Recently, after some prayer and thought, I phoned two people up to ask them if they would consider doing something. Each of them responded by saying that they had been praying, asking God to open a door, that the timing was just right and so they said ‘yes.’
It is important that we spend time drawing close to God in prayer and that we not only speak but listen so that what we do is of God rather than out of a sense of guilt or obligation. It is said that it is no coincidence that God gave each of us one mouth and two ears!
Before lockdown, many of us were so busy! We live in a world where we often glorify the act of busyness but sometimes when we are rushing around, we push out that still small voice of God when, actually, what we need to say to God, in the words of Samuel in the Old Testament, is ‘Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.’
Julian of Norwich said,
‘…for that is what obedience is, listening, discerning and acting upon what one hears, through the motive power of love. St Benedict makes clear that obedience is a mutual exercise. We listen to God, we listen to each other, and to what the Spirit is saying to this little monastic church, from the least one in the community to the abbot.’
We are so glad to be back in church for Easter Day. And, although we have been worshipping online for the past year, the last Easter Day Service in church was two years ago and so it will be a joyous occasion, on April 4th, when we gather together. But we, as a church, need to be mindful about rushing back into everything just because that is how we did it before. We need to listen to God, to what the Holy Spirit is saying.
During lockdown, I have had the opportunity to listen to many different views about church services. We also sent out a service questionnaire and with my colleague Max and with the support of the PCCs, we have adopted a new service pattern in the hope of engaging with as many people as possible in a manageable way. The new service plan can be found in the HOBNOB magazine. I believe it is an exciting time with new opportunities to embrace. Had we been asked 18 months ago to adopt the technology and different ways of worshipping many of us have now grown used to, most of us would have balked at the idea. But we have done it and I really believe that the Holy Spirit is calling us now into a new season which will incorporate some of the old and combine it with some new. Of course, as with any change, we will meet some challenges but we will continue listening to God as we go along and will make tweaks where necessary. I invite you to come with us on this journey; a journey of listening, of hope and of discovering God afresh; a journey following God into the unknown, confident that when he calls us into pastures new, he will never let us go. After all, he is a God who loves each one of us so much that he was prepared to die on the cross for us, so that all of our sins and wrongdoing can be washed away for ever and so that each one of us can have a relationship with him. And, to finish, just to let you know, If you would like to find out more about Christianity or do a refresher course, we are hoping to hold an Alpha Course online in the near future. If this is something that you would be interested in please do let me know.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
With love and prayers for you all.