What do you need God for?

Come on, what do you really need God for?

What are the situations you are facing which you find intractable, out of your control, impossible to cope with? Or what are those things which, in a quiet and honest moment, you see lying deep within you which limit, confound and obstruct the life which Jesus would wish you to own.

As a Christian of some 39 years I say, with even greater conviction that that which I had when I first responded to his call on my life, in him there is power and mercy which is more that enough, more than adequate to achieve all that you would hope for.

 


Tim Farron’s resignation . . .

. . . as a Christian political leader came as a surprise to me. But just as there have been a whole series of political surprises over the past 12 months, after some reflection, we can see the seeds of these decisions if we look carefully enough. Placed under enormous pressure by the media and other politicians Tim Farron was placed in an invidious position and sadly he has come to the decision he has to resign.

At a time when many of us are praying for the Open Church as we use Open Doors excellent 30 day prayer guide, through the month of Ramadan, may we also be mindful of Christians in the public eye, and those within our number whose faith at work is scrutinised in similar ways

 


I’m writing this . . .

. . . after listening live to some of the answers of ex-FBI head James Comey as he is giving testimony to a senate committee. Extraordinarily, on a UK General Election day, this event has usurped the election as the number one BBC News story.

And as much as this is a hearing which concerns one specific situation, as I listen, it seems to be emblematic of society’s wider issues with truth; stretching the truth, alternative truth and untruth.

Last Sunday evening we spent time reflecting on this contemporary crisis of truth, using the words of James’ letter, chapter 3. Our words reveal what cannot be seen and essentially our controlling of our speech is an essential aspect of being a Christian. And so we concluded: Any pretence of being a true follower of Jesus, which doesn’t result in a serious dealing with how we talk, shows that our discipleship is a sham, a game

 


Presence, presence, presence.

I have been reminded recently of the wonder, the beauty and the power of presence. Simply by being with people, sharing their lives, their pain, their joy, is a significant part of God’s calling on our lives.

It is found explicitly in Romans 12:15, but implicitly in the call I heard last week for ever Christian to read the scriptures through the lens of the incarnation, God’s presence with humanity.

And so in knowing God’s presence with us, we remarkably and wonderfully can mediate his presence to others.

I was sent this week by a church member these words of William Brodrick: “We have to be candles, burning between hope and despair, faith and doubt, life and death, all the opposites. That is the disquieting place where people must always find us. And if our life means anything, if what we are goes beyond the monastery (church) walls and does some good, it is that somehow, by being here, at peace, we help the world cope with what it cannot understand.”

 


It may not have escaped your notice . . .

. . . that the passages we have looked at during our journey through the Book of Isaiah have been unashamedly positive. It is a wonderful book that straddles a period of time in Israel’s history when they moved from despair to hope and from hope to cusp of returning.

This morning the text invites us to not just anticipate the return, but to celebrate the homecoming and all that God has in store for us. And in a different way, we will be celebrating in the evening as well, as we share communion together and consider these symbols of bread and wine.