Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings Church anniversary service.
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Below the video you will find a message from our minister Rev Ali Jones.
God Bless x
Message – Rev Ali Jones
There is a phrase that we are hearing a great deal on news programmes – the new normal. Nobody has any idea what it will be, but we are sure that it is somewhere and somewhen to be found.
In a world of change there is a great feeling of security in setting up a future hope of a new stability, a new way of being that can be relied on. In many ways that is what St John the Divine, author of the Revelation, was striving to do. It was a time of persecution, and he had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. He wrote his vision of the future to reassure his audience, to fill them with determination and a sense of immanent victory, so that they would hold strong in the faces of their persecutors.
His vision of the New Jerusalem is one of total change, where all the things that make the present Jerusalem unclean are done away with and can never enter it again. It is safe and pure for the church of God to inhabit, and the seat of power of the Jewish authorities is done away with because there is no need for a Temple when in God’s actual presence. Earthly rulers will bring their tribute, acknowledging the true ruler, and all shall be well.
A new normal.
Of course, the reality is that there is no such thing. The world will continue to change, different nations will continue in their own ways, blood and thunder or thud and blunder, as each deems appropriate!
Bishop John Robinson once asked a very important question – “If you ask Christians to imagine the church and the world in terms of a river and a rock, why is it they always imagine the church to be the rock?” In a time of change, the church has a role in leading that change, rather than trying to hold on to a pattern that is losing its relevance.
Grangewood Methodist Church has been going for a few years now, and every one of those years has seen change. People, buildings, technology, preaching, pastoral care, ministry to each other in a time of crisis – all have changed over time, and all will continue to change.
This isn’t something to be resisted, but something to be embraced. We learn from the new and add it to the wisdom accumulated over centuries, enabling us to speak into a new circumstance in a way that has meaning.
The past is something we celebrate while looking into the future. Church Anniversary is not simply ‘look what God did for us and through us’ but also ‘and what will God be doing next’?
Each year provides us with a new normal, each person who comes to join us and each one who leaves for glory. Those who live around Grangewood will be looking for a way to understand a changed and changing world, and it is this Church’s privilege to be in a position to provide that understanding.
The creator of the universe is greater than either human or virus, unlimited by measures of time or space, lover beyond reason or restraint, and it is that love that we may share with all around us. This is the love that is hope amidst despair, light in the dark and peace amidst our human striving. This is the love that has been known within the Church for every year of its existence, and will be known forevermore.