Wood: of fire and fireworks.

It’s been a little while since I blogged (I’d decided to blog more often again this year, but seem to have strayed a little from that plan – I blame the tax return…)

So perhaps it seems a little odd to be blogging on a book on wood.  It was the book of the moment at Christmas.  We bought a copy for my brother-in-law.  My brother bought one for me.  I have to confess I was excited!

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We live in the countryside.  We have a large log fire.  We get through wood (especially when my brother-in-law is visiting, but that’s another story!).  We started out buying the stuff, but have since just bought a chainsaw.  When a tree falls over in our garden, it gets processed.  So a book on wood is right up my street.  It’s a book that goes into the sort of detail that most would perhaps find excessive.  There’s a whole chapter on the chopping block, for example.

But it wasn’t simply the focus on wood that I found most attractive when I read it.  It was more the general way of life which the book reflected and reflected upon.  The work involved in making fire is one that wraps around the seasons.  Preparation for Winter begins in the Spring.  Trees must be felled.  Wood must be dried.  A failure to prepare for Winter is dangerous if you rely on the warmth that the fire brings.  And the work of the warmer months is rewarded by the comfort and safety that fire brings in the winter.

Another seasonal problem for the woodcutter in the summer is the heat.  The work is arduous, and when temperatures rise you will find yourself sweating profusely inside your heavy protective clothing.  Besides the thirst and the headaches, the woodcutter will find himself tormented by the flies and midges that swarm from the branches when a tree has been felled.  A consolation for these discomforts is that memories of such hard times make the heat from each log burning in the grate that little bit warmer.

Perhaps this perspective is useful – the hard times, if used as times of preparation, can be part of the picture of seasons – one leads to another, the work done in one benefits another.  The hard work is for a purpose.  The book also speaks of a slower pace.  Our world (or at least the bit I live in) seems to operate at a frenetic pace.  Of course, much of this may be of benefit to certain aspects of life.  But when ‘overdrive’ is the only speed at which we travel, we’re in danger.  Our physical health is compromised, yes, but we also risk missing important things.  It’s tempting to assume we’ll miss less if we travel at speed, but of course that’s not completely true.  A job like woodcutting forces you to slow down (wielding an axe at speed is likely to cause trouble!).

It’s also routine.  By that, I don’t mean that everyone does it (more’s the pity…)!  Rather, it’s a very repetitive activity.  Your first split log is much the same as the split log that finishes your fourth wheelbarrow load, except your arms might ache a little more by the latter.    And there’s something important about that routine, almost dull, nature of the work.  Often it seems that the ‘important’ jobs are those with glamour and glitz; those that excite and fufil.  The ‘firework’ jobs.  The ones that thrill and impress.  And yet those that meet a need through steady repetition have value too.  Without the logs being split, the fire would never be lit.

So what things are you doing that don’t fit the ‘exciting’ bracket, but still need to get done?  Do you need a reminder that those jobs are just as vital?  Those jobs need to be done for the sake of those you’re serving.  The split log, the changed nappy, the taxi service, the handing out books at the back of church, the blog posted.  Putting out the bins, the commute to another day doing the same thing you did yesterday.  Firework jobs are fun, and garner greater praise, but without someone to make sure the fire’s lit, we’re going to get cold.

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A covenant.

So, here’s the update on our first Sunday at our new church.

It actually went pretty well :)  There were a number of little encouragements – we were sat behind some friends, in front of others, and across the aisle from others.  To go to a ‘new’ church and literally be surrounded by friends is pretty reassuring!  The friends who sat in front of us have a child Luke’s age.  A classmate of Joshua’s was also there (not a boy, but you can’t win ’em all…).  The service was a joint one with the local URC (more on that in a moment) and Joshua knew two of the boys from the other church because they’d met at a mutual friend’s birthday party.  So though we were new, there were still plenty of people we knew.  We were made to feel very welcome, too, by other members of the congregation, some of whom we knew through our regular attendance at Messy Church.

The service itself started with the hymn ‘Great is thy faithfulness’.  (I’m beginning to feel like I’m writing a Mystery Worshipper report for Ship of Fools!)  I found those words a really helpful reminder to kick things off in a new church.  Different church, same faithful God.  The final hymn was ‘I the Lord of Sea and Sky’ which has that chorus,

Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Given that we feel called to be at St. Wystan’s, that seemed like a pretty apt sort of song to be singing.  But, as mentioned before, the service was a joint one with the other church in the village, and that brought perhaps the greatest encouragements.  It was a ‘covenant service’, and I’m going to include a fair chunk of the prayer we prayed together below, as it all felt very appropriate for where we are at.  It’s a chunk of Church of England liturgy.  I love liturgy.

Christ has many services to be done; some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both; in some we may please Christ and please ourselves; in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves.

I don’t really know what to say, other than that I love this paragraph.  Christ calls us.  This is what matters.  Whether we enjoy it or not, whether it suits us or not, whether it reflects our desires or not; these things are not important – what matters is that He calls.  That demands a response.  Some people might focus too much on the blessings we are promised, others might be blinkered and see only the sacrifices we must make.  But the Christian life is a combination of both – ‘some are easy, others are difficult’.  Christ’s call brings both heartache and hope, both puzzlement and peace, both work and rest.

Then we were called to join in the covenant – God’s call to be a holy people:

Therefore let us make this covenant of God our own.  Let us give ourselves to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.  Eternal God, in your faithful and enduring love you call us to share in your gracious covenant in Jesus Christ.  In obedience we hear and accept your commands; in love we seek to do your perfect will; with joy we offer ourselves anew to you.

And so, standing together, we said this:

I am no longer my own but yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
wherever you may place me,
in all that I do and in all that I may endure;
when there is work for me and when there is none;
when I am troubled and when I am at peace.
Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded;
when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking;
when I have all things, and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am to serve you,
as and where you choose.
Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
May it be so for ever.
Let this covenant now made on earth be fulfilled in heaven.
Amen

It was a great way to mark a new beginning.  And there was plenty in there to get me thinking.  We’ve moved from a church where I helped with music, preached, ran some youth work and previously helped to run the toddler group.  We’ve moved to a church where I currently have no ‘work’.  Here, too, I want to see God’s will being done, in me and in those around me.

The sermon was (in my opinion) unnecessarily short (about 8 minutes) and unnecessarily shallow.  The readings were the Wedding at Cana and 1 Corinthians 12, about unity.  The latter would have been a great passage to preach on in a united service, but the focus was on the former.  The general thrust was that the power of God is only a prayer away.  This is true, but I felt more could have been said.  There was a thought-provoking link to the promise of the coming eternal kingdom and the ‘feast’ we will celebrate together.

But I’ve still not heard the vicar preach, as it wasn’t him doing the sermon this week :)

So all in all, there were many positives.  Some things I struggled a bit with, but will continue to pray that we allow God to use us there to His glory.

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Amputating myself.

New year, eh?  I wonder if you’ve made plans to do something new.  Our family is doing something new this year, and it’s terrifying.  Thankfully it’s not only terrifying, but I’ll come back to that later.

We’re moving church.

We came to Derbyshire back in 2008.  We started attending St Peter’s, a church in the nearest town, and have been going there ever since.  The boys both went through toddler group, which I helped to lead.  I’ve been involved in music, preaching and youth work, and we’ve got lots of friends in the congregation.  We’re part of the family.  There are a couple of families in particular to whom we are very close.

It’s not always been plain sailing, of course.  Families aren’t perfect.  In particular I’ve struggled with the church’s stance on women in ministry.  We’ve even wobbled enough in the past to consider a move.  But we’ve always stayed.  Somehow, this is different.  You see, although a church meeting last year about women in ministry might have provided a ‘nudge’, that absolutely wasn’t our ‘reason for leaving’.  We hadn’t even decided to leave.  That is to say, we didn’t start rushing around, desperately church hunting because we’d been upset or annoyed or stung or anything like that.  In fact, we weren’t church hunting at all.  No, this feels more like a call than a running away.  It’s rather taken me by surprise.

Not only has it taken me by surprise, it’s also hurt.  Telling our 8 year old about it back in October brought him to tears.  And the tears have returned a few times since.  His road is perhaps a particularly difficult one to travel – two of his best friends in the whole world are at St. Peter’s, and he doesn’t want to leave them.  We’re not moving house though, and we’ll obviously be staying in touch (they spent a very joyful, active and loud Saturday with us last weekend, for example) but it will of course be a bit different.  The boys will keep going to the kids’ club at St. Peter’s for the forseeable future.

It feels a bit like we’re amputating ourselves (just set aside for a moment the fact that you amputate bits that are dead or endangering the body!).  And that hurts.  There’s no way around that.  But if we are to be faithful to what I believe is God’s call, then that pain is inevitable (even while we can have faith that it’s a journey He will walk with us).

So where are we going?  Well, we’re actually moving to a church closer to home.  We’ll be attending St Wystan’s, here in our village.  It’s a church we’d previously ruled out for various reasons.  In fact, even during our wobbles, we’d not really considered it a possibility.  And that is part of the surprising nature of our move.  We’ve been attending Messy Church there since it started up, and have always enjoyed it.  It’s clearly a church that wants to reach out to the community, and the congregation, though predominantly ‘older’, seem absolutely committed to welcoming children and their families in.  I’d love to see the gospel being faithfully preached there to members of the community who are drawn in.  That’s the kind of church that I want to be a part of.  There are initiatives other than Messy Church that seek to engage and involve the local community, and that’s really heartening.  Since we started to seriously consider the move, I’ve been throwing out fleeces like they’re going out of fashion (I imagine my wife would tell me that they are, but I still have one to step out of bed onto every morning!).  And in His grace, God seems to have been dealing with my fleeces in a way that points to this being the right move.  Conversations, potential friendships, and hope.

So that leads me to think maybe this is less of an amputation, and more of a grafting.  Of course, grafting is not painless or without risk.  But where amputation is a cutting off, a graft is a growing together.  For the most part, our dear friends at St Peter’s have been very encouraging, and for that we’re grateful.  We have also been lovingly warned about what to expect and cautioned about making a move, but this has been done with grace.  We’re keenly aware that there are aspects of our ‘new church’ that we’ll struggle with.  But I still feel that we’re called, and so there’s only one option if we’re to remain obedient.  But while this is, as I say, terrifying, there is also a taste of excitement.  We are not the only ones who are joining, and perhaps this is the start of a new phase of the ministry at St. Wystan’s.  Our vicar from our church in Worthing expressed excitement about being a part of a village church, and that was a real encouragement.  He also pointed out that things take time, which is a useful reminder and caution.

So that’s a bit of news from us.  If you’re the praying type, here are a couple of pointers :)

Pray that the boys would settle well into the Sunday School provision.  As it stands, it seems they’ll be in the same group.  They love and loathe each other, so pray for brotherly love to be the overriding thing as we adjust.

Pray that we would develop good friendships with others who are already a part of the church family at St. Wystan’s, or who God is nudging in that direction.

Pray that I would know how best to serve God and people in this move – there are lots of things that I could do and would enjoy doing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I should be doing all of them!

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Love, or fear? Some thoughts on Donald Trump

Someone’s recently pointed out that Christians should be making more of a noise about Donald Trump. Muslims are called on to condemn terrorists (like somehow any sane person would condone such vicious attacks…) but surely Christians must also condemn hatred, especially when it appears to come from ‘one of our own’. I have a tendency to sit at home and tut and sigh (either audibly or not, depending on my mood) and generally despair of the moronic statements that Trump keeps spouting. But that’s not enough. I don’t have a stage (Trump, on the other hand, has rather an expensive one). I don’t even have a soapbox (I’m more of a showergel kinda guy, anyway). But even if one person spots a Christian roundly condemning such hideous drivel, then that’s a good start.

There is plenty that could be said. He’s certainly spewed enough venom to require a whole vat of antidote. But where to begin?

Fear. Remember what the angels said in the Christmas story? “Fear not.” The Bible makes it pretty clear that the only thing we should fear is God. Donald Trump is stirring up fear in people. He’s preying on terror, and nurturing it to a point where it drives people to make irrational decisions. Frankly, he makes the work of a terrorist easier when he capitulates to the fear that they’re trying to instil in people, and leads others to do the same. It strikes me that, though his words appear to come from a place of strength and resolute determination, they in fact stem from cowardice and discrimination. This is so damaging. In the same way that so many Muslims fear being tarred with the same brush as a fanatical terrorist, there must be millions of Americans who reject the vile hatred that Trump is extolling. I just wish more of them could be heard. (As an aside, I wonder how the phrase, ‘giving [enemies] Aid and Comfort’ from Section Three, of Article Three of the Constitution might be interpreted here – it’s the section on Treason… It seems to me that maybe Trump is playing into the hands of his enemies by stirring up discord and division)

Refuge. The American people is made up in part of many ‘refugees’. This is a valuable part of its heritage. People who have fled the tyranny of the UK (sorry guys, our bad) and who have fled disasters like the potato famine. People who have turned to a new home looking for a new hope. It’s ironic, then, when such a country forgets its past, when it would rather close the door to all, than offer any solace to the new generation of hope-seekers; a generation that could continue to build America into a greater nation. Trump’s slogan is ‘Make America Great Again’. I don’t see how preventing any Muslims from coming to America will make it ‘great again’. Quite apart from anything else, that’s a British slogan, which makes much more sense when your country is called ‘Great Britain’. When you’re called the ‘United States of America’, your slogan should really be ‘Make America United Again’. That’s precisely what Trump seems to be battling against. It seems to me that what America needs now, far more than greatness, is unity. Don’t jeopardise that by giving in to fear, and driving away those who most need you.

Love. The idea of love seems to crop up once or twice in Jesus’ teaching. I seem to recall something about loving your enemies, and praying for those who persecute you. But that seems to have fallen by the wayside a little here (a bit like the Good Samaritan – wasn’t he left lying by the wayside too?).  Peace gets the occasional mention too. It doesn’t seem like slamming the door in someone’s face is going to be a step towards peace. Being insular, well that’s not encouraged. Judging others, that’s kinda frowned upon (don’t worry, I get the irony of that statement being made in a post like this). Stirring up discord, well that’s not generally held up as a high ideal. Trump just doesn’t seem to have much love to offer. He seems to rely much more on human strength than on godly characteristics. And that’s not ok.

I could go on and on. I could write about the sheer absurdity of trying to stop Muslims entering America (like somehow a terrorist couldn’t lie to gain access to the US…). I could have a little chuckle over the comparison between Trump and Voldemort (though, given Trump is real, this is no laughing matter). I could suggest that, following the recent hashtag, ‘#youaintnoMuslimbruv’ in the wake of the terrorist incident a couple of days ago, Americans might like to start trending ‘#youaintnoAmericanbruv’ to @realDonaldTrump. But maybe I’ve said enough for starters. Donald Trump, you are stirring up hatred and preying on people’s fear. The world doesn’t need fear, we need hope. We don’t need strength in isolation, we need unity.

“…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience … Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

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Introspection.

in-truhspek-shuhn:  from the Latin intrōspicere – to look within.

If you’re not a fan of open discussion about the inner machinations of the human body, it’s probably worth giving this post a miss…  No, seriously.

“Is that where they shove a camera up your bum?”

Well, it was an accurate description, if not a pretty one.  One of the lads at church heard me talking about my upcoming colonoscopy.  That was his take on the procedure.  And let’s face it, that’s pretty much what happens.  But here’s how it starts:

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Well, of course it starts with some weird bowel stuff going on and a family history of bowel cancer…  But once you’re on the final approach to the procedure, it’s all about the MoviPrep (other oral solutions are available).  This, folks, is a quasi-spiritual experience.  It’s quite remarkable.  It’s stuff to clear out the colon, so that they can have a good peer around without any, uh, stuff in the way.  The most appropriate term for the experience is ‘gushing’.  But maybe you didn’t want to know that.  Like I said at the beginning, this isn’t a post for the faint-hearted :)  Basically, you drink this clearout juice, and it travels straight through and comes out again, at speed.

Once you’re empty, you head to your local hospital.  Having had the indignity of spending hours on the loo, this is then compounded by a doffing of fashion (not that fashion has ever ventured into my wardrobe) and a donning of the oh-so-attractive garb of a patient.

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Believe it or not, that white bandage-looking contraption in the middle of the shot is some sort of attempt at underwear.  Trust me, you don’t want to see the photos of me ‘clothed’ in that particular item…  Thankfully, I enjoy rather an active (and perverse) sense of humour.

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So, dressed in all my finery, and feeling rather hungry (remember, I am genuinely empty of all sustenance at this point) I’m good to go.  I was given the option of having some anesthesia, or going ahead without.  As it meant I’d be allowed to drive, I went for the ‘no’ option.  I was assured that there wouldn’t be that much in the way of pain, but that there might be discomfort.  There was.  They also bunged this thing in my hand.  Though I can’t recall precisely why (this all happened back in April ish).  Maybe it was just for practice.  I think it might have been in case I decided that pain control was needed…

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Then you’re wheeled off to the prep room, and from there into theatre.  Sadly, not the high society sort of theatre.  The only thing on show is a grandstand view of my innards.  Basically, the aforementioned camera-in-the-bum is relayed to a screen, which allows the doc doing the procedure to have a good view of things.  I had front row seats (well, a front row bed) and was allowed to watch the entire thing.  Fascinating!  They’ve got various other things that potter along your colon with the camera – something to squirt bits that they want to see more clearly, and something to snip ‘polyps‘ off to check them out.  (Perhaps I should point out at this stage that I’m absolutely fine.  In fact, maybe I should have mentioned that earlier!)

There are a couple of ‘corners’ in your bowel.  The camera rounding the corner of the bowel was the only pain I experienced during the procedure.  Though I was assured this wasn’t pain, merely ‘stretching’.  It was certainly uncomfortable, but not excruciating, by any stretch (ha ha) of the imagination.  Sadly I didn’t have my camera phone with me in the theatre (bad planning!) so I don’t have any photos available of my guts.  More’s the pity, eh?

The camera (and its accompanying assets) are then removed, and you’re returned to your room (or ward, or whatever).  This is where I enjoyed my most precious breakfast in quite some time. But first there was the small matter of a cup of tea.  Given that I have a cup of tea every morning, I was feeling somewhat deprived by this stage.  This was delivered not a moment too soon, and was something to savour while my (admittedly rather late) breakfast was rustled up.

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When the breakfast arrived, it seemed rather small – it was covered with a metal lid (presumably to keep it warm, rather than to inject any sort of element of surprise into the meal, given that I’d placed a fairly precise order).  However, on removing the lid, it became instantly clear that the lid was only just holding it all in.  If seeing the inside of my colon hadn’t been so much fun, this may well have ranked as my favourite moment of the day.

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It’s a funny thing (not really of the ha ha variety) having a colonoscopy.  There is, of course, every possibility that it will lead to a cancer diagnosis, and the accompanying feelings, fears and treatments.  It was a good chance to brush up on my prayer life, but also to hand things over to God.  Whether it was a yes or a no, He is still the same.  It’s a chance to consider mortality, death and whether I’m ‘ready for it’.  (Which is different from being keen on it!)  But I can assure you that the colonoscopy itself is nothing to worry unduly about if you’ve got one coming up.  Yes, there’s discomfort, but there’s also pain control as an option, which the majority of people go for.

But alongside the physical introspection, another type of introspection was in order.  (See what I’ve done there?)  I figured it was also a good time to examine what’s in my heart (while someone else was examining what’s in my colon…).  And there’s definitely work to be done there.  I might have had the all-clear from the colonoscopy, but an examination of my heart is always liable to show up problems that need to be addressed, and that’s something to work on now :)  A spiritual examination can be as important (and urgent, perhaps) as a physical one.  But whatever examinations throw up (be they physical or spiritual) I can still trust in God to journey with me through this life, living in me, and working in and through me as I live in this place in which He’s put me.

 

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Wealth – privilege or trial?

In the prayers at church recently, this phrase popped up:

“…wealth is the privilege of the few…”

And yet when I read through the book of James, I find that wealth seems to be almost a burden.  The rich are called to weep and wail.  Wealth is seen as challenging rather than freeing.

So which is it?  Privilege or trial?  Certainly, we can look at the lives of the rich, and see that they do often live with great ‘privilege’.  They have vast houses, fancy cars, and apparently easy lifestyles.  Conversely, we can look at those in poverty and see struggle, hardship, and difficult choices to be made.  And there are certainly more people with not enough money than there are with an abundance of it.  So the rich are definitely ‘the few’.

And yet James makes it clear that wealth is not quite the privilege we might expect it to be.  It blurs things for us.  Our hoover’s just broken.  (Vacuum cleaners suck…)  We’ve got a couple of options.  We can get it fixed, or replace it.  Replacing it costs more (obviously!) but comes with a five year guarantee rather than a one year guarantee.  So we’ve replaced it.  And we can afford to do so.  So there’s no need to rely on my engineering abilities (though I did dismantle the old one a bit to see what parts needed replacing).  There’s no need to rely on the kindness of others in helping us to pay for a repair man.  We are independent.  Or that’s how it feels, anyway.  But I guess if you dig a little deeper, we’re not quite as independent as we might think.  Our house is provided by our employer.  Our employer also pays us.  We rely on them to give us money (albeit in exchange for a service).  Even our hoover is used more often by our cleaner than ourselves – someone else we rely on.  We rely on the banks to look after our money and not to lose it down the back of the stock market sofa.  We rely on the supermarkets to provide our food, and we rely on the farm workers and factory workers to provide the supermarkets with our food.

So while we might be financially independent, that doesn’t make us truly independent.  It’s just a little blurred by money.  It seems we can provide for ourselves.  But actually we need other people to do stuff for us.  And this blurring of the lines of independence can affect our spiritual lives too.  We can become so used to relying on ourselves that we end up assuming that that’ll work in our spiritual lives.  Jesus operates as a backup option, rather than Plan A. He’s something to fall back on in hard times, rather than to walk through every day with.  Whereas for the poor, reliance can sometimes come more easily.  When our needs are clearer, and our options more limited, sometimes we’re better at relying on the provision of others, rather than on our own resources.  And maybe that’s why James talks about the ‘high position’ of those who find themselves in ‘humble circumstances’.  Maybe it’s partly because they’re the ones who have a better grasp of need, and a better understanding and appreciation of God’s lavish grace.

But one thing wealth does bring is a great responsibility.  A couple of times in my life, I’ve received cheques that genuinely left me speechless.  Do we who are rich use all that we have to God’s glory?  We’ll never match God’s generosity, but have we ever really tried to emulate it?

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All change?

The look on his face was a picture.  We spent last night in a hotel, and this morning, the boys were up watching telly bright and early.  Bob the Builder came on.  But not just any old Bob; this was the new-fangled, decidedly less tubby, joined by new characters, and with a heavily-made-up Wendy, Bob the Builder.  Joshua, our eight year old, looked positively disgusted.  ‘This isn’t Bob’, he declared.

But not all viewers are too keen on the result, with some saying he  looked like he might ‘overcharge for work’, ‘drink Carling’ or  ‘vote Ukip'

I’m not a fan of change, either.  Whether it’s chosen or forced upon us, change is something I don’t find easy.  Sure, there are some changes that I like.  A new toothbrush is always a bit of a treat, a haircut’s good (although I get a little confused when I can’t successfully run my fingers through my hair), and there’s something deeply satisfying about discovering a new chocolate bar.  But mundane changes don’t have much power.  Friends on facebook may recall my recent foray into a new range of shower gels.  The first one made me feel like I was washing in Lemsip (and no, it didn’t clear my nasal passages at all).  But changes like that can be undone.  I can revert to an old faithful shower gel, and Joshua could resolve only to watch old Bob the Builder episodes.  But some changes demand much more of us.  Some changes are harder to undo.

And as I’ve been thinking about changes recently, I’ve been reminded of that sentence that is sometimes used at the end of (possibly only Anglican…) church services.  “Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord…”

The church service is somewhere where we should feel ‘at home’, somewhere where we are together with ‘family’.  But between church services, there are things that won’t always be easy (not that church is always easy either, but that’s for another blog post!).  And that phrase, ‘Go in peace, to love and serve the Lord’, well, that feels a bit like a timely reminder at the end of that family time together.  The stuff that’s happened in church, and most importantly God, the focus of our worship and lives, that won’t change.  He won’t change.  And so we can go in peace.  Not a peace that blindly ignores that challenges and trials ahead, nor hides from the change that may or may not be round the corner, but a peace that rests in the unchanging One.  A peace that relies not on where we are, but on who we are with.

If you know someone who’s facing change, or who is about to, why not drop them a line now and encourage them?

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