June 2021

Friday, 28 May 2021 08:00 Be the first to comment!

"The Change of Seasons ...."

seasonsDear Friends,

One of the joys of living in the UK is the variety of the seasons as the year rolls around. In other parts of the world the seasons and the weather are much more stable, but here the seasons come and go, sometimes all of them in just one day! And with the changing of the seasons the year takes on different feelings, colours, senses of perspective and more, each season taking us on its own journey into the wonders of creation.

With a different perspective the seasons of the church’s year provide us with a varied insight and dynamic as we encounter, engage with, and explore our relationship both with God and with the world we share. Recently we’ve enjoyed the celebration of the ‘Easter’ season, then of holding our breath with the Disciples, praying ’Thy Kingdom Come’, awaiting the promised gift of the Holy Spirit and her explosive arrival at ‘Pentecost’. And now we enter that season traditionally called ‘Trinity’, for a while the ‘Sundays of Pentecost’, and now more prosaically ‘Ordinary Time’. I have heard it suggested that none of these really do this season justice, and it should really be called the ‘Season of Discipleship’. In this season we move away from telling the chronological story of Jesus’ ministry to exploring with him what it means to be a Disciple, a follower of Jesus, a child of God.

My friend Benedict would tell you that the art, the practice, the endeavour of discipleship is not to be found in the mountain-top experiences that we so often look for when imagining an encounter with God, but rather through prayerfully being so attentive to the stuff of every day that we come to recognise the presence of God in all that we are and all that we do. We don’t have to go looking for God, she’s already here. We don’t have to search for Jesus, he’s already walking along side us. We don’t need to invoke the Holy Spirit she’s already deep at work within our lives, 

but often it doesn’t feel like that, so we start all sorts of activities and spiritual gymnastics to somehow capture a passing wisp of God, forgetting that she’s already here, always speaking to us in her still small voice, ready to be heard if we would but pay attention. This is a season for listening.

God Bless, Steve

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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