December 2020

Wednesday, 25 November 2020 11:32 Be the first to comment!

"Joy to the World ...."

Dear Friends,

Actors have that amazing ability to take a script, bring to it their imagination, craft and lived-learning, so transport us to experiences and encounters that we have not known ourselves, but which illuminate our understanding of what it is to be human in all its wonder and complexity, its triumphs and tragedies. Done well, such dramatic engagement cannot but leave both us and them changed.

Advent and Christmas give us the greatest of scripts, the most wonderful of settings, and invite us to explore, encounter and re-create Incarnation afresh - God with us - COVID notwithstanding.

The Setting: God’s determination to create and inspire a universe that beats to the love, justice, compassion and mercy which are his heartbeat; God’s faithfulness in sticking to Plan A, and to keep doing so however many times it might get derailed along the way; and, God’s willingness to risk his own self to enable us to be part of it’s fulfilment.

The Script comes in many parts. From ancient days to the present moment it continues to be written - God’s encounter with his creation - but the pivot point, the defining moment, is when God himself takes to the stage: the babe of Bethlehem; the refugee in Egypt, the child of Nazareth; the wandering rabbi of Galilee; the teacher; the preacher; the healer; the suffering servant crucified; the risen Lord; hope incarnate; the Word of God, Jesus God the Son, with us and for us.

The Players: In every generation we are called to take the stage, to be the Body of Christ, to make his love a lived reality, to bring hope to life in a broken world. Are you ready for casting?

God Bless & Happy Christmas,

Revd 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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