November 2019

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 13:13 Be the first to comment!

"Sustaining, Inspiring, Thriving ...."

Dear Friends,

While preparing our young people for Confirmation, we’ve been talking about what enables us to thrive and grow as people, people made in the image of God. We find it easy to talk about the things and people who encourage and inspire us. Lots of things came to mind including nature, sport, science, film and TV characters, music, and, and ..... and with them our imagination takes flight and new possibilities open up.

Another aspect we discussed was food. Whether we are talking about the basics, beans on toast, or about some of the really fancy stuff prepared by Michelin starred chefs, all food has a core reality – we need it to sustain us so that we not only survive but thrive. No food and we quickly weaken, are likely to succumb to passing infections and ultimately left without food we die. But food opens up all kinds of possibilities not just nutritionally, but through the whole social dimension of making and sharing food and hospitality – wonderful!

We talked too about the spiritual dimension of what it is to be human, about what it is that feeds us spiritually, about what sustains us and builds us up. There are many elements to this, some of which cross over with the other ideas above, but at the heart of it is the question of how we explore and develop that spiritual life we are called to share with God. We looked at how we are part of the story of God’s people that goes way back beyond humanity to the Big Bang and the formation of the Universe. We traced that story (briefly) through the history of humkind, through the Bible record, to our communities, our churches, our schools and to us in 2019, children of God loved by him.

In doing so we thought about how prayer, engaging with God’s Spirit through the Bible, and being an active member in the life of the church are necessary if we are to be God’s people. They are as essential to our spiritual well-being, to what enables us to thrive spiritually, as food is to us physically. And we wondered why it is so easy to let these slip ..........

God Bless,
Rev’d Stephen Cooper

Dear Friends,

The moment when we acknowledge the presence and reality of God – that he is the creator and we are his beloved creation – we open up a whole new set of questions: If God is God, then what does that mean for me? How do I live in relationship with God? What is God’s will for me? Of course, these are questions not easily answered.

A good number of years ago a friend of mine was wondering whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry, and asked me what I thought? My reply was twofold. Firstly, to pray for the idea to go away – if it was of God, then it wouldn’t go away, whereas if it was of him it would soon pass. Second, he that was too good a Christian to be wasted on ordained ministry – there would be much more important things for him to do for the Kingdom of God.

As it turned out, the idea went away and instead he went to the US to do post-graduate studies. Now he’s a professor of theology in a US university where he teaches hundreds of students each year to think about the God questions in the complexities of the modern world – a much more important role for the Kingdom of God than being a Vicar!

So what might the will of God be for you? for me? A couple of years ago we did a course called ‘Life on the Frontline’. The premise of the course was that everyone is on the frontline of the Kingdom of God, whether at home, down the pub, at work, with the children or grand-children, at the gym, with our friends, or wherever. First and foremost, where we are is where we’re called to be the Body of Christ, his presence in the world. Though it may change as we journey with God, where we are now is where God is calling us to be his people, on the frontline of the Kingdom of God – for now this is his will for us, each one of us.

It is tempting to put the idea of special ministries on a pedestal, vicars and the like, as something to be looked up to. The truth of the matter is that our first calling, above all others, is to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus. Living that out is always the will of god for us.

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