As I write, Lockdown is beginning to lift, our town centres are beginning to open up to some extent again, and this Saturday is being called Super Saturday as pubs and restaurants begin to open. We can now get a bit closer to each other instead of 2 metres, 1 metre plus is ok. Apparently. Or is it? (By the way, please spare a thought for the police who are not looking forward to this weekend and many have had their rest days cancelled in anticipation of what is to come!)

And what of our Churches? What are we to do? What are we doing?

Well, for those of you who are wondering, there is a great deal we must do if we are to open any time in the foreseeable future, in terms of cleaning, training, risk assessment and organising, and things will not look or feel as they did before Lockdown. But rest assured that this work is going on in meetings and training, even if you can’t see it happening. Please pray for those involved in, and responsible for all this work.

During this time, I and many others have been giving a great deal of thought to what Church might and should look like and be like post Covid 19. You will have seen last week in Cathy’s letter that there is an Open Letter which can be accessed online through the link in her letter, or at methodistopenletter@gmail.com which is asking questions about the place of Church now. You might have some thoughts of your own.

I have been thinking what Jesus spent his time doing. How many times, in the Gospels, do you read him saying ‘Come to the Synagogue on Saturday’? How much of the Gospels concerns Jesus actually in the Synagogue?

When I read the Gospels, I read of Jesus out and about with people. Listening to them, talking to them, looking at the world around him, engaging with people around him, learning and understanding how things work – looking at the natural world, watching farmers, fishermen and children; going up mountains, sailing on lakes, visiting friends and strangers, going to parties and picnics and telling all as often as he can about the sort of world God wants us all to build..

We often hear that the Church is the Body of Christ on earth, and Christ is Jesus resurrected and ascended. So it follows that we, the Church need to be listening to people, learning about them and their lives and problems, and finding out what God wants us to do.

Jesus spent a lot of time in private prayer and because it was private, we don’t know a great deal about that. And yes, he did go to the Synagogue. These aspects of spiritual life were extremely important to him, and to us. But they didn’t form all of his work. Being amongst people is what we read of most.

In a world where the devastating consequences of inequality between rich and poor, people of different ethnicities and people who have had access to good education and those who haven’t has been laid bare, and judging by the news it is going to get worse, more than ever now the Church needs to be a Presence, a Voice and an Ear.

God bless you all, Yours, Lindsay