Pastoral Letter - Apr 21
Each year as I prepare for Easter, I remember a church member speaking of the bombings during the second world war in Sheffield. Major damage was done to a church, if I remember correctly, on a Saturday night and Sunday morning a sign had appeared on the rubble. This proclaimed the God of Resurrection. I wish I could remember the exact words but the persistence of the disciples of that place still amaze me with their grasp of resurrection.
It strikes me they took to heart the words of Psalm 137, “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” Perhaps a phrase that also strikes us in 2021, especially as Methodists - how can we sing the Lord’s songs when we cannot sing? A year ago, we thought it might be for a few weeks or maybe months and we would be back. Now we recognise that like those exiled who raise the psalm, like the disciples in Jerusalem before and after Jesus death and resurrection, God is doing a new thing. We are responding in a different world to the same God and learning about the new things of God.
We have learnt that the steadfast love of God endures when we are separated and worship together but apart, whether on zoom, on paper or radio. We long for return but to what? We are encouraged to “build back better” or embrace the “new normal” as we begin to grasp that we will not return to what was, for we cannot forget or erase what has been for 12 months.
In this Easter season I encourage you to reflect on what you have learnt of God this year. What new things have you discovered in faith? What does it challenge you to try out that is different? What do you not want to lose as we begin to return?
Biblically, how are we to sing the songs of God in this foreign land?
How are we to live resurrection life and witness to it post Covid?
My prayers and encouragement to all of you as we each reflect on and seek direction in these strange times.