November 2018

Monday, 15 October 2018 14:40 Be the first to comment!

"100 Years and Still No Peace ..... "

Dear Friends,

Over the last four years we have heard and told all kinds of stories which have helped us to engage with understanding the First World War. There have been powerful films and dramas such as War Horse. People have researched and told the stories of those who went from their village or town to the trenches, but did not return. Our Schools have explored the history and found ways to bring it to life – some have visited the battlefields and war graves – and on Remembrance Sunday the Longridge cluster of schools is performing a dramatic presentation at the Guild Hall. Others have researched their own family history and found people and stories about which they never knew.

I had known about one of my grand-fathers, who flew Sopwith Camels in the Royal Flying Corps, since I was a child – he had the wood propeller on the wall of his study, though he kept his stories to himself.

Over the last 4 years my cousin has researched the war records of my other grand-father and his two brothers. They were both killed at Ypres, one in 1915 and the other in 1917. Had my grand-father stayed at Ypres maybe it would have been him too, but my great-grand-mother wrote to the Prime Minister and asked if he could be posted somewhere less dangerous as she would like him to survive the war. The request was acted on he was posted to Dublin in the aftermath of the 1916 uprising.

Millions of people, each with stories of survival, of injury, of grief and anguish created a movement of Remembrance and the British Legion to look after those injured, suffering and bereaved, and to work for a peace that would end all wars. The first we continue to do, and do well. The latter remains wishful thinking as we live in a country which has been at war somewhere or other in the world most of the years since.

The prophet Micah spoke of ‘beating swords into ploughshares’ and of ‘making war no more’, so people could live in their homes with security. Is it possible? May be, if humanity tried Jesus’ suggestion that we should ‘love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us’, ...... but will we?

God Bless.

Revd Stephen Cooper

Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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