— Kirsty is operations officer at St James in the City. She was born in Liverpool but had a gap of 17 years living down south before she came back to marry a scouser. She is very confused where her north/south allegiance should lie… —
I know the last blog post was about ‘our transition period’, and we don’t want to harp on about it, but there really has been a drastic amount of change at STJ over the last few months. Building work, temporary accommodation and an ever-revolving staff team to name but a few.
But finally, it all seems to be settling down. Jude has returned, Matt our new worship pastor is on the horizon and we will hopefully be back in Church before we know it.
It almost feels like a new beginning, the start of something new. This is exciting and yes, a little scary. Our new building will hopefully give us the chance to start new ministries, reach new people and to make an even bigger impact on our community. New staff members and interns will bring different skills and a new vision for the leadership team. September we will see a new wave of students, ready to use their gifts to serve Liverpool and STJ.
I don’t know about you, but I am more than happy to jump on the ‘Greatest Showman’ craze that is sweeping the nation. The songs are everywhere, and I for one am not complaining. Whilst listening (again) to the soundtrack, the final song, “From Now On”, started to take on a different meaning, especially in the light of our building work at St James and our ‘new beginning’
A man learns who is there for him
When the glitter fades and the walls won’t hold
‘Cause from then, rubble
Can only be what’s true
If all was lost
Is more I gain
‘Cause it led me back
From now on
These eyes will not be blinded by the lights
From now on
What’s waited till tomorrow starts tonight
Let this promise in me start
Like an anthem in my heart
From now on
From now on
(lyrics to ‘From Now On’, The Greatest Showman)
The ‘glitter’ has long faded, but our building isn’t quite ‘rubble’, and as far as I am aware, no one is planning to join the circus. (Does anyone actually know where Jude has been the last few months, perhaps he was really practising his trapeze act.)
But I do think this song has a point, even if the one I am making is slightly different from the film. When things get tough and we are forced to start again, when your circus burns to the ground and it looks like all is lost, it actually reminds us ‘who all this is for’. For STJ this isn’t our family, biological or the circus kind, but Jesus.
STJ’s new beginning, the start of chapter two, is a perfect chance for us to stop and remember who all this is for
‘But when I stop
And see you here
I remember who all this was for’
The Bible talks a lot about the importance of stopping, being still and refocusing on God. It also gives us promises that wherever we stand and whatever we face we are not alone, our God goes before us:
Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging
2 Timothy 4: 17 But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength
As Christians, as a Church, we have the biblical promise that we are not in this new beginning alone. God goes with us, He is our refuge and He is our strength. This isn’t a promise that it will be easy, but a promise that we don’t go alone.
In the film, they thought they had lost it all, but from the rubble grew something even more exciting and even more beautiful. New beginnings can be scary, but right now I am excited and I am expectant.
My prayer for STJ and for you is that God continues to go before us, continues to uphold us. That it never becomes about being the greatest show, but this new beginning is a chance to refocus on God. That it becomes a place where the impossible comes true, where no one is ashamed of all their scars and where the outcast is always welcome. We pray that from now on these biblical promises continue being an anthem in our hearts. Amen
Ps runaways and bearded ladies are always welcome at STJ
*blog is about the sentiment of the film rather than the historical character the film is loosely based on.