Monthly Ministry Team Letter

Meditations from the Ministry Team 

Brian’s Bulletin

“Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, for ever” – Hebrews 13, 8.
Sitting in Stoke Chapel, I often contemplate this biblical quotation on the
front wall, words of constancy, giving us courage and willingness, as we’re
constantly reminded we must “move with the times” and “nothing (on earth) is for
ever”.
I am reminded of some years ago when Tiverton Junction Railway Station,
no longer a junction, was to be replaced with Tiverton Parkway,
a rebuild of an old halt and strategically (and successfully)
placed to ‘capture’ the North Devon link road business. Jean’s
late mother, asked to sign a petition of opposition to closure,
inquired whether the lady herself used the
train. Came the reply, “Oh no, I haven’t used
the train for over forty years, but we can’t let them close our
station”! I suppose if this intransigent attitude and opposition to
change persisted, we’d still be travelling around by horse and
cart!
We sing hymns such as “Through all the changing
scenes of life”, realising we must all accept change, preferably for the better.
(“Evolution, not revolution” as a late colleague would say.) Jesus himself
acknowledged change as we lead our earthly lives, not least in summarising the
Ten Commandments into two that were understandable to all. (Still as
demanding to carry out, of course!) An upholder of the law of Moses, He was
forward-looking, but strict and critical too, though only when people were
unwilling to adapt or use their common sense.
“Change and decay in all around I see” could be rather disconcerting for
us. In context, the composer, reputedly at the end of his earthly life, saw
everything around him comparing insignificantly to his forthcoming time in
heaven; yet he was also moved to write: “O Thou who changest not, abide with
me”. We all have experienced, as I did in my career, many forms of change;
waste of time; unnecessary; for the better; for progress. Perhaps the secret is
to embrace change carefully, sensibly and methodically, for without any change
we could stagnate.
Our earthly lives are full of change in all its forms for us to embrace, but
with care and with confidence in the One Who Never Changes, enabling us to
weigh up matters and adapt accordingly. The quotation at the front of Whimple
Chapel, in the village of my birth and now sadly closed, proclaimed: “There am I
in the midst” (Matthew 18, 20), reminding us that Jesus is constantly with us and
as long as we are willing to act, He will help and guide us, whatever changes,
demands and experiences we have to face as we journey along. So let us open
our hearts to Him as he takes us safely “through all the changes and chances of
this mortal life”.