Back to normal?

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From the Manse.....

The other day, I was very kindly sent a copy of a newsletter for Seascale Methodist Church from May 1990 — which included my "From The Manse letter" for that month.

After initially wondering where those 31 years had gone, to see what I had written all those years ago brought back many happy memories of my probationers years spent in the North West and of the people that accepted me so readily as a 'wet behind the ears' Minister.

Eight months into my first appointment I begin my letter saying; "By the time you read this the Easter eggs will have been long eaten and forgotten, the visiting relatives will have arrived back at their own homes, the holidays and days off will be finished and life will be getting back to normal, or will it?"

I then pondered the question as to whether life could ever get back to normal after the events of Easter — concluding towards the end by saying "we need to be reminded that there is no such thing as 'getting back to normal'."

The person who sent me this newsletter commented on the fact that my last paragraph was very prophetic!

As the numbers of people being vaccinated against Covid-19 continues to rise and a clearer 'road map' out of lockdown and restrictions brings some much needed hope, our thoughts naturally turn to what happens now? We have been saying for a long time that we cannot go back to where we were before to what was once seen as bing 'normal', for the landscape has changed and in ways both large and small, things have moved on and we are in a different place.

When I wrote that letter to the Church at Seascale in May 1990, I wasn't for one minute trying to be prophetic inasmuch as trying to predict the future, but rather to remind us all of fundamental truth regarding who we are and our faith. That in seeking to be disciples of Jesus, we are constantly being challenged, transformed and changed as we allow God to work in and through us. 'Back to normal' suggests standing still, staying put, business as usual, maintaining the status quo.

Responding to Jesus' call of "follow me" is all about discipleship. It is about being on a journey where each new step takes us further away from where we started.

The question we face as we seek to begin to emerge from the events of the last twelve months or so, is what kind of Church is God calling us to be now? What good things have we discovered and are now part of who we are that should continue and be developed even further? What things were we unable to do, and consequently need to pick up once more, but in the light of where we now find ourselves? What things do we simply let go of and leave behind.

These are questions that we face together and together we will discover the way forward as we continually find ourselves "changed from glory into glory!"

With love and God Bless

Keith

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