Circuit Zoom Service — On Sunday 16th January at 6pm prompt, you are invited to join our Circuit Zoom service when Andrew Barraclough will open the new theme and speak about his chosen prophet.
The codes for our Zoom service are written below...
Meeting ID: 861 0815 4849
Here we are again! The beginning of a new year. I write this letter in middle December and perhaps when you read it, it may be out of date as the Pandemic news changes daily. We had hoped that things in this area were really moving forward positively until the latest wave. The Church is a gathered community. Virtually everything we do, we do together and now we are being encouraged not to be together and to stay apart.
One of the great leaders in the Old Testament is Nehemiah. We tend to think of him as a man full of activity and action. Remember how he amazingly rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. When he arrived in the city he didn't start work immediately because he didn't know where to begin. He didn't organise people straight away to start work on this huge building project. He stopped, observed and listened and only then did he know what to do and the rebuilding started. He didn't rush to respond to the devastation he found in Jerusalem, he took time to listen and discern before knowing what to do.
Is this where we are as the Methodist Church at the moment? Do we really know where we are going as we move from disorientation to reorientation? I believe we need to be like Nehemiah and do some deep and real listening to where the spirit of God is leading us. This is not to be passive or inactive, but to do some vital theology together as a Church. Real theology is not a learned experience. Real theology is thinking with the mind of Christ. Henri Nouwen once wrote, 'The Christian leader thinks, speaks, and acts in the name of Jesus, who came to free humanity from the power of death and open the way to eternal life'. If this is true then that deep listening to God is to discern how God is acting in this time of COVID 19 in our personal lives, the Church, society and the world and to really listen is to discern where is he leading us and to follow.
This is no easy task, since God's presence is often a hidden presence and through deep listening and reflection that presence is discovered. The huge concerns of COVID 19 can make us deaf to the gentle voice of God, so as a church, together we are called to help people to hear that voice. Christians today have to discern the signs of our times which are counter cultural and deep listening to Christ, is required. Christ did not cling to power but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant. We live in a competitive and ambitious world but to discern the mind of Christ for our times is to seek that discernment in another place where hope is to be found. May a new year inspire us in this pilgrimage.
Revd Dr Richard J Teal
When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, 'Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.' (vs 9-10)