As I write, summer has arrived!  Yay!!!  It might have been winter yesterday, and it might be winter again tomorrow or by the weekend, but for now it’s warm and sunny and beautiful, and makes us feel more energetic and happy.

We have celebrated Easter once again, with all the joys it brings, and we are beginning to look ahead once more.

Last year the Circuit asked each Church to carefully consider what they were doing at that point in time, and now each Church is being asked to carefully consider what they feel God is calling them to do now.

This is an altogether trickier question.  It asks more questions – what is Church?  Who is Church for? What is our Mission?  Are we doing things that we should stop in order to do things that God is telling us to do?

The reading for the 4th Sunday of Easter is from John’s account of the Gospel, when Jesus says ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ and goes on to say that the good Shepherd protects the sheep whereas the hired hand will run away at the first sign of trouble.  And we all love that bit of the reading – the thought of God protecting us is wonderfully comforting.

However, thinking about the Shepherd/Sheep analogy makes for quite uncomfortable thoughts.  The sheep go where the shepherd leads (and in Jesus’ day and place the shepherd went ahead of the sheep, rather than behind as they can in this country) and the sheep have no option but to follow or risk getting lost or falling or being eaten by something bigger, quicker and hungry.  The sheep have no say in where they are going, but they have to trust the shepherd.  They might not like the path they are treading but if they go a different way they don’t get to the pasture the shepherd has in mind for them, and if they sit down and refuse to move on, the same thing happens.  If they go to the same piece of pasture every day, the pasture gets used up and the area becomes nothing but a mudbath.

So, in the coming weeks, it is important that we consider carefully what we are doing, and what God is calling us to.  The Circuit Reps for each church have to report back to the next Circuit Meeting in June, so we haven’t got a lot of time!

What we have to be careful of is that what we do, especially if we take on something new, is sustainable and achievable!  There is no point in ditching overboard a much-loved club of whatever sort in favour of something that isn’t properly thought out or resourced.

What we do know is that the world outside our doors is changing rapidly and we have to do our best to remain attractive and relevant in that changing world, whilst remaining true to the Gospel.

 

Yours, Lindsay