February 2018

Dear friends,

As I write to you this month, I’m looking out of the window over a snow covered garden. Winter has definitely been present with us the last few weeks, and the cold days and nights have made it difficult for a number of our members. Not only is the cold more challenging, icy days bring with them risk of falls. It’s definitely the kind of weather where we all need to be careful.

Understandably, then, I’ve spent a few mornings recently needing to scrape the ice from my car windscreen. It’s fascinating seeing how the ice forms on the glass – sometimes like a smooth layer on top of the glass, and other times with a swirly pattern, with a look that has matt and gloss among it. Sometimes it can be frosty and white, other times cloudy.

If you sit inside the car, waiting for the screen to clear, it can be frustrating. If you use the heater, the screen will begin to defrost, giving gentle glimpses of what lies ahead, but with most of the screen still obscured. It takes the effort of scraping the screen, or a period of time waiting for the ice to clear, before it is possible to see what lies ahead and to be able to safely drive.  We need the tools – the scraper (even if that’s just a card from a wallet!) or the heater – to help us to see.

Being able to see ahead is so important to help us keep on the right path, and to be able to make a journey or do things easily. Those of us who wear glasses, and those with more limited eyesight, know what it can be like to struggle to make out where we’re going, or what we’re reading. We can still manage without our vision, but it is definitely more difficult, more isolating, and more risky.

We find that this is certainly the case in our day-to-day lives, but I often wonder if we have the same perspective of our faith vision. Do we recognise when our faith is becoming a bit blurry, or when the windows in front of us are iced over and unable to be seen through? Do we recognise when we need to scrape off the ice that’s formed in front of us, or find a pair of spectacles that will help us view the world of faith with fresh, crisp eyes? Sometimes the ice is pretty and creative and different, but it still obscures our view.

As we work on our ‘2020 Hopes’, we need to be sure that we’ve got our ‘2020 vision’ sorted too – able to look ahead to what is coming, able to see where God is leading us, able to steer ourselves as a Church in the right direction, and keep our eyes out for obstacles or difficulties. What tools or equipment might we need as a Church to help us discern this direction, or steer a course? Do we need some bible reading guides? Or some prayer guides? Or something that can help us be energised and connected through our worship?

Our Lent groups this year are on the theme of Prayer – with three opportunities each week to connect with and explore prayer. Details can be found on page 7. I would encourage you to think about attending at least one of the sessions per week through Lent, to strengthen this part of your Christian life, and to encourage others in theirs. As we pray together through Lent, we can help to defrost those windscreens before us, and better connect with one another and with God on our journey.