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Letter to parishioners, 7 May 2021

Friday, 7 May 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

This week’s gospel reminds us of Jesus’ call to keep God’s commandments and to abide in God’s love. At the same time our reading from the Acts of the Apostles presents us with Peter asking how anyone who has received the Holy Spirit can be denied the complete joy of baptism. Both of these readings remind us of the love God has for us. They remind us of the totality of that love as demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They also remind us of the part we have to play in furthering the mission of Jesus Christ through the way we live out our daily lives.

In recent times we have all been challenged by the restrictions under which we have been living day by day. Most of us have experienced times of frustration, even anger. We do not like being told what to do, and especially when it disrupts the cosy routines we have carved out for ourselves. Sometimes our frustrations have boiled over as we have said and done things that are totally outside our normal way of behaving. But … some of us have been living through a different type of challenge. For those people, the inconveniences of the last year have been a time to take stock, to re-evaluate, to pray and to repent, that is to take a different path.

As we live in the hope of the restrictions being relaxed a little, we are reminded this week of how we should be preparing to enjoy our regained freedoms. How we use our freedom is a matter of choice. The choices we make reflect both our personalities and our faith. In this week’s readings we hear both Jesus and Peter reminding us of the great responsibility that has been placed on our shoulders during these times of enduring uncertainty. We are called to love, as Christ has loved us, and we are called to welcome the stranger in Christ’s name.

In recent days, and not just in the last year, there has been much talk of the imminent death of the Church. Well … the Church is not dead, and neither is it ready to receive the last rites! The Church lives on because we live on. As long as we are prepared to accept the challenge of Jesus Christ to take his love into the world, the Church, his body on earth, will continue to bear his light where all may otherwise seem dark and beyond hope.

This weekend our Diocesan Synod will be voting on plans that have been put forward for the future of the Church in Lincolnshire. Those plans fit into a formula that has been widely discussed throughout the national Church and the wider media. But, however the vote may be cast, I believe that the inspiring message of this week’s readings should prove the Job’s comforters wrong. Let us set aside the worldly concerns of high finance and property management, of person management and other worldly concerns, and let us go back to the basics of our faith. As we continue to journey through the season of Easter and towards the Day of Pentecost, let us hear Christ’s words, and no others. Let us pray for the strength to share the love and the light of Christ, not just as a cosy, private club, but as Christ did. Let us never fail to show our Christian love to everyone and anyone. Let us stop moaning about what might happen and let us make a real difference by playing our part in proving that the Church of Christ lives on.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia.

Revd Stephen