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Way-markers - Pastor's Pen for 2nd October 2022

Harvested valley from Trig Rd., Riverhead Forest

The road out of the Covid time for the churches is a stony one. Things that once seemed easy seem like they must be replanted from the ground up. The razed valley in the picture without a living stick in it is like Ezekiel's valley of dry bones. Whatever wildlife and ecosystems existed within it had to move on or be crushed.

Yet there are way markers and some forms of orientation. There is still a road with a trig at the summit. A way is still to be found although the view is not so nice for now. Or perhaps the view is clearer without the thicket of trees?

Just around the corner is another area recently planted, the promise of green poking up between the skeleton branches and clay. Beyond the decimated valley are tree covered hills. The land with flourish again.

We tend the parts of the church that God has called us to. This is for all of us, not just those with titles like Elder, or Minister. We don't see the whole picture, which is partly why we need faith to proceed.

Churches are always changing, with the expected movement in and out of a neighbourhood which is normal life, and the external influences of economics, employment and other circumstances. Different cultures and immigration impact the church. Demographics change. I've made no secret of the fact I had jobs lined up for various people who then left town. As Robert Burns wrote “The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley,” Oh well. Then the Covid on top.

Let the life cycles within a commercial forest inform us as a metaphor for resurrection. My friend a colleague Bruce Hamill wrote; "If there were a logical place to start this whole exploration of Christianity it would be with the experience of resurrection. The resurrection redefined the lives of the first disciples of Jesus, it redefined God, and it redefined how they read their scriptures."

The last few years have laid waste to some things, causing disorientation. The familiar paths are bulldozed in some cases. Yet Christians are resurrection people. So we look for signs of life and green shoots of new growth amid the clay and rubble, simply because that is how the way of Jesus works. We read scripture, pray and act with living hope, expecting some way-markers from God as we go.

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