Chapel Street Methodist Church

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Minister's Letter, 5 May

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

I hope you are coping with how things are impacting you and, where you are attentive, finding God in the most extraordinary things. Rainbows are always inspiring, but they depend on the rain as well as the sun. Some of the most dramatic rainbows I have ever seen have been in mountains, sometimes below where I was climbing, and normally accompanied by torrential rain!

This morning being grey, windy and wet, I was hankering after a bit of camping. So, I got out my petrol camping stove, pumped it up and lit it up in my back yard. It was great to squat next to it, getting wet, smelling the petrol and hearing the roar of the flame. It duly boiled water for coffee, which tasted so much better than from the electric kettle! A glimpse of a better future.

I suspect that it is time to start thinking about being ‘out there’ again so that we are prepared for what happens when it happens. There are practical preparations, like cleaning the car, but the mental preparations are far more important. In spite of our unhappiness at lock-down, for many of us it has advantages to which we become attached. I have spoken with quite a few people who confessed rather guiltily that they are enjoying a quieter life, a slower pace, more time for things they normally never get around to. We can hear the birds sing, we can cross quiet roads for exercise, and we have probably spoken more to people than we do at other times.

Whilst we miss meeting up with people, meeting can be tiring, people can crowd us. I fear that some people are anxious about going out, and even when the virus threat has passed, there is the unwelcome challenge of starting up all the practical, and difficult, and taxing things we have been relieved of for all these weeks. Jesus cares for us in lock-down. He sits with us when we are anxious and cut off. He speaks into our silence and calms our fears. But He will also lead us back out into the wider world with all its joys and pitfalls. Jesus is neither afraid of claustrophobia nor fazed by agoraphobia. The best preparation for whatever tomorrow brings is keeping a good, healthy and close relationship with Jesus. In fact, a lively spirituality is the best preparation for an unfolding future.

And as I said some weeks ago now, church leaders, stewards, and church council members need to be organising themselves now for what will come later in the summer. It is no good just putting things off, shelving decisions and waiting to see what happens. The timing we do not know, but we do know this situation is only temporary.

On a bright note, I expect that many of you have watched the UK Blessing. It is truly inspiring, especially when loud!

Warm regards and blessings to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 16:09 on 5 May 2020

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