We arrived in Swansea to enjoy a weekend on moderatorial visit, but also to catch up with friends in the church and district where I served as minister for thirteen years. Our first day included attending the funeral of a church member, who was remembered in the service for her faithfulness to her family, work and church – which all made sense because she was a woman of faith. We then heard that the church secretary of the neighbouring church had also died that week – someone who had served the church as elder and secretary faithfully for many years. And so, on Sunday morning in worship, we needed to open our lives for God to fill us with both comfort and renewed faith. The lectionary reading both challenged us into finding new depths to our well of faith, but through it we found that well replenished with life giving water, as we grappled with the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are rare stories of people being miraculously brought back to life, but they are rare indeed. Even Lazarus would later physically die. So it would be cruel if God was offering the chance of this happening for us. Before resurrection, Jesus had to die. He was not resuscitated, but came back from the dead in renewed life, that is eternal, able to enter heaven itself. This is what God offers us. So, when all we can see around us is sin and death, know that “Forever God is faithful” He not only promises us this eternal life, but calls us to join God in resurrection living, bringing faith, hope and love into the world.
Kevin and Revd Dr. Robert Pope Christ Well Swansea, with a reminder of Faithful God!
This is the second pastorate I have visited where I was minister, and it is an amazing privilege to see where God’s people have journeyed since we left them. If a returning minister expects the red-carpet treatment, and to be told how good you were – I hope you’ll be disappointed. Instead, every conversation was a remembrance – as together we shared our memories of journeying together – through as many sad and painful times as well as joys and celebrations. We had walked, supporting each other, and serving our community together. Is this not what ministers and CRCWs are called into – faithful living in witness to a faithful God?