“I’m four!” shouted Louie at the start of Dorothy’s kids’ chat. And right enough he looked almost two years older than last I saw Louie sitting at the front of Connexions’ sanctuary at morning worship. It was surreal looking closely at children I hadn’t seen for 18 months, only half recognising them due to their height, hair and looks, which had changed so much. But it was also exciting and awe inspiring.
For 18 months these children’s parents have been their Sunday school teachers and, for a large part of that time, also their home-school teachers. There was a tangible sense of relief among parents as they let their kids flood to the front and onto Light Factory. I salute their consistent and resilient care for their beloved
bairns. It’s particularly hard for single parents and for all parents of youngsters who are evidencing growing pains as they push boundaries and press stress buttons of their weary parent(s). I also salute grandparents who have stepped up to ease the guardian strain of pandemic, taking on more grandwean care-shifts than before.
The buzz before and after our first 10.30 Sunday service back with young folk was wonderful. There’s an understandable anxiety among some older worshippers and I underlined the importance of wearing masks and social distancing. We also had the band playing live for all singing and the whole service streamed live. Speaking to people afterwards, a wave of blessing washed over us all as we tried to put into words how inspiring and encouraging it is to be back praising God in person together, rather than
on the other side of a screen.
In the afternoon we had the first of our Active Connections ‘cycle oots’, one of numerous physical activities we aim to grow supportive and inclusive communities around (e.g., jogging, open swimming, walking, etc). These weekly cycles (2 – 4pm leaving from Connexions and returning to a cuppa) gave the chance to enjoy fun, friendship, fitness, and faith together. I realise that each future week won’t be as sunny, but with the air cleared by the morning’s deluge there was a deep clarity in the colours and hues of nature all around as we journeyed to Saltcoats and back (a few headed up to Dalry and round to catch the larger group up on the outskirts of Irvine). The short debriefing session was full of enthusiastic appreciation for and joy at seeing new things and being so alive.
In 6.30pm evening praise we gathered in a circle around the band. Even with masks on, it was so freeing to praise God alongside brothers and sisters in Christ after prolonged restrictions. Altogether a thoroughly braw Lord’s Day, which encourages me to look forward with hope as we move ‘forward’ to church in refreshed and brand new ways.
Lord Jesus, give us the comfort, courage, and creativity necessary to let go of all that needs released to the past. Free me / us to join in with what You are doing ‘Now’.
“Behold, I am making all things new!” Says God (Revelation 21:5)