I read two interesting things in the news this week. Firstly, that for many people this past week has been the most difficult in lock-down so far. It appears that the “novelty” of our new situation has worn off, this new reality is starting to hit home and there is a realisation that things are going to be different for some time yet. The second thing was that this past week was the week that most people would try – by any means possible, to get a haircut!! After so many weeks of lock down, I wonder how many of us have even contemplated cutting our own hair at this time? After all, drastic times lead to drastic measures! This saying may be true for all sorts of our usual pursuits where we are having to find different ways and means of doing things which we are restricted from doing in the way we used to.
These both link in with the gospel reading for this week which is John 10:1-10. It is predominantly about Jesus saying: “I am the gate for the sheep” and that is the theme which Sunday’s live circuit service will be looking at, but I want to concentrate on the very last part of verse 10 where Jesus says: “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”
We may not feel like we are experience life in all its fullness just now. We may feel like we are missing out on so much – seeing family and friends, our social groups, church, the countryside, holidays. But a full life isn’t always just about all the positive experiences. Jesus’ full life included suffering and pain, misunderstanding and all sorts of other experiences. A life full of experiences will include the good and what may at first seem difficult – and this year is certainly a year of new experiences and ones that we will never forget. If this has been the most difficult week so far for you, then you are not alone. We are all going to struggle more at some times than others and all the advice says to be gentle with ourselves. There is no right or wrong way to cope with all of this and if we are having a difficult day, then talk to someone, share our frustrations and concerns and hold on to the hope that tomorrow is a new day and pray that we might feel stronger and more able to cope. Maybe next week will be the week when people are most likely to be positive or creative or charitable or the week of coming up with new ideas, trying out new things or finding new ways to cope.
Life in all its fullness is about experiencing what God has to offer us at this time, in whatever situation we are in. That may be about finding our inner strength and creativity through him, and learning what we are capable of. A full life is one where we appreciate all that we have right now, and gratitude for the fact that Jesus is with us throughout it all. Remember too that this verse came at the end of Jesus saying he was the gate for the sheep, and the passage continues by saying Jesus is the good shepherd – who protects and guides his flock, if we listen to his voice.
So may we listen to God’s voice during this time and hear what he is trying to teach us and appreciate the fulness of life which we have right now. Let us appreciate what each new day brings and the opportunity to try something new, a new way of doing things. We might even surprise ourselves and decide we don’t want to go back to how we used to do it! So let’s get the scissors out and try that new DIY haircut – and be reassured, that even if it goes wrong, no one will see it for a few weeks anyway!
Just a few things to share this week:
- Thanks to all those who work (or have worked) in education who replied last week – more details have been sent to you today. If you missed out on replying and are in this category and interested in helping out, then please email me. It’s not too late to find out more.
- Thank you to those with computer skills who replied too. At least one person has been employed this week in helping another member of our church family with a computer issue. If anyone else is competent with computers and feels able to talk others through various processes (like finding the Sunday services) please let me know.
- Thank you to Anne for providing hot meals each Wednesday. If you would like to be added to the list and have a hot meal delivered to your door on a Wednesday lunch time, just contact Anne or myself.
- Email me and tell me you are interested and whether or not you have used zoom before
- If you haven’t used zoom before, I will send you the instructions and give you contact details of someone who can help get you started if you need help.
- Before next Friday, I will email you with a link to click on at the appropriate time
- So, sometime between 2pm and 4pm, if you click the link, you will be able to join in. If a lot of people want to be involved and everyone joins the coffee afternoon at exactly 2pm we will struggle to have a conversation, so can I suggest we stagger it a bit across the two hours. You can join in at any time and I will certainly be there for the whole time, so even if there is no one else to talk to, we can have a chat!
- Don’t forget to make yourself a cup of tea and bring it to your computer or tablet with you!
- Here is a service from a new source which I was sent during the week and I quite liked it. It is available for you to print off if you prefer to follow a service on paper rather than on screen, alternatively you could always do both!
- Our Circuit Service will once more be live on Facebook at 10.30am on Sunday or found on YouTube. Search for the Chorley and Leyland Circuit page and you will find the service there.
- After the service on Sunday the circuit are trying a coffee zoom too. The details of the meeting are below. Again, if you need help accessing them, let me know and I will send instructions.
Password: Please email me for the password
- A few people responded saying they would be interested in a Bible Study and so I am going to try making a video with Bible information / reflection / questions to ponder and we will post this on our church Facebook page for anyone to watch at any time and then add comments and thoughts. The first one of these will hopefully happen within the next two weeks. All are welcome to listen and participate.
- There is a little creative team thinking about ideas of how we brighten up our church during lock-down and show the community that even though the building is shut, the church is very much still alive and active. Various ideas involving banners, prayer ribbons and posters are being worked on, so watch this space and I will hopefully have more to share next week.
- I am still in communication with our Methodist schools and we are working on ways to help our school families, so again, more information will be provided when I have it.
- I have had a few requests for rainbows so if anyone would like to make some A4 rainbows for our church members to put up in their windows, then please let me know and I can pick them up, or drop them through my door (16 Little Close). Let’s see even more rainbows in windows across Leyland
Mabel H has been in touch to tell me she is going into hospital on Saturday (2nd May) for an operation. She said I could let you all know as I am sure you will want to support Mabel and Terry with your prayers. Mabel, we will all be with you in spirit on Saturday and pray for God’s peace to be with you both.
Don’t forget, if you have any news you would like to share, or any prayer requests, just let me know and we can include them in next week’s update.
Every Blessing to you all,