Pastoral Letter - Sep 21
Happy Methodist New Year!
“The times they are a-changing”, is probably true in every age. When I went to ministerial training college we didn’t talk about how to use your mobile, or what etiquette is on social media, but we have to know now. Most change is organic and we absorb it slowly but that is difficult now. Our churches feel different, we have to consider risks more openly, the town centres have less shops, and recognising people with half a face due to masks takes a second look. I’ve noticed that as having my hair cut and a mask means some people need more than a second glance.
Our denomination has made some big decisions, some of these have seemed organic to some and sudden to others, others are going to alter some parts of church more than we can imagine. Only time and God will determine how these enable us to proclaim the Kingdom of God as we are charged.
In the midst of all this what does not change is the presence of God, the promise Jesu gives as he commissions the disciples in Matthew:
“And remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
The disciples have just experienced extreme change, Jesus has been raised from the death and moves them from fear to freedom, Jesus promises his presence in all they experience. That promise remains for us in the changes we experience, in the decisions made that have an impact on us and ask us to engage and organise differently are all held in those words of Christ. It does not mean they are all wrong or all right, look at the early church for the interesting decision making that happens and the conflicts. It means that those which endure are those which best proclaim the presence of Jesus and the love of God in the face of which all else falls away.
Perhaps the words of this contemporary hymn say it better than I can:
"God, whose life pervades each moment,
Meet us in this present hour,
As we open thought and action
To your life’s transforming power.
Startle, challenge and confront us,
Touch our hearts and free our hands-
So that we may see and serve you,
Yield to all your love demands. “
C P. Bennett 2021
Go into this New Year open to God’s presence and transforming power, knowing that Jesus is present with us always.