When terrorism strikes as it did in Manchester, and when we face other deep problems in life, we can forget that the Christian message of ‘Emmanuel’ – ‘God with us’ – is always one of hope. The reason for that is that the practical outcome of both Resurrection and Pentecost is to understand life as something to be glad about, to enjoy, to be positive about, to share with others.
We can be solemn, especially with Big Concepts like Salvation, Righteousness and Eternity – so much so that we forget that the core of our faith is to enable us to feel free – with our concerns shared with God and no longer on our shoulders alone: after all, God’s ‘shoulders’ are so infinitely more able to bear burdens than are ours. That enables us, now and then, to shrug ours!
It is OK (let’s mix metaphors) to banish the heavy hand, to think with a light touch and confidently to grasp that we are walking on air… For example, we can enjoy the Bible, not as a stern and static authority but as the amazing witness to many generations of faithful people and their developing understanding of what God meant to them. We can pray in the knowledge that God has got there before us and that we do so, not to inform God, but to link ourselves with all that ‘God’ means, to be helpful to ourselves and to those who need God’s blessing.
Church news? Well, the visit of the scoping team went wonderfully well. I do not know the result, nor do I know when it will be announced, but I think we can be quietly confident.
Have a blessed Whitsuntide, pass on any burdens to Hands stronger than ours and relax in the Spirit’s encouragement and comforting strength.