Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring

by Dave Carter
9th March 2021

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, and the mood of the nation seems to be lifting. There are signs of spring arriving, daffodils are out, the weather is nicer (or at least less bleak) and the days are getting longer. The Prime Minister even used this as a metaphor in his recent announcement. “The crocus of hope is poking through the frost” he declared to us when giving plans for the easing of lockdown.

In the UK we’re now in the position where we’re anticipating things improving from here, of greater freedom and less fear. We need to consider how we respond to this season as the church, as God’s people together. People have different views, generally depending on temperament, experience and gifting. There’s generally some truth in all of them, but also some flaws too.

May I present some stereotypes:

“The government doesn’t decide what the church can do!”

One school of thought is that the church’s activity shouldn’t be shaped by what is going on the world, that we should pay attention only to “God’s agenda” and ignore anything put in place by politicians and global leaders. (Apart from healthcare when we need that. We’ll accept that bit…..) The church should pay no heed to the country’s schedule when making its plans. Typically voiced by someone with either a placard or a prominent Facebook opinion!

“Life has moved on”

Some people feel it’s time to re-imagine church completely. There’s no rush to meet again, God will be doing a new thing in this season. Probably via Zoom. Best conveyed by someone talking about the “big picture” while stroking their newly grown beard.

“I want my life back”

Others are pressing for a “let’s restore everything back to normality” mission, feeling we need to reclaim life pre-Covid. Typically someone looking frazzled and a little sleep-deprived, downing their 4th mug of coffee in the last hour. May well have home-schooled at some point.

“It’ll all fail anyway”

Declared by newly graduated amateur epidemiologists from the university of Google. They know deep down that the new variant will doom the world forevermore….

“I’m the only one with a balanced view”

Says the church leader writing a blog about stereotypes of other people. Of course, we have no blind spots at all!

Whilst I use the stereotypes to show that we can take any viewpoint too far, there is some truth in all of these.

  • We do need to pay attention to what God reveals, rather than just what human wisdom shows is possible. However, this doesn’t necessarily equate to ignoring government plans, just acknowledging that we need to be paying attention to God’s bigger plans.
  • Church can look different, and we need to learn good lessons and be creative in the way we include people. Just remember, church remains vitally important in the purposes of God. The way we do it evolves, the underlying principles remain.
  • It is right to desire greater freedom, and to look at some of the things we’re wanting to do again. Just don’t set your sights too low. 2019, before Covid struck, was not the pinnacle of human existence. We need to have our eyes forward, being more ambitious about what is to come in the future as we bring heaven to earth.
  • We do face the future with some uncertainty, and there will be bumps in the road and further problems ahead. However, we are called to be a people who bring hope to our nations.
  • And remember that we all have our blind spots!

One of the blessings in being part of a church community is that we are shaped by other godly people, not just our own thinking and what we’ve found online in the last week. I’m grateful for everyone I encounter who helps me see things from a different perspective, and sometimes highlights some of the gaps in my thinking. It’s God’s wisdom outworked through friendship and family.

Let’s go forward with hope together in the coming months. Whatever is going on in our nations, the church has a huge role to play.