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Looking ahead

Hi folks as leaders we are trying to do two things. The first priority is to care for people in the church and outside it as best we can in these days and try to provide that sense of belonging and community. A second priority is to start to consider where this is all leading. I have copied the thoughts of 2 from very different spiritual backgrounds today for you to consider

Andy Otto a Roman Catholic writer concludes his article on the effects of the pandemic on the Church with:

I hope when all this is over people come back to church and rejoice at the reunion, sing joyfully, pray with the scriptures more, and take time to get to know their fellow sisters and brothers. I hope they come back, but I hope they’re transfigured. I hope there is a new spiritual freedom and energy that springs up. Hopefully we come forth from this allowing what needs to die to die, allowing what needs to emerge to emerge. If the church as we know it someday appears to die, I know God will still be here, still be active. Resurrection is promised, but the resurrected body always looks different. And the Church in its truest sense will always be here because we will always be God’s people.

Steve Hebden’s latest reflection includes this:

The world is in a dire situation, with comparisons being made with the Great Depression of the 1920s. In all of this, how we see ourselves, and which way we are looking is crucial.

We are on a journey, which will see an incredible move of God throughout the earth, but we will also see further, and more intense upheavals in the world, whether they are economic, financial, climatic, or conflicts within nations, and even between nations, with increasing persecution to many, including Christians in the West, and much, much more.

In it all our focus needs to be stable and strong in the purposes of God.

It will not difficult in these times ahead to look back and say, ‘why?’ But where will that get us?

Why don’t we purpose in our hearts today, however much a challenge it is, to consistently and continually look forward and say with the word of faith, ‘why not!’

To me this is not a glib, throwaway comment, it means much more than that!

Faith is a choice I make and then a position I hold.

How did the young teenager, Mary, respond when the Angel told her she was having a baby? She replied with determination, ‘for nothing [meaning no word and in NT Greek is rhema] is impossible with God. Then she said, ‘be it unto me according to your word,’ [rhema] Luke 1:37-38.

Victory doesn’t come because we are absent of problems, it comes because of faith we have in Jesus where we are, and that is often right in the middle of the problems. We look at Calvary, and see the victory of Jesus on the cross, as He triumphed over the principalities and powers and defeated the last enemy, death. ’We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, loving not our lives unto death,’ Rev 12:11.

The challenge is, not to allow what has been left at Calvary, our sin and selfishness, to influence us today.

So many are saying that everything is changing, and things won’t be the same again.

We talk about God doing something new, a new day that is coming.

However remember new means new, not a reconstruction, or renovation of the old.

Adding a few bits of the old covenant or wineskin to the new is anathema! We look for a new wineskin, and all that is means.

Part of the pause is to prepare and then press into God, facing the new day before us.

pray for the church to have the courage to follow where God is leading

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Inglewhite Congregational Church

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