Chapel Street Methodist Church

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Minister's Letter, 10 March

From the Revd Alastair Bolt

Dear Friends,

Many thanks to all those of you who have asked after my injured arm. I have been to a follow-up clinic, and everything should heal up in the next few weeks. Back in the hospital and waiting for the not terribly reassuringly named TRAUMA clinic, I found myself in the so-called YELLOW WAITING ROOM. And it wasn’t just called Yellow, it is yellow. As I sat there waiting, I recalled visiting a hospital long ago where there were a whole series of car parks named by colours. I reached the BLUE CAR PARK, but as my car was silver-grey I went elsewhere to park.

There is something strange about a blue car park. Somehow a colour doesn’t fit the idea of a car park; big, small, expensive, long-stay, but not blue. In the same way, short tomatoes or triangular children seem contradictions in terms. But then again, we have had to adapt over time to the newly possible. For my entertainment in the Yellow Waiting Room, I could listen to something that proclaimed itself as Smooth Radio. 50 years ago, the words Mobile and Phone did not go together. We would never have described a meeting as Zoom. So as time moves on, new unimaginable things become possible. One Christmas, I was given Musical Socks which before then I would have thought a contradiction in terms. Socks had colour, size and smell but not until then, music.

I think that’s why it is good not to jump to conclusions about the amazing things that God does which are way beyond our understanding and are described in the Bible in terms that do not make sense to our limited vocabulary. St Paul describes Christians in the church as Living Stones. What on earth are living stones? And we are called to be Born-Again people, how does ‘born’ sit with ‘again’? (John 3 v4). Easter is soon. How does Jesus being dead fit with Him being alive? Dead and Alive don’t go together unless God decides they should. God has a habit of revealing things previously unthinkable. I need to adapt and keep up.

In recent times I have continued to take part in Holy Communion Services by using my own bread and blackcurrant juice. Before a service on Zoom or at church, I cut a little square of bread out of the top slice of the loaf in the kitchen.

What has struck me quite forcibly is that when I get to lunchtime and prepare to make toast, the first slice has a corner missing. Now in a way that is obvious, but it also seems highly symbolic. It says to me that Holy Communion bread is just the same bread as I eat for toast, that Jesus had an actual meal with His disciples at the Last Supper and that Communion makes all meals sacred.

More importantly, it reminds me that I took Communion earlier and that that Communion has left a lasting mark on the rest of my day. I wonder if my prayer or worship when I take time out of the day to meet with Jesus, actually leave a tangible mark on the rest of my day? I want to be sure that I am not just skating lightly over my worship and prayer times, because if I do, I may have eaten the Communion bread but at lunchtime, there will be no corner cut out of my toast.

With best wishes to you all,

Alastair's signature

Published at 16:14 on 10 March 2021

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