Chapel Street Methodist Church
Penzance

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Minister's Letter, 28 July

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

It has been good to meet an increasing number of you, as the services at Chapel Street, High Street, Wesley Rock and Madron have got going. Thank you to those of you who have been organising the distanced furniture, the cleansing gel and the signing in. Can I encourage all of you retain your vigilance and self-discipline as we shall not be able to return to complete normal for some time. When no-one in church seems to have the virus, it is easy to become complacent.

In these next weeks, I shall continue to write a weekly letter to link up those who are still having to stay at home, and I shall record my sermons as well as preaching them live. I think we can now start again all the church news sheets which we had before lockdown and make them available on-line as well as for those who can attend church. One thing that Lockdown has taught us is that we can reach lots more people on-line, than by just handing out bits of paper on Sundays. Indeed, we can communicate far more information and share it. So, let us develop an ‘also and’ approach from here onwards, publishing attractive hard copy and putting our communications on-line at the same time.

Since restrictions have started to ease, our grandchildren have been able to visit us. As always happens, the greatest joy for those who come from Nottingham is actually seeing the sea after the landlocked Midlands. So, I was sitting on Penzance pebbles watching my grandson paddling in the water he thought warm, throwing pebbles, and playing with the little waves.

He seemed very small looking out towards a distant horizon which I imagine must appear infinitely far away to him. I am reminded of Isaac Newton’s famous saying:

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Newton could say that with the authority of being the greatest scientist of his generation. I quoted him in the foreword to my 1977 PhD thesis on the subject of coasts and beaches, because it applied vastly more to me! This is where we all are in relation to God. We are dwarfed by God’s creation; about which Newton’s successors find they understand less and less. If we take the time to glance up from all we are busy with, we are amazed by God’s enormous purposes and love, and by all that He does for us. Then our Christian commitment such as it is, although costly to us and valued by Him, is in the big scheme of things quite small; a little beach on the strand of that great ocean of Divine truth. To get this perspective right need not be alarming or dispiriting. It is a blessing to know that the little waves that touch our feet are God’s almighty presence reaching out of Heaven to gently meet with us. I am awed but not afraid, because I live on God’s beach, and it is just here that Jesus calls me to follow Him.

With warm regards and blessings to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 17:01 on 28 July 2020

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