Is the Church falling apart?

Dear Friends,

Is the Church falling apart or still being put together….? Thats a question I want to ask after speaking to Shellie last week and then seeing her article in the Broadway Newson Friday, Save our Churches!

I believe God is still putting us together as Church, but I invite you to help us reflect on this on Friday evening from 6pm. It would be great if some friends who dont normally join us could do so this week

and share in the discussion following my reflection which will focus on John 2: 13-22.

Who cares for our Carer?

I asked a friend on Friday evening, who cares for you?and she said, God is my carer!So in my prayer this morning I am asking God: who cares for you when you weep and feel the pain of what you see and hear?

In his message on Friday evening Patrick Murunga spoke from Kenya with the question, ‘Who pastors the pastors?’ which encourages me to now ask Who cares for the Carers?What happens when the carers are so exhausted that they cant care anymore and who does the caring if the carer isnt there to do it? I admit, I am one of those who turns to God for my strength and my help, but where does Gods care come from? Who cares for the Carer?

Its not a question I often hear, if at all, because we take God for granted as the turn to Carer in our times of need. Our Father is the great Carer who we can call on 24/7 every day of the year with no rest and there is an endless list of people needing care. Who cares for the Carer? We are made in the image of God so that includes our feeling and emotions so who wipes away the tears in heaven; who comforts the grieving Father or offers to help with the daily chores of looking after the Family? Remember, Jesus wept before giving Lazarus life and shed tears as he approached Jerusalem and saw how little they understood what was needed to make peace. Like Father like Son, so who are the carers in their pain?

The best way to look after our Carer in heaven is to look after each other with that love for neighbour and stranger that will bring the kingdom to earth. We are made in that one image of Love with all the emotions and feelings that come with compassion for each other so we have that responsibility to care for the carers and pastor to the pastors so that the body of Jesus Christ becomes stronger and healthier. When we love each other we care for the Christ we claim lives within us and as we care for Jesus so we care for the One who sent him. “Whoever welcomes you..” (Matthew 10: 40)……. “Whoever listens to you…..” (Luke 10: 16) Yes, whoever cares for you….!”

I am sure most of us can relate to the stress of children who didnt do as they were told and as parents we would say: How many times must I tell you?By being obedient children — by living the teaching and commands — we will be caring for God as the stress is reduced. By washing each others feet, with water or even perfume, we will be caring for Jesus. When we give food, drink and shelter, heal the sick or seek justice for the prisoners we will be caring for the One who cares for us.

I am aware that there are many carers exhausted beyond endurance because of Covid lockdowns and it has been difficult to be alongside them as they look after people living with dementia, depression or other forms of disability. A telephone call. A Zoom meeting. A Face Time connection. These have been their only escape from the prison of their own walls. They are the caring hands, the compassionate words and loving hearts that heal the broken and provide hope for the future. The person with dementia, depression and disability receives the caring support of doctors, consultants and nurses, but, who cares for the carers? Who pastors to the pastors? Who cares for our Carer?

As we look after each other WE are caring for our Carer so I pray we will continue when lockdown restrictions are limited to show the same compassion and concern that has been present for the last year. Then we will grow to become healthier churches, stronger communities, caring nations and a people of the kingdom to come. Amen.

Prayers:

Patrick Murunga and his new ministry in Kenya to care for the Pastors

Christine Brownes daughter Claire Susan Nuttall Micheal Eden Frank and Christine Kathy Hancock Shirley Caddy Pam Mavis Payne Vicky

For this afternoons Elders meeting

For the meeting of the West Midlands Synod on Saturday March 13th

O God,

as we journey through these long Lenten days,

give us both respite and food for the journey.

Help us grieve with those who have lost loved ones to this plague.

Help us support those who nurse and care for the critically ill.

Help us to show love by keeping our distance.

And help us, O God, to rejoice

as the vaccine is rolled out,

lives are saved,

and our world starts slowly to spring to life again.

Amen.

By the Revd Andy Braunston who works with four churches in and around Glasgow

God Bless, Richard