June 24 Times of recovery thoughts

There are a number of different ways of entering recovery after a crisis. It will depend partly on our temperament, are we risk takers or safety first people? partly on our circumstances, how deeply have we been affected by the crisis and is it safe for us to emerge?

There seems to be no one correct way of handling things so in the church we need a large helping of grace, to be sensitive to each other, as Paul says ‘consider others better than yourselves’, in other words put others needs first!

Chatting to other Church leaders last week we talked about the different ways or models that people followed when Israel came out of the Babylonian exile. Nehemiah and Ezra led some of the people back, tried to re-establish what had gone before, to rebuild the city and the temple, it was a real struggle but right for them to do. Alternatively, others stayed in the lands to which they had been taken, they adapted to the new situation and developed synagogue worship and all the rituals needed to preserve their faith and tradition. Both ways had their merits and trials.

As we return from lockdown our first priority has to be to make sure it is as safe as possible so folk are able to come back to worship and fellowship with confidence. Today we are waiting for the publication of the detailed guidance but we know we won’t be coming straight back to how it was before, certainly beginning without singing will be a great change! We will be phasing our return to gradually open up things as it is safe to do so. Simple and safe will be the starting principles.

We also do not want to lose what we have gained during this time, more space and time with God and family for some, lots more online interaction with new people. Part of our thinking must be geared to developing these connections. There will also be some fresh focus in the ministry as people may really struggle with issues of anxiety and confidence, or with practical finance matters. All in all a new context to share the love of God in fresh ways!

Prayer for wisdom and grace is something we can all do and a great place to start on what could be a new great adventure with God!

From Philippians:

2 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!

9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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