Thoughts for June 2020

The `New Normal`?

One of the most interesting phrases to appear in recent weeks is that of the `New Normal`. It seems that there is a growing realisation that things are not going to simply go back to the way they were once Covid 19 is behind us, or at least well under control. We do not, as yet, know when it will be possible to resume our `ordinary` lives, but the future is likely to be different, expectations will have modified, things will not be the same as before.

Uncertainty can be a disturbing thing, many of us will fill in the gaps in our understanding of what might happen, perhaps becoming fearful in the process. Others might be able to look at change in a more optimistic way, recognising opportunities and being characteristically hopeful. Whichever of these personality traits most typifies each one of us, we will all experience the challenge of change, so recognising and preparing for what is ahead is important for a good outcome. 
For the disciples, Easter changed everything. They had been directly under the leadership of Jesus for several years. They had come to not just admire but depend on him. Jesus knew very well that when He was no longer with them, the disciples would need to make decisions for themselves and work out how to implement all that He had taught and done with them previously. How could they possibly begin to do that? 

How can any of us hope to do things that Jesus taught? Just read Jesus’ most famous block of teaching, the `Sermon on the mount` (Matthew chapters 5-8). In all honesty, could you live that way? I can`t, certainly not in my own strength. The good news is that, as always Jesus is ahead of us. He would not, set the bar higher in terms of expectation, without having an answer as to how this might be possible – Jesus is under no illusions about what we are like. His words are addressed to those He describes as the poor in Spirit, the mourning, the meek, the persecuted, those who in the world`s eyes have no resources, nothing to contribute. (Don`t fall into the common trap of trying to find something worthy in these essentially undesirable qualities) The whole point of these unpromising individuals being `blessed` is that the `Kingdom of Heaven` is open even to them - despite themselves! In human terms this makes little sense.
Living the kind of life that Jesus promised now, living in the `Kingdom of Heaven`, might seem beyond us, a nonsensical option. And, yes, it would be impossible without God`s help. However, Jesus taught the disciples that when He left them, He would send the Holy Spirit, and that this would transform what was possible. Jesus appreciated His followers doubts and fears. He spoke about the Holy Spirit who would come and live with them, His Spirit, God`s Spirit. The Holy Spirit would counsel and teach them, comfort and encourage them and even enable them. This is a revolutionary idea, simple yet profound, too good to be true yet clearly taught by Jesus. You can find out about it in John`s gospel, chapters 14 to 16 - it will take you about 15 minutes to read and the rest of your life to consider and implement.
The apostle Paul said he was a `new creation` already living the `new life` that Jesus came to make available. Jesus was alive in Him through the presence of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we are called to continually work at our `renewal`, making those changes, with God`s help which will transform us. It is a process, one in which we play our part, as we become increasingly aware of God`s activity in and around us. 

Your life may change due to the `New Normal`, but personally, I`m much more excited by the `New Creation` that God is implementing in and through of us. That`s something to welcome. Life in Jesus Kingdom is possible now, before we die, if we choose to allow His Spirit to live within and enables us.
Churches celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit at `Pentecost`, this year 31st May.

Services at NMC during June:
There are currently no services taking place week by week at Nettleham Methodist Church. There are however many resources available to anyone online, including live and/or recorded services from the Lincoln Methodist circuit.

Chris Higham
on behalf of 
Nettleham Methodist Church

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