Monday, 29 July 2013

Relationships Continued (4)

As my youngest son and his fiancée prepare for their wedding this Sat (3rd Aug), in the church that we all went to before I came to Harlow, I have been reflecting a little on how we prepare for what should be a life-times journey. In a society where we want everything as we want it and we want it now - possibly why the fast food shops like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Burger King are so popular - fast, easy and throw away if we don't like it. Maybe that's why we can't buy wedding cakes in those places - they take too long to make well and are not easy to mass produce.

Good food needs thought, care and love. To make what will hit the spot for the person or people we are cooking for, the ingredients need to be good and wholesome, the cooking done well and the presentation makes it all look good and appetising. The result carried out with love, is good.

As we prepare for the life long journey, called marriage that we are going to share with our partner (and before you ask no I don't hold with same sex Christian marriage). That too needs to be prepared with thought - it should not be rushed into, that's why we do marriage prep. with the couples that marry in the church I Pastor. It takes care, getting to know your partner, learning to love them for who they are and not who we might want them to be and accepting their traits even if they are sometimes annoying. It takes good ingredients - compassion, compromise, sharing, caring, forgiving, supporting among others.

The whole is carried out with love. A love that grows as the marriage grows, a love that can overcome all things , can take joy in each other and can bond two people more firmly than if they had used super-glue.

My wife and I are celebrating 36 years of marriage this year, we have been blessed that our children have found good marriage partners and my prayer is that they will enjoy life long marriages that will grow in every respect as they go on. Christ is central to our marriage and is important to our children, part of the preparation for a Christian marriage must be to put God in the right place - above everything else. If God is relegated then self will win and self is a destructive force in a marriage.

Fast food beef burgers and chicken snacks are no substitute for the real thing and the real thing takes time to prepare and get right, just like a good wedding cake. Marriage takes time to prepare for and to mature and blossom, the real thing has no imitations, no quick and easy alternatives.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Responsibility - measure with the right yardstick

Responsibility is a strange word in many respects. We can expect others to be responsible and yet not consider our own actions, attitudes and words through the lens of being responsible for them. Its OK to hold others to account but when they try to hold us to account we can get cross, react badly and try to make ourselves feel better about it by soliciting others to our case.

Sounds a bit like any soup opera on the TV, the ability to do what suits me but not wanting responsibility for the impact that that has on others. Yet sometimes as Christians we play out the same drama as if its all OK almost as if the result we want makes how we achieve it fine. But actually its not fine, its never fine to be careless as a Christian about the things we do or say and the attitudes that we hold. David found this out when he took what he desired, Bathsheba, even though she was someone else's wife and God disciplined both of them. Peter when he erred towards the old Jewish practices rather than stick with what the church council had agreed had Paul on his case to correct him.

In both cases they had chosen to act and their actions had not met the standard required of God's people. Possibly one acted on impulse after all he was King so he could have whatever he wanted and who would dare question his choices or actions? The other may have been bowing to people pressure, taking an easier option for a while. We can't tell for sure.

What about those of us who are Christians? How often do we actually reflect on our actions or words or lack of them? How often do we consider before we do something?

Paul tells us to take captive every thought to make them conform to the ways of Christ. In effect be responsible for what we do, say, omit, don't do or say - measure them with the right yardstick - Christ. Every Christian has been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us into all truth. Let's be responsible for the thoughts of our hearts and the words of our mouths and not justify them by our own, often skewed, agendas, desires and emotions.