PASTORAL LETTER FROM MARK CHESTER 23rd JUNE 2021

Dear friends

Grace and peace to you from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ,

Last Sunday morning, just as I was preparing to join in with the worship at WCMC on the television, there was a knock on the door. It was a neighbour upset over the loss of his chickens to a fox. At this point I was faced with a decision over priorities, do I tell him I can’t listen to him now as I’m about to join in worship with my church or do I lend him a sympathetic ear for a while?

Priorities, we all have them. Should the government prioritize the economy over Covid restrictions? For some of us a priority will be to have some kind of holiday away somewhere, others will make it a priority to catch up with friends and family and for others the main priority will be to keep safe while there is still a danger of catching or transmitting Covid.

When it comes to Christian ethics and we are presented with a choice of priorities, whether it is in personal relationships, church policy or a doctrinal stance over a certain issue; according to Jesus our greatest priority is to love God and love our neighbour as ourselves. This is more important than any religious imperative we feel obliged to keep (Mark 12:28-34). If we feel that a certain principle is very important or a particular action needs to be taken to uphold it, then we should also consider this; LOVE MATTERS MORE.

Loving God and our neighbour matters more than anything else when it comes to our faith. Unless we have this as our foundational priority when it comes our witness as individuals and a circuit, all of our ‘Spirit filled’ enthusiasm, our sacrificial giving or understandings of the mystery of life will amount to little other than noise (1Corinthians 13).

So what did I do with the neighbour talking about his chickens? To be honest I tried to do both, listen to the Church service and listen to my neighbour and succeeded in neither!

May I recommend when faced with a decision, remind yourself of this, LOVE MATTERS MORE

Mark Chester

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening].

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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