Deacon Gill Judge poses some challenges.
‘I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.’
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 15:13). The theme for this issue of ‘Pivot’ is ‘Hope for The Future’, how do we see the future, how would we like life to be when the pandemic is over? What have learned from the last year?
Jesus, speaking to the religious leaders said in Matthew 9:17, ‘Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.’ In Bible times, people stored wine in goatskins sewn around the edges to form watertight bags called wineskins. New wine expanded as if fermented, stretching its wineskin. After this wine had aged, old and brittle wineskins would burst if fresh wine was poured into them. So, through this illustration what was Jesus saying to the religious leaders? He was saying, like old wineskins, the Pharisees and indeed the entire religious system of Judaism had become too rigid to accept Jesus. They could not contain Him or His message in their traditions or rules.
How would we like our church, family, and community life to be when the pandemic is over, will we be flexible, or are we locked into our traditions? Are we open to fresh new ways especially as the Church to bring Christ to the world?
The following questions may help us to prayerfully consider the effects of the coronavirus lockdown and how God wants to use them to move us forward.
· Are there things we were doing before lockdown that should not be restarted? Are there any
things we’ve felt relieved to stop doing, things that we won’t miss?
· Are there things we have started doing in lockdown that should continue?
· Are there new things that God is calling us to start?
· People are now familiar with connecting online – how can we maximise this new way of
meeting in all areas of church life?
· What may be the enduring pastoral needs caused by lockdown – economic, emotional
spiritual, medical – that we will need to respond to?
· How can we share the gospel with people in this new context?
Isaiah 43:18-19 says this, ‘… do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’
My personal hope for Poole Bay Circuit is that the unity and friendships that have been forged through gathering together on Zoom will continue in person; that every congregation would be valued for their unique gifts of ministry that they bring to the circuit.
God has plans to give us hope and a future. May we, the Church, be the new wineskins from which His plans are poured out.
With love in Him