I am wondering how the pandemic has been for you so far? It is almost unbelievable that we have been caught up in all this for over a year now. Looking back, I can see that it has been different for me at different stages. Sometimes I have felt overwhelmed and down in the dumps and at other times I have really embraced the blessings of this peculiar season. In this edition of our magazine we are aiming to explore some of the different responses we have experienced.
At the same time, as we begin to entertain the possibility of what it might look like to move forward, the stories and resources here can encourage and inspire you as you look to the future in faith. With the Old Testament prophet Elijah as our guide, we are able to engage with the highs and lows of life and leadership over recent months. In different ways, the stories, reflections and resources that follow unpack for us what it means to be sustained by the power of Jesus Christ as we have faced all sorts of challenges, uncertainties and also moments of blessing. What has been important, I believe, is not that we have been amazing (although many of you have!) but that you have been an authentic disciple, faithfully following Jesus as best you can day by day.
So I am going to suggest that you grab a cuppa, if you haven’t already done so! Find a comfy chair in a quiet spot and grab your journal, or a notebook, and sit down to read this edition. But not simply to read it - how about being intentional about using this as an opportunity to listen to God and reflect on your own experience. Being attentive to the Lord as you read, what is it that resonates with you? What might God be wanting to show you? What new thing might the Lord be bringing about in your life? As you read, become aware of what it is that you need from God; whether that is rest or healing or energy or focus for your growing sense of creative imagination. Why don’t you try jotting down your thoughts, feelings, hopes and longings as you go?
As you reflect you might also want to prayerfully ponder what resonates with those you lead or with those in your wider communities. Use this as an invitation to become attentive to how it has been for them too. What do they need? What is God showing you? Where is God at work? As you reflect more widely you may experience a growing sense of God’s unfolding call for the communities you serve.
Hopefully the prayers at the end of this magazine will enable you to share honestly with God and deepen your faith in Jesus, the One who was, who is with us and who will come again in glory.