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!

 


A demonstration of power!

There’s that old quotation about power which is along the lines of, ‘Power reveals; when you give someone enough power to do what they have always wanted to do, you get to see what they have always wanted to do!’  
Sunday mornings passage is a demonstration of power; the feeding, not of 5,000 people but of the 4,000 – Jesus responding to the practical need to feed a great multitude who are hungry. But the point is something different. The point is about what this reveals of the man Jesus.
Later in the passage we find that question explicitly stated, ‘Who do you say I am?’ and we are pushed for a response to that ourselves.
On Sunday evening we are delighted to welcome local youth-worker Sophie Benson who will be speaking at our Youth-In service on the subject of body-image.  

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day was marked on Friday of this week. It was an event which sparked both celebrations and protests; even the TV soap Emmerdale decided to air a special episode with an all-female cast. We may think that equality between the sexes is established, (hey, women are now even allowed to drive cars in Saudi Arabia!), but the statistics tell another story. In the legal profession 62% of new solicitors in 2018 were women, while only 31% of partners in private practice are women. Only 1% of all-women start-ups actually receive funding. According to the ONS almost 80% of companies pay men more than women and FGM affects more than 200mn women in more than 30 countries.

Early 19th century Christian abolitionist, Sojourner Truth, said in her famous speech, “Dat man ober dar say dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, and lifted ober ditches, and to hab de best place everywhar. Nobody eber helps me into carriages, or ober mud-puddles, or gibs me any best place!” And raising herself to her full height, and her voice to a pitch like rolling thunder, she asked. “And a’n’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! (and she bared her right arm to the shoulder, showing her tremendous muscular power). I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And a’n’t I a woman?

 


The cruellest kind of rejection

The cycling cheat Lance Armstrong once said, ‘A boo is a lot louder than a cheer.’ I’m not sure that that is the case in terms of volume, but it certainly is in terms of what registers in our hearts and minds. To be rejected, to be ‘booed’, is to be discarded, abandoned, shut out. Rejection strikes at our identity we are not good enough, we do not fit, we are not acceptable.

In Sunday’s passage from Mark 6, Jon Rouse will take us through the story of Jesus’ rejection in his home town of Nazareth. And this is the cruellest kind of rejection; not by those who are strangers, but by those who know us, are close to us, those who should love us.

 


Fancy trying out preaching at ABC?

Fancy trying out preaching at ABC? From what I hear many people would be terrified at the prospect. ‘Where would I start?’ ‘Do I understand what the Bible really says?’ ‘What about my theology?’ But if it was suggested that you stood at the front and told us a story, a story from your life, the response is likely to be different. Oh yes, there’s the overcoming of the fear of standing in front of people, but after that… well, telling a story about something that you did, it just comes and comes naturally. So much of the Bible is just that. It is in story form. And because we are able to imagine ourselves in a story, stories wonderfully open up for us a way to really grasp what God is saying to us.


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