December 2018

Tuesday, 20 November 2018 04:40 Be the first to comment!

"Neither Understood, Nor Overcome ..... "

Dear Friends,

As I write the Christmas ads are picking up momentum, Christmas songs are getting played on the radio, and preparation for events, services and other Christmas stuff in Church and School is all underway – so we can’t blame it all on the commercialisation of Christmas!

But in the midst of it, some of the words of the opening verses of John’s Gospel start to resonate, growing from a gentle whisper to a glorious out-pouring of wonder at what God is doing in his world through Jesus:

In the beginning was the Word
the Word was with God and the Word was God
not one thing came into being except through him
what has come into being in him was life
life that was the light of humankind
the light shines in the darkness
the darkness could not overcome (understand) it
the Word was the true light
he was in the world
but the world did not recognise him
his own people did not recognise him
to those who did recognise him
he gave power to become children of God
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us
we saw his glory ..... as of the only Son of the Father
full of grace and truth.

 

So how will I seek to encounter Jesus, God-with-us, this Christmas?

How will I respond to his life-giving light shining in my life?

How far will I go, diving into the mystery of not knowing, of not understanding, in order that I may see the light and experience his grace and truth?

How far dare I go this Christmas?    

God bless for a very Happy Christmas!

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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