Pastoral Letter

Friday, 20th November 2020

 

Dear Friends,

When you move into an area you pick up bits of local knowledge in conversations you have. On moving to Hyde, I heard rumour of a disused railway turntable. A place people walked to. One of the positive things that has happened in both lockdowns is that as I have gone out for walk, I have discovered places of local beauty. Whether it is the canal that runs close to my house, the River Tame or Gower Hey. I have discovered wonderful places that are hidden to us if we insist on travelling by car!

On one walk I discovered this sign…

Sign post to Godly Turntable…I fell in love with music listening to records and I have since rediscovered the magic of music on vinyl. There is a deep sense of the divine in music. It communicates directly with the soul and I listen not just for pleasure but to find a connection with the Creator. (I am talking about so-called secular music!) So, my first thought was the turntable is indeed Godly! Then I realised this was signposting me to this local landmark I had heard people talk about – so I followed the signs and discovered the disused turntable.

Of course, it is called ‘Godley Turntable’ because of the area called Godley. (Imagine if we were to plant a church there – wouldn’t it be great to have a Godl(e)y Methodist Church in the circuit!!) Seriously, it is apt for a turntable to be described as Godly. Not because of my love of vinyl – that kind of turntable just spins round and round. But because God calls us to repentance and repentance turns us round to face a new way.

We often think that repentance is the precursor to forgiveness: we repent – God forgives. Repentance is far more than this. Repentance is a call to a personal and absolute surrender to God. The railway turntable was designed to turn an engine around so that it could travel in the direction it had just come from. Repentance is just that, being willing to go through a complete 180 degree turn to follow God.

‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near’ (Matt 4:17)

Jesus utters these words after the temptation in the wilderness. After he has turned away from the ways of the world and focused on God, the kingdom of heaven came near.

We are called to turn away from the ways of the world in repentance and towards God. If we repent, then indeed the kingdom of heaven will come near because we choose to live by the way of God and not the way of the world. We are not removed from the world, but we walk a narrower path with God, dance to a different tune played by God and sing to God’s new song.

And the kingdom of heaven will be near us because it is within us.

Revd David Hardman
Aspinal, Gee Cross, Hyde Central, Rosemount