Revd Dr Peter Sanlon
As pilgrims trying to discern our next steps in life, we need a vantage point. From where do you hope to see clearly?
Many of us think that information will enable us to work out what has to be done next. We have all scoured reams of government guidance to help our churches work out what is best to do next. We have been inundated with media reports and briefings. We have been told to listen to the experts, and we have been told to not listen to the experts. Information sifting is tiring and over the past year has felt endless.
We can forget that as Christian pilgrims we have resources that help us see a way forward, that the secular culture has no awareness of. Pilgrims are members of a church — a supernatural rock to stand on. Church is not just another department in the government’s civil service. Church is not just a social activity like football or the pub. Church is not just a human self-help seminar. When we gather for church we do so in front of supernatural beings (Ephesians 3:10), angels and departed saints (Hebrews 12:22-23). We too easily forget the supernatural reality of what this means for our pilgrimage.
The supernatural reality of gathering for church means we have something more than information to guide us in life. We have the power that is felt by those who together share in the heavenly kingdom. We are able to carry one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2). We praise God in song (Col. 3:16). We are able to pray for one another (Ephesians. 6:18). We are able to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Church empowers us to take the next step in our journeys through this world. We need more than mere information transfer. We need more than the ability to weigh conflicting advice. We need the supernatural power that God grants his people when they gather to worship him in ways that honour him.
There is a lot to process and ponder at this time — many feel weary and disorientated. The next steps may not seem obvious. Let’s gather as a people who expect and seek what is unavailable anywhere else: God’s power granted to his churches.
Revd Dr Peter Sanlon is the Rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. www.emmanuelanglican.uk