[un]conscious-stream[ing]

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Murder

At 21:40 on Tuesday, Half a mile away from my front door, in a florist shop, on Shrewsbury Street, Old Trafford, a robber was stabbed and died shortly after.

You may find it shocking, scary, paralysing…

You might find it more shocking that I don’t feel any of those things.

When something like this happens, I’m not scared, I’m not petrified or shocked, I’m not paralysed by fear or worried to go out of my front door, but I am saddened.

This is my community and I love it.

I am saddened for two reasons:

  1. That there are people that want to steal from others
  2. That people still believe the myth of redemptive violence

Now, I’m not getting all ‘holy’ on you, I have no idea how I would react if someone came in to my clinic waving a gun around and trying to get my hard-earned cash from me, (I don’t have a knife in the place to stab them but who knows what else I might end up doing?) but if your first reaction to someone threatening you is to attack them, surely, somewhere down the line, something has gone wrong.

So what can we do about it?

Firstly, will you all pray for Old Trafford. As the Rector of St Brides said, “this place is really resilient”, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see consequences and repercussions in the coming weeks and months.

I can’t predict what will happen, but I can ask you to pray that all the churches, the mosques, the Hindu temples and other places of worship will find ways to connect with the local population to bring the peace and intimacy of God into their lives.

Moreover, I will ask that you petition our magnificent creator and loving, compassionate God to find ways to powerfully act through the Christian congregations and the individual Jesus followers in our neighbourhood to discover new and compelling ways to open people’s hearts to Christ.

There’s no way that we can alter the saddening and tragic loss of life that we have experienced this week, but there is a way that we can work to attempt to prevent this happening again.

Pray with me that we, as a community of believers at the bethel and as a wider community of believers in all the churches of Old Trafford, will be able to connect with and genuinely speak the words of Paul:

I have become [the Church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:25-29

Let us be Christ-centred, Bible based and Active-in-love, open to the movement of the spirit of God among us, filled with the nature and person of Christ as he lives in us as believers (Romans 8:9), so that we can improve people’s lives by introducing them to Jesus, the way, the truth and the life.

May Jesus work in us and through us, may people see his face in ours as we see Him in their faces and love them the same way we would love Him.

“In another’s eyes I see my plea for forgiveness, and in a hardened frown I see my refusal. When someone murders, I know that I too could have done that, and when someone gives birth, I know that I am capable of that as well. In the depths of my being, I meet my fellow humans with whom I share love and have life and death.”

– Henri Nouwen, from With Open Hands

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Moving

Our neighbours (from one side) are moving.

We’re very sad because they have been the most wonderful neighbours that we could have ever imagined. They are (were) both chaplains at the university and that in itself led to lots of great deep spiritual and philosophical discussions. They are considerate, kind, generous, patient, quiet, friendly, loving and caring to name but a few of their qualities.
Also, they have a daughter the same age as our daughter, and they go to school together and really love each other and get along incredibly well.

We’re really going to miss them.

Last week we had takeout from Yakisoba together and shared a wonderful evening (without the kids interrupting) and wondered why we hadn’t made more effort to do that before. Why is it that when you know time is limited you make more of an effort to do special things together and spend quality, quantity time together?

But then we would never have expected just how lovely our neighbours would be and we couldn’t have anticipated they would be as great as our previous neighbours who were quiet and kind and friendly and generally lovely.

So, whilst we love our neighbours dearly and we will miss them a lot, for their company, for shared faith, for shared tastes (in beer, food, activities etc…) we release them to their new work for God where they are moving to. We pray that God will continue to work powerfully through them that they can be a blessing to their new neighbours as much as they have been to us. That they will be a blessing to their new churches in their new jobs and that God’s spirit will continue to move in all our lives to His greater glory.

Nathan & Claire, Mahalia & Elise, we’ll miss you, we’ll pray for you, we’ll not forget just how great it has been to have you as next-door neighbours.

God bless your continued journey.

Prayer of Love

Oh God.
Some sought from you this world and you gave it to them.
Others sought from you the next world and you satisfied them.
But I ask of you, neither for this world nor for the next but only for the increase of love for you in my heart.
(Islamic Prayer)

I think we can learn a lot from other traditions, this prayer speaks to the heart of my faith. My desire is for God, not what He can or may give to me.

I think often we forget that the reward for developing a relationship with God, is a relationship with God – an intimate, passionate love relationship shared with our creator.

When we focus only on what God has ‘blessed’ us with materially or what He promises to us in His future kingdom on earth, we are entirely missing the blessing of God.

Being with God, encountering and experiencing God in whatever situation we find ourselves in is more of a blessing than anything materially, and in this, sharing life with God, we are preparing for what will come in the future. If we aren’t getting to know God now and falling in love with Him now, then how are we aver going to be in tune with Him when His kingdom comes in its completeness, when the world is completely redeemed and restored, refreshed and renewed?

Partnering with God now in his restoration and redemption of this planet, falling in love with Him, is the kind of aim that is worth living with and for.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Mark 12:30

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