As today is Pentecost, I thought it would be appropriate to think about the Holy Spirit. For many years I have had a bicycle that I have been meaning to fix. It started off living in our shed, but as the years passed the space was needed for other things and the bicycle found its … Continue reading The Day of Pentecost had Come
“In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1) I’ve never really had a problem with the idea that the story of creation as presented in the Bible and the discoveries of science can co-exist. I recall as a teenager sitting in a church youth group in a discussion about the creation narrative of the Bible with … Continue reading God Created…
Whichever translation of the Bible you choose to read and whether you read it all as literally happening and true or take into consideration different forms of writing, both the angry God and the loving God can be shown. We put our own filters into the reading and interpreting what we read so the meaning for each of is influenced us by those things we have seen, heard and experienced before we read or hear the words. My reading of scripture and understanding of God is that God is love, love without exception.
The Bible is a collection of books to be wrestled with, studied, explored, enjoyed and loved. The Bible provides stories that help us to understand God and recognise ourselves, to see God at work even in the times when it feels like God is absent. I put my faith in God and I believe the Bible is the written authority on the nature of God. It is on this basis that I seek to understand what the Bible teaches about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and humanity, about good, evil, creation, salvation, the Church, hope, faith and how I might live my life.
“I’m not sure what I believe.” There was a pause and I assured her that this was okay. She went on, “I mean, we have been taught about God in church but we have been taught all this other stuff in school that makes sense too. Evolution makes sense. So, I don’t know if I believe in God or not.” I could tell she was nervous saying this and other faces suggested they were interested to see and hear my response. Again, I assured her that this was alright. I appreciated her honesty and I think it’s better that we are honest about what we believe than to pretend. One after another the group all backtracked on their previous answers. It was liberating.
Scripture does not say: “For God so love the world that he gave sickness and disease” “For God so love the world that he gave natural disasters” “For God so love the world that he gave pious prophets, apostles and preachers” “For God so love the world that he gave impossible tests and suffering” No, the Bible says: “For God so love the world that he gave his one and only son” (John 3:16)
This week has been unusual to say the least. The world as we have known it has altered. So, today we can and should observe. Like others, I fear for our little church community, but I hold this small glimmer of hope. When I look at that hope it appears quite beautiful. I think that hope may just be the Spirit of God. "Be still and know that I am God." ~ Psalm 46:10
I could not count the number of worship services or prayers meetings I have attended, been part of, or even led. Sometimes these are wonderful experiences and provide opportunity to find some way of 'connecting with God'. Sometimes these gatherings of fellow Christian's are life affirming and full of joy, others are as dull as waiting for a late train on a damp night after a long day at work and seem to take forever. Many times I have laughed or rolled my eyes at the predictable nonsense I have heard or experienced.
There is a fairly common expression of Christian relationships that speaks of three dimensions - Up to God, In to the church, and Out to the unbelieving world. I think this provides a useful summary of Christian community which I hope to unpack in future posts; but I have come to realise at least one axis is missing.
Do you remember science classes in high school? Other than Bunsen burners and the Van der Graff Generator, me neither! One thing that you learn in biology is about life. All living things apparently have 7 life processes that indicate that they are in fact living. Perhaps you recall MRS NERG... (Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Nuitrition, … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Journeying