There are many ways in which the Christian calendar is so helpful to us in our discipleship journeys..

There are many ways in which the Christian calendar is so helpful to us in our discipleship journeys for not only does it remind us of the story of our faith, it also acts as an almanac, plotting the changing times against our lives.
At Christmas we get to hear that the God who created us is not distant but has come near. On Good Friday we get to know that our experience of bereavement and loss, even our own mortality, is something which God too has experienced. And today, O Happy Day, we get to know that we have purpose, meaning and that hope is not elusive. We get to know that the atheist worldview simply will not do. It does not match the facts of the resurrection and it fails to offer any hope. We know that the resurrection seeds have been sown and the day is coming when all creation, all of it, will be transformed, as will our own mortal bodies, into the dawning of the perfect, glorious resurrection world.

Easter will be about a death, but it will also most certainly, be about the Resurrection.

Being a part of a family means compromise around what is watched on TV. So last Sunday evening I found myself watching Channel 4’s ‘Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins for Stand Up to Cancer.’ As you can probably guess, twelve ‘celebrities’ (something of a broad term these days), undergo SAS training to whittle out the weak and exalt the strong.

Interspersed throughout the show were clips telling stories of people whose lives had been affected by cancer, either their own diagnosis or that of someone close to them. I was especially touched by the story of Jamie MacDonald, a young Welsh judo athlete, winner of national titles and then a competitor in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. This exceptional young man was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in early 2015. In the interviews he talked of the depression, the battles, the features of a ‘normal’ life which would not be his and how he knew that, ‘this is a bout I cannot win, but I hope I can get a few good throws in before that happens.’ What saddened me most was the sense of hopelessness of his situation; there was next to nothing save ‘a few good throws’ which might come of this. Jamie died in 2017.

O to have opened his eyes to the story of another young man who faced death with similar struggles, yet who also knew that death would not be the end. O for Jamie to have known, ‘And what we believe is that the One who raised up the Master Jesus will just as certainly raise us up with you, alive.’ 2 Cor 4:14 Easter will be about a death, but it will also most certainly, be about the Resurrection.

 

 


What goes up must come down!

The Church Building has been returned to it’s normal state and is ready for Sunday Services again this week.
We return to Mark’s Gospel and look at the potential entrapment of Jesus over the matter of the payments of taxes to Caesar. Taxes that had to be paid by all who were not citizens of Rome. Jesus is asked, “Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?” It’s a trap. N.T.Wright explains it like this: ‘The Pharisees and Herodians are acting together. They are trying to force Jesus either to support the paying of taxes to Rome, thus alienating the crowds or to denounce the tax, in which case they could tell the governor, Pontius Pilate, that Jesus was guilty of a straightforward capital charge, namely inciting revolt. But they reckoned without Jesus’ brilliant response.’
In our Sunday evening service we will be looking at the issue of ‘Freedom’.


Well it’s been quite a week

Well it’s been quite a week. The Narnia Experience has been an extraordinary success and a wonderful medium to share the Christian story. The response of school children, teachers and local people has exceeded our expectations. The clarity of the message has especially been a feature of the week. Even before the Professor and ‘George’ his butler spell things out, it has been clear that visitors have grasped the message. (Which is probably why they are finishing the Professor’s lines before he has said them.) Well done to everyone and thank you Jesus.

 

 


Something beautiful for God!

I know that it is customary to thank teams for pulling together to fulfil a project, but that doesn’t even come close to adequately describing the enormous effort over a whole week which has been needed to draw together The Narnia Experience. We can be very proud of the fabricating, painting, imagining and decorating skills which have come together in a team of 25+ to create the set. In addition, actors have been acting, tech have been….. ‘tech-ing’ and administrators have been creating programmes, selling tickets and generally making everything work.

The result of all this is something beautiful for God, something wonderful for all who attend and a building which, however familiar you think you are with it, you might not actually recognise. Aslan is on the move!

 


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