Thought for Today

Come back for daily thoughts provided each day by different members of our leadership team – there’s an archive of previous days’ ‘thoughts’ below the picture.

Today’s thought (Thursday 26th March)
Today’s contributor is Julie…

Imagine chatting with a friend about your busy calendar over coming weeks; a visit to the dentist, a bring and share lunch, a car MOT, a course at work, your child’s GCSE’s. What if the friend suggested that none of these things would happen; No gatherings in public places, the supermarket would run out of basic provisions, your office and church would be closed indefinitely, as would your dentist and the car garage and you would be living in isolation or socially distancing (did that phrase exist 6 weeks ago?)These simple realities which were unfathomable only a month ago are now true and we see God at work in ways which are simultaneously terrifying and yet full of possibility and opportunity.

We are all anxious to varying degrees depending on the health and vulnerabilities of ourselves and those close to us, the situation with our jobs, whether we live alone or with others, our age and our financial position. But as for opportunities? Amongst many people I am talking to there is a sense of motivation, of purpose and of expectancy. New friendships are being made between neighbours who haven’t previously spoken to each other, people are developing new skills as they seek to communicate differently with technology or fill their extra time at home. Others are making new connections as they volunteer to help others, and some are hearing God with more clarity as they lead a less frenetic life. What a difference a month makes! People are picking up their phones and hearing the voice of someone that they’ve not spoken to for a while, others are receiving offers of support from distant acquaintances. People are remembering what’s important and in turn are letting go of trivial worries. Social connections are thriving. On my daily trip out of the house for exercise, everyone I meet says ‘hello’ and smiles. Isolation has led to the building of new ways of being in community.

Challenging life changing events can affirm your faith or can cause it to waiver depending on the way the situation affects you. I’m sure people are asking ‘where is God in this?’ (Tom did a great reflection on God and healing earlier in the week). Maybe that’s how you’re feeling right now. If so, then as Abraham Lincoln said, ‘The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.’ As ever of course, AA Milne (through Winnie the Pooh) has some words of wisdom, ‘A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be’. Being a friend right now though might need to look a bit different.
The bible tells us that through times of difficulty God is always with us, that he is FOR us. We are reminded of this in Deuteronomy 31:8 ‘It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ Fear and anxiety can make us turn inwards and become egotistical, but the bible reminds us to always choose LOVE.

With usual routines in turmoil, what can you see others doing or what are you doing to make best use of the God given opportunities to live differently and love others?

Date Thought for Today Click to enlarge
Sat March 28th Coming soon… Coming soon…
Fri March 27th Coming soon… Blossom
Thur March 26th (Sheralee Ashby) Let me be ‘real’ with you! I’ve felt particularly wobbly over the last few days. It’s like when you step onto sand and you initially lose your centre of gravity, and sure footedness (adrift). But with a few significant adjustments a sense of rhythm forms, and you become more centred. For one I’m adjusting to ‘home learning’ Leah and I feel the weight of responsibility despite the amount of web links and passwords I’ve been sent! I speak with her teacher tomorrow.
I wonder how you are making adjustments, finding your sense of gravity, and being centred. Do post…
I found comfort in this short prayer I read at Compline (an end of day prayer from the Northumbria Community):
‘Calm me, O Lord, as you stilled the storm. Still me, O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease. Enfold me, Lord, in your peace. Amen.
God is with us (Immanuel).
President John F. Kennedy had an old fisherman’s prayer written in a bronze plaque on his desk: ‘O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small!’
God is with us (Immanuel).
Wed March 25th (Louise Selby) Over the last week, a word that has been on our tongues frequently is “virtual”. Virtual meetings online, building virtual church community, virtual PE lessons, virtual family meals, and even, would you believe, plans in place for a virtual baby and toddler group!
In contrast, the word that has been on my mind frequently has been “real”. We’re told again and again in the Bible to remember that God is real, true and everlasting. There’s nothing virtual about our God! Last Sunday’s streamed worship to me felt incredibly real, with so many watching from home, physically distant from each other, but perhaps more connected than ever by our real, heartfelt desire to draw near to God. Similarly real have been the conversations I have had from a distance; real was the sense of fear, real the honest conversations about re-evaluating our lives, real the desire to connect with others and with God.
How are things seeming “real” to you right now?
Tue March 24th (Sara Crowley) The image for our new collective vision of ‘Growing Together’ was a seedhead, which seemed at odds with a vision of growth. Little did we know then that almost all that we were doing as Christchurch up to only a few short weeks ago was going to have to stop. We can be thankful that we were ‘led by the Spirit’. Our focus for the foreseeable future is changing as a church fellowship as we consider what is really important, and how to do this in new or different ways. There are ploughed fields ready for planting. There are flowers and buds emerging in our hedgerows and gardens as Spring comes. There is beauty in the wildness. There is freedom in the birdsong. There is joy in the sound of children playing in their gardens. Be encouraged.

What new and good things can you see where God is being revealed? What seeds are being planted? In you? In your family and friends? In Christchurch and other churches? In the world? If helpful, use our 5 Growing themes to guide your thoughts [Growing as …as followers & leaders …towards God, who is Father, Son and Spirit …as a community centred in Jesus Christ …in loving & serving others …in faith-sharing]. Share a thought below, or if you are reading this on paper then ask someone who is part of our FB group to do so for you.

Mon March 23rd (Tom Lewis) In Christchurch’s streamed worship service on Sunday, Val looked at the story of a blind Man who was healed by Jesus. With our world is in the grip of a global crisis, where God’s healing can make a massive difference, I thought it was worth asking the difficult question: Why doesn’t God healed everyone? The answers I have found might not help everyone but I hope they offer some encouragement and help us to understand God a little better.
Firstly, if we look at things from God’s viewpoint, then everyone can be healed eventually. God is an eternal being and so life is not limited to the few years we have on earth. From God’s perspective our lives can last forever! As we spend eternity with him in a place where there is no suffering or pain. In the long-term God can heal everyone of everything!
But that might not help us make sense of it today; in the bible we read about Jesus healing loads of people and we can see other amazing helloing miracles happening throughout the old and new testament. It can seem as though everyone was getting healed all the time back then! But if you look at the passages, the response of witnesses is always one of shock and awe – this was not an everyday event for them. Miracles do not happen every day – but they do happen! And sometimes they happen for us today too. God is still a miracle worker and does still save people through healing today.
However the most common kind of healing comes through our great medical services; providing good advice, treatment, medicine, surgery, emergency help, hospital care and so much more! God loves to use his people for his mission to the world, so all those amazing nurses, paramedics and other health professionals are playing their part in God’s mission. Most of us could never do what they do but God has created and inspired them to make enormous contributions to his world.
I am aware that ‘God invented science’ can seem like a bit of a cop-out argument but throughout the bible we read of God inspiring his followers to serve him and transform their communities through using their skills and passions. It is no different for us today – we can all make a positive difference by using whatever abilities God has given us.
God also uses the challenges we face to help us to grow closer to him. It’s often easy to forget all about God when life is easy but when times are hard, when we actually need God that;’s often when we turn to him and pray. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book, The Problem of Pain: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain, it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Sometimes we can hear what God is saying more clearly when things are hard, than when they are easy. What might God be saying to you today?
Finally, ultimately, I believe that God is Good. I believe that that he loves his people and that in uncertain times we can trust him. We can have hope in him, and hope in the future, because of all he has said and done for people in the past. Even in really difficult times when we suffer and struggle, we can rely on his goodness to see us through.
Sunday March 22nd (Revd Val Reid) Starting this evening, each day a member of the leadership team will post a thought for the day. It’s a way of staying in touch with each other while we can’t meet face to face. The thoughts are intended to spark conversation and reflection – please do join in with your own thoughts and responses. My first post is about worship. There were just four of us in church this morning, but a lot of people joined us in real time from their homes. To me it felt like worship. God was there. So what makes worship worship for you?