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Pause for thought - Sunday 25th July 2021

I was talking with a minister friend in another circuit recently about “church after lockdown”. He said things had been great during lockdown – everyone had pulled together, co-operated, and embraced change. But now that the lockdown crisis seems to be coming to an end, he’d noticed people were starting to pull apart and squabble again.

I was reminded of what he said as I read Psalm 95 this morning, a prayer written many years ago about a squabble among God’s people at a place called Meribah. If you don’t know the story, after God sent Moses to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt, they had to cross a desert to reach their new home, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

And even though God provided food for them daily, the people soon started grumbling that life had been better when they were slaves. And it came to a head at a place called Meribah, which means “quarrelling.”

And what particularly struck me about Psalm 95 is the antidote it offers to grumbling. Rather than bogging us down in endless mediation and dispute resolution processes, the Bible-solution to grumbling is to keep your heart tender towards God by focusing less on the problems and more on your blessings.

“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord” writes the psalmist. “Let us come before him with thanksgiving…Let us bow down in worship…and kneel before the Lord our Maker for he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture the flock under his care.”

No matter how tough our circumstances, we all have something to be thankful for. And when we choose to focus on that, rather than on what irritates us, we’ll all reap the benefits. So let me encourage you today by making an inventory of the good things that happened!

Just take 2-3 minutes, to think about all that was good today: food, clothing, shelter, peace, security, sunshine, your family, and friends, and then thank God for those things. And then tomorrow, do it again. And keep going. And as you keep going, you’ll discover that ending one day well, has a huge impact on how you start the next!

This coming week is my last week in the circuit after 8 years. I’ve much joy to sing about and numerous blessing that I will take with me to my new circuit in Melton Mowbray.

I will continue to pray for you all as you travel as God’s beloved and chosen people. May you all stay well and may the love and light shine among you as you continue your journey with our Saviour who is Jesus Christ the Lord.

With my love and prayers

Rev Pat

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