Dear Church Family,
As we head deeper into the summer months, many of us are starting to look for the opportunity to book a holiday (or a short break at least), catch up with family and friends, and maybe (dare I say it) return to church worship in order to fully participate in the music, liturgy and sacraments. However, as I write this letter, there are already articles in the news suggesting that the current lockdown restrictions might be with us for most of July too and that the presence of the “Delta” variant of Covid-19 is the likely reason the 21st June won’t see a full lifting of restrictions.
By now we’re all used to this kind of disappointment and frustration – so whatever the government announces this coming Monday, I’d like to encourage all of you to stand firm and remain hopeful, even if some of the things we’ve been dreaming of for so long may not come to fruition in the time scales we had hoped for.
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:58
These words from St Paul are a great reminder that our hope lies beyond any government announcement, and that we have a calling and responsibility to continue the work of the Lord as the Body of Christ in Hutton (and beyond). We can all play our part in this, as Christ calls each of us to faithfully witness to the love and life of his Gospel.
At the recent APCM, I touched upon our parish vision and some of the ways we would like to develop and grow in the coming years. In 2019 the PCC began the work of putting a statement together that would help shape the ministry of the parish. We arrived at:
“Be with Jesus. Be like Jesus. Do what Jesus did.”
There’s lot more to this than just a catchy strap line. Each sentence has a number of actions and values attached to it which provide direction and context to the stated aim. The summarised version I have given here should help each of us think in 3 different ways about the Christian life. “Be with Jesus” (worship) relates to our personal and collective worship practices and helps us connect with God, to deepen our relationship with Him, and to allow his Word to speak to us. “Be like Jesus”(fellowship) relates to our character and life as disciples of Christ – it should shape our life with one another as we learn from Christ, pray together and love one another faithfully. “Do what Jesus did” (mission) is there to remind us that our Christian lives must relate to the wider world – our communities are full of people in need of love, support, prayer and healing. We believe the Christ came to redeem and restore the whole world and that he asks us to reach out to others with his life, love and grace.
I will be saying more about this on Sunday morning in my sermon at St Peter’s – this will also be available on the Facebook page during the livestream at 9.30am.