Monthly Letter

The Vicarage

Dear Friends

St John’s feels like a church in transition.

For example, on one hand, Zest is a growing, weekly service with an extra missional outlet through our three Zest-based meetings in Kirklands per year; but then simultaneously we find we are announcing the end of the traditional 8am Book of Common Prayer communion service. On one hand, we are having to change our furnishing arrangements within church to make more space, whilst we have empty pews at other times.

It can be really hard to know what to make of this situation and we can find ourselves jumping to extreme positions, either trying to throw off tradition completely or else trying to cling on with all we have. Navigating the tricky channel of holding on to what has been passed to us, and at the same time re-presenting it to those who follow on, is never easy.

However, I believe that transition is the place where Christians should feel most at home. Life is itself a transition – every morning we wake up we are different from yesterday. We are used to seeing children grow before our eyes, but often, as adults, we seem to think this transition has stopped. It doesn’t and it can’t – we are people who never stand still, but instead constantly change.

As Church in particular, however, we exist within a transitional space. The world around us changes. But this change isn’t just external to church. Just like we notice children growing, we notice when something develops. When a service ‘matures’, however, it also keeps moving. Nothing, except God, stays the same.

How could it be otherwise? We live in the between-times, stretching from Jesus saving our wrecked world, to his salvation coming to completion in a renewed Kingdom at the end of time. Whatever our narrative of this, it certainly assumes change and movement. Our role, as Christ’s body, the Church, is to be faithful disciples throughout; discerning what is to be held fast, and what is transitional.

Change can be scary – no wonder the world finds it hard and no wonder we find ourselves clinging to structures that help us feel secure. But transition is in the Christian DNA. We live in a world where Jesus has come and saved us, but we aren’t yet home. We have left, but not yet arrived. We have begun the race, but not yet finished.

Meanwhile, some things begin, others end. Our faithfulness to Jesus and our seeking to follow in his footsteps remains the same. Our mission to go and make disciples is constant, even if the search and rescue operation looks different. Our seeking to make God the first thing in our lives remains central, even if our way of worship, and the words we use, develop and change.

This is a sign of our living faith, forever growing, developing and transitioning, as we look for the coming of God’s Kingdom one day when we will find our eternal home.

Steve

 

 


 

 

 

 


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