The time has come to step outside our respective comfort zones

 

Dear Friends,

 

During David’s sabbatical (and in preparation for his forthcoming retirement) the three churches of the North Lea Valley Shared Ministry (NLVSM) are taking it in turn to write the ‘minister’s address’ for the front page of the magazine and to start us off Broxbourne URC are stepping up to the plate – or I am, as their representative.

I suppose that you could quite fairly argue that the ‘situation’ that has resulted in me writing to you is threatening to put all of us beyond our personal and corporate comfort zones. Since David Bradburn arrived in our midst and took over the leadership of our churches (some 32 years ago in Broxbourne and subsequently 15 in Cheshunt and 7 years ago in Hertford) we have been well and truly spoilt.  

Well, as all good things have a habit of doing, all that has come to an end and the time has come to step outside our respective comfort zones – and to do so in more ways, I suspect, than we are yet aware.

 

 

‘Why you?’ you might ask. Indeed, so might I! Don’t get me wrong, I like writing - you could say that I’ve made a career out of it, but this is different. This is really outside my comfort zone. I know that, whilst we may not like it, we learn most outside our comfort zone, but this is putting myself on the line, my head above the parapet.

I suppose that you could quite fairly argue that the ‘situation’ that has resulted in me writing to you is threatening to put all of us beyond our personal and corporate comfort zones. Since David Bradburn arrived in our midst and took over the leadership of our churches (some 32 years ago in Broxbourne and subsequently 15 in Cheshunt and 7 years ago in Hertford) we have been well and truly spoilt.  

David hasn’t just lead us spiritually – informing, educating and inspiring, but has cared for us pastorally, nurturing, supporting and guiding – as our leader, mentor and friend. Everything that he has undertaken, he has undertaken with energy, enthusiasm and huge attention to detail (Who else knows how many floor tiles there should be between the worship table and the front centre pew at Broxbourne?) and with a finger in every pie. Oh yes, we’ve all joined in and done our bit, but we’ve always had an anchor, a point of reference, an encourager. As I said, we’ve been spoilt.

Well, as all good things have a habit of doing, all that has come to an end and the time has come to step outside our respective comfort zones – and to do so in more ways, I suspect, than we are yet aware.

Now this is a bit scary – a bit of a leap into the dark, or maybe over the abyss, but we are not alone – indeed we are never alone. We’re in this together. We’ve got each other – our home church family and in the wider three church (NLVSM) family, but far more than that we have a promise from one who will never let us down and who is always by our side if we will but ask. Jesus said, ‘Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28 verse 20)

Our challenge is to trust. There was never a promise to make life’s path smooth, straight and easy – but far more valuable – a promise that He is alongside us every step of the way, whatever path we choose. My personal favourite Bible text, the one by which I try – and sometimes succeed - to live my life by, reads as follows, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.’ (Proverbs 3, verses 5 and 6)

Do you recall the slide that David uses at the Rededication service – the one with the person leaping off the rock?   The one that illustrates the words, I am no longer my own but yours, put me to what you will, ….. I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.’

Well, just maybe this is the time.

This may not be the most erudite or literary magazine front page that you have read and writing it has indeed taken me outside my comfort zone, but it is sincere and from the heart.

I wonder – what are you going to be asked to do?

Will you rise to the challenge?

You won’t be alone.

Rosemary Woodall