A Letter from Fr Alastair
From Rev. Alastair……..
A New Normal
Most people are looking forward to `getting back to normal', whether they mean work, shops, pubs or church. Even so, there are many who are forecasting that what we will see is a new kind of normal. The way things were will have changed in lots of ways, maybe for ever.
Here at St Nicholas' it is no exception. We are looking forward to a `new normal' with the arrival of our curate-in-charge, Scott, ably assisted by us all. This is part of the beginnings of a new vision of ministry and leadership for the Rossendale deanery. Some things will stay the same, some things will change. It was ever thus. Our church community is dynamic like the rest of society. We need to embrace this fact and respond to the exciting times ahead of us with patience, a positive mindset and, most of all, with faith.
In the midst of this, the only vital question we need to ask ourselves is quite simply this: are we open to the Holy Spirit and what he has to teach us now at this point of our Christian journey? The whole excitement of the work of the Spirit is that there is a continuing revelation of God in every age as men and women genuinely seek to be open to him. Jesus promised that the Spirit would lead us into all truth. It isn't that the central truths change; it is that those truths need to be understood, interpreted and communicated afresh with every new situation and challenge.
When Jesus returned to the Father, he entrusted his Church to his disciples. I'm sure that many of them might have thought that now that he'd `gone' that everything might just return to normal. However, what they encountered was a new normal, unlike anything they had prepared for before. Those disciples turned apostles, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, were led into a comforting and a challenging experience: both a reassuring and a disruptive one. This tends to be the effect of meeting Jesus of Nazareth, and the same must be true of any encounter with the Holy Spirit.
At the end of every Eucharist, we ask God not just to send us out, but to send us out `in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.' To say this prayer with conviction is to ask for that openness to the Spirit which is the only proper response of a faith which speaks not of a religious museum but of a family and of a pilgrimage.
Looking forward to seeing you all sometime!