September 2020

Wednesday, 26 August 2020 14:16 Be the first to comment!

"Are we nearly there yet? .... ...."

Dear Friends,

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ I remember a friend telling me that, having set off from Chorley, they’d got as far as Wigan when this question was first asked – and they were driving to the south of France.

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ is a question we may well feel like asking as we wonder how this pandemic will work out. We’ve been locked down, then it’s been eased, but at the time of writing there are local lock-downs in East Lancashire with questions about them coming to Preston, and who knows what it will be by the time you get to read this – and when it all will end? That is anyone’s guess, which is itself a bit disconcerting.

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ is a question which reflects a hope that even if we aren’t sure how things are going to work out, there is someone out there who has their finger on the pulse and who has the big picture under control.

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ reflects an unknowing, and maybe even a little fear about the future and what it will bring.

So how do we respond to this question? For others? For ourselves? Perhaps it’s less about the question than about the resources we have to handle that sense of unknowing which feels so discombobulating. As Christians our ultimate answer has to be God, but that seems too trite an answer in the face of all the complexities with which this virus has confronted us. So perhaps we need to dig deeper into the resources of God in Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and among ourselves as the Body of Christ in this place.

There are many places, experiences, texts, prayers and people which can inspire, encourage, uplift and even challenge us in days such as these. In recent weeks I’ve been reflecting on verses from the end of Romans 8:
‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’.

‘Are we nearly there yet?’ If we entrust ourselves to God, does it matter?

God Bless,

Rev’d Stephen Cooper

Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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