Firm Ground and Distanced Gathering

Tuesday evening saw the start of our women’s bible study with church.

During the year that I’ve been around, our church has had a small group under the auspices of a bigger church down road. Their women’s ministry is big, and brilliant in many ways, and we’ve benefitted hugely from being included in the teaching and the provision.

But we’ve broken out, and given birth to our own ‘thing’. Prompted by Covid, and limited opportunities through our ‘big sister’ church, we are now gathering together on Tuesday evenings. Masks are on, the chairs are six feet apart and there’s a screen full of zoom participants at the back of the room. Definitely Covid coloured, but also wonderfully normal. People together, digging into God’s word and enjoying talking with one another. Laughter echoes throughout the overly sized room that allows plenty of space for distancing, and the car park is buzzing afterwards as mask-free ladies catch up and delay driving away, savouring moments of a remembered normality. The extrovert in me buzzed off being with people, and the teacher in me was wired from having had the privilege of sharing big truths with wonderful women (scattered far and wide and so requiring a loud voice and frequently turning head!).

We’re reading Mark’s gospel together, and as I’ve been preparing the studies, I’ve been struck again by Mark’s clarity and punch. He gets straight to it and in his first sentence tells us that Jesus is God’s king. Within fifteen verses, we’ve heard him say it; Isaiah, John the Baptist and God say it; and finally Jesus himself proclaim the ‘kingdom’ to be at hand…because Jesus himself, God’s king, is here.

Evidence stacks up as we go through the account. Conviction of Jesus’ kingship grows, but also his humility, compassion and kindness as we watch him love people. He heals, he quells storms, he gives time to those others don’t…and, rather than crashing down in judgement, he calls us to repent and believe.

It’s big. And weighty. But also freeing, in this world of uncertainties that we have such a king – one without u-turns, dubious moralities or dependencies on anyone. Circumstances can’t usurp King Jesus, and so we stand on firm ground as we follow Him.

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