Message from our MinisterNovember 22, 2016
By the time you read this letter, we will be at the beginning of Advent looking forward again to celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. We will also have celebrated our 150th Anniversary of worshipping God in the Maxwelltown West Church building and being able to remember all that has brought us to where we are now.
In terms of Path of Renewal and the concept of Remembrance, Reflection and Renewal that enables us to guide our thoughts and ideas, we’re now coming through the Remembrance and Reflection to look at what Renewal means. At our Fellowship Dinner in September, the Very Rev. John Chalmers shared his thoughts on church and church membership. He acknowledges that the drive for “membership” has negatively impacted on the Church both nationally and locally.
Here are a few of the things he said:
- The stuff we are meant to do in building people up cannot be measured in numbers
- People are not looking to join an institution
- We need to reinvent ourselves and not be obsessed and defined by the number of card-carrying members
- The great sin of the church is the way we have turned it into an exclusive club
- Census figures tell us that people believe that they belong to church and Church of Scotland – but they’re not on our books
- Spiritual life is important – we’re human beings and need to be with Christ
This last point looks again at the need of discipleship; something which Gordon Savage considered positively in his 2005 Study Leave report on Membership. Path of Renewal is not a project but a way of being, a way or movement where we explore what it is to walk with God as He shapes and transforms us.
Change is always upon us: in the world, in the home, in the school, in the workplace and in the church. The difference for us as Christians is that there is stability in the midst of all that change and reforming: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.” Hebrews 13:3 (New International Version). I believe that despite what is going on around us, Jesus, our Saviour and Redeemer, is a constant in our lives and that enables us to deal with the changing circumstances in which we exist.
I don’t believe for one moment that moving forward will be easy but I do believe that we need to go forward on a path of renewal. Jesus calls us to follow Him in love, to love God, to love our neighbour and to love our enemies.
Jesus came so that all who believe in Him may have life and life in abundance; that they may have eternal life and not perish. These things come from the birth of a baby who was and is the Son of God. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very blessed and merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Why not join us at some of our services throughout December to celebrate what God the Father has done, through Jesus Christ the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit?
With every blessing