Dear church family,
It’s Monday right now. Monday. As the person who gets to be your administrator, normally on a Monday and Tuesday I have a list of jobs to do – post Sunday service. Now – well – I have still have a list of jobs to do, but that list looks drastically different to what it was before lockdown.
Monday. It’s Monday. And I have to say I miss you all. Hear that? Read that? I miss you all.
I really do.
I miss the babies at the back of church, squealing in delight. I miss the people connecting over coffee and hugs. I miss the chance to worship collectively. I miss seeing the camaraderie, the shenanigans and the seriousness.
And I’m wondering if maybe you are missing that too?
Today we have 613 people ranging in age from 2 months to 92 years of age, who would call Coast Vineyard Church their home. Somehow God has granted me with the gift of knowing each of those 613 names and I can match those names to faces. There must be a limit to what my brain and memory can handle, but I thankfully haven’t reached it yet. You are really not just a name on a list. We may never have met, or I may have only said ‘hi’ in passing, but, really I’m just itching to become your new second best friend. You are not just a face in crowd. You have gifts and qualities that only you have, you bring to this world certain traits, that we would miss if you weren’t around. I have things to learn from you – from your life experience, from your faith journey, from who you are.
I realise that at this incredibly tough time, it would be really easy to shut down a little, and to stop reaching outwards and upwards. There are lots of voices calling for your attention, lots of videos to watch, articles to read, so many possible demands of you and on you. So many things that its actually overwhelming. One of the dangers that could go hand in hand with that, could be in starting to feel like you’re part of the unseen. The invisible. The forgotten. You’re home, you’re maybe alone, and you’re wondering who really cares? This feeling may grow the longer we go with not being able to meet in person.
On this very Mondayish Monday, I know without a doubt, that ‘we’ – as in we – Coast Vineyard Church – cares. We miss you and we love you. And if you’re yet to call Coast Vineyard Church as your home, I can’t wait to meet you and get to know you. You’re framily. Friends who become family.
You know while it’s a pretty easy thing to shut down, to feel like you’re ‘surplus to requirement’, to feel insignificant, even at the very best of times – trust me, I know those feelings all too well, at some point, it makes the world of difference when you choose to listen to God’s voice on the matter. What does He say about you? Who does He say you are?
What helps me is when I read what the Psalmist, David, says of God – when we feel lost, ignored, forgotten about…..God is there. God is present. We are so very intimately known and loved.
Lord, you know everything there is to know about me.
You perceive every movement of my heart and soul,
and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!
You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,
and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past.
With your hand of love upon my life,
you impart a blessing to me.
This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!
Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.
Where could I go from your Spirit?
Where could I run and hide from your face?
If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!
If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!
Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
your strength will empower me.
It’s impossible to disappear from you
or to ask the darkness to hide me,
for your presence is everywhere, bringing light into my night.
There is no such thing as darkness with you.
The night, to you, is as bright as the day;
there’s no difference between the two.
You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside
and my intricate outside,
and wove them all together in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex!
(Psalm 139: 1 – 14).
You are missed and you are loved. You are known by the One who matters most, and you matter to a certain bunch of ragtag misfits, a bunch of ragamuffins who call Coast Vineyard Church, home. Be well dear friends. x