SPACE and the North Kirklees & Morley (NK&M) Circuit of the Methodist Church overlap at Longcauseway. We also overlap as we form part of the body of Christ. Our experiences of church life and life in general also produce many overlaps.
In SPACE, we are still adjusting to life with only one URC minister, Rev Janine, working amongst the 5 churches. In NK&M we are in the midst of the unfolding mysteries of the Methodist stationing process as 3 of our 6 ministers prepare to move on next summer and we do not know who, if anybody, will come to serve amongst the 19 churches and the Wesley Playhouse. Change is therefore, all around us.
If you read the opening chapter of the book of Job you meet a man who is blameless, upright and blessed with 7 sons, 3 daughters, 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, many servants and, – oh, a wife. She isn’t included in the list but she does get a mention later, I think we’re supposed to assume his wife is inferred by the children, she doesn’t enter the story until he’s lost everyone and everything else.
For Job everything is depicted as being perfect until disaster happens and he beset by irrevocable change. His perfect life is not all it seems though. His parenting skills are called into question as we hear in the opening verses of the wild partying of his children and all Job seems to be able to do is offer sacrifice and prayer after the fact; resigned to shutting the door after the horse has bolted as we might say. So Job’s ideal life may not have been so ideal after all.
What is true of the book of Job is that his God never desserts him and despite all that happens to Job and the dubious counselling of his friends Job is faithful to God. What is also true is that Job is beset by change but that God is only ever wanting that Job be blessed. The story ends that way, with Job’s whole life different from what he had before, but full of blessing.
Whether it is the changes we see in church, society as a whole, the intimacy of our relationships, our circumstances and possessions, or even change in the depths of our body or being; God is with us and seeks only to bless us and renew us. He may not restore what we have lost, but he does raise us to newness of life in him.
In SPACE in NK&M and in the complexity of life in all its richness, may you see God’s blessing through the change that confounds you.
Superintendent Minister, North Kirklees and Morley Methodist Circuit.