When we are in a difficult situation, as we are at the present, it is a good thing to look for the positives. Continually listening to reports on what’s happening, where it is happening and to whom, is depressing and unproductive.
I don’t know about you but I have found many positives in the situation we find ourselves in.
I have acquired some new technological skills. I have learned to communicate via ‘Skype’, ‘Why Pay’ and ‘Zoom’. I have stopped chasing around trying to stick to a self-inflicted timetable. I have been in touch with several people I have not had any contact with for years. More importantly, I have spent more time reading the word, listening to the word and testimonies and praying.
There are also many positives happening in society in general. Nearly all our neighbours, who are younger than us, have put notes through our door with offers of help. Thousands have volunteered to help the NHS. There are reports all over the country of people carrying out acts of kindness in communities and remote areas. There are numerous people giving their time freely to provide daily fitness programmes, cooking demonstrations, language classes and many many more. It seems that society has become closer than it has been for a very long time.
Churches too, including our own, have been finding different ways of meeting. There have already been many meetings taking place through technology and words being streamed on ‘You Tube’. Somehow, though we are separated physically, I feel our fellowship has already become closer and more willing to move on together in unison. LONG MAY IT CONTINUE!! Why would we want to go back?
In an interview on Songs of Praise (29th March) Aled Jones asked Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, if he was worried that this situation might be an end to the church community.
Well it’s going to be a different sort of community. Our being a Christian is going to be less characterised by coming to church, more characterised by the lives of service and of prayer that we need day by day - that might be quite a good thing for us to learn. You know the church isn’t just about what happens on Sunday, it’s what we do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday…and if we can be a church that looks out for our neighbours, finds out who is isolated and ill and frightened in our neighbourhood and serves them, then we can really be the church in a new way.
Sometimes we can’t help looking back. We can tend to see the past through rose-coloured spectacles, which sometimes improve the picture of how things used to be and make us forget what God has done for us. If we’re not careful we begin to have a longing to return to what we had left.
“Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
However, this is what is written in Isaiah:
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Karl Vater said in a blog:
I don’t want to hear about churches filling up as a sign of revival, renewal or spiritual awakening anymore! I want to hear about churches emptying out. Going into their community to minister, to serve and to share the good news. That’s a greater sign of effective ministry than an increase in church attendance will ever be.
Our world doesn’t need bigger churches or filled-up small churches. We need transformed lives, families, cities and nations. That’s hard to do when all the Christians are cloistered inside church buildings.
Jesus never told us to pray that church buildings would be filled. He told us to, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:38
So, let’s pray we will not go back to where we were. Let society and the church learn from this experience and go forward, taking with us, the positive things we have learned.
LOOKING BACK IS NOT THE WAY FORWARD
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Author: Thelma Cameron
May God bless and enrich your life
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