As Solomon famously remarks in his poem within the book of Ecclesiastes, ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.’ (Ecc 3:1). In many ways, our now annual Vision and Community night encompasses many of these life moments in one evening. On such evenings, we gather together to enjoy each other’s friendship, to thank God for all that he’s done, to assess our resources, to be honest where there are sadnesses or uncertainty and to look ahead with faith and confidence knowing that He has promised to build His Church (Matt 16:18) and that it His Bride whom He loves so passionately (Eph 5:25).
Solomon remarks that there is ‘a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted … a time to break down, and a time to build up … a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together’ (Ecc 3:2-5).
Our Church is approaching it’s 25th birthday – Praise God! We have put in place a new leadership team, we are preparing for fresh vision in the Autumn and considering the mission God would have us give ourselves to in response to that emerging vision. This feels therefore like a particular time to ‘plant’, to ‘build up’ and to ‘gather stones together’. Of course, such activity can only be centered around Jesus: the Vine to which we are joined, the Cornerstone upon which we are built; He who we have the joy of knowing more deeply together and making known to our community, nation and world.
Given that our vision series will come in the Autumn – there’s a ‘time’ and ‘season’ for that after all – you won’t hear too much about definitive plans and proposals just yet. Rather we will enjoy fellowship and friendship, reflect and celebrate.
Solomon says that there is ‘a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance’ (Ecc 3:4). Jesus Christ came to live amongst messy human beings. Jesus delighted in celebrating and feasting at weddings and parties and he also knew what it was to weep over those who would reject him and mourn over loved ones who died. He has built his church ever since, calling messy human beings to weep, laugh, mourn and dance together in fellowship and friendship.