its all, changed’. Occasionally I like to drive past my primary school or the houses we have lived in and see how things have changed. Often it doesn’t feel the same as it did when we lived there up to moving to Liverpool in 2008 and I hear myself saying it’s not like it used to be.[/drop cap]
In the same vein, a few of years ago as part of a holiday we took a few days to journey further and stay in Newquay in Cornwall that had so many really happy memories for me as a child and with Shelley before the children came along and then our family holidays there. But in the gap of some 20 years, my how things had changed. The beaches and cliffs were just as dramatically beautiful as I had remembered, especially Crantock and our walk around the ‘Beacon Caravan Park’ invoked some wonderful memories. But the town of Newquay felt sadly different, maybe it was the culture of night clubs or the general tired look of some of the buildings or maybe it was the change in shops, the atmosphere of the place had changed. Then I asked myself has it changed or have I changed and concluded that it was probably both.
As we prepare to travel back into our buildings if we are expecting the building or ourselves to be the same then I think we are in for a surprise. Yes there will be some wonderful familiarity of place and people but we are different people because of the last 14 months and each of our journeys will have been different as well as our journey with Jesus. But coming together to worship at Pentecost we
are reminded that the Holy Spirit is given to us from and in God to comfort us through change, prod us into change and give us the vision for the new. Nothing is ‘normal’ in our journey with Jesus so we don’t go back and neither do we move to a new normal but move we certainly must!
“No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9.62
Wow! Ask yourself the question ‘Am I fit for service in God’s kingdom? It may raise many more questions for us as individuals and as church but what is certain from Jesus is that as we joyously celebrate our return to the church buildings, we are not going back, we are ‘ploughing’ on in his name and for his purpose, so we can, relying on the Holy Spirit sing with confidence;
So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never Like earth’s proud empires, pass away: Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever, Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.
May we take our personal responsibility given from God to plough for growth for His Church.
Your friend, servant and colleague in Christ