I hope that you have enjoyed the glorious summer weather. We had some wonderful days enjoying the garden, being out and about in nature and just enjoying each other’s company. I am sure that your summer holidays were probably a different kind of holiday. But whatever you’ve done, I do hope that it was good.
I am so sensitive to the grief and loss that many of you are experiencing at this time. Most of us have never seen anything like this. The pandemic has interrupted our lives. Some have suffered the premature death of loved ones, while others live through and with severe pain and suffering. People are losing their jobs. Many of us have been placed under orders not to leave our homes and to shelter in place. In many of our communities, orders have been given to limit gathering in public spaces. This has been hard for all of us. And I pray daily that God will free us from the grip of this pandemic.
On the other hand, I’m also aware that we celebrated birth and new life during this time and that we were able to love and reach out to one another.
In all of this we approached God and by journeying with Him, we found grace. I pray that we may continue on our journey of grace and that we will know that even in our time of need, God will be the one to show us mercy and comfort.
There are so many things that I perhaps took for granted which now have a new and special meaning to me – including Sunday worship. But I have watched this circuit prove itself to be incredibly adaptable as orders to stay at home have not ended our collective need even in times like these to give our thanks to God.
So many of you have expressed your gratitude for our “worship at home” services of the past few months. These have brought us closer, on perhaps a different level, to be church in a different way. There are still so many things we can do to create a stronger community and a stronger sense of belonging, but in this unprecedented time we really were church. We have embraced new technology during this time and hope to build on this in the future because this is also part of being church.
Reaching out, caring, loving and restoring was part of our journey over the past few months. Many thanks to all of you for picking up a phone to speak to someone who is lonely; for writing a text or a card to brighten someone’s day. I ask for your forgiveness if you’ve not been contacted during this time. We have tried our best, but it is inevitable that some would have been missed out. Please make contact with me if you’re in need of a prayer or a chat. Together we are stronger.
As we reflect on the past few months and think about the future, the words of the Hebrews 4: 16 comes to mind: Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Remember friends that we are a Christmas people, and that Jesus is incarnated in every act of love and kindness we extend to one another.
Remember that we are an Easter people and we know that God can reach us beyond all the barriers the world can create.
Remember that we are a Pentecost people who know that the Holy Spirit can revive us and who will be our strength in times of great distress.
We can do this. We are the Church, the body of the risen Christ.
Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Peace and Grace