A message from the Chaplain

Dear friends, beste vrienden,

It has now been more than 6 months since Belgium introduced measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. If we made a list of all the changes we’ve experienced as a result of this disease, we would run out of room on the page. The word many people use this year is ‘unprecedented’ meaning: ‘This has never happened before!’

After all, who would have thought that our church doors would be shut for months?
Or, on a more positive note… Who would have thought that an average of 80 people every week would watch our online video worship? Who would have thought that during a pandemic, new people would start to worship with us on a regular basis?
Who would have thought that our choir could go digital, and sing solo in church?
Who would have thought that we could find God’s blessings in the midst of such a difficult period?

God’s people often have these kinds of experiences. Even in the midst of suffering, sorrow and sadness, we are reminded of God’s faithfulness and goodness. Thanks be to God!

Now, I don’t want to be negative, but I do want to prepare us for the possibility that things may not return to ‘normal’ in the coming months. What does ‘normal’ even mean anymore? If we’ve learned anything over the past 6 months is that it’s hard to predict the future. Also, doctors and scientists warn us that there may be an increase in coronavirus cases as the weather gets colder.

If that is true, we might need to adjust our plans again. And if so, we can take comfort that we have already learned how to be flexible and adaptive this year like never before. We have also learned that the Holy Spirit can connect us wherever we worship, even in our own homes from behind a computer or on our phones! Most importantly, we have witnessed God’s goodness throughout these difficult circumstances, and trust that God will be with us no matter what the future may hold!

In times of such uncertainty, the most important thing we can do is to listen.
Listen to God – What is God calling us to do today?
Listen to others – What do our brothers and sisters need right now to know that God is with them?
Listen to ourselves – What is God saying to us at this moment? What is it that we need to hear?

Only by listening – deep, soul-searching listening – only then can we be alert to the movement of the Holy Spirit in the midst of a constantly changing world. And when we know that God’s Spirit is with us through everything, we do not need to be afraid or anxious, and we can bless others with his light and love. The prophet Elijah learned that God was not in the noise and busyness of the world, but in the ‘sheer silence’(1 Kings 19:11-13). It is in the sheer silence that we find God’s presence which brings us peace beyond all understanding… even during a pandemic.

Many, many blessings,
 
The Revd Stephen Murray

 

© 2020 by SAINT JOHN'S ANGLICAN CHURCH, GHENT.

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