Monthly Archives: December 2014

An Angel Pops by New Year Eve 2014!

Before auld lang syne is played tonight, I would like to introduce Jim. A man who was generally happy, sociable and a little over weight, a reality of on the job cake eating and sitting at his desk every day. He was also a door steward at his local methodist church and his whole life fitted into a well worn pattern, like a comfortable pair of shoes.

Each christmas he would enjoy the turkey, the mince pies, carols and festive drinks. On December 31st each year he would write a list. At the top of the list he would write ‘todo list’ and the year in which he would soon find himself, so this year he wrote ‘todo list 2015.’ and so he began.

1. Loose some weight. The remarkable thing was that each year, Jim wrote the same thing and on each New Years Eve previously, he would weigh himself and be exactly the same weight give or take a few pounds.

As our Jim sat their at his desk pen in hand, and deep in thought, little did he expect things were going to take an unusual turn.
‘Ahem.’ Came a small voice,
Again after a pause the voice cleared his throat,
‘Err Ahem.’

Nothing very unusual had ever happened to Jim and you would be surprised and impressed, at how Jim remained composed at what he saw there on his desk, just to the left of his pencil pot.

Jim looked on his desk to where the sound was coming from, and there on it was a tiny creature, it had wings and wore what looked like a white tunic.

“Hi.” said the voice, “I am an angel!” Jim wanted to reply aren’t you a bit small, but thought that might be rude!
“Ok.” He said, Jim was never big on long sentences.

I notice,” said the angel. “That your writing a list and wondered if I might help!”
“Ok, I guess.” Replied a rather bemused Jim.
“I wonder if I might add something to it if that was alright, and it needs to be first?” The angel asked.
“But I have one already and it’s the one I have every year.” Replied Jim a little impatient to get back to what he was doing.

“Trust me Jim, you might enjoy the change.” The angel countered.
“Ok,” replied Jim who wanted an easy life and thought he could always change his mind after if he didn’t like what the angel suggested.
“Great” the angel said and with a wink added “you can always change your mind if you don’t like it! Which sent a shiver down Jim’s back!
Jim crossed out loose some weight and looked at the angel for inspiration.
“I would like you to put two words. And they are Ask God.” the angel replied.
Is that it? Asked Jim
Yes, that’s it, ask God.

But what does that mean? Replied Jim looking towards the angel, except the angel had disappeared!! Jim looked around for the angel for several minutes, but he was no where to be found. Jim returned to his page and the words Ask God which now had three dots after it. He wondered what it might mean, then a startling thought occurred to him, what if it meant ask God about the year ahead!

Jim didn’t rub out the words the angel gave him but kept them, and as was his way stuck the list on his fridge so he would see it each morning, he used a magnet with the words F.R.O.G on it, he liked magnets and thought someday he should find out what the letters meant.

May this year be for each of us about finding out what God has for us, rather then us change our selves instead allowing God to change us reshape us into the men and women of God he is calling us to be, in the likeness of his son. Finally don’t forget to always live as those Forever Reliant On God!

Love and happy new year
Andy

The Peace Baby

‘I can’t forgive you.’ Is the kind of statement that separates people, divides communities and causes rifts that last years, perhaps life times. The words signify a break in that relationship, a fissure opens up between you and they.

When I face my tormenter, I can’t forgive from my own wellspring of strength. No matter how much I work out in the gym or look inwards. Instead it is only when God supports me, and reminds me, that he loves the person behind the torment that there is a bigger narrative! Only then can I find the strength to have compassion, the strength to stand and not be his victim anymore.

This christmas the birth of Jesus could be seen as a peace offering, the beginning of a way back to God and a deepening of our walk with him. It is said of a primitive tribe in some far flung place on earth, that part of their culture when one tribe is at war with the other, the offering of a peace baby could be made, in this ritual the chief offers his own baby to his enemy to be raised as one of them. As long as this peace baby survives peace remains intact between the warring sides.

God put his son into the hands of those who didn’t truly understand who the messiah was, to people who were impoverished in so many ways. God entrusted his sons care in a simple act of  trust that is reciprocated. In that simple trust the cosmic rift between us and God begins to be healed, closed and shut for good.

Gods lullaby to us is of a love that transforms, Joseph into the most understanding husband ever, that his betrothed would be pregnant by God, this love transforms a peasant girl into Mary mother of God, Shepherds into the first evangelists, and wise men into the first christalogical scholars.

I wonder how Gods lullaby might transform us with our internal struggles, and how this song might lead us to a new place of healing and understanding. Of a God who will literally go the distance for us. I wonder would we at least, in his strength, go the distance for one another.

My children sometimes come to me affronted by the other who has wronged them in some way, all too often as parents we hear the line, “they started it!!” After which forgetting how young they are I  try to explain, that if no one steps up and becomes the bigger person and breaks that cycle, when does it stop. He looks at me blankly and replies, ‘but she started it!’

We find in the christmas story that God breaks the cycle, which begins with birth and ends in resurrection. God begins a 33 year peacemaking programme with humankind with the people of Mary and Josephs time. As we celebrate Christmas this year we are reminded of his peace initiative, God’s olive branch his peace baby who doesn’t stay dead, that the rift between us and God might be healed and peace maintained forever, by a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, who is called Jesus.

Merry Christmas.

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