It was a couple of Sundays ago that I saw the first pictures of Pope Francis visiting Cuba. What was surprising for me was not that he wasn’t the first Pope to have visited Cuba; what was surprising was that he then went on directly to visit America. Journeys are strange things; and the journey that Pope Francis made was a sign and symbol of the end of 54 years of tension between Cuba and the USA.
We, in Scotland, know a lot too about signs and symbols, one year after the Referendum. For anyone reading from outside Scotland, and for anyone wondering what Referendum, it was the Referendum on whether Scotland should strike out on its own, as a once again independent country, or whether it should remain as part of the United Kingdom.
Changes all around – but what are the changes you need to be involved in this week?
Partnership Development Secretary
Wherever you stand on last year’s result, who could have foreseen what has happened since then? Changes in the major political parties, a General Election with a result almost no-one predicted. As I’m writing this, it’s three weeks after the Labour Party has elected its new Leader, with lots of coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, about what that means. The other main story has to do with the growing refugee crisis.
A Bible passage which I’ve been reading recently is from the Old Testament – it’s Elisha and Elijah doing their handover, and Elisha’s words to his colleagues are to keep quiet in the face of the changes around them. When you read the Bible stories of Paul in the early years of the Church, he flitted about the great cities around the Mediterranean, Rome, Corinth, Athens, Thessalonia, Galatia, Jerusalem. He either took part in the changes that were happening, or, just as often, was responsible for them.
We perhaps don’t have the answers to all these changes. Sometimes we might not even be aware of how things are different, until we stop and think. Part of my work is to do with emerging church, and how the Church of Scotland can be more missional in its work, engaging with folk outside the doors of the church. Perhaps we have to stop and listen to see the changes around us; stop and listen to what God is saying to us, and sense the presence of God – the God who sends his Spirit to prompt and inspire, to challenge, and to remind us of how Jesus lived.
What are the changes where you are, and what are the changes you need to be involved in this week?
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