As I write to you today there is hope on the horizon that lockdown measures will soon be eased. Although we may not be allowed church services for a wee while yet, hopefully we might begin to be allowed meet one another again (albeit one at a time!) – and that would be something to be truly grateful for. There is no doubt that these weeks have been difficult for us all in different ways – and they have taken their toll. I especially feel for those of you who have lost loved ones. There are no words to express the sorrow of such loss in these circumstances. Sadly I suspect that the next few months too, if not year, is also going to bring challenges for us all.
But we are resurrection people. We are people of hope. And if the cross teaches us nothing else, it proclaims that God can transform even the darkest of days. The disciples lived through that dreadful Friday… struggled through the Saturday before they faced the incomprehension and wonder of the miracle of Easter Sunday. Between the Ascension and Pentecost they waited together and supported each other, apprehensive but trusting…. and it was only at Pentecost that they were empowered with the Holy Spirit to go out to the world to preach the Good News of Christ. They entered that long testing period not realising what was going to happen…. and they came out the other end changed in themselves… and wiser. Women, who in those days were expected to stay in the background, became the first witnesses of eternal hope. Humble fishermen became preachers. Persecutors became leading champions of the faith. God worked through and in them all during those challenges… so that they could in turn could show God’s glory in the world.
A friend of mine, a couple of years ago, once advised me when I was going through a difficult time: “You’ll mine gold from this one day, Liz!” And although I didn’t believe her at the time – she has been proved right. Difficult times are times when we learn something about ourselves and about our relationship with God, if we continue to search for Him through the bad as well as the good.
When all of this current situation is properly over we will be different people…we will be in a different place spiritually and emotionally. And I hope we will be able to say that we have changed for the better. I hope also we will have learned afresh what it is to BE church, rather than just going to church… and that we will appreciate anew how to support one another as, and in, the Body of Christ. Perhaps our prayer life might have deepened and we will begin to consider what it is to be a truly inclusive church – a church for all – not just a church restricted to a particular time and place.
I so look forward to the time when we can meet together properly for worship. But I hope that when we do we come as people changed and renewed – with a greater awareness and sensitivity of what we’re about – what we are called to be. How we can express that will take time to talk about and explore together. But I think the future could be quite exciting… as our adventure with God continues and we follow where ever the Spirit leads.
With love, Liz