Tag Archives: call

Saying Goodbye

Some people have a hard time saying goodbye, for some a big send off ticks the box, for others they just want to slip away quietly, with minimal fuss. But saying goodbye is hard, change is difficult. You hold onto the idea, and feeling that God goes with you. However letting go of what was and heading into the relative unknown remains tough. 

Peppered through the beginnings of the Gospels, are short verses about how the disciples left all they had and went with Jesus!

Let’s stop a moment and think about those words. They left all they had, that meant jobs, family, friends, identity, stability and safety. They went with someone who perhaps they had heard of, perhaps they knew something about, more scarily though, it could be that they didn’t know anything about him at all!

What motivates somebody to just go? Perhaps having some kind of breakdown! Perhaps there is more to it that is written in the gospel, maybe there had been several meetings and discussions about what might happen if they said yes to Jesus? Or maybe something stirred inside them, we might call that the spirit of God, and they were compelled, inspired, moved, to take an momentous leap of faith. Which they didn’t know for a number of them would lead to martyrdom, denial, betrayal. Yet they who were Jesus’s diciples would witness the incredible things that God can do, not least raising his son from the dead, seeing 9000 people fed across two ocassions, countless people healed, and demons exorcised.

Hindsight would say they probably made the right choice! However in that moment recorded in the Gospels, there was no time machine, or Doctor Who’s Tardis that they could jump into, and see what was to come. Each of them took one step of faith, followed by another, and another. The diciples as we know stayed. I’m convinced that they would not have done the journey, if they hadn’t realised that Jesus was the real deal, and was and is the promised messiah.

I can’t imagine anyone, or any sane person following a charlatan, someone pretending to be something they’re not for that length of time and in such close proximity with one another. Because surely over the course of time the fake messiah would be found out. Which leads me to consider that what the disciples saw in Jesus was real, tangible, powerful and life changing. 

So when we head out, live our lifes, do church, lets be sure it’s the lord beckoning us, and step out in faith. For we may just see people healed, the dead raised.


A word to the wize,  whether we stay or go, following God being in the place he wants us to be, is also costly. I wonder if Peter for example, had looked ahead through the gift of time travel and discovered that the would die upside down on a cross. Might have instead said following jesus was not for him. Because at the start of his walk with Jesus his faith waw new, untested, unseasoned by the passage of time. It is the journey with all its bumps, and resting places, where faith grows, is tested, affirmed and strengthened. for Peter, his faith gave him the strength of character to say to his executioner tun the cross upside down, I will not die like my saviour and friend.

“Shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.”

Philippians 2:15-16

D-day: Fighting For Peace

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As a peace loving christian minister, it may seem strange to you and certainly uncomfortable for me to say, but perhaps at times, war might be a necessary weapon in a fight for true freedom and equality!

As one of the Call of Duty playing generation, I have never tasted the realities of war, the cold harshness of comrades cut down in their prime. The mental scarring of survivors guilt and horrors of post traumatic disorders.

In the game, you are immersed into the heat of battle, win medals and feel a victorious surge of adrenaline when you complete your mission. Yet when you can always respawn, (come back from the dead) and the people you shoot are computer generated, it’s hardly real or authentic as much as gaming companies try to make it.

Unlike when I was listening to the stories during the D-day commemorations, of brave men and women civilian and not who lived through a real battlefield, not lasting minuets but years with no chance to respawn; it truly reminded me of the reality of sacrifice.

I suspect that the pacifist in you and I would disagree with this next statement. Regardless I do wonder that sometimes this side of heavenly perfection, blood is the only currency that can win freedom. It is the currency paid in full by countless numbers of veterans across the history of humanity and a currency that through Jesus death and resurrection, will win our freedom from the consequences of our sinfulness before God.

I listened to the old soldiers of World War Two and see in them something truly heroic as they retell these events.  I see something in their eyes and hear it in their voices, perhaps it’s my imagination, but I glimpse an inner strength and resolve, that if called upon again even though in advanced years they would step into the breach once more for you and I, and for there families.

These are the men and women who journeyed into a hellish storm of lead for you and I. Who killed in the name of liberation, bringing peace ultimately. As well as exposing the lies and hidden horrors of a nazi regime. To them I am grateful they stepped up to a line and crossed it for a higher ideal for something bigger than themselves.

However what of the smaller conflicts, what of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, the western political stomach for war seems to have been tamed. The critique of politicians. and of our men and women in uniform comes from all quarters. It seems hard to find reason for a just war, perhaps that is as it should be?

However, sometimes it looks like opinion polls and political posturing somehow matter more, than lives, than freedom, than justice for the common man and woman, the ones who have no voice to and are being oppressed by legalistic barbaric customs, the Sudanese women sentenced to death, the school girls kidnaped from their place of education and the countless thousands slaughtered in Syria as the world watches on. Yet as I write this I am not sure what good a military solution would do in those cases.

I am not offering an answer just wrestling with the realities of our world. War has to be a last resort, and perhaps our national hesitation is good, wise and proper. However there needs to be a line when with heavy hearts we say enough is enough. Then we act with steely determination for something bigger than ourselves, something honourable and even good.

It may seem strange that as a christian I say these things, but past the vainer of wealth, and technological advances, the world still has the same issues, the same injustices and no lasting solution that works. religious, political or military solutions are not perfect, because as humans we are often manipulated by our own or others agendas.

Dear God,
I recognise I am flawed, but follow you who is perfect. In my imperfection, I pray that as far as it is down to me, I will make a difference where I am. Lord I pray for the government who make tough decisions not for the faint hearted, may they know wisdom and courage in there deliberations. Amen 

 

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