Whither next?I was sitting enjoying the sunshine and breeze of a summer afternoon, and the view on the edge of rolling countryside, when a couple out on a walk stopped nearby and the man stared at his mobile phone on which he apparently had a map. Eventually, they inclined hesitantly towards a choice of direction, and then they spotted me. “We’re looking for the station,” he said. I was on home ground and certainly knew the way, several, in fact, but it would have been well-nigh impossible to give clear enough directions by any of them, so, as it was on my route home anyway, I said, “I’ll show you.” And I walked with them there, taking them by interesting footpaths they would never have found on their own, leaving them gratefully on the platform studying timetables.
There’s an awful lot of us staring at maps in one form or another at the moment, wondering about the way forward. This is true for all the Churches in the Circuit, pondering plans for growth or decline and how to cope with either. It may well be true for many on a personal level too. We may agree that the Lord knows his chosen way for each, and even that he offers to be our Guide – but how do we take our eyes of all our worldly maps and connect with the Lord? Perhaps times of quiet will help: spending a few hours in silent and prayerful reflection, with guided ways of opening our minds and hearts to God, so that we can sense his presence and discern his leading about whither next. To this end Christine Crabtree is arranging a series of Quiet Days for all in the Circuit. Look out for them and come if you can (and pray for them if you can’t).
A prayer for each week
Loving Lord, caring so deeply about each Church and each of us, please give us the faith to look to you for our future, and follow where you lead. Amen.
Guiding Lord, knowing all the routes from where we are to where (and how) you want us to be, please guide our steps at every fork on the way. Amen.
Awaiting Lord, willing us to discern your presence by the wayside, as we stand wondering, please give us the sense to seek you and ask the way. Amen.
Knowing Lord, aware of all the blessings you want us to encounter and what dangers to avoid, please keep us on course as we walk with you. Amen.
Directing Lord, who has given us the Bible as map and schedule, please enable us to grasp its message and follow its guidance all the way to you. Amen.
Your own prayers