Hello brothers and sisters in Christ
Today I am filled with gratitude: for your faithfulness and devotion to one another and to our ‘home’ in church. I look forward, as you do, to populating those sacred spaces, and to receive the grounding fact that the buildings have held tradition, and its peoples, through thick and thin. I hope that each of you will come and enjoy personal prayer there. Bring your favourite book, the bible, and something you would like to mull over with the God who always loves you unconditionally, and Jesus who will never leave us. Love is what has brought us through lockdown, and created the desire to be reunited with family, with friends and with each other. I am hearing that lockdown has in some ways been pleasant, that it has been very little different, that you have been able to live within its constraints comfortably. But, in your heart, it is sure to have raised some questions, and that is what you might like to ask God about now.
It is a great pleasure to be meeting you on a one to one, face to face basis. Thank you for your hospitality and welcoming ways. I know your voice, I know your face if we have met on Zoom, but it is very exciting to share space, discover our commonalities and be urged to move forward together. I pray for each of you every day.
We are starting, in Zoom anyway, to bring our stories into common sharing space, and this has gifted us times of recollection and laughter, at times poignant, at times sad. These strands will be plaited together in new styles as we deepen those bonds, allowing Christ to guide, inspire and mediate. With time, we will anticipate togetherness once again.
v Pray for us all, by name
v Forgive others as Christ forgives you
v Book your time to re-enter church
v I will be coming to visit you soon
v Think of any innovations you think might work in church – after lockdown
v Join us on Zoom on Wednesdays
v Celebrate how much God loves you
v Know that Christ comforts you – just re-look at tomorrow (Sunday)‘s reading in Matthew…’Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’. Draw from this assurance!
Readings for Sunday
A golden thread that runs through the readings is that of choices. Not to forget, though, that although we might not make good choices, which bring an increase in faith, hope and love, that God is with us, wherever our choices land us, lovingly helping us to mend what was broken, forgiving us and enabling us to find new ways.
Genesis 24: 34 to 38 and 58 to 67. Isaac seeks, meets and marries Rebekah. It is a selection process in which God is consulted, guides, resulting in a blessed union. (I also love the part where it adds in that Isaac’s union with Rebekah comforted him in his grieving for his mother!)
Song of Solomon2: 8 to 13. I chose this rather than the psalm as it is a long time since we have pondered this wonderful metaphor of how God adores us: how God woos and seeks us, wherever we might be.
Romans 7: 15 to 25a. Paul speaks of his ‘natural self’, full of repetitious selfish behaviour, and by contrast, the life – giving spiritual self, motivated by the example of Christ: how difficult it is to break our base nature with its negativity, complacency and judgementalism, rather than consciously choose the way of Jesus. It is only through prayer that we can reflect on how we have succeeded in our daily deliberations and decisions. As we consider what our choice has been, and what the result was. Jesus offers forgiveness for the ways we have turned away from him, and, as he said to the woman at the well, urges us to ‘sin no more’, break our old patterns, and choose His way.
Matthew 11: 16 to 19; 25 to 30. Jesus speaks of his generation ignoring the invitation to New Life, and he would echo this to us – being offered the richness of the gospel, and a Way of living, with Christ as our guide, mediator, forgiver and motivation: in fact, our friend. Prayer and reflection as we have it on offer right now in our church will throw new light on stale situations and approaches. It is indeed an exciting time! Let us turn to the Son of Man for some new life!
Reflection: how many synonyms can you find or the word, ‘choice’? What choices are you making now, and how is God featuring in them?
I have mentioned the Ignatian tool called the Examen before. In our evening prayer, we are invited to review our day, and we start noticing which of our actions or encounters were ‘of God’ and which were ‘not of God’. Should you be interested in trying this out for a while, you might download the app on your cell or computer called ‘Re-imagining the Examen’. If you don’t like it, it can be uninstalled!
Love is in the air – as I send this to you – the heavy rain has been replaced by dazzling bright sunlight: a perfect end to another day along the Tay.
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