In the last edition of In Focus I ruminated on the issue of BREXIT! Sadly, as we go to print, just after the local council elections Brexit is still a contentious issue in our nation. As St. Paul says in I Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority.”
We are currently in the Easter Season with Pentecost just around the corner. Pentecost has been described as the birth of the Church when in Acts 2 we hear of the sending of the Spirit, the preaching of the Gospel and a remarkable response of some 5,000 people being added to the Church that day!
I’m sure that is every Rector’s wish – including my own! Our purpose in Donaghadee Parish is quite simple – to be a community of ordinary people who have experienced the love of God and who want to pass that love on to others. We are not perfect, super saints but ordinary! But what I think is quite special about Donaghadee Parish – apart from our remarkable and beautiful building – is the remarkable people who inhabit that building!
If ever I was to have a strap line to my ministry in Donaghadee it would consist of 3 words – believe, belong and become. These words for me encapsulate what it means to be a Christian and what it means to belong to a Church. As I said in a sermon recently when preaching on John 21 and the breakfast on the beach with Jesus after his resurrection – paint yourself into the story.
Is believing difficult? We live in a sceptical and changing world – a virtual world – a world of smoke and mirrors! What is truth and what is certainty? St. Paul said these amazing words when we know God; “nothing can separate us from the love of God!” Romans 8:39
As I said in the last edition: Where do you belong? To whom do you belong? Belong implies a relationship and in Church it is both with God and each other. Remarkably – and I’ve experienced this – when our eyes find it hard to focus on God, the faces of those around us can sustain, support and encourage us – and keep us anchored. Sadly, too many people find themselves cast adrift – not just from Church but from good support, family and friends. Belonging counts and works! Why not give it a try?
Finally, becoming: As we get older we don’t necessarily get wiser! How often have you used the word “if” about your life, especially when things go wrong. A word I like to use for becoming is “flourish”.
God wants the best for our lives and becoming like him in our actions and attitudes is flourishing – he literately brings the best out in his creation – you and me. As spring moves on and summer comes, why not spend a few moments having a life audit? Ask – what am I becoming? Maybe it is time for a change, a new direction, a fresh start.
The Bible is full of stories of lives wonderfully changed – indeed Jesus’ own stories like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and his encounters with people, show how he touched many lives. Could he touch yours?
IAN R GAMBLE