Saturday 6th March 2021
Germination and renewal
When was the last time you were asked an uncomfortable question? Pushing aside those questions which are merely designed to irritate or cause embarrassment, there are some questions which really challenge us and causes us to reflect on our view of life, our values, and our priorities. Recently, I was challenged by the following question: What practices in church life have to die in order to let new things flourish? For the Christian church in all its diversity and denominations, this is the burning issue of the day.
‘Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’
In a previous generation it was customary for every farmer to keep back some the seed of the harvest, to be re-sown to produce more grain. These days of course farming has been incredibly sophisticated with numerous varieties of seed available. But the image of seed falling to ground, dying and then through the process of germination bringing forth new abundant growth, also reveals a hidden truth about God’s Kingdom. Sometimes things must die, if the new is to emerge.
The clearest expression is of course the Easter story – Jesus’ death and resurrection. After his death, the body of Jesus is placed in a borrowed tomb and three days later emerges like the sun in full strength. Awful though it was, Jesus had to die. It needed to happen. The messiah and only begotten Son of God had to breath his last. With his resurrection, all is made new. Evil destroyed. Love triumphant. Hope restored. Heavens gates opened wide.
So, let me ask you an uncomfortable question - what is it that needs to die? What do you need to turn away from? What do you need to leave behind? And more interesting, what is it that God will put in its place?
Rev Sean Swindells
Cruden Parish Church
In the darkness we have known
we give thanks for gifts of light
In a season that held great loss we give thanks
for relationships strengthened
for love borne out in myriad ways that made a difference
For all the signs of God in those we encountered
those who held out faith when our own wavered
and those for whom we were enabled to be companions on the way
We give thanks for the rediscovery
of gifts we had laid aside
forgotten in their familiarity
that became precious once more
as they became harder to reach and all the more longed for
And in our thanksgiving
we embrace the wisdom revealed
that, hopefully we won’t let go so easily
as we forge a new future
diminished by loss
yet strengthened by shared experience
that reminds us
that love is stronger than death
and light penetrates darkness
and that there is no place
that takes us beyond God’s reach.
May our reflection
continue to enable insight
changing the way we embrace the future
in the knowledge that we are held
always in the love and light of God
and that, in every darkness, God is at work.
by Liz Crumlish, Sanctuary First
May God the Father,
who does not despise the broken spirit,
give to you a contrite heart.
who bore our sins in his body on the tree,
heal you by his wounds.
May the Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth,
speak to you words of pardon and peace.
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.