This Sunday will be halfway through our series on Mark’s Gospel: Jesus Unfiltered. It will also be our 6th Sunday of ‘live’ worship in our building in Robina.
Halfway points are interesting places to be. I’ve noticed with interest, comments recently made regarding the lockdown in Victoria, about potentially being halfway through their lockdown and the sense of hope that people had because of that realisation. It was also mixed with a healthy measure of lament of what may be yet to come.
Halfway points give us a sense of perspective, they enable us to look back but also look forward. I also know that sometimes getting halfway can be a point where people realise the enormity of what is yet to come and give up. I know when I get a chance to play at my local golf club (which hasn’t been as often as I would have liked recently) and I’ve reached the end of 9 holes and the groups in front are really slow, I will often say to myself, “that will do, I’m not sure I can have the patience to wait out the pace of the next 9 holes” and because the 9th hole is its close to my car as the 18th hole is, it’s often tempting to just leave there and then.
I really have no idea what stage were are in with regards to the global pandemic, maybe it’s halfway or maybe it’s nothing like halfway but I did think the timing of this halfway point, which also is the first Sunday after our 23rd birthday (in case you’d forgotten) was a good opportunity to challenge us all to look back and also to look forward.
I mentioned recently in my sermon on ‘Jesus: Healer’ that scripture is often written with the perspective of looking back and recognising what God has done in and through God’s people. As we look back I would challenge us all to see God’s hand in our lives and to find encouragement in the reality that when we pause to look back we can’t ignore that even if we’ve been less than active, God has always been moving.
There is the possibility as we pause in our halfway point moments that we could actually be challenged to give up, lay down or let go of some things. But when we are challenged in those ways, I’ve always found it is so we can find focus in new areas or more intentional focus on less things – it is never to actually stop and ‘give up’. God does not give up on us and so we as God’s people must take encouragement from that and not be tempted to give up on ourselves or on others.
That’s why looking forward is so important. What can we see is possible? What have we learnt that has equipped us for the next part of the journey? Through Christ there is always hope, there is always a new beginning and there is always the promises of God to hold on to and keep moving forward.
I do hope you are able to take advantage of the halfway points in your journey. I do hope perhaps this particular one might allow you to reflect, refocus and recharge. Christ in us is the hope of glory so let’s be bearers of that hope.