Cooksmill Green Congregational Church
Church Anniversary 2020
This is a new and novel experience for me! Sitting down to write to a church that I was planning to attend. Facing a computer screen rather than the lovely fields around Cooksmill Green. I feel a little bit like St John must have felt in writing the Book of Revelation from isolation on the Island of Patmos. He was writing to churches he had known in the past but from which he was presently separated.
We are coming out of the lockdown period of the pandemic. Our churches are gently opening up again, at least for private prayer. Will the pandemic turn out to be the defining event some are predicting – “things will never be the same”. Will the “new normal” be so very different from the “old normal”. We shall see!
History has always been seen in the light of defining events. In the Bible there were those who lived either side of the great flood under Noah. There was “before the flood” and “after the flood”. Later in the Old Testament God’s people were taken into exile. Looking back they saw themselves and their history as pre-exile and post-exile.
In our own time many things are viewed in relationship to the war. Properties and classic cars are described as pre-war and post-war. For children in the war years it was a time of evacuation and separation. For our children today it has been a time of isolation and separation.
The biggest defining event of all time was the entry of Jesus into our world. Subsequent history was seen as before Jesus (BC) and after Jesus (AD). For us individually it is following Jesus in discipleship that is a defining event. Defining events bring shared experiences. We share that experience with those who have a similar experience in worship. We share that experience with others who have not yet had that experience in witness.
Where has God been for you in the pandemic? For sure, he has not been self-isolating!
God’s people have been at the forefront of sharing in a wide number of practical ways, alongside others, in the shared experience of the pandemic.
There will be much “table talk” from the past few months for some time to come.
Blessings upon you all at this most different of church anniversaries!
Jeffrey Hayward 28th June 2020