You raise us up
Isaiah 63: 7-9 (NRSVA)
7 I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord,
the praiseworthy acts of the Lord,
because of all that the Lord has done for us,
and the great favour to the house of Israel
that he has shown them according to his mercy,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
8 For he said, ‘Surely they are my people,
children who will not deal falsely’;
and he became their saviour
9 in all their distress.
It was no messenger or angel
but his presence that saved them;
in his love and in his pity he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
The Christian community at Scargill died eleven years ago. The House was shut and put up for sale, the community were sent away, but God had not finished with this place of grace.
What is it like to be resurrected? Firstly, it is gift: only God can raise us up from death to life. No matter the amount of hard work, battling incredulity, resurrection is not something that we can achieve — it is beyond us, and is centred in God. Realising this is humbling. The early days establishing the new Community were marked with great joy within a fragile opportunity, whilst grief-filled pain flowed from the scars of death.
This year Scargill celebrated its 60th birthday, 10 years since its Resurrection. Scargill’s story includes all sorts of people doing their part, responding to God’s invitation to say ‘yes’ to the seeming impossibility of a community re-established to offer godly hospitality.
In June, I sat in a bunting-strewn marquee on the Chapel Lawn looking out over the excited representatives of each decade gathered to mark the birthday, a sign of God’s gracious work in many lives. We did ‘tell of the kindnesses of the Lord’, shared stories together, and once again asked God to lead us forward courageously.
I give thanks for my nine years as a resident community member. Within the faltering steps and dollops of grace I have seen God renew lives in this place. My life gathered into the story of God walking with His people here.
God, loving at the border
touching life and touching death,
Your Spirit brooding, caring, holding,
may we know your touch today.
Jesus knows the pain of death at violent hands,
yet in scarred, fragile, new-born hope,
was set again to stand,
striding in grace-filled light and peace
to see his friends.
Jesus breathes out the Spirit’s power
on quailing people.
Breath of life renew us now.
Resurrection does surprise us.
Generous life, against the flow of death, wins out
Come Holy Spirit.
By Jesus our friend,
for the Father’s pleasure,
raise us up …
so we can welcome others.
We are yours.