Pastor’s Thoughts – July 2016

Dear friends,

I wonder if like me, you have become engrossed in a book and become desperate to know how it will end? Maybe not a book but a film or television series. The box set has become a phenomenon in television with people being able to access an entire series and not just one episode every week. It takes the waiting away from the process and we are able to get to the dramatic (or sometimes disappointing) finale. But here’s the problem. There’s something in the waiting that matters; something in the suspense that we love. Otherwise we would simply read the first and last pages of the book or fast forward to the end of the film or series. Not only that but when we do get to the end there’s a sense of loss. We want the next series or the next book or the sequel film, Rocky 57 or something like that. The waiting, the suspense is part of the enjoyment. Yet suspense in itself is painful. How often have you heard the expression (and maybe used it yourself): ‘the suspense is killing me!’

Many years ago now, there was a famous comic actor named Tony Hancock. In one of his television shows his character goes to the local library and borrows a thriller only to discover at the end that someone has torn out the last page that explains the whole book. The entire show was based on him trying to resolve the mystery of what happened on that last page.

Without wanting to sound too simplistic this sums up the story of many people’s lives. We want to know what happens and we’d like to fast forward to the end to know what happens but when we get to the end we’re still not sure what’s happening. Anything on the way that produces uncertainty makes us anxious and we’d like to avoid that. Yet in all of these things, it is the waiting, the suspense that makes it fun.

Now if you are waiting to know whether your job is going to be safe, whether you’ll have enough to pay the mortgage or what the diagnosis will be; then the suspense doesn’t seem like much fun at all. But suppose someone hands you that last page of the book, so that you know now how it will end, even if you don’t know the exact journey that will lead you there; wouldn’t that be good? Jesus has done that for us. None of us know if we will live for a few years or many; if we will be rich or poor; we don’t know the bumps along this road but we do know that we will get to the destination safely because Jesus has promised that to us. Keith reminded us recently of these words: ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.’ (John 10:27-28). However uncertain the future may look to you; whatever unexpected bumps lie ahead; one thing is true: if you have given your life to Jesus and acknowledged Him as Lord and Saviour, then your future is safe in His hands.

Friends, in our walk with Jesus He calls us to serve Him. It’s right now to acknowledge someone who has done that with exceptional grace and dedication. Julie Hynes took over as Church Office Manager when Sue Rayfield had to retire. It is hard to give a true estimate of the debt that we owe to her for her service over these years. In that time Julie has overseen the transition from the small office that we first had to the establishment of the administration in our new centre. She has been a confidant, a wonderfully cheerful presence and the engine that has driven us forward. She has done this despite often challenging circumstances and health issues. She has proven herself to be one who considered the best for the body of Christ and not personal ambition. We are very sorry that her health makes it necessary for her to move on from this ministry. She will undoubtedly find a new place to serve in due course. In the mean time we simply want to say a very inadequate thank you to her for all that she has done.

Yours in Christ