I recently discovered a reflection on a boat in a dry dock and felt it was relevant to us at this time. The image is someone else’s but is adapted by me.
As you may know, a dry dock is a place for holding boats that need inspection and attention. Boats are supported and held in place as water is removed from the dock. The hulls are therefore exposed so that, what is under the water line can be seen and assessed clearly. A dry dock gives time for careful inspection of the vessel, for washing and blasting to see the damage caused by service on the high seas, and then for repairing, refitting and repainting. The purpose of a dry dock time is to make the boat seaworthy again, more efficient and longer lasting, and it is then recommissioned once more for life on the sea. We are all living with restriction and challenge, despite many good things taking place the virtual worship world and a fresh stirring to pray. Yet is God doing something deeper amongst us as his people? Is God using this time to force us to look with him at the things that are exposed by being in a dry dock? As if we were in his hands and under his gaze (not always the most comfortable of places to be). Yet the intention of his heart seems to be to repair, refit and repurpose, not unlike the picture of the silversmith refining the piece of silver in our service last week – a work of purification and refining. And so, maybe in our praying, as well as the obvious needs of our world and community, we can ask for Jesus to have his way with his church and with us, and to prepare us for heaven’s use, to be more ready for kingdom adventures; that our hearts and ministries would be more fit for purpose and for fresh recommissioning, in a coming season of uncertainty yet possibly also a season of spiritual awakening across the earth.
I particularly invite you to use the coming time of Lent, which is traditionally a time for self-reflection. As well as this I would like to encourage you to engage with one of the courses that we are offering over this time. Beginning on Thursday 18th February there will be the following available to join:
Alpha – a 12 week introduction to Christianity, faith, the Holy Spirit and the Church
Prayer Course II – a brand new course on unanswered prayer designed for Lent by Pete Greig
The Drama of Salvation – a survey of the whole bible story showing how the work of the Holy Spirit is the very essence of our faith.
Cracked Wide Open (The Lent Course) – a 5 week course on participating in the mission of God
I encourage you to take part in one of these with others. It may be that your whole house group does this together. If you are not in a house group, we will be hosting a whole church Zoom group for each of the first three courses. All 3 will take place on Thursday evenings from 7:45pm. Numbers will be limited so please let me know by email which course you would like to join by next Monday so we can allocate the groups and send out the Zoom links.
However you engage with this material, I encourage you to use Lent as a time of equipping and empowering in the Holy Spirit and as we prepare to re-emerge from lockdown, whenever that may be, let’s ensure that we do so stronger, ‘fuller’ and more dependent on Him.
Mark & Ali