Chapel Street Methodist Church
Penzance

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Minister's Letter, 22 July

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you as I write this on a glorious sunny day.

I wonder whether this week’s letter should be a holiday edition, or at least have a holiday theme. You don’t have to go out to experience a feeling of holidays, holy days from the Lord.

We do live in a beautiful part of the world, and now thousands of holidaymakers are streaming into Cornwall. Not everyone is happy about this! There seems a division of opinion between those who say we need the business and the money that tourism brings, and those who fear people bringing the virus with them, or just don’t like traffic congestion. I think that the Christian community should be welcoming the visitors, not just to make money and even if there is some added risk and inconvenience. Hospitality is recommended in the Bible. We in Cornwall are merely stewards of this beautiful part of God’s creation. We should care for it and we should share it with others, particularly those who live in much less attractive environments. Let us be praying for all those visitors spreading over the beaches and queuing on our roads that they should find a time of physical and spiritual refreshment, and remain safe whilst doing it.

A few weeks ago, I was in one of my local shops to buy quiche. Cheese doesn’t agree with me, so I asked which of their home-made quiches contained the least cheese. The jolly reply came back “the smallest ones”! It is a blessing that the love we can have within us is not proportional to our size. Indeed, slimming will not raise the concentration of your love and make it stronger! Jesus can fill us with His love whatever our size or shape, and He can fill even small church congregations with as much love as larger gatherings. That’s good to know in these days when we are returning to worship in our chapels, and not as many people are there as before Lockdown.

As we re-enter our churches, and welcome new people, take all the precautions we must, and let our motto be:

VIGILANCE WITHOUT ANXIETY.

After all, perfect Love casts out fear.

Preparing for Sunday, I have been looking at the call of Matthew in St Luke’s Gospel, and the big party Jesus subsequently attended with all Matthew’s dubious mates. There is such a lot of celebration in the New Testament at the coming of Jesus. We need to witness to Christian joy at this time. There is a great deal of fun going on in our holiday resorts and beaches, and we should be Christian communities of joy rather than projecting a gloomy seriousness which rather frowns on people having a good time.

I was driving from Hayle to Godrevy and found the traffic held up. This was caused by a sign in the road warning of road works, attended by the inevitable cones. Having squeezed round this obstruction we drove on until similar signs were holding up the traffic coming in the opposite direction. There were no road works between the signs! The Bible rightly warns us about dangers ahead and it may make us stop and think, but the church should not introduce obstacles into people’s lives which have no obvious benefit.

Warm regards to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 21:20 on 22 July 2020

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