Musings from the Manse (6.7.20)
God’s Mission Goes On!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance
As we are progressively coming out of lockdown into a “new normality,” we are reacting differently to this juncture. Some people are excited; others even super excited for various reasons. Others are little bit apprehensive. Some can’t wait to go back to work. Others are not looking forward to going back to work. Others sadly have no job to return to. Some have already booked their holidays somewhere either within the country or beyond the borders. Others are still weighing the whole situation as there are a lot of things, which still remain unknown.
Exiting from lockdown brings with it some fresh challenges to each one of us. We still have a lot of questions for which we are yet to find answers. The lifting of lockdown also brings fresh challenges to us as a fellowship. As a leadership of the church, we continue to ponder on what needs to be done at each stage. We would continue to value your prayers in this regard.
As we continue to ponder on these challenges known and unknown, there is at least one thing that is certain in our minds. This is it. We know that as a fellowship, we have a God-given mission to our community. In other words, we know that we remain God’s people for God’s mission. Given this awareness, we know that whether we remain in lockdown or return to a new normality, the mission of God goes on! The mission goes on while we are still under lockdown, unable to gather together in one place for worship and fellowship as we used to. It goes on whether, under the new normality, we will be able perhaps to gather in our building in small numbers on rota basis or to gather, still in small numbers, in various houses while following the services live from the church. Perhaps we would gather somewhere outside (this option is unlikely as we all know how our Scottish weather is so unpredictable!), or continue fellowship using other means, yet to be thought of. The mission of God goes on! It is a mission which goes on through us as God’s people now living in totally different communities. Our communities have different needs, challenges and demands as some of the impact from Covid-19 will be felt for some considerable time from now.
Being God’s people for God’s mission within such changed communities will constantly require a lot from us. Perhaps more than ever before, this time we are living in is a time we must remain tuned to the LORD to carefully listen to Him. It involves climbing spiritually to the mountain of the LORD regularly in prayer, spending times with Him through His Word, listening to what He has to say, trusting Him as He leads and directs, and then doing what He asks us to do according to the pattern shown us on that mountain (Exodus 24:12—25:9, 40). It also requires that we continue to rely not on our own cleverness, but on a fresh outpouring and leading of the Holy Spirit. For God’s mission must be done not by might nor by power, but by God’s Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). So, my prayer is that we become more and more a fellowship of praying people; people with an intercessory prayer ministry at heart, which is inspired by biblical characters and saints of the past centuries, but above all by our Lord Jesus Christ, who always lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25) and by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and who also intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express (Romans 8:26).
God willing, over the next few days, through our daily devotions, we will be focusing on prayer as a vital dimension of the mission of God’s people. For while some of us may not yet be able to do a lot of things in and for our community, we can all pray. And prayer, as recently God, through a brilliant and inspiring sermon from our dear friend Steve Holmes, reminded us, is effective. Prayer works. It changes things!
What does it mean to say or to hear that prayer changes things? While we stop and think of it, like the disciples, let’s also say, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), especially for the rapid spread of the Gospel as a vital part of God’s mission that goes on!
With much love, thoughts and prayers,