From the Manse: Summer 2007
Sometimes church life feels like a helter-skelter. We are rushing at a tremendous pace round and round — from Harvest to Remembrance, then on to Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost and Anniversary. All this and all the ‘routine’ activities as well. So much happens in our church and Churches Together in Longridge that it’s almost impossible to review everything at the AGM any more but you will find some of the Annual Reports in the latest edition of the Messenger.
A helter-skelter however, is not like a roundabout. You don’t just go round and round, faster and faster, but you start at the top and go down and down until you hit the ground – often with quite a bump. There is a danger that church life could have the same effect on us. Instead of the great festivals and church celebrations feeding our spiritual lives and building us up to be Christ’s witnesses in the world, we can find ourselves so caught up in the hard work that we slide down and become distant from God himself.
There are normally few special activities in July and August and many of us may be looking forward to a rest or even a holiday but it is important that we don’t hit the ground with a bump and fall into a spiritual coma.
The results of the ‘helter-skelter’ church can be devastating. Our worship can be wooden and uninspiring – not because we have poor preachers but because we don’t come prepared to be participants rather than observers. This doesn’t necessarily mean ‘doing things’ in the service but putting our hearts and prayers into it and expecting to find God there. We can become so tied up in our own problems that we fail to show love and concern for those around us – the best and most effective Christian witness is not having theological discussions with people but showing them the love of God in practice. It is important that our love and care embraces everyone. We should all be givers and receivers in a church family. This year let us make a gentle touch down during the holiday season and take the opportunity to spend more time with God on a personal basis while there are fewer activities to be organised. Let us also look round to see who needs a break and offer to help out.
This year is going to be extra special as our new minister Helen, will be ordained and inducted on June 30th. July and August will be an important time to get to know her, make her welcome and give her practical help in settling in but it will also be a time for looking to the future with renewed vision and enthusiasm. If we have finished our ride on the helter-skelter let’s make sure our next ride is one which will be one of those which starts at the centre with God and while remaining safely fastened to the centre works further and further outwards as we spread the good news of our Saviour’s love.”