By Revd. Paul Saunders, Superintendent Minister of the Western Fells Methodist Circuit.
When we closed our churches for lockdown, it felt a little like being sent into exile leaving us a little adrift at first.
The writer of Psalm 137 was feeling the same way. Israel had been conquered and its people taken into exile, and they were feeling bereft because their faith was tied to the promised land. “How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land” they asked. However the Psalm is not one of resignation, rather it is about facing up to the challenge before them.
So how does the church “sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land”? Our members have found many ways of doing this. Sewing PPE for local care workers, working with the foodbank, supporting neighbours by shopping or telephoning them for a chat. My wife Kina and I decided to support local business who were struggling because they don’t have the resilience of the big supermarkets, because when we make a difference in our community we sing the Lord’s song.
Our focus as churches has moved away from our buildings and into the communities we serve.
Ultimately our faith is not defined by the amount of time we spend in church, but by the difference that we make in the community that we serve. Let’s remember that, even when our churches reopen. Let’s make a choice to spend less time in our buildings, and more time in our community where we can really make a difference.