There's been a sense of the "usual" in the air for me over the last week or so. With the working party helping to clean the church last Saturday morning (thank you so much to all who helped), the return to the 8.30am service on Sunday morning, school assemblies, visiting the pre-school, and gathering for Morning Prayer on Friday, it has felt a bit like a rhythm and routine that is familiar. I wouldn't go so far as to say "normal" as I don't know about you, but I don't even know what normal is any more, and perhaps we still need to consider what we want normal to look like going forward, or even what God is revealing to us day by day.
In a beautiful Contemplative Prayer service on Wednesday evening, Laura invited us to reflect on the passage from Matthew 11: 28 - 30 which will be familiar to you "Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest ...". In Eugune Peterson's interpretation of the Bible called "The Message", he goes on to suggest the next words that Jesus says "Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace".
I wonder what the "unforced rhythms of grace" might look like for you? Not striving or searching for 'normal' or having an anxious heart, or feeling overwhelmed with the news, but instead being in step with Jesus, not trying to create or achieve, or even go ahead of God with trying to make plans. If there's anything recent months might show us, even the best laid plans might not only go awry, but might need to be adjusted, risk assessed in a new way, or even abandoned!
We come to the end of our sermon series on Generosity this week, with a final theme of "Generous with Behaviour". While the service at 8.30am will follow what has become a "usual" order of service, we're trying something radically different at 11.00am on Sunday with an all age gathering. It will be 'cafe style', although there won't be any refreshments, and there will be opportunity to talk with each other, rather than hear a sermon.This feels like the season, while we're being generous with each other and during these unprecedented times, to try something that isn't 'usual' as we discern together how we might be God's church going forward.
If you're able to use the Eventbrite system to let me and the church wardens know that you're coming it's really helpful. However, as I hope I repeatedly say, if you don't know yet whether you're coming to church, it's still wonderful to greet you at both 8.30am and 11.00am even if you only decide this at the last minute.
And so as we enter the weekend, and half term begins for many, I pray we might all walk lightly, with an unforced rhythm, noticing what is new, and what is becoming usual for us.
What is unforced and unchanging is the love God has for each one of us. I pray you would know that love again and afresh each day.
With every blessing