We are a friendly Christian church, based in the small town of Neston, Wirral, Cheshire, midway between Liverpool and Chester.
I hope Lent finds you in a good frame of mind and in a spirit of cleansing and preparation for the time ahead. It feels like we have had to reset ourselves completely, as we have all learned so much over the last year about how to manage when extraordinary things happen, like not being able to be with people, which has curtailed many activities and forced us into a rethink about how we worship and how to do mission.
Fortunately in these days of the internet and modern communications, these important parts of our spiritual life have not suffered in the way they might, as we have been able to stay in touch in a way that was unthinkable a generation or so ago. How much the world has changed in such a short time! It has been a delight and a joy to hear of many people who would not necessarily walk into a church building joining in services of worship, via the wonders of TV, telephones, Zoom and YouTube.
And so, in a new way, the work of the church has flourished.
Jesus sent his disciples out into the mission field, with warnings that resonate about how we need to be careful today: “Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting…If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town…I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
The world out there can be a daunting place, however we engage with it, and that is one of the reasons why we need to be gentle and loving to each other, not rushing to judge, and bearing one another’s burdens. We are the body of Jesus, called to look outward, to strengthen the Body, and after a year of inwardness, it will be good to engage with the world once again, and hopefully we can take some of the things we’ve learned with us into the future.
As we gradually emerge from lockdowns and worries about the pandemic, we should take it one step at a time and tread carefully. Eventually we will be back to something like normal and we can hear each other’s voices properly and praise God together again, drawing strength from the people around us. Then we will be able again to go out into the world and show by our words and deeds that Jesus is Risen, God is good, and we are full of joy to be disciples of Jesus.
Yours in the service of our Lord,