The Minister writes

 

A Necessary Transformation

 

 

Dear All,

 

As we noted last month, it is good for us to think often and deeply about transformation.  This is because transformation is central to any understanding of our Christian faith.  In my May letter, we reflected on this present time of unusual and unexpected transformation for us and our world and we took a hopeful look to the future where perhaps, among other things, normal and even mundane aspects of life, which we used to take for granted, might become immensely precious to us.

This month, I’d like us to focus on one particularly important aspect of transformation.  Let’s think about Jesus and his inaugural message as recorded by Mark, the first Gospel written: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news”  (Mark 1:14-15). 

Many contemporary scholars agree that this is Mark’s advance summary of what his ‘good news’ story of Jesus is all about.  Here, ‘the Kingdom of God’ is all about the transformation of life here on earth.  As we see in Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and, on the next day, Jesus’ provocative act of overturning the tables in the temple in Jerusalem, (two actions that were pivotal in the eyes of the authorities), ‘Jesus was proclaiming a kingdom, a way of life on earth, that challenged and countered their kingdom of exploitation and violence’ (Marcus Borg).  His challenging of those in authority because of the way they ruled the world, led to his death on a cross.  Jesus lived and died loving others and working for a transformed world in a social, political and religious sense.  He was passionate about a new way, God’s way of living and loving and this just, loving and transformational way was emphatically rejected at the cross. He was passionate about the transformation of this world.   

Whilst we long for our world to come through this difficult time, whilst we understandably long for a ‘little bit of normal’ to be restored into our own lives, we do not long for the world to ‘return to normal.’  Sonya Renee Taylor, an author, poet and social justice activist offers us these profound and prophetic words:

We will not go back to normal.  Normal never was.  Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.  We should not long to return, my friends.  We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment.  One that fits all of humanity and nature.        

Inspired by Jesus’ passion for a transformed world, let us be a prophetic people as we actively seek to live and work and pray for the much needed transformation of our world – social and economic justice, equality, peace and a nurtured creation.              

Grace and peace,

Andrew's signature

Loving God,
If we are ill, strengthen us.
If we are tired, fortify our spirits.
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lilies of the field

and the birds of the air.

 

Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets

in the barns of our larders.
Don't let fear cause us to overlook

the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves.
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.

Help us always to hold fast to the good,
see the good in others,
and remember there is just one world, one hope,
one everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.

 

In Jesus we make our prayer,
the one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
in whom we trust these days and all days,

Amen.

 

A prayer by The Revd Barbara Glasson, President of the Methodist Conference 

 

 

               :