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Minister

From the Minister

,



FRIDAY 8th MAY

Lockdown has forced us out of the rhythms of our normal routines; this is especially true of chapel/church life. The meetings that used to give order to our days – weeks – months, are no longer taking place. We are having to find new ways to worship, new ways to fellowship together, new ways of discipleship, new ways of listening to God and being transformed by his grace.

Being away from the normal rhythms of church life gives us all a time to reflect on the value of the meetings that intersperse our weeks.

As I have reflected on this over the period of lockdown, I have been challenged by many things. Today my daily reading scheme took me to the beginning of the book of Isaiah. In the first chapter God uses the prophet to tell people off. He says to them that their religious practices have just become a matter of routine. They are going through the motions. They bring their offerings and sacrifices, but they do not bring their lives. They have the appearance of religion without the power of it.

God says of their religious practices: “Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right!”

In lockdown, I have missed sharing fellowship with God’s people face-to-face. The telephone calls, the emails, the Zoom meetings are a poor substitute to fellowship in the flesh. I have missed the meeting together of God’s people, and through that meeting, knowing the presence of Jesus more closely. I have tried the online services and prayer meetings, but I would have to say they are not working for me. The one thing that I have really benefitted from has been the “Lectio Divina” (an ancient method of reflecting on a Bible passage and listening for the voice of God speaking through it). that has taken place in some of the Zoom meetings that I have attended. I have missed the insights that others bring in the Tuesday Bible Study, insights which have challenged me, and by God’s grace have changed me.

What is the point of all these ramblings? I suppose I am saying that as I reflect I am becoming more aware of the value of what we do. For me the rhythm of church life in the most part is not just a matter of routine, but an opportunity to experience the transforming grace of Jesus. This does not mean that when the lockdown is over we simply return to things as they were. We need to bring into our church routine those things that we have learnt to value during lockdown, and we need to jettison those parts of the routine that have become no more than habit.

I have rambled on for long enough. Two questions for you to reflect on:
1). What part of church life do you miss?
2). What would you not miss if it didn’t come back?



Steve Wallis



 
Newbridge Baptist Church
Llanafan Road, Newbridge, Powys, LD1 6LY
Telephone The Minister: 01597 860185
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