November 2018

I can’t quite believe it’s November already, the clocks have gone back, fireworks have made a bang and now we're not too far from advent and I am reminded of Isaiah 40:8; “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever”. It's a verse that speaks about rhythm and, above all, God’s faithfulness. As we hit the middle of this autumn term, we can look back and see God’s faithfulness.

It’s been so encouraging to hear stories form Alpha already this term and from community hubs about how people are taking up the challenge to be an ‘all in’ community and get together with others in small groups. As we grow and mature and move into the next phase, authentic community is not only important but is a hallmark of a healthy church. In November as a way of trying to encourage more ways of building community we are playing ‘connect four’ - you can find the details on social media.

It’s people who are the church and I’ve always said buildings really aren’t the main thing - they are just facilities for the people. But they are important because they do help us to facilitate playing our part in sharing God’s love with Lincoln and beyond. They give us a space where we can gather together to encourage one another, to build one another up and to send one another out to see lives and communities transformed. As we seek to see many people encounter the love of Jesus, we long to see people learn to live more like Jesus (and we’re seeing this in new ways amongst our younger generations). We also seek to go in the power of the Spirit by resourcing and planting churches and the blessing of being in Thomas Parker House has been an amazing answer to prayer and a sign of God’s faithfulness. More than this, we are on the cusp of being able to share the vision for the next phase of the life of St. Swithin’s. 

As exciting as this is, and as big an impact as this has the potential to have, Isaiah 40 reminds us our plans are like but grass and flowers that eventually fade, it is the word of God that has the power and that will endure forever.

The verse goes on to say “lift up your voice with a shout, lift up don’t be afraid; say to the towns and cities, “Here is your God!” This next half term is, I think, my favourite term in the whole calendar. There is lots to celebrate and all kinds of fun events, we’ve had the Fireworks and now we’re heading through to Christmas (our theme this year is #followthestar and flyers and invites for all our events are available in the info hub). These are great events and help us to celebrate all Jesus has done for us, his faithfulness to us but so much more than this, they are just such brilliant opportunities to lift up our voices to our friends, families, neighbours, villages, towns and the city of Lincoln and say “Here is your God! - come and see!” Just imagine what would happen if each of us shouted this and extended the invitation to just 5 people. Then imagine, even if just 1 out of every 5 responded  - imagine what the celebrations would look like as at least 250 people discovered God’s never ending love and his enduring faithfulness and joined us in lifting up one voice to our God! 

Like the Magi, the time comes for us to stop gazing up to the sky - contemplating what might be and speculating whether God is in this - and instead to get up and go, putting our faith into action. Who, in January could be stood next to you in church or sat with you at Alpha because you have taken the time, had the boldness and trusted in God’s faithfulness to invite someone to come and see and to #followthestar to discover Jesus?

love Jim & Vicky and the staff team at St. Swithin’s x

Ruth Cook