As we travel into Lent, we are mindful of the challenges on the way ahead. All of our churches in the Circuit and the District have been thinking about their calling as part of the conversation about being Methodist in our Christian life. These are not easy conversations and on our Lenten journey we are reminded of the cost of discipleship. Beyond Good Friday we witness disciples on the road to Emmaus who are clearly downcast – not only have they experienced the loss of a friend but also the loss of hope, the loss of a future and maybe even felt betrayed or let down by Jesus. Why did he let things get that far? But then something changes in them. Jesus doesn’t come back to life as such, rather he is raised to new life in a way the disciples don’t initially grasp. It is in sharing a meal with a stranger that they suddenly encounter this new life of Christ.
Church is changing and ways of being church are dying even as new forms of church emerge and it can feel like we are in an alien land. For example, how many of us are confident in our use of social media like Facebook, twitter and Instagram or the confusion around Brexit, or the shocking growth in Foodbanks and our own clothing projects, and the changing nature of belief…
That is both painful and hopeful for us and a challenge comes in not simply continuing our discipleship but actively pursuing and allowing that to grow. The theme taken by the President and Vice-President of Conference, Revd Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam is that of Radical Grace and Transforming Hope. Remembering, embodying the grace offered to us and to all, invites us to respond with love to the needs of our neighbours. As the prophet Jeremiah (29.7) advises “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” At such times it is good to sing our songs (we are Methodists after all) and explore together. One such opportunity presents itself when the President and Vice-President will be visiting the District, hosted by this Circuit. On Sunday 31st March all are invited to share in the Big Sing at Perth including a tea and addresses by the President and Vice-President.