From the moderator

 

Over the past weeks on Sunday mornings, we have been reading some of the wonderful stories and pictures used by Jesus that we call parables. Next month Rick the minister called to the shared church will arrive and begin work in what will be a new phase in the life of the church family. With that in mind I was reminded of one the incidents in the new Testament. In which the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in parables and stories. He replied with a quotation from the Old Testament:

This is why I speak in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

Seeing things clearly is very difficult for us, because of course we are blinded by the things we know, things that we are already familiar with. We are stuck in the way we think things ought to be or by the way they have always been done.

 

The pandemic of Covid-19 has helped us to see new things and new ways of doing things. Some of them astonishing.

Do you remember the empty shelves in the supermarkets? How could that happen? It was a sharp short reminder of what some people in our world face all the time.

Do you remember when all the churches closed? That had never happened before, even during the Black death, the 2018 flu epidemic and the two world wars.

Do you remember when we all had to start wearing Masks? That was when I learned that my hearing was also partially based on lip reading.

Do you remember when it was decreed, that we could not visit each other, or hospital patients, or nursing homes. That was very hard for relatives, friends and ministers.

Do you remember when wedding services, had to be cancelled, and funeral services limited.

Do you remember having to learn how to do church on the internet, hymns without singing, communion in front of a monitor screen.

Do you remember, when we began putting familiar words together to make alien phrases with completely new meanings such as “Self-isolate”, “social-distancing”, “face-covering” or “both jabs”.

We have had to get used to lots of new things, often unwillingly, and there may be many more in the future.

 

That was part of the problem of the people around Jesus. They had grown up in the life and traditions of the temple the Jewish law and the synagogue. It was hard for them to see past what they already knew, and were used to.

 

How could God do anything other than what he had already done?
How could this carpenter from Nazareth be the Messiah?

How could God use a man crucified to save people?

How could tax collectors and sinners be saved?

How could God accept people who were not Jewish into his family?

How could God be asking them to abandon the old traditions and ways, of synagogue and temple?

 

So many of them missed the new things that God was doing, and what he was showing them, because they were looking back to the old ways. They could not imagine God doing something different. Later Jesus tells the disciples to be like children, to see things with new eyes, in order to enter the approaching kingdom. He says “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”

 

Sam was a partner in the firm of Men’s Underwear Ltd. of London, He had followed his father and grandfather into the family business. He decided to take a break and went to Rome on holiday. When he returned his partner said, “What was it like?”

Amazing said Sam so much to see, but the highlight of it all was meeting the pope. I just bumped into him, as I was walking through the city and astonishingly he stopped to talk to me, about the state of the world and the future of the church.

Wow! his partner said with wonder and awe. The pope, is probably the most well-known person in the world. What is he like?”

Well!  said Sam I would say he’s a Medium fit.

 

Why not ask God to open your eyes and who knows you may just notice Him at work in all sorts of new ways, and He may be doing new things that you and I need to take on board in the world and even in the church.

 

May God bless you and keep you and those you love safe and well.

Yours in Christ’s service

 

David