Monday, 23 November 2015
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
The recent terrible events in Paris have brought the violence that thousands in Syria and the surrounding area have lived with for years into a shocking proximity, and have made us think “Are we next?” The terrorists behind the atrocities are motivated by a religious zeal that feeds on the ideas of holy war and a messianic final battle in which all infidels will finally submit or be wiped out. This is an extreme form of Islam which, thankfully, most Muslims reject. It’s a world view that will not be countered by political appeasement or peaceful negotiation, so, sadly, armed force is probably the only human way to contain it.
But at the same time we, as Christians, should be praying that good will conquer evil, and that peace will triumph over violence. Again and again the bible paints a picture of peace – shalom – in which all people live together under the just and gracious rule of God. This is very different to the enforced caliphate which ISIS dreams of. Rather it is a kingdom in which Jesus – the Lamb of God, the one who was broken on the cross – is King, and in which those who come to him in faith are united as brothers and sisters. A kingdom of peace and joy.
I recently asked the children in our church school “What can’t you do if you are full of joy?” And they soon got the answer: “You can’t hate and you can’t fight.” Our prayer, as we approach Christmas and go beyond into a rather uncertain new year, is that more and more people will come into God’s kingdom of peace and joy as they encounter Jesus the Prince of Peace.
This year in our Christmas services we will be focussing on the message the angels brought to the shepherds: ‘Peace and good will to all people’. And then in turn, we can be like those shepherds – spreading the word about what we have seen and know.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
The Alpha Course will be starting at St John's on Thursday 24th September at 7.30 pm. It's a great place to bring your questions about life, about the Christian faith, about Jesus, about the church. The evening starts with a meal, then after watching a talk there is plenty of time to discuss what you've heard. Many people have said that their lives were changed as a result of doing Alpha. Why not try it with us?
If you would like to come to the introductory session you can contact the church office: firstname.lastname@example.org, or 01737 552461.
Friday, 8 May 2015
Now the Election’s over the hard work of government begins again, and whatever we think of the result the Prime Minister, David Cameron, needs our prayers for wisdom and justice. We need to pray for Mr Cameron as he chooses his Cabinet – who to invite and who not to.
The UK is politically more divided than ever as Scotland has become what could be described as a socialist one-party state within a state. The comments of Mr Cameron and Mr Milliband about the Scottish voters probably have not helped, and there are bridges to be built. It would be ironic if a Conservative and Unionist government oversaw the breakup of the United Kingdom.
When the referendum about electoral reform was held I voted against proportional representation, but I think I’m changing my mind. It doesn’t seem right that 6 million people can vote for the Lib Dems and UKIP and get only 9 or 10 seats between them, but 1 ½ million can vote SNP and get 56 seats. If this is the future of politics then maybe our electoral system does need to change.