From the Manse

Dear Friends,

In the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people, when the people complain to Moses that they are starving in the wilderness, God provides them with food. It is the strange and mysterious substance called Manna.

This Manna had to be collected each morning and consumed by the end of the day for, if you tried to store it, it would go mouldy overnight.

That could be seen to be the way of nature. You see a beautiful flower; you want to have it so you pluck it. Sadly, in that act, the flower dies.

You are fascinated by a sparkling steam, so you try and capture it by scooping it in your hands but the water runs through your fingers.

A sunbeam dances in your room; you try to hold on to it by closing the curtains and it is gone.

Here is the root of the troubles of our lives. We all love life but when we try to hold on to it, when we try to preserve a moment in time, we miss it. The fact is that life flows and moves and changes and, when you try to make it static, life dies.

This is just as true of God, who is the Lord of life. The only way to achieve a sense of God’s presence is to put yourself in the way of Him: to lie in the field of wild flowers, to walk barefoot in the stream, to allow the sunlight to warm you.

When Mary Magdalene realised that the man at the empty tomb was not the gardener but the risen Christ, she fell at His feet and hugged Him. Jesus’ response was to say, "Do not cling on to me." If we cling to one view of Church then church dies and we become a religious people, not the people of faith God created us to be. If we allow our church to move and change and flow, and we move and change and flow with her, led by the God of life, then we and the church will become what God wants us to be - a community of faith in a faithless world.

Grace and peace to you

Alan.