Tag Archives: world

Were Has Jesus Gone?

When we listen to what’s happening in Syria, when we listen to the news stories of mayhem, shattered lives, broken people, communities and nations, you may well ask where is Jesus?  In the midst of church decline, gossip and back biting, we may ask where is Jesus?

The lyrics to the popular christian chorus, I’ve Found Jesus… I love this song, its an old chorus from my teenage years, that brings back memories of when I became a christian back in 1992!

Just for fun you might like to google the where’s Jesus book, its a cheesy version of where’s Wally!

We need to find the Jesus who is more real than words on the pages of Scripture, who is more then the one who raised the dead, healed the sick and rose again on the third day. We need to find a Jesus that is perhaps bigger than our religious proclamations from the pulpit.

For so many where is Jesus is not even a question that occurs to them! Jesus is some renegade from mythical times. Where is Jesus? Who cares, people today have a enough to think about, worry about and to be concerned about. For so many Jesus, never raised their dead, healed their sick, and probably didn’t raise from the dead. That may be the sentiment of people in church as well as outside.

If the church can’t find Jesus, then how can we expect others to find him, know him, listen to him. Perhaps a conversation and journey with the community needs to look at the historical Jesus, leaving to an up-to-date real living experience of Jesus. John Wesley would say of his discipleship groups that you could not tell a testimony, any longer than a week.

So how are you being in communication with Jesus this week?  How have you listened and what have you heard? Certainly the conversation is multifaceted, one of hearing with the spirit and heart as well as with the head, but that doesn’t make it any less real and living.

As we go about our business this week, as we encounter all that life has for us in the days to come,  where do we find Jesus?  From the warm comfort of church worship, to the hardest days where all it seems to do his rain trouble down on you, where do you find Jesus?

If we are really serious about this relationship with Jesus being real and living, let it be more than soundbites and glib phrases. Lets journey with the idea that it is living and real. Listen once again to the stories of Jesus in scripture, and look for what God might be doing in your life and the lives of others. Encounter Jesus in your own discipleship and walk, as well as through the kindness, grace and love of others.

So when we look at the broken world around us, it might not seem so broken, we as a church might hear with fresh understanding, Jesus calling out to us, to go, to be, to do. To become the body of Christ that feeds the least of these, because they’re feeding Jesus, that comforts the most broken because we’re comforting Jesus, who bring healing to hopeless situations, because in doing so like so many actions we might conceive, we are doing it to and for Jesus.

Have a good week.

Keeping Faith: With the World

How we act as people is influenced to a greater or lesser extend by the expectations, of society, family or even our employer.

So understanding what the world outside our church doors, and stain-glass windows should be of importance. Keeping faith with the world means understanding its expectations. Means that we should resists isolationism and seeks better engagement and understanding.

Called To be Hermits?

It maybe that the lord has called you to the life of a hermit or to closed religious orders. If God has, you have my admiration.  Yet for many more that is not what the Lord is calling us too. Instead God is calling us to create a church that is  a place for rest, reflection and healing. A stopping place on your journey, or somewhere you regularly visit, like a bench with a particular view that lifts your spirit, and offers light into your life.

How we Engage

The bible calls us ambassadors for christ, and that is what individually and collectively we are.

ambassador noun: ambassador; plural noun: ambassadors

1 an accredited diplomat sent by a state as its permanent representative in a foreign country.”the French ambassador to Portugal” 2 synonyms: 3 envoy, diplomat, ambassador extraordinary, ambassador plenipotentiary, plenipotentiary, consul, attaché, chargé d’affaires, emissary, legate, (papal) nuncio, representative, deputy;

Building on this definition, whilst we have the agenda of the kingdom, and are emissaries of Christ, we are in a foreign land and therefore treat that land with honour and respect, engaging with it carefully, prayerfully and lovingly.

How to be an ambassador

An ex British diplomat wrote in his blog that, “One of the arts of diplomacy is to find solutions to problems that depend not on trust but on (mutual) interest” this is quite a provocative statement about working in a foreign land from a blog about ambassador training.

What we might take from it for our missional context, is the importance of engagement, even if we are not sure or who we are working with. Instead we come together for a common good and purpose to build something bigger than ourselves.

The stories or parables Jesus tells are ways people can connect with what the kingdom of God is about. Jesus is the embodiment of the living God, the fullness of the coming Kingdom.

In our engagement let’s remember we are in a foreign land, not in some super spiritual, theologically narrow way, but one that reminds us to take care. Like we do if we are on holiday somewhere  abroad, we carefully listen and try to communicate, we may even try to learn some of their language, but we are careful in how we handle ourselves not wanting to inadvertently offend or be misunderstood.

Yet be confident in who you are and what the Lord is calling you to be. Be assured of in whose name you stand, in whose ways you are living out your life. Just as the ambassador to the UK has the backing of the Queen, you and I have the backing and support of the King of the universe.

A parting thought

As we keep faith with the world, in all of its diversity let’s be relevant up-to-date, kind, loving and embody all that it means to be a citizen of heaven. In what we do, let’s offer hope, not ridicule, challenge corruption, and the demeaning of the other. Live full and brilliant lives in the light and love of the one who puts air in our lungs and knows the number of beats our hearts will make today.

Does Peace Even Have a Chance?

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“World peace is an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare:.-wikipedia

Sunday was the United Nations world international day for peace, I didn’t even realise it had happened, did you?

The day didn’t even make the news, which heralded the latest footage of violent clashes across the middle east, and in the divided Ukraine. One might have hoped for an coinciding announcement some political agreement on unprecedented financial backing, to train peace makers over and above that of training peace keepers?

As a christian sometimes I find it hard to know what to pray, or indeed do, when there is such hatred and commitment to conflict in the eyes of those who would kill us to get there way. So perhaps I might hold the big picture of a world in chaos before God, remembering that there are moments when peace can break out even ever so briefly.

Such a day was 25th December 1914. The history books recall that the day before German soldiers began singing christmas carols, this lead to conversations between the warring sides, leading to the moment on christmas day, where soldiers tentatively trusted that the other side wouldn’t open fire, as they walked onto mans land, and together the germans and british shared gifts and played football.

But as I hold that wide picture before God, I set about seeking God with the vision of my local situation. Trying to answer the question of how I can be a peacemaker in my own back yard? Whether that is the class room, work place, family or church. How can I enable change in those who slander, or spread the cancer of cynicism and violence?

Make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred, let me bring Your love, are the opening lyrics to the famous hymn of the same name. When it talks of Gods love, I do not think of his love as being soft, but instead, tough. The harder than nails kind of love.

A Love that demands sacrifice, that compels us to challenge those places where violence has become the norm. To restore peace, to bring about a rediscovery in the innate God given value in humanity and the individual right to live, life in all its fullness and potential.

Lets pray

Jesus may we have the courage to be a peace maker, that those through circumstance, the conviction of others or themselves may choose life above death, words above the gun or bomb. Finally lord if I am ever faced with the opportunity to inflict harm on those who  harm my own, compel me to choose peace.- Amen

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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