Pakistan

In the light of todays news please pray for peace within Pakistan.

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Benazir Bhutto

Just heard on te news that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. Whether you liked her politics or not the question needs to be asked, “When is this world ever going to end violence ?” or “is it just built in to our character ?”

Here we have real evidence of why Jesus needed to come to earth as a child; of why God had to intervene in this world. Selfishness, disregard for other lives, hatred, prejudice are all a part of this world and only the Prince of Peace can put an end to it. Jesus came to bring love and show how to love. Too often we ignore that in favour of our own desires.

Please pray for Pakistan, for Pakistani people living in our own country and please pray that the peace of Jesus will be known throughout the world.

Christmas

Well, its all over. Here we are at 7.00 p.m. on Boxing Day and all the weeks of preparation, planning, worry and anxiety are over. Christmas is finished for another year.

Has it been worthwhile ?  Depends on what you’re looking for I suppose. If you’re looking for food, sleep, too much t.v. and booze then yes, it probably has, but if you’re looking for the real meaning of Christmas then I wonder. Does that sound like Scrooge ?? I don’t meaqn it to, but I do wonder how many people will have been touched by the purpose of Christmas. As I returned home after Midnight Mass on Christmas Day (2.00 a.m.) I could still see people wandering drunk, throwing up in the street, looking decidedly worse for wear. None of them grasped the real meaning, I dare say.

And yet I look back with joy in my heart at that Midnight service. The Christ who desired his people to live in harmony was the one who brought Methodists and Anglicans (and possibly other denominations too) together in a joint service at Codnor, exchanging the peace between us. I think of the morning service at Ripley where the joy of Christmas was etched on the faces of the young people especially when Bailey the dog arrived as a surprise Christmas present. I also remember the privilege I had of visiting Maple Leaf House, our local MHA Dementia care home, where I am the Chaplain and sitting with Laurie, Norman, Joan and others knowing that for them this was a very different Christmas, knowing that the Christ I love also loved and died for them.

Yes, it has been worthwhile for the Christ-child born in that stable DID bring peace, joy and love into this world. It is up to those of us who truly believe in Him not to let go of the real meaning.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS & A PEACEFUL NEW YEAR to you all.

Selston Scout Christingle

Had a lovely evening worship tonight, at the Selston Scouts first ever Christingle service. This was held at Dove Green (otherwise known as Middle Chapel), one of the two Methodist Churches in the village of Selston. We had fun using signs for candle, light and Christ so that every time during the service any of the three were mentioned they had to use the appropriate sign (adults included). It was great fun, especially as the carols I had picked seemed to mention light regularly, I referred to the candle of the CHRISTingle and CHRISTmas quite often.

They did well to keep up and even caught me out once or twice. It was a fun, lively service followed by refreshments and together with the collection £69 was raised for Childline.

For many youngsters Church comes across as boring (indeed for many adults as well) but hopefully tonight they will have caught something of a glimpse of how much fun a Church family can have, and yet still worship God.

Dove Greens website if you’re interested in looking is http://www.selston-methodists.net/index.htm 

Romania

Aaaaaaaargh !!!!  Have I done the right thing ? I’ve been invited to be a part of a Church trip to Romania in June and I’ve agreed to go. Scary or what ?

I reasoned that I’m entitled to 5 weeks holiday each year and yet most years only find time to take 4 of the weeks (and one of the weeks is at Spring Harvest, a Christian teaching week), so this year I’m claiming my fifth week and spending it helping a family and church in Romania. (http://www.standrewsonline.org.uk/romania.shtml). Unfortunately Alison can’t come with me but this is where she is brilliant and is willing to let me go even though I will miss our wedding anniversary.

Start praying for me and the others with whom I will be sharing the experience with.

Worship

Spent part of this morning thinking about the nature of worship. It seems to me that so often worship boils down to peoples preference over hymns, Graham Kendrick vs Isaac Watts, whether we are solemn or loud, arms length and never speaking or all hugging and touchy~feely !  And yet there must be more to worship than this.  `Worth-ship` is about giving God what he is worth; its about what he enjoys or wants and yet so often we personalise it back to what we want. This is probably because its easy to know what we want and its hard to know what God wants in worship. 

I came across this definition from a friend……………………………     “The nature of worship is simply a recognition and encounter with God. The Hebrew seems to have a root derivation of, “To kiss.” If worshipping is as intimate as kissing, then arms length formal worship may actually at times not be worship at all. I think we have to turn to the language of Song of Songs. Very intimate and powerful imagery. So dare I say that worship is being in love with God. Expressing our love and receiving it from our God.”

If worship is about being in love with God then surely there will be different expressions of worship as each one of us is a different character who expresses him/herself in different ways. We will all have different ways of expressing our love to God.

I like the idea of worship as being an intimate act between myself and God, even if its conducted in a public arena and with countless numbers of people. As always it boils back down to relationship.