Message From Our Minister

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Watch And Be Alert

Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

At the last meeting of Hamilton Presbytery, a member of the Ministries Council spoke. His presentation was entitled ‘Journey Together’ and went something along these lines: - where we were as a church, where we are now and where we are going (there is not enough space here to explain these points in detail).

In summary we are not the church we once were – the centre of attention, where people looked towards the church for leadership and guidance, where the church’s views and opinions mattered in all aspects of society etc. We are in serious decline and have been for decades in terms of membership. There are around 250 vacant charges in Scotland and this is likely to increase in the near future due to the retirement of ministers. It is a pretty bleak picture by any measure.

However, the third point highlighted various new initiatives being taken in order to find ways to deal with our present predicament as a church. God’s Way and Will including Path to Renewal, Going for Growth and Hub Style Ministry to name but a few.

As I reflected on the presentation, Isaiah 43:18-19 came to mind. “But the Lord says, “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening, you can see it now. I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there.”

As Isaiah tells us, ‘The Lord says, “Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already!’” That is heartening, isn’t it? It reminds us not to dwell on the past, or to live with the idea of our glorious past or how things have always been. The old ways or routines are not producing the fruits they once produced. In fact, they are detrimental to growth (so it seems) and therefore it is at odds with God’s plan when He wants to do something new. The main question is, do we want to be part of it or want to be at odds with it?

The verses from Isaiah promise God’s presence in new places, but the points to NOTE are that GOD is doing it, not us, but that our role in all this is to be alert. We must live in the now. To see what God is doing and join in with it. Being alert means being ready, not sitting back and letting things happen, but being ready to take action as we see the opportunities before us. God wants to be so much more to us and to do so much more through us. “What is vital is to be open to God’s leading, EXPECTING God to do great things among us and to send us to our community to communicate the Good News of His love in ways that are relevant and life-changing. In other words, we are to re-capture the vision of what it is to BE CHURCH!”

Spring is another great reminder of old bursting forth newness. May we keep watching and be alert to see what God is doing in and around us. And may we be ready to let God do some “new thing” through us.

Blessings, Mahboob