Minister's Message

               Minister’s Message Autumn 2018

 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

                                                                                              Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

 

For many people the summer months are an opportunity for us to take a holiday, for refreshment and renewal and to do something different from our normal routine. Taking a “Sabbath” time out for rest & refreshment on a regular basis is part of God’s original plan for his people, a vital element in creating a rhythm and balance in our lives. God knew it was essential for our wellbeing to set aside time to “press the Pause button” and allow ourselves just to “be, and to rest in God’s presence.

On my sabbatical (which has “Sabbath” at its root) a couple of years ago I spent some time on a silent retreat at St Beuno’s in North Wales, and my prayer guide gave me the Bible verses above to pray within silence.  I’ve been reflecting on these words, which seem to me to lie at the heart of our Christian faith, and are fundamental to our spiritual and physical wellbeing.  We live in a world where the increasing busy-ness of life, coupled with the constant “traffic noise” of social media distract us from potential conversations with God or Jesus and threaten to drown out the still, small voice of God. Making time to stop and just “be”, instead of “doing” all the time, is something we need to practise intentionally , because it offers us a sense of true balance and real rest for the soul. 

Jesus invites us to keep company with him, to watch and learn how he does things. Of course Jesus’s ministry was active and busy as he purposefully engaged with all kinds of people as he travelled through towns and villages teaching, healing and coming alongside people who were hurting or rejected. He calls us to do the same in his name, going out to engage with our communities, ready to share the good news of God’s kingdom values of love, grace, justice and peace as we help to transform our world.

But these verses also remind us that Jesus calls us to learn from him and take time out, to listen to the nudges of his Holy Spirit, who will help us discern what God wants us to do. Jesus invites you and I to keep company with him, to watch and “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”, because they’re vital to the Sabbath way of life God has designed for each of us.

In Autumn we return to the familiar routine of work, school, meetings, etc. after the summer break, but for many of us this is also time of new beginnings: a new school, college or university, a new job or role, new people & places to get to know, a new connexional year in Methodism. There will be changes ahead within our church as we welcome Adrian Wyatt, our new Community Outreach Worker, and in the circuit for me and David Winstanley as we take on the role of Co – Superintendents, and for other colleagues, a change in residence or in the circuit churches of which we have pastoral charge.

And before long we’ll no doubt be getting ready to celebrate Christmas, with all the busy-ness that often involves.

So it’s important that we remember God’s invitation to us through Jesus to keep company with him, to talk to him in prayer and listen to what he wants to say to us; to let him show us how to recover our lives, how to take a real rest and how to walk in the light of his love for us.  

I wish you joy and peace in this Autumn season and pray that we together we can discover again the blessings of living freely and lightly in the unforced rhythms of grace which are Jesus’ promise to us.

Jane

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