In my lifetime of 82 years it has been fairly easy to be a Christian, in fact it was expected in the early part of the 20th century that you would go to church as a matter of course. I enjoyed a nominality of being a Christian as a child, being in the choir, Sunday School and playing ‘church games’. This followed through to adulthood where Sunday work was considered a sacrifice by the employer (T&L) for their benefit and the needs of the nation for derationed sugar. Being a Christian has been easy apart from a few minor irritations.
I was, however bullied at my RC school because I was not one of them and I did loose a good job because I wouldn’t compromise my faith, but the Lord looked after me, and I have had innumerable blessings by trusting Him in difficult circumstances
We have watched the persecution of Christians around the world, being shocked, but not really understanding how they must feel while being upset that our friends do not understand how we feel about God and feeling threatened because they expect us to give up church to join them in their activities. How serious are we about our faith?
When we take the communion we are remembering and giving thanks for Jesus’ amazing sacrifice upon the cross. A cruel Roman cross with crude nails after suffering horrible humiliation before the crowds that he was in fact dying for. When we are going about our daily work do we do it in remembrance of what Christ has saved us from or is it tucked away in our religious slot?
I have been very perturbed by the divisions that a little vicious virus has caused, not only amongst the ‘heathens’ but also amongst the Christian community. We are bound to have disagreements over lots of things, but we are challenged to work these things out amongst ourselves and certainly not to let them grow into a dispute. We are to forgive – at least 7 x 70 times. Being a Christian often means being prepared to have ‘egg upon your face’ rather than being right all the time. God has allowed this virus to happen and there must be a purpose for it, whether it is a punishment, a testing or refining as in Job’s case when things went wrong. Whatever it is, we need to come out of it stronger and better for the testing.
One way that Satan wins is to stop us talking to each other and isn’t this what has happened in the last year with not being able to meet or only on line, a poor substitute and a media that we have all had to try and learn. Sure we have sent messages, but they are so prone to being misunderstood due to their brevity and conversation in a group is always guarded whereby a short conversation face to face can solve a lot of problems and enables us to challenge and encourage us in a friendly way. Sadly, I cannot see this happening again for a long time, perhaps another year! So we will have to think of another way.
This is nothing to do with the government, the vaccine or on who is wright or wrong. My concern is for the body of Christ here at Ainsdale and our witness to those who we meet in our ‘bubbles’. My plea is to accept each other with whatever views we have and to trust God to ‘rub us together’ so that we can learn from each other and encourage each other. Our wisdom comes from God, so no-one is better than the other.
- Perhaps we can make an effort to telephone (video calls may be better but not everyone can accept them) someone in the church who we haven’t seen or spoken to recently and try and encourage them in Christ.
- Try to understand each others strongly held viewpoints and love them despite that. After all they have had a different viewpoint and experience of life than you. If necessary agree to disagree and leave the rest to God.
- Be prepared to compromise your stand (not the main tenants of your faith) for the sake of unity
- Ask the Lord for a closer relationship with Him, dedicating or rededicating your life to Him and His purpose for you in this life.
- If you are not meeting with us, look for ways in which you can safely join us, either on Sunday or on-line on Wednesday. Neither are perfect, but God can use imperfect people using imperfect means to build His church. We just need to allow Him
- Keep praying for unity of the Spirit
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”