I know that chocolate eggs have finally disappeared off the shelves and you can now buy a rabbit in a pet shop but it is still Easter. Traditionally in liturgical calendars, the celebration of Easter continues for 50 days of joy and celebration until we raise the roof as we rejoice on the day of Pentecost. The 50 days of Easter prepare us for the challenges of the year ahead. They are a constant reminder that we live in the days of resurrection hope, a new Kingdom has begun, and although we do not experience it in its fullness; it is our longing. Easter is a focused 50 day reminder of what we long to live in all year round, as the old hymn says “this child can face uncertain days because he lives.” Indeed, the uncertainty of the future is made steadfast and secure by the constant reminder that Jesus lives and has sent his Spirit to guide us day by day.
My personal testimony, at this moment in time, is of the comfort, security and hopefulness of the Spirit leading and guiding Ruth and I into something that is a new, and as yet unknown, area of service for us in the coming year. Therefore at the recent Baptist Union of Scotland Trustee Board meeting I invited the Trustees of our Union to begin the process of seeking a new General Director.
The past 9 years have been quite remarkable and I have experienced an amazing partnership in the gospel throughout our Union. This has been a role of great privilege and has without doubt had a deeply positive impact upon my own faith and my understanding of the mission and ministry of the church. In years to come, I will look back on this time as significantly formative for me and rejoice in all that the Lord has done through this uniquely shared ministry period.
Whilst I rejoice in what the Lord has done, I also recognise that deep challenges remain for the church in Western Europe and the Baptist churches in Scotland are in no way exempt from these. However, in this Easter season we also acknowledge the great opportunities that abound for us as Union seeking to live in the power of the resurrection. With a strong foundation and a willingness to face uncertainty faithfully we will discover new pathways, forged in actions of self-denial that lead to resurrection celebration.
Our engagement with the Easter story in believers Baptism calls us to a life of change, a transformed and transformative life, as Walter Brueggemann calls it “a way other than our own”. As a Union of churches this is the way of life we have committed ourselves to in the ‘now and not yet’ of the Kingdom of God. We therefore trust in the leading of our risen Saviour, through his Spirit, to guide each of our churches into this new way of living and new ways of presenting the gospel message in the changing cultures of our nation. We also trust afresh in the faithfulness of God together in this time of searching for a new General Director; a time of not knowing for all of us and for those who will consider if this is an area of Christian service for them.
Our Council will meet on the 9th May to begin the process of searching for a new General Director. Join us in prayer for them that as they approach this task in faith, trusting they will meet with and be strengthened by the risen Jesus as his Spirit guides them to the person called to fulfil this deeply rewarding and significant role among us.