Formality and familiarity

Formality and familiarity are opposites. At one end of the spectrum formality requires rules, rituals and convention, whereas familiarity affords a lack of reserve, ease and casualness. Today’s passage contains both of these elements, but not necessarily appropriately applied in the right situation – and with catastrophic results.
Whilst contemporary Christian culture has benefited greatly from a deeper understanding of intimacy and engagement with God, we will be challenged in today’s story by the danger of over familiarity with a holy God.
This evening is a Fifth Sunday, which means that we will be hosting an informal – cafe style – gathering. It’s called Telling Tales, in which we shall hear several stories of how groups and communities have taught us, influenced our faith and grown us.

What happens when you reach the top of the tree?

It was the American Christian leader, Thomas Merton who came up with that well-known phrase,  “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”

On Sunday morning we will look at how David has climbed the ladder – the shepherd boy made good – and now enjoys the influence and riches as King of all Israel. It’s not so much that David’s ladder is leaning against the wrong wall, but a question of where will David go now?

This is a story which profoundly connects with the lives of many of us and begs deep questions about the nature and direction of our lives now. On Sunday evening, Sally Hickson  will be leading us into communion, reflecting on the gravity of our sin, the grace of God and the joy of forgiveness.

 


A way forward defined by love, hope and grace!

On Sunday we will be looking at another story form the life of David and asking the significant question, ‘What or who is it that you are banking your life on?’ So when the pressure is on, who do you turn to, or what do you do?’

There are many options, numerous possibilities, yet only one guarantees us the truth – a way forward defined by love, hope and grace.

 


The American Baptist Tony Campolo once said

The American Baptist Tony Campolo once said; “If we lose the next generation of young people from the church, it will not be because we have made Christianity too hard for them, but too easy.”

With the age group 15-29 being the missing generation from church I guess the temptation is to accommodate, provide for and make easy the path of faith. But in doing so we may unwittingly do our young people a disservice, failing in equipping them with a robust, reasonable and relevant faith.

In this respect, we are delighted to announce that Lydia will be joining us for a year as an intern from Youth for Christ. Lydia will be working with Rob to develop the faith of our young people and share it with young people who do not yet know Jesus. As we pray for Lydia, can we pray in faith that she will bring challenge and adventure to faith as she models to us all what it is to be a young person who follows Jesus.

 


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