I bought a card recently: on the front was the picture of a family, mother, father, two sons and a daughter. They were sitting around and the caption read “Look, it’s been a whole five minutes. Can’t we get our ‘phones out yet?”
I think that pretty well sums up what life is like for many at the moment, for individuals and for families… many always have a piece of technology in their hand….many walk around heads bowed, not looking at anyone else but at their ‘phones.
Statistics tell us that fewer families now eat their meals together at the table, the settee is the more favoured place and food is eaten whilst watching TV. For many interaction with others is limited and maybe in some cases there is only concern for one’s own needs.
The shops are reminding us that it won’t be long ’til Christmas. Whilst shopping the other day in a big store I did find some Nativity sets amongst the candles, santas, chocolates etc. and was pleased that Jesus was getting a look-in!
In our Advent and Christmas worship we will celebrate through music and the Word that God interacted with the world over 2000 years ago and continues to do so “where meek souls will receive Him”. God did not ignore the world’s needs but came in his Son Jesus Christ to bring light to a world in need. Jesus’ ministry was spent interacting and considering others and we know that in an act of selfless love he gave himself for us on the Cross.
Christians know the Christmas story so well: many could recite the Christmas scriptures word for word and sing the carols without a hymn book. I hope this Advent and Christmas the amongst the familiarity we will all fell that “a wondrous gift is given”and that he will “enter in and be born in us” again. So that as we approach another year we will be even more ready to interact with Him and our fellow human beings serving in a world where there is much darkness. We pray and trust that the “men of strife” will “hear the angels sing” and “listen to the news of love which makes the heavens ring”, and that a real and lasting peace will come to our world.
On December 10th at 3pm we will be offering a Christmas tea to anyone who would like to come and as part of that Christmas tea we will take the opportunity to let others know of the true meaning of the season. The Christmas message was given to shepherds and astrologers, to rich and poor. WE too will interact with all.
I wish you all a blessed Advent and Christmas and may you continue to know and show the Saviour’s love in 2017.
I am sure many of you will have seen the recent TV series in which Paul O’Grady spent time with the Salvation Army and joined in with much of their work. Paul spent time with the homeless, addicts, the terminally ill and refugees in Greece.
I have always admired the work of the Salvation Army where Christian belief is very much put into practice. The letter of James says “faith without works is dead”. We should all think about how we “walk the talk”.
As I write this it will soon be Christian Aid week when Christians will think particularly about the plight of many people in Bangladesh. I hope that Tabor will be able to contribute towards that work.
Much nearer to home, of course, is the opportunity for us to all put our faith into practice by supporting the local Food Bank. Sometimes our collection bin has little in it. It would be good if Tabor Methodist could increase its giving in this area. Peoples’ lives can change in an instant and often through no fault of their own.
When Paul O’Grady was in Greece working with the refugees, one passer-by became very vociferous, telling the refugees to return to their own country. The Captain who was with Paul commented that she hoped that if something happened in the UK forcing many to leave, we would be welcomed elsewhere. Paul himself commented “these are human beings.” All who are in need are “God’s children” and by helping them we help Christ.
I always recall the words written above the place in Mother Teresa’s home to which the dying were brought … four words: “the body of Christ”.
I wonder if you feel despondent when you listen to the News each day on the radio or television, or read the stories in the newspapers. Most bulletins seem to be so full of bad news these days – there’s only very rarely a story or incident to make us smile, or lift our spirits!
I expect that, like me, you’re constantly looking for an ‘antidote’ to all the sadness around and the various other problems. These stories can be national, international or sometimes of a local nature. Problems, perhaps within or our own village or street, our Church Family or even within our own families. I know, sadly, that none of us seem to be exempt.
‘Where can we turn for some good news?’ I think I can hear you ask.
Let me try and offer a couple of brief and simple suggestions which I hope may be helpful.
Firstly , we’re in the early days of Spring which I always find encouraging – the days are longer, the flowers are blooming with colour and there’s a little warmth in the sunshine once again.
Secondly, we are in the season of Lent now in the Church Calendar; we can always be inspired by the fact that Lent always culminates in the wonderful season of Easter-tide! Easter is a great time for everyone, young and old alike, and a marvellous time especially for all Christian believers! It forms the true basis of our faith and beliefs and should be the ‘highlight’ of our year!
So, please take time again in the course of the next few days/weeks to reflect on your faith once again, and look forward in prayerful hope towards the Easter Season and the Glorious Resurrection Joy it brings.
With best wishes to you all – especially those not well at present.
I expect some of you will have seen the programme on TV entitled ‘Hugh’s war on waste.’ The River Cottage chef has been campaigning to get people to throw away less and trying to get the public and supermarkets to buy and sell vegetables that are not ‘perfectly shaped. If you saw the programmes you will recall the mountain of parsnips that had to be thrown away because they weren’t perfect enough for the retailer and the field of cabbages that was destroyed because the leaves didn’t meet the specifications. I am sure we would all agree that this is a terrible waste when many people in this country struggle to put food on the table.
It will soon be Christmas when we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child who grew into a man, who ministered among and to those who were not ‘perfectly shaped,’ holding out his hands to them and inviting them to dine with him. He ate with `tax collectors and sinners’ and for not perfectly shaped humankind he died on the cross.
We know that over 2,000 years later we are loved just as we are and we will never be rejected by God. We are held in the palm of his hand…whoever we are, whatever we do, wherever we are on life’s journey, God is with us.
At Christmas we hear these words ‘A virgin will become pregnant and have a son and he will be called Immanuel’ (which means ‘God is with us’) What a wonderful gift this Christmas time.
I trust our Advent worship and Carol Service will be a spiritual time for us all.
I wish you a happy, peaceful Christmas and every blessing for 2016.
I recently came across the following item in my reading and thought it was well worth passing it on – so here goes….
Have you ever considered the abbreviation A.S.A.P?
Generally it brings even more hurry and stress into our lives. (As Soon As Possible).
Yet there is another way to think of A.S.A.P, a way which might help us to deal with those difficult times inour daily lives. When there’s work to do, and deadlines to meet, and your colleagues are rushing around, here’s what you can do to help – A.S.A.P – Always Say A Prayer!
God knows how stressful our lives can be and He wants to ease our cares. In the Bible He promises to respond to our calls for help. SO…….CALL HIM A.S.A.P
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you all and I would endorse them with the opening lines of one of our favourite hymns..