Newsletter 5 June

5 Jun 2020 by Rev John Thornton in: Latest News

New Normal

So, we have a partial return to what used to be our normal?  We now have clearance for gatherings up to 50 (pending congregations meeting the COVID -19 Safe Road Map).

Of course being me, I do need to ask what we may be learning during this enforced time and what kind of normal we may want to go back to?  Speaking personally, and admittedly one who struggles with the ‘standard’ form of worship, I have been blessed to have the freedom to flit around various options.

Some questions we might consider going forward:

  • What has been useful in this strange time?
  • What have I learned?
  • As we are being given greater freedom, what is it that we wish to take up again and what would we rather put down and leave behind?
  • Or are we just content to push the reset button and pretend that this time never was?

I like the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18.  There had been a drought over the land for some time and there was little promise of change.  However, the Lord spoke to Elijah and told him to “go up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of rushing rain.”  It didn’t look too promising to Elijah and he sure couldn’t hear a rushing anything, but he did as he was told to do and then told his servant to go and look toward the sea on a no doubt glorious, hot and cloudless day.  The servant went six time to look and saw nothing but blue.  On the seventh occasion he came back and told Elijah: “Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea.”  Elijah immediately ordered his servant to go and prepare the chariot for travel before the rain became too heavy!

Any chance we may have heard the sound of rushing rain these past weeks??  Or has it just been a drought?

John’s nature shot of the week

Can’t match Stephen’s action shot from last week!  Though my golf game has shown some improvement.  This season of change has given the Thornton’s time to address some work around the place.  Window frames have been painted, grass cut, trees trimmed (still more of that to do), and new puppy fence security sorted.

An on-going project is the development of a cottage garden.  Now, it needs to be said that I am just the labourer and I have no idea what a cottage garden is.  However, I have dug where requested and things are going along okayish.  A funny little bonus has been the revival of a tree that has only stayed alive since we bought the place because we felt sorry for it.  It is a weedy little thing that as each spring and summer has come around the little tree that could looked at the warmth of the sun and said: ‘Yeah … Nah!’  For over four year this wee thing has remained around my chest height.

We have dug around the tree as part of the great cottage garden project. Yes, I know there is something in the Bible about that. But with Mr and Mrs T having little real interest in the survival or not of this little tree that could, during this autumn / winter season, the little so and so has looked around and said: ‘Yeah … yeah!’  It has growed! We now have a tree that is taller than I. Go figure. Another mystery.

Anything to learn from the Little Tree that could?

COVID Safe Plan

You will all have received mailings this week from Penny Archer with the latest news from Synod and an excellent flowchart from Pastor Geoff Battle.  As mentioned above, do look at the requirements and – as I have advised many times – please try to hasten slowly.  I do understand that some of our older group value their Sunday worship gathering highly, but let’s just see if we can find a way of creating space for us to think a little differently.

Presbytery Retreat Thursday September 17 to Saturday the 19th

Just wanting to keep this important time before you.  The Saltbush team are already preparing.


Trinity Sunday

Readings: Genesis 1:1-2:4a, Psalm 8, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 and Matthew 28:16-20

Trinity Sunday follows the week after the Day of Pentecost and can fill a preacher with dread as they face the challenge of explaining the wonder of the Holy Trinity with their people.  How to explain the unexplainable?  I would prefer to have a go at Quantum Physics!

Perhaps sufficient to consider the Genesis narrative for a good start.  

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  Genesis 1:1-3

Should I have a spiritual seeker looking for where to start in their journey toward Jesus, I will invariably point them to the first eleven chapters of Genesis before taking them to the Gospel of Mark.  In these writings I believe we find enough of the basics to be going on with.

In these first three verses of the Bible we see God in community at work.  Let us not waste time arguing the differing views on creation as that is just Biblical byplay.  After all, we have two versions of the creation story in the first two chapters of Genesis!  I love the fact that the first five books of the Old Testament are attributed as the writings of Moses.  I have no problem with this even though good old Moses was so clever he was even able to write about his own dying!?  You will find his death narrative in Deuteronomy 34.  It is a good read that even covers his burial.

The two New Testament readings for this week are both very brief.  This is a particularly good thing as both deserve our attention and I would ask you to spend some time reflecting on how they touch our lives today.  One is known as the Great Commission.  Sadly, in many cases we seem to have removed the C and are left with the Great Omission.

I leave you this week with the reading from the epistles:

Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.  Greet one another with a holy kiss.  All the saints greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.