Spring is not here yet, but its signs are slowly but steadily emerging from the ground. Crocuses are bobbing up in the back garden of the manse, and I wonder if you noticed the snowdrops lifting their dainty heads in the church garden?

But snowdrops are not the only things that speak to us about renewal at the church. The renewed premisses speak loud and clear. But beyond that I was deeply encouraged this week as God was laying it on my heart one word: RENEWAL. He guided my gaze towards our church and church family. These are the signs of renewal God showed me:

  1. Lunch Club is restarting.
  2. A new church group, called Comley Bank Families Toddler Group, initiated by people and young families at SSCB is starting its activities on Thursday 24 February.
  3. The Holiday Club is back, focusing on the Gospel of Luke (Diary of a Disciple) during Holy Week.

These old-new initiatives are encouraged to restart by the completed building refurbishment and by the stirring of God’s Holy Spirit. People are eager to serve, to be the church we are supposed to be. It is wonderful to see it, and be part of it.

After a long and uncertain wait because of the pandemic now we have these fresh shoots of hope growing up around us and calling us to be part of them and enjoy them. This is why we are here, this why God has saved us through Jesus Christ and called us, to be His people in Comely Bank. We were longing for this, weren’t we? Now, here are the opportunities, time to be part of the church life and ministry again! God our Father is encouraging us through Scripture:

‘Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.’
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

God is making the way for us. The past two years were very challenging and dispiriting in so many ways. But God carried us faithfully through them and now as if he placed us on a rock, he is showing us all that he has prepared and is ahead. Where we thought there is only a desert without much hope, God is showing us the new things he is doing that are springing up around us, he is pointing out the way we as a church family are to continue to go, and he is refreshing us by streams of water.

Rejoice and give thanks for the signs of renewal around us in the church family and in your personal life. Be encouraged by them to return to the church family and be part of it again. Look around in your personal life and notice the things God is making anew there. After all, the flowers are not only growing in the church garden but in our gardens too! Ask God for what purpose is he renewing you in heart, and mind, and soul, and strength in this new, exciting season. Embrace this renewal God wants you to be part of!

Dear Lord, and Father, thank you that you are the God of renewal. You are my faithful God who carried me thus far. Praise you for the hope I can have in you for the future. Thank you for the many signs of renewal and hope around. Open my eyes to see you at work and be encouraged in all the things that you are renewing. Renew in me the desire and strength to let go of the past and move forward in faith in the renewed path you have prepared for me. Amen

[from GV]

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