Thursday, 1 January 2015

On the eighth day of Christmas

Apple having put aside their Twelve Days of Christmas giveaway this year has given me the chance to get people thinking, praying, learning, listening (to some great music) and finding app's they might not have otherwise done: Day Eight...

The Church
Celebrates the 'Circumcision and naming of Jesus' - no, it's not just a feats for the Catholics and 'high church' types - an opportunity to reflect on the recognition of who Jesus (Yeshua) 'God saves' (more accurately '(in) God is salvation' is.

Today we reflect upon the invisible God make visible. Today, as we begin a New year! we remember that the Church too, like Jesus, exists to make the invisible visible!

That the circumcision would have started in anywhere other than the temple (as many sermons I have heard preached have claimed) is an important element - for it would have been carried out 'at home' (whatever that means when you've had your sprog in a stable!) just as the recognition and making God's salvation visible God's begins in our homes. There's no point in relying upon being welcoming if no one comes. It's nice, but regardless of the invites a church might issue, they won't come because they know our boring, killjoy, critical, hypocritical labels and so (generally) avoid us!

This new year we need to start salvation where we are if we are to see others saved; and that is what it is about, not numbers.

So 2015, a year of wondering why there aren't more people in relationship when we aren't building and engaging in the relationships where we are?

Another year where we wonder what those in leadership are doing to bing mor people in to our congregations (and ask where are they)?

Another year where those in leadership wonder why the congregations won't get stuck in to bring others to our buildings because they have developed a relationship with them?

Jesus - the God made visible - is celebrated today. Let's commit ourselves to making Him visible in us this year, what do you reckon?

The world
Used to be that when I was a child it was the New Year sales that drew the crowds.Every year (as I remember it) I would be dragged off to Knightsbridge to spend a day I. The retail temples that were Barkers, Derry and Toms and Pontings. This year, listening to my radio, I'm hearing that we are all spent out and the sales are pretty much done.

I'm hearing that 2015 will be a year where many firms will go to the wall with the result that many more will be unemployed.

The situation for those oppressed and threatened by the presence of the IS fighters remains relatively unchanged, but if the press don't report it people assume it has gone away.

The numbers of people in refugee camps is set to rise over the coming year and which this could be the year when we see Polio finally eradicated completely from the planet- a year when the remaining forms of malaria as conquered - we need to be engaged and involved.

This will be a year when there is a new government elected in the UK. With the rise of such parties as UKIP such that some are billing them to as having expanded the political scene to four parties now (Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dem being the other three), we need to be informing our churches of their policies and to be preparing NOW for hustings in our churches.

So a bright, hopeful and challenging new year for the world - now watch someone go out and spoil it - and when
they do, how will we respond? Like the world or like the Church?

A giveaway?
Now I was always taught that if something looks too good to be true then it probably is!

But there's always an exception to the rule and this is to be found in the Church of England's 'Daily Prayer' App which you will find here: 

It is a strange thing but I am often amazed to find that despite the apparent prayer, study and full-on worship that some groups present as a perception, I still find some of the deepest and more consistent stuff to be found within the Church of England. Makes me wonder why I ever bought into the 'vain repetitions and babbling' put down that I encountered within some of the more outwardly effective churches - all part of growing up in the faith I guess!

Something to listen to

Apparently 'the' song of 2014

Whilst 'the' hymn of the year is that Wesley great:

Almighty God,
whose blessed Son was circumcised in obedience to the law for our sake
and given the Name that is above every name:
give us grace faithfully to bear his Name, to worship him in the freedom of the Spirit,
and to proclaim him as the Saviour of the world;
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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