PASTORAL LETTER FROM REV JOSEPH TEMBO 28th APRIL 2021

JUST BE

Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, dear friends,

I sit here in my study this morning to write you this week’s letter that should reach you Wednesday, Thursday or a little bit later on in the week. Chief on my mind over the last few days as I contemplated on the penning of this letter has been one reality of our life in God through Jesus Christ our Lord, both in bad times and in good times. To some what I am writing to you about is all philosophical, but to many of us it is a living reality.

Much of the time we value in our lives as Christians (and this is also true for those who are not Christians), is taken up in talking and doing things. We sometimes are, and feel bereft for not having engaged in conversations or discussions with others, and when we have not done a million plus one more thing. A sense of guilt builds up as we go through the day and look back later at night to take stock because we did not spend time talking or doing things. In the case of us Christians, talking may include sacred things such as prayer sessions with the Lord or with others, while doing things for us may be taking part in any aspect of what we consider to be the work of God for us.

There is quite a lot of emphasis on being heard and on being seen to be busy, not that it is wrong to spend time talking and to be busy, but that there is also another holistic aspect of life we must attend to because it is one other reality of our life in God through Jesus Christ our Lord, both in bad times and in good times. The holistic aspect of life is simply “being” or “to be”. This speaks of some moments of life when we are not necessarily making our voices to be heard or dashing back and forth in the business of life. Socially, society has devised a mechanism of periodic holidays – days of rest from what we usually do as essential elements of our lives that include work, and the upcoming May Bank holiday is an example of this. On another level, God, who in old times commanded his people Israel to take a Sabbath rest, also commanded them to give their animals used in transporting good and farming their land a rest. Not only that, but to also give their farmed land a Sabbath rest.

There are moments in Scripture where the Lord tells us that his delight is not only in hearing our voices and seeing us busy doing stuff; but that he wants us to JUST BE – to rest, to be still, to be quiet, to be at peace with him and in the presence of God the omnipresent and immanent One. David J Evans wrote: ‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here…’ in the song whose title is these very words.

In Psalm 46.10 God says ‘“Be still, and know that I am God”.’ Be still – stop being frantic! In the military it might be represented by “Cease fire!” or “Stand still!” or “Halt!” All this requires trust and confidence in the One that is telling us to JUST BE! War and fighting is the context of Psalm 46, which is very much like our Covid-19 fight today. In the middle of all this, we must find a moment to JUST BE – to ‘Be still.’ In Isaiah 30.15 God says: ‘“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…”’

I pray that in trusting God, we will all learn to take time to JUST BE, and let God speak in our lives and let him work in each of us. The grace of our Lord be with you all.

Joseph.

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