May 2019

A couple of weeks before writing this article, I was privileged to assist the Bishop of Dover in Confirming 6 candidates before they took their first communion.  Half the candidates were adults, the other half were children just approaching secondary school age.  It reminded me that the Church, both nationally but also locally, is dependant not just on those who come to church now, but on those who will come later.  Often people will say a Church’s future lies in the hands of the children, but experience has taught me that’s not necessarily true.  Yes children matter, for they will grow into this country’s next generation of leaders (and let’s all hope they do a better job by learning from our mistakes).  But in many parishes up and down the country, the future for churches lies with those who find Jesus later in life, in much the same way I did.

 

There’s a passage in Thessalonians that says ‘After all, what gives us hope and joy; and what is our proud reward and crown?  It is you!  Yes, you will bring us much joy as we stand together before our Lord Jesus when he comes back again.’  It’s a passage that speaks about Paul’s (the apostle not the Vicar) work within the early Church.  Of how his work was undertaken out of love for Christ, and that through this love a new church was not only founded, but also prospering through those who found Jesus in their lives and wished to commit to a particular way of life.  For me it sums up that service with the Bishop, where new people, who have come to faith in Jesus, made very public and heartfelt promises.  They represent the potential in each one of us, whether through faith or not, to be better people, to be different.  To be figures of hope in a world that is often desolate of such hope.

 

As christians we believe Jesus came to set us free.  That he did so by dying for us, before rising to new life and defeating death forever.  Not in the way we understand, but in a new way.  A way that turns our ‘human’ wisdom on its head.  Jesus beat the Jews and Romans not through war but by dying.  It was in this that he saved us all.  Yet human wisdom dictates his death meant his defeat.  Human wisdom dictates no God can exist.  Human wisdom demands evidence and conveniently ignores the world around us.  Human wisdom states categorically Creation could not simply come into being as the bible suggests, hence God cannot be its creator, whilst simultaneously believing, and teaching through science, that the Universe (read Creation) came into existence at the ‘Big Bang’ (more commonly believed to be a Singularity that can simply come into existence).

 

We live in a world where human wisdom demands to know the answer, and that answer must be backed up by irrefutable evidence.  Yet sometimes there simply is no ‘knowing.’ Evidence is often refutable and its ‘truth’ reliant upon a specific world view.  Sometimes there is only trust.  Sometimes the only evidence we have is the evidence of our hearts, and the love we have been shown by Jesus Christ, an undefinable, unconditional love freely given.

 

If May brings you anything, I pray it will be the peace of knowing that you are unique, despite what human wisdom might say.

Rev Paul