A place for renewal

A place for renewal

As I mentioned in the November issue of the Advertiser, I would like to set out some thoughts why there may yet be good reasons to come (back?) to church.

In January, at the start of a new year, we are generally encouraged to take stock of our diet, our life style and our finances. If these are not what they ought to be, we may make new year’s resolutions. We tell ourselves we will snack less, drink less, spend less, or exercise and save more. However, if you are like me, a few weeks into January the fervour and determination with which we started our new regime might already be draining away. What is usually required for these kind of life makeovers to stick is a change of attitude at a more deep seated level. Perhaps we have had a serious health scare, or we have witnessed it in people dear to us. Suddenly we have a strong inner motivation, an inner transformation we might say, that enables us to follow through on the more external changes needed. 

Some folk might have the impression that people who go to church should be pretty clean living and ‘scrubbed up’ before they can venture near God. Or that Christianity is mainly about being and doing good. Whilst followers of Jesus are called to be good and to do good, if we start here it distorts the message and the ministry of Jesus. He came to and for all, but he spent most of his time with people at the social and moral margins of society. He didn’t begin by telling them to ‘scrub up’ and ‘get a grip’, but by offering them healing, freedom, forgiveness and a welcome that they didn’t get elsewhere. This welcome often resulted in a deep seated renewal, a transformation of their lives.

The church (not the building, but the people gathered) is and should be a place of continual renewal. It’s a place where we can hear a message of grace and forgiveness offered freely to all. A place where the Spirit of God is poured out to effect a deep seated change in our lives. Where we can practice this renewed life together – with varying degrees of success and failure, but always with the offer of forgiveness and the promise that God will complete the work he began in us.

Admittedly sometimes the church as it comes across, seems stuck in the past, but perhaps you’d be surprised of the new life that can be found when you go looking for it.

God is not finished with his grand design to make all things new; why not come and find out for yourself what renewal you might experience when God has his way in our midst.

Isaiah 43: 18-19   Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

 

Rev Hanneke Marshall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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