Many of us are familiar with the Pentecost story, where the Spirit falls powerfully on the followers of Jesus in Acts chapter 2. Note the detail in verse 2 - they were in a house. Kind of their own form of lockdown (though with many people in the same house!). They were there intentionally: partly to keep out of the way of the authorities, but also to pray and wait.
Sunday, 31 May 2020
Sunday, 24 May 2020
There are times when God can be right narky - seen in some of the scripture passages. For example Isaiah 1 verses 10 to 15 God seems to be having a full on rant! Fed up with the sacrifices and offerings of the people - in fact the very practices of worship He prescribed back in the Exodus times. We might think such a rant can't apply to us, since in Jesus we have moved on from primitive animal sacrifices to the sophistication of our worship songs. But not so fast - read Amos 5 verses 21 to 24. Away with the music too!
Sunday, 17 May 2020
Through the lockdown many are re-learning the art of conversation - with neighbour or the person you meet on the street. That skill of listening well and picking up on what the other person has said is perhaps largely lost, but we are now discovering it again. It gives us all kinds of opportunities to be the witness to Jesus that He calls us to be.
Sunday, 10 May 2020
Last year we went travelling and had a hire car. We were fortunate to get an upgrade which gave us a car with all kinds of extra gizmos. One was 'Lane Assist' - sensors that could see the lane markings so the car would beep at you if you strayed out of lane. We also benefited from the built-in SatNav - handy since we were in a strange country with unfamiliar roads and place names. Both were guidance systems to help us with our driving and exploring the land ahead.
Challenge: Up your game with reading some scripture regularly
Sunday, 3 May 2020
The previous chapters to Zechariah 8 describe a terrible situation, using language like 'a desolate land'. The people are scattered, the city left behind is like waste. It doesn't have its normal activity and on the whole the situation is pretty miserable.
Sunday, 26 April 2020
There is nothing new about pandemics - they have occurred all through history. In our own news we have already had comparisons with the so-called 'Spanish Flu' in 1918 which killed millions around the world. The Black Death in London 1665 killed an estimated 15% of the population. It was even worse 300 years earlier where it is estimated to have wiped out half of the mainland European population. We can go back to Roman times (or even further). A famous Roman era plague was the 'Cyprian' plague, named after a prominent Christian bishop who literally wrote "this it - this is the end of the world!". That was because 5,000 people were dying every day in Rome alone. Of course he was wrong about it being the end of the world, but it was a time where the compassion of Christians was noted across the empire.
Sunday, 19 April 2020
Have you seen the news stories of people spotting wildlife in their gardens? The story of the wild goats coming into Llandudno in Wales - enjoying the freedom while there is no traffic. The Times showed a majestic view of the Himalayas from a town in the Punjab region, noting that for many residents it was the first time they had seen the mountains from their town, because until now it had always been covered in smog! Its as if normal creation is being given a time in which it can breathe again.
Sunday, 12 April 2020
Normally we skip Easter Saturday - having done a walk of witness on Friday, and then celebrations on the Sunday. Yet this year with lockdown impinging on our Easter it gives us an opportunity to think a bit more on the Saturday in between.
As well as asking each other the obvious 'How are you?', also ask your brothers and sisters in Christ this Soul Question:
What is your own sense of God - do you feel He is close or distant?