Prayer for Liverpool
“Try a factory reset”, said the Customer Services person in her email. “ Turn it off at the wall. Leave it for an hour and then turn it on again. If it still doesn’t work, then come back to us.” I have to say that I was pretty sceptical when I read her words.
The item in question was a fairly new (i.e., less than a year old) fridge-freezer from a well-known manufacturer. We were not long into lockdown and, one evening, we heard the alarm going off. That usually means that a door has been left open. But on this occasion, everything was securely shut. Yet, for some mysterious reason, the freezer temperature was going up, everything was defrosting and nothing I could do with trying to play with the settings was having any effect. There was no re-assuring sound as the pump and motor kicked in. Now what? Fortunately, our next-door neighbours came to the rescue by lending us an old spare freezer that they had in the garage, so we didn’t have to defrost too much. But what a palaver. An engineer was duly requested by email from the manufacturer as it was still within warranty. The next morning, the email from the manufacturer gave the answer above. Hey presto, their factory reset suggestion worked. To this day, I have no idea what happened, or why the brain of the fridge-freezer threw a wobbly and went into melt-down – literally!
It is evidently our season for electrical malfunctions – I am sure that they can sense our stress and anxiety – just like the old photo-copier at work that I had to do battle with regularly. Since the fridge-freezer episode, we’ve had external computer speakers going on the blink. Our shower keeps tripping out the house electrics – but there is no sign of water in the shower control box. As I say, it’s a mystery!
Things electrical and electronic tend to confound me. At least when I was trouble-shooting mechanical devices, in my days as an engineer, I could usually see or sense what’s going on. I knew the tricks of the trade – like putting a large screwdriver handle to my ear and listening through the metal blade resting on the machine housing to pick up for any clonking from the bearings. But with electrical items I find it very difficult to work out why it’s not funtioning properly. If you do get something moving with electrics then it’s generally catastrophic and involves a loud flash, a bang, smoke and an unpleasant smell!
As I reflect on the ‘mystery’ to me of things electrical, I suppose that I am also reminded that, for many people, the whole sense of ‘church’ is a great mystery! In ‘normal’ times, and for those outside our circles, we seem to dress up in funny clothes, sing songs that don’t make sense to them, have bizarre rituals, mix with people with whom we would never meet in the course of daily life, and generally get up at unheard-of times on Sunday mornings when we could be lying in or going for a day-trip to somewhere nice. I know that I overstate the case and am exaggerating! Yet, the thing that has surprised me again and again over the years is that those who do come into our ‘courts’ are often struck by the very mystery of the place and what goes on here. Far from the mystery putting them off, it is the very thing that draws them in. Perhaps they too are looking for a ‘factory reset’ in their own lives and are really not sure how to do that?
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, when we make a point of recalling that, although God is one, God has three distinct ‘persons’, in the offical language. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all work together in community but in different inter-connected ways. The Trinity too is a mystery! We can look for ways to explain it but cannot. Indeed, if we could, then what we would be left with would not, by definition, be God! However, God relates to us as Trinity as we encounter the beauty of the work of the Creator, the life-changing impact of the work of Jesus the Redeemer, and as we are sustained by God the Holy Spirit living within in us and those around us. Trinity Sunday is a good time for a spiritual ‘factory reset’, in fact. Why? Because our first response is not to try to explain or understand, but to stand in awe, allow God to re-connect us to his power, and to respond in worship and love. Just because he is ultimately ‘mystery’ doesn’t stop us from encountering this generous God, who knows and loves us more than we can ever imagine!
So why don’t you, spiritually, follow the advice I had for my fridge-freezer? Unplug for a bit, sit still, and then re-connect to the power!
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God