Harbour Churches Newsletter 29th August

Dear Friends

Thank you so much for your prayers and support as we at The Rectory experienced, first-hand, ‘Covid’.

We all appreciate how strengthening it is to know that we are being held in prayer. Surely this is our ‘primary task’ as those who walk the way of Jesus, who taught us to pray… And a big shout out to the Christian soul who brought a dozen muffins to aid our healing, along with all the other healing gifts. Thank you!

Sickness is never welcome – it brings that state of dis-ease. We can’t be what we want to be, and we certainly can’t do what we feel we need to. We are no longer ‘in control’… fit for nothing☹This is something I am definitely struggling with post-Covid…

The contemporary Christian teacher, Richard Rohr, in speaking of our growth in Christ-likeness, describes a process he calls ‘the wisdom pattern’:

‘To grow… we must be moved from Order to Disorder, and then ultimately to Reorder.’

He also recognises that this is rarely an easy process:

‘The ego believes that disorder or change is always to be avoided, so we hunker down and pretend that our Order is entirely good, should be good for everybody, and is always “true” and even the only truth.’

I have been contemplating what this has to say for me post-Covid. I would invite all of us to reflect on what this process might mean to us personally, as a church community and for our witness of faith in the world.

I would want to refashion the process and actually describe it as ‘the healing pattern’. When we fall ill, the old order cannot to sustained. Here lies the real pain and disruption we experience as disorder – being dis-eased. Understandably, at these times, we just want it to be taken from us, our Garden of Gethsemane moment. And often it is. We regain our health and life returns, in time, to normal…

But there are occasions when we do not experience the healing we desire – despite the sincerity of our prayers and those of others. At such times we are left with the struggle of coming to terms with this unwanted, unwelcomed, condition. It is our Good Friday moment.

True healing, the reconciliation brought about through this very process, with all its pain and suffering, is a consequence of the gracious mystery of letting go – of accepting that we are no-longer able to control what we are going through and begin, counter-intuitively, to welcome it.

Richard Rohr would say that then, and only then, can we receive the gift of God’s strength because and not despite of our weakness… But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Cor 12.9

The moment of true healing comes through God’s power, perfected in weakness. We experience the re-ordered state of grace. It is a true resurrection. We are reconciled. (2 Cor 5.19). Through the pattern of true healing, we come to our Easter moment… ‘The old order has passed away – behold I make all things new.’ Rev. 21

In September and October, we will continue to grow in Christ as an Easter people learning from the wisdom of ‘the healing pattern’. We will do this through three key focuses:

  1. The story of those who have lived it – are living, the healing pattern.
  2. Our growth pains as a church having to let go of the old order and live through a time of disordering in the hope of a reorder.
  3. Most urgently, our response to the present and real environmental disaster we find ourselves responsible for.

Finally, I write this in dedication to Ann Beazer. She lived, and died ‘the wisdom pattern’, and at whose funeral I would, had I been able to be there, spoken these words in love and respect – for they are faithful and true.

May she, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace and rise in glory!