Excerpts from the church’s bi-monthly magazine
October / November 2019 message from the Minister
Behold, behold I make all things new, beginning with you and starting from today. Behold, behold I make all things new, beginning with you for I am Christ the Way.
These words (John Bell’s interpretation of Revelation 21.5) were the first we heard in the service with which we inaugurated our new Group of Churches back in October 2015. A lot has happened since then and none of our churches are still exactly as they were. This month will mark the point where our Group has had the same length of time without Tim’s ministry as we had with it. Each of the churches has received new members and/or Elders into their fellowship. I rejoice that each has been looked to by people in their local neighbourhood for Christian support, and all have been able to respond. We do more than survive, we do new things.
The newest thing to happen to me is retirement. As I write, I am enjoying my first day as a retired Mechanical Engineer, and already managing to move into the daytime some of the ministry activities I have had to deal with in evenings and weekends for the previous 23 years. Literally ‘starting from today’ I can do new things and do old things in a new way.
Not all new things are as dramatic, and each one of us can be inspired to make little changes, take small steps to benefit ourselves and others. But at the same time the one on the throne who, in the Revelation vision said ‘I make all things new’ was looking for big changes, and announcing that in God all things are possible; there is no new thing that is so radical for God that He would not contemplate it.
The Autumn always feels like a fresh start after a summer break. Let’s look at what are our own new things – as a Group, as four churches, as individuals. God bless us all in our search, starting from today.
October / November 2019 Editorial Comment
We are entering the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and will shortly be celebrating our Harvest Festival. It’s a time of year when it is easy to adopt a romantic view of rural life, and we often fall back on traditions. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that if they still serve a purpose, and there is certainly much to celebrate about the blessings which we have received, both from the natural world and also from the efforts of human labour.
However, unless we have a big garden or an allotment, it is very unlikely that many of us in Coventry will be celebrating our own harvest. It’s reasonable, therefore, for our own celebration of God’s world to take a different form from that in a farming community. After all, there is rarely a single way of doing things anyway.
As well as celebrating the goodness of God’s creation, don’t we also need to reflect on the price that the world pays for the luxuries which we enjoy? Otherwise we are in danger of celebrating our abuse of God’s world rather than the bountiful gifts which He has bestowed upon us.
We know more than we ever did about the damage which we are, collectively, doing to our planet, and the impact on harvests and people.
In addition, life in rural communities is also not quite like the idyll which we grow nostalgic about, with high levels of mental health problems, suicide and serious farm injuries.
What are we going to do about it? It’s no use being aware of things if we simply shake our heads and bemoan the modern age. Nor is it to complain that it’s all too big for us to deal with; the impact of the worlds’ population is simply the sum of all of our actions (or inactions). Whether it’s about what we buy, how we get around, who we vote for or how we use our voice to speak out, we can make a difference.