The picture above is fascinating. I had no idea that there had been a Baptist congregation in St Asaph prior to our arrival. It serves as a great reminder that things aren’t always what they might seem. Isaac Newton once said ‘If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’. As I looked at the picture I began to understand what Newton was saying, that there are those who have come before who have laid the foundation on which we stand. When I arrived back in Llanelwy in September 2013 I knew I was building on a foundation that had been built by many of you as founding members, but had no idea about the historic tradition on which we were building.
In Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith, we gain an insight into the historical giants on whose shoulders we are standing. The great characters from the Scripture formed the beginning of God’s story amongst His people. In our own lives we will be able to name people who have left a legacy or continue to provide us with a foundation on which to thrive. Each of us are where we are today because of the influence and foundation work of others. It is both humbling and reassuring to know that similar to a jigsaw, we are one small piece in a much bigger picture.
The question is, what does this all mean for us now as we look forward to the future? We can look forward with certainty and hope because we know that God has fulfilled His promises in the past. Each of the individuals personal to us and in Hebrews were ordinary people, called by an extraordinary God. It is through God, that their legacy was established, and through God they found fulfillment and security. Running alongside the reassurance is the challenge. Each of us is called to leave a legacy; each of us is called to live a faithful life. Collectively we are called to leave a legacy; collectively called to be faithful to God’s call to us as a church, to look back for inspiration and walk forward with hope.
The beginning of Hebrews 12 sums up our challenge and call eloquently: ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.’ Hebrews 12:1-3. As we purposely discuss the next steps on our journey as a church lets do so unhindered, reassured and with expectation.