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Greetings from the Elders

Things you need to know

Please read this note carefully as it contains some important instructions.

Note carefully that THE SERVICES TIME HAS CHANGED. It now commences at 11.30 a.m.

We are currently limiting attendance to 50 people. We believe we may be able to increase this in August.

For this reason, you must tell us whether you are coming.

We cannot guarantee a place for those who come unannounced. If you tell us you want to come and there is no place, we will contact you in advance to let you know, and we will book you in for the following week.

Here is how you can let us know whether you are coming:

  1. Go to the Grace website (www.grace.ie)
  2. Navigate to the page called “Tell us you are coming”
  3. Select the correct date
  4. Fill in the rest of the form
  5. Press “send”

Alternatively hit this link to take you straight there.

You will then get an email from us telling you whether we can accommodate you.

And just to remind you …

  • If you or any member of your family is displaying Covid-like symptoms (new, persistent cough, a fever or loss of smell) you should NOT come. Stay at home and arrange to be tested.
  • If you are visiting from overseas or have returned from a trip overseas, we ask that you observe the 14 days quarantine period before attending church in person – just come online instead!
  • Be aware that current Government advice is that those who are cocooning should continue to do so. That’s those over 70 and in vulnerable categories due to an underlying medical condition. If you fall into these categories, please consider whether you should come.

If you are coming to the service, you need to know FOUR IMPORTANT THINGS:

  1. As of now, we are saying that you must wear a mask at the service unless there are medical reasons why you cannot. Children under 13 need not wear one. Go out and get yourself a face covering and come with it. It does not have to be a medical grade mask. Just a face covering. Don’t just show up and expect us to provide one. There is a strong recommendation from Government to wear masks at church services and we are erring on the side of caution.
  2. Bring your own pen to sign in as we’ll need your details for contact tracing. We will be taking photos during the service to have a record of who was sitting where. You’ll need  water as there is no drinking water currently available in the church.
  3. Maintain two metres social distance. This applies when you are moving around, when you are queuing to sign in and of course when you are seated. Please follow the directions of the stewards who will show you to your seats. And don’t sit on any of the seats that have a sign saying ‘don’t sit here’.
  4. We are really sorry, but don’t stand around and talk to others before or after the service, either inside the building or outside. That is going to be very hard but the stark truth is that there is just not room to facilitate safe movement and accommodate clumps of people standing around. If the weather is good, we’ll go to Merrion Square after the service, where there will be lots of time and lots of space.

There is just one thing to do after you have left. If you are feeling sick with Covid like symptoms, please let us know. That’s really important.

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Greetings from the Elders

The Glory of God

Dear brothers and sisters

It is a very good practice for Christians to read old books. We live in a hyper present-tense moment, largely disengaged from the past and consuming a constant stream of (mis)information that allows for little or no reflection. Old writers allow us to step out of the stream and remember truths too important or weighty to be carried by the news feed.

I’ve recently been reading Jonathan Edwards’ Dissertation on God’s Chief End in Creation, where he considers the topic of the glory of God, an important subject for the Christian that hasn’t – as far as I’m aware – received a lot of media attention recently.

What do we mean when we talk about the glory of God? I’m sure it’s something all believers wish for, but what is it and how is it described in scripture? In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for glory has its root in the word signifying heavy. God’s glory is therefore something substantial and real, an expression of the One who gives meaning to all existence, in whom we live, move and have our being. His glory is of course intrinsic to Him and is sometimes expressed visibly when men encounter Him directly; Moses in the cleft rock, Isaiah in the temple and the disciples at the transfiguration all had experiences of the physical manifestation of God’s glory. But God’s glory can also be received and transmitted to others by those that have encountered Him: Moses wore a veil over his face after speaking with God so as not to frighten the people with its reflected glory.

But God does not appear in the same way today, so how do we experience and transmit His glory? Edwards directs us to John 12:23-32 where Jesus – in the week of His crucifixion – tells his disciples that it is the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified (v.23) and also calls on his Father to glorify His name (v.28). This will be achieved, paradoxically, through Jesus dying, the grain falling to the ground that will produce much fruit: Jesus suffering accomplishing the redemption of his followers.

This act of redemption glorifies Jesus: the light of the world being most luminous at its darkest moment, when the Son of God is executed on the cross. And his glory is transmitted to our dark world today through the life of believers who radiate Christ as they follow him in this principle of death, hating their lives in this world (v.25), seeking to become more like their Lord. Paul contrasts Jesus’ followers with the Hebrews terrified at Moses’ radiance : “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

The Psalmist looks forward to a time when the whole earth will be filled with God’s glory (Psalm 72:19) and this will be most unmistakeable when Jesus returns. Until then, let’s take seriously the weighty reality that we are here to reflect His glory in renewed lives: You are the light of the world.

Mark McCormick (for the elders)

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Greetings from the Elders

We are coming back to Pearse St.!

Dear Brothers and Sisters.

We have great news this week! Because the programme for coming out of lock-down has been accelerated by the Government, we are allowed to restart services on the 5th July.

We thank God that this is possible and that for most of us the period of isolation as believers is at last coming to an end! However, restarting in three weeks means lots of work, given the logistical challenges that have to be overcome and the amount of planning involved.

Those of you who are on the church mailing list will have received an email setting out in detail our latest proposals of how we will manage services under the ‘new normal’, and the reasoning behind it. Summarising it all here, let me just say that we have carried out a more careful analysis of capacity in the hall and other smaller rooms in the building and we have also examined in detail the household size and age composition of the congregation.

Based on this analysis, we calculate that we can accommodate everyone, every Sunday, whilst still complying with the two metres social distancing rule between households – provided we hold two services and use other rooms in the premises as overflow.

So this is what we are proposing:

  1. The first service would be at 10.30 and would be for all households EXCEPT those with children of Sunday School age or below and those attending BASE youth group;
  • The second service would be at 12.00 and would be for those families WITH children of Sunday School age or below and those attending BASE youth group.

But please note that a key requirement of this approach is that people do not show up to the wrong service. We simply cannot accommodate people who should be there at 10.30 arriving for 12.00 (or vice versa), with the exception of unannounced visitors and people who rely on public transport which is not available for the earlier time.

Although this solution has management challenges, not the least of which are hygiene protocols, it has the huge advantage that it does not require pre-booking or people to remember which week they should be coming. It also means that if social distancing rules are relaxed, we do not have to switch systems away from a rota, which might have become redundant at that point. Finally, we may discover that there is a reluctance on the part of some to return immediately. This approach means that we don’t start a rota system only to discover it is unnecessary.

The Leadership are working hard to make this happen is terms of the design and content of the services, handling of seating and movement, health and safety and technical facilities to cater for the overflow rooms and live broadcast to those still cocooning at home.

We will be in touch with those among you who we identify as being able to help in these tasks. Please be prepared to work together with us to make our long awaited return go smoothly and provide the opportunity to worship together as a church in a way that will bring glory to Christ and encouragement to each other. And continue in prayer!

We will give you increasing details as we approach July 5th. In the meantime, some of you have suggested that at this time a key priority should be gathering in small groups to pray and worship and encourage each other. We agree with this and encourage you to gather together in houses, in groups of six or less, and observing social distancing, at times that are convenient to you, for this purpose.

In Christ

Jon (for the church officers)

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Greetings from the Elders

The Death of George Floyd

Dear brothers and sisters,

When a society rejects God, it does not entirely reject morality. We are moral creatures, made to have a conscience, and we cannot deny ourselves. This has been obvious in the international outrage following the merciless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, an event that no reasonable person could fail to condemn.

Racism is abominable and has no warrant in Christianity; search as you will, you cannot find any scriptural advocacy of treating those of a different appearance with anything other than the dignity due to someone created in God’s image, however tarnished that image has become through sin.

Ironically, you will find grounds for racism in a central plank of the secular worldview held by many anti-racism protesters. Richard Dawkins famously wrote that Darwinism made it possible to become an intellectually-fulfilled atheist. It also provided an intellectual justification for racism. Certainly prejudice existed before the publication of the Origin of Species, but Darwin, with his theory of amoral survival of the fittest leading to the triumph of increasingly sophisticated forms of life, gave it a surer scientific footing in the eyes of many. Darwin himself anticipated a time in the future when the white Europeans would, as a necessary consequence of his theory, exterminate what he called “the savage races.”

The practical application of Darwinism by the Nazis, who believed they were doing good in assisting natural selection, led most people to recoil from its harshness and today you will find very few who would agree with Darwin’s racial vision. So why the detour into Darwinism when I began writing about morality?

The answer is that without God even our morality destroys us. The Darwinist Nazis served their abhorrent worldview with the approval of their consciences. And detached from our intellect and lacking any sure foundation, our moral sense can become just another expression of our own feelings. We use it to judge others, not ourselves, leading to division and hatred – as we’ve seen in the fallout from the George Floyd killing.

So how does reconciliation begin? It must start with the core problem, which is not racism but our alienation from God, the one who gave us our conscience in the first place. In Ephesians 2, Paul, a Jew writing to Gentile believers, reminds them that they had previously been marginalised outsiders: “Remember that…you were separated from Christ and excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners in the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” Ordinarily, this was a situation which should have given rise to animosity and resentment; humanly speaking, it was as intractable as today’s racial divisions appear to be.

But the problem had no ordinary solution. God, sending his son to die for the sins of Jews and Gentiles at Golgotha, reconciled both to himself and consequently to each other. Differences remained of course but all participated together in the organic unity of the Body of Christ:

“His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross by which he put to death their hostility”.

(Eph. 2:15,16)

Let’s be thankful to God that we are not moralists, seeking to save ourselves and our society through our own efforts but doomed ultimately to self-righteousness and resentment. No, God has healed our divisions, first with himself and then with each other so that we can rejoice together in him as new men and women, being built up together – with all our differences – as his dwelling place. (Eph.2:22)

Mark McCormick (for the elders)

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Greetings from the Elders

Fruit Growing

Sandra and I have just got an allotment. I recommend it. Growing your own fruit and veg. has got to be good for the mind as well as the body. Having said that, one of the hazards is the fellow allotment holders. Not that they are unfriendly – quite the reverse – but the pressure can get to you. Making sure the ridges are right for your potatoes when Michael, our retired neighbour from Mayo, surely a son of the soil, can easily see them over the fence, is something that could keep you awake at night if you are not careful. We thought about fruit trees but Mark behind us arrived in today with carefully chosen young apple saplings – obviously an old hand. What if we got the wrong sort or put them in the wrong place? The quiet humiliation of a friendly word of correction could be emotionally wounding and wipe out weeks of therapeutic gardening activity at a stroke.

Not that we are strangers to fruit growing. In Cameroon we struggled and produced one pineapple after three years. Our big success, though, was the Jackfruit tree. We planted with trepidation and much watering. But it survived the first dry season and then just grew and grew. Now, after fifteen years, the tree is so big you can see it from space. If you don’t believe me, I can show you on Google earth. We were the ones who introduced the fruit to the village and when we brought a Jackfruit to church as a first-fruits offering, it went really high at auction afterwards. Mr. Martin, our neighbour, bought it. I asked if he would enjoy eating it – but then I discovered the reason he had bought it was for the seeds. He’d seen and tasted ours and wanted his own. Now the trees are popping up all over the village.

As I was looking at the tree on Google Earth the other day, I was reminded of some fruit in the grounds of the monastery where we’ve been staying on our recent trips to Cameroon, now that we cannot go to the village. The fruit I was looking for isn’t something you can eat, but some topiary (that is an ornamental hedge that is trimmed to a particular shape). The gardeners have managed to clip a hedge to form three words in French and the same three words in English – LOVE JOY PEACE.

Sadly I was unable to make them out on Google Earth. They just fade into the background fuzziness of the garden and no one would be the wiser just looking in on it.

Last Sunday we were reminded beautifully in song by Daniel, Hannah and Samuel that the fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut or a banana – or even a Jackfruit – but rather:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5 vv 22-25)

Are others able to see that fruit in your life, or are you just indistinguishable from everyone else, like the monastery hedge? No evidence of love, joy and peace there, for sure. But when the fruit of the Spirit grows big in your life, like the Jackfruit tree, people will start to talk and they will want what you have – and that will bring glory to Christ.

So forget about Michael and Mark in the plot next door, just focus on dealing with your own flesh and walk by the Spirit. Then it won’t be long before they are asking for your fruit in their lives!

May God bless you this week and don’t forget if you are in need of help just contact us.

Jon (for the Elders)

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Greetings from the Elders

A Miracle of Deliverance

Between the 26th May and the 2nd June 1940 – eighty years ago this month – one third of a million soldiers both of the British Expeditionary Force in France, and the French army, were taken from the beaches of Dunkirk, in what the British Prime Minister of the day, Winston Churchill, called “A miracle of deliverance.” He had expected less than 20,000 to be rescued but, in the event, most of the troops who were making their last stand on the coast of Belgium, were repatriated.

It was indeed a miracle and it was also an answer to prayer. King George VI had requested that Sunday, 26 May should be observed as a National Day of Prayer. In a stirring broadcast, he called on the people of Britain and of the (then) Empire to commit their cause to God. Together with members of the Cabinet, the King attended Westminster Abbey, whilst millions of his subjects in all parts of the Commonwealth and Empire flocked to the churches to join in prayer. The whole nation was at prayer on that Sunday. The scene outside Westminster Abbey was remarkable—photographs show long queues of people who could not even get in, the Abbey was so crowded! In its hour of need, the people turned to God. And their cry did not go unanswered.

Why do I mention all this?

In The first Chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he tells them that they should give thanks to the Father, “who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Every believer in Christ can identify with the soldiers evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk. Delivered and transferred! Without Christ our situation was dire – stranded without hope. But his death on the cross has both bought us back and brought us back! So firstly, recognise that your salvation is a miracle of deliverance.

Secondly, understand that such miracles are a result of prayer. Someone prayed for you. At times like this, when our country stands in great need, believers are called to stand in the gap and be people of prayer. As a nation, we may have forsaken the Lord, but God is still at work. Our prayer should be not only that He would have mercy on us and stem the onslaught of the virus, but much more – that the people would turn again to the Saviour, that hearts would be awakened and that revival would come to the land. These are days of opportunity.

Finally, ask God to show us as a church how we may of spiritual and practical help, not only during this time of medical emergency but during the period of economic hardship that will undoubtedly follow.

My mother spoke to me about her memories of the first Sunday after the bulk of soldiers had been landed on the south coast of England. It was the 2nd June 1940. She lived with her mother, my grandmother, in the town of Salisbury, near to the South coast and close to a large army base. When the soldiers landed in Southampton, they were put on trains to return either home, or to their base. But the situation was confused and many were left just wandering the streets with nowhere to go. Gran ran what was called in those days a ‘milk bar’ – the nearest equivalent to today’s coffee shop. She wanted to help, but it was Sunday and the family were staunch Methodists. Never had they opened the milk bar on the Sabbath. But my mother told me that Gran declared – “we cannot have these boys just wandering the streets – we have to help them!” So they broke with tradition and had mercy on those in need – on a Sunday!

The world has changed. We may be called upon as a church to do things we have never done before, or do what we have always done in a different way. My grandmother never normally opened her milk bar on a Sunday but she recalled Jesus’ teaching on the Sabbath well enough to understand that at that time, it was the right thing to do. What new thing is God calling us as a church to do to meet the spiritual and practical needs of the new world we are living in?

So, recognise that your salvation is a miracle of deliverance. Understand that God used prayer in accomplishing this miracle and be a pray-er for other’s salvation. And ask God to show us as a church how we can best be used by Him at this time to minister to each other and our fellow citizens, for their spiritual welfare and for His glory.

God bless you this week. Keep the officers in prayer as we meet on Thursday. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a need.

Jon, for the Elders

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Greetings from the Elders

A task of eternal significance

Dear brothers and sisters,

Just before Jesus’ ascension to heaven the disciples approached Him together. They had a question. “Lord,” they asked, “is it at this time you are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)

Jesus had spent the previous forty days, since his resurrection, teaching them about things “concerning the kingdom of God” (v.3). As a consequence they clearly assumed that an immediate physical restoration of Israel, with the risen Christ as its king, was at least a possibility. But Jesus’ response must have deflated their excitement: “It is not for you to know the times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.”

Though the disciples may have been disappointed, Jesus’ followers today can draw great encouragement from the record of this exchange.

Firstly, because it’s authentic. The disciples do not look good here: they’re impatient for the establishment of an independent theocratic nation which will throw off the yoke of its Roman oppressors; God, however, has other plans. The author Luke clearly didn’t have an agenda to make the disciples look bad – elsewhere in Acts he describes them being used powerfully by God – and therefore had no motive to fabricate their question. So the most likely reason he included this dialogue is that it actually happened. As a historian, he was simply rendering a faithful account of that day’s events on the Mount of Olives, drawing on the testimonies of those that were actually there (cf. Luke1:1-4).

Secondly, God has fixed the time for the revelation of His kingdom by His authority. Though Jesus redirects the disciples’ focus from their immediate present, he doesn’t flatly contradict them. His kingdom will come and He will reign over Jews and Gentiles from a restored Jerusalem, bringing righteousness, justice and healing to a creation that is now groaning in its bondage to the curse (Isaiah 65, Zechariah 14, Romans 8:19-22). This will certainly happen when that fixed time – ordained by God’s providence and guaranteed by His authority – arrives, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).

And finally, Jesus has left Christians a very clear and straightforward purpose as we wait for his return. Promising the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord directs his disciples to “be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Though their natural impulse is to stand looking up into the sky (v.11), they, and all Christians, have a job to do. A task of eternal significance.

We are all naturally distracted in this uncertain and abnormal time. Perhaps, like the disciples, we’re asking the wrong questions or, stupefied, staring at a metaphorical sky, not knowing what to do next. But the authentic truth of God’s word reminds us that this temporary confusion will pass – Jesus will come again from heaven just as he ascended, to bring in His kingdom. And as we wait for that appointed time, fixed by God’s authority, we have the greatest, most significant employment: to be his witnesses.

May the Lord bless you and keep you this week. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss this or any other topic.

Mark McCormick

For the elders

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Greetings from the Elders

We’ll meet again!

British streets echoed to the sound of a Second World War favourite song this week, as our neighbours commemorated VE (Victory in Europe) day – the 8th May 1945. ‘We’ll meet again (don’t know where, don’t know when)’ was first sung by the ‘Forces Favourite’, Vera Lynn, during the dark days of the war, and was referenced by the British Monarch in her address to the nation at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic some weeks ago.

I wrote about separation a couple of weeks ago in this blog and I reminded you that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. What an encouragement! I was reminded of the issue of separation again when I was looking through the list of folks who attend Grace week by week. Nearly two-thirds of you are not from Ireland. It’s hard when you are not in your own country, you are separated from your family and there is not much prospect of an early reunion – especially at this time when you may be concerned about their health and well-being. We pray for you. Please get in touch if we can help you in any way. Use the details on the Contact Us page.

We have been encouraged at the number of you who are taking part in weekly fellowship activities – whether it is house groups, young adults, women, older men or the Thursday prayer time. Get involved if you are able to – you will find it a great encouragement!

I suppose none of us wants us to be in the place we find ourselves right now: It’s not very comfortable and we should pray that the Lord will help those who are in authority over us to lead and guide us well and bring us out in God’s time. But I want to encourage you not to wait until your circumstances change to praise God and give thanks to Him. Paul says this:

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5 vv 16-18)

Right now, we can say to God: “I’m going to praise you, I’m going to rejoice in you and I’m going to give thanks to you right where I am!” That’s the will of God.

We’ll meet again as a church in Pearse Street and we’ll meet with our loved ones – though we don’t know where and we don’t know when. But, you know, even when we do, there will still be a longing in our heart for something more. And when you dig down deep, what it is it? It’s a longing for Heaven. The ultimate home-coming that awaits every believer in Christ. What a wonderful day that will be. But don’t wait for that day to praise and give thanks. Do it now, right where you are – in fact in all circumstances – for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

God bless you!

Jon Blackwell

For the Elders

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Greetings from the Elders

Growing in Grace

Dear brothers and sisters,

In 2 Peter 3:18 the apostle instructs his readers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” Growth is a normal and necessary condition of the Christian life, indeed of all life – failure to grow is often either a sign or cause of death.

Of course not all believers have achieved the same level of growth: in his first letter, John addresses those in different categories of maturity as “fathers”, “young men” and “children” (1 John 2: 12-14). New believers, like children, require patient care and attention. But they should not be so indulged in their childishness that they don’t progress through the appropriate stages of development to fully-formed adulthood.

So how do we recognise that we are in fact growing in grace? The signs should be numerous, but they will all consist in either one of these two general principles: putting off the old man and putting on the new (Ephesians 4:22-24). J.C. Ryle, in his book Holiness, provides a very helpful description of one of these signs: “The man whose soul is growing takes more interest in spiritual things every year. He does not neglect his duty in the world. He discharges faithfully, diligently and conscientiously every relation of life…But the things he loves best are spiritual things. The ways and fashions and amusements and recreations of the world have a continually decreasing place in his heart. He does not condemn them as downright sinful, nor say that those who have anything to do with them are going to hell. He only feels that they have a constantly diminishing hold on his own affections, and gradually seem smaller and more trifling in his eyes…Would anyone know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increasing spirituality of taste.”

Here is a sane and balanced view of a sanctified mind. Duty is recognised and innocent amusements are not condemned outright: God is glorified when Christians fulfil their obligations, and there are many ways for people to enjoy themselves without needing to feel guilty (though, it must be said, Christians need to be vigilant in this respect: much of today’s entertainments are, frankly, anything but innocent – battery acid for the soul, to quote Todd Friel).

But the growth in our desire for spiritual things will mean that there must simply be less space in our affections for even these innocent attractions which were so attractive to our old selves. As we grow, we will experience a greater hunger for spiritual nutrition, for spending time in God’s presence, in His word, and with His people; and our appetites for the old distractions must diminish in proportion.

In this period when so many of us find ourselves with a lot more spare time, it’s a good moment to reflect on what we really desire to fill it with. Innocent amusement is fine, but does it dominate our mind? Is it the first thing we seek when left to ourselves? If so, this is a warning we should examine our growth, put off our childish minds and seek to be mature.

If you would like to discuss this or any other issues with the elders, please contact us.

May the Lord bless you and lead you to greater maturity this week.

Mark McCormick

For the elders

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Greetings from the Elders

Nothing can separate us!

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Sandra and I have had quite a few dogs over the years, mainly because we helped in the  training of guide dogs for the blind, by taking a puppy at eight weeks old and keeping it for a year or so to help socialise it, before the real guide dog training commenced. One thing we have noticed is that different dogs suffer from different levels of ‘separation anxiety’. Some dogs, if you go out for a couple of hours, are happy enough to lie around and wait for your return. Others become very anxious and when you finally get back to the house you discover that they have shredded their beds, or worse, chewed your favourite shoes! Whenever a puppy finally left us for its training in Cork, we were always asked to send something with them that had our scent, like an old T-shirt, to give them some reassurance in the new environment.

I guess there is quite a lot of separation anxiety going around these days amongst the human population, and whilst we may not be ripping up our beds, we do pine for contacts we can now, even at best, have only in digital form on Zoom – which is a poor substitute.

Social distancing is hard between people –  but the good news is that for the believer, it is impossible with God. Paul, in Romans Chapter 8 (‘the Great Eight’) says this:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? ….  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Christian walk was never intended to be a solo run. We live in community; the Church is a body. We need each other and we miss each other. Yet there are some times when we must be separated. This is one of them. But separation from each other never means separation from Christ. Nothing can make that happen – not even death. Praise God!

As Elders, we do continue to be here to minister to you from a distance, as best we can. Please do not hesitate to contact us through all the ways set out on the Contact Us page of this site. Let’s pray for each other and stay connected.

May God bless you this week as you take time to be with Him.

Jon Blackwell

For the Elders