Friday, 30 November 2012

Immanuel God with us

As we enter the session of Advent and prepare to celebrate Christmas once again, you might like to spend a moment or two considering what it means that God came to earth. We sing the songs and read the scriptures that talk of Immanuel - "God with us" - which the gospel writer repeated in his account of Christ's coming.

Perhaps you are happy with the idea, like many, that its really just a fairy-tale, just another children's story. On the other hand even though its historically recorded, maybe its been exaggerated to make it seem supernatural. How could God, being all powerful, become a frail human? Why would God do such a thing? If God exists at all doesn't God simply watch from afar, having little concern for us?

Consider the world and the troubles it manages to give itself? Wars, starvation, lack of health care, the poorest often suffering the most.  This Immanuel, God with us, that we so easily write off, might, if the words are true, have the answers that we are seeking - peace, wise government, justice, right living ...

If like me you believe that God did just that, came to earth, lived and died among us and has given the Holy Spirit to each and all believers - then God continues to be with us. What does that mean to us? Are our lives changing as we become more aware of what is on God's heart for the communities we live in? Are our attitudes to justice and mercy being challenged by the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit? Does loving God affect the way we love others as we see them more as God does?

Consider, reflect and ask yourself  "so what" as you travel towards Christmas.

[Don't forget, you can comment on these blogs - it's always interesting to share our thoughts and reactions]

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Forgiveness - Tough Stuff

Sometimes its hard to hear Jesus' words and put them into action in the face of things that we experience. Phrases like "turn the other cheek", "forgive as you expect to be forgiven" ring in my head as I think of the impact of other peoples carelessness.

Earlier in the week our dog was severely mauled by another dog. The owner knew it had a problem, my dog happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and landed in the vets with a heap of stitches a fluid drain and a haircut that needs hiding from the world.

31st Oct - Halloween, We were out at a meeting and returned to find smashed egg running down the windows and door of the house, the effect of trick or treaters not finding us home to give them a present. My thoughts were not happy ones.

Did the dog owner intend to hurt my dog? No. Did the children who egged my house intend to mess up the house? Yes! Both for the same reason a careless disregard of others.

And then there are those who are my brothers and sisters in Christ who unknowingly or deliberately cause me offense, Jesus tells us how to go about handling such things in church life but often folks are not willing to do that. What then?

What about my own carelessness in regards of others? Those times I put myself and my wants before my wifes. Those times when I get things wrong and others are badly affected. Those times when I don't find time for my daily devotions or rush them to get on with the real Pastoring ...

Forgive as you expect to be forgiven ...

In forgiving we open up possibilities for handling things differently, trying to move on from the event or situation and bring some good or positive result from it. The dog owner is seeking help for his dog. The trick or treaters ...., those in church who hurt me - I look to find a better relationship with while helping them to change if thats needed. Those I hurt - I hope they will forgive me.