September 2019

Sunday, 18 August 2019 11:11 Be the first to comment!

"Seeing round corners ....."

Dear Friends,

It’s often said that it is just as well that we can’t see around the corner about what is coming down the road towards us, because if we could we would find it all rather too alarming and perhaps, like rabbits, we would become frozen in the on-rushing headlights of life – better to take it one day at a time. Indeed, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told us ‘Do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will take care of itself; each day has enough trouble of its own’.

But there is a difference between worrying about tomorrow, and living today is such a way that we are prepared for tomorrow whatever it may bring. In our Daily Bible Readings this month we are taking a look at some of the minor prophets, Micah and Habakkuk from before the Exile warning of what was to come if the people did not return to God’s ways, and Haggai and Zechariah speaking about why things had gone wrong encouraging a better way of living post-Exile.

The life of the Kingdom of God and its people is characterised by love, justice, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, hope, integrity, peace and joy – well that’s the beginning of a list. What got the people of Israel into such trouble was that, instead of living in these ways, they had selfishly pursued wealth and power, with all the conflicts, injustice and oppression which flow from them.

Would following the ways of God have saved them from the Babylonian invaders? We don’t know – after all there is unjust suffering in this world, mostly but not exclusively the result of human choices. But imagine what a difference it would make to the world, to politics, to community, to how we do business, to relationships, to families, if we lived today in the pattern of God’s Kingdom, prepared to face tomorrow rooted and grounded in that way of living. Imagine it ........ and live it!

God Bless,

Rev’d 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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