The Word…

The Word

Isaac Wimberly

If there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.
You see my brain has not yet reached the point.
Where it could form a thought that could adequately
describe the greatness of my God
And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to,
release a breathe with enough agility to
breathe out the greatness of His love
And my voice, you see my voice is so inhibited
Restrained by human limits,
that’s hard to even send the praise up
You see if there are words for Him,
I don’t have them.

 

My God, His grace is remarkable
Mercies are innumerable
Strength is impenetrable
He is honourable, accountable
Favourable, He’s unsearchable yet knowable
Indefinable yet approachable
Indescribable yet personal
He is beyond comprehension
Further than imagination
Constant through generations
King of every nation
But if there are words for Him,
Then I don’t have them.

 

You see my words are few
In trying to capture the one true God
Using my vocabulary would never do
But I use words as an expression,
An expression of worship to a Saviour
A Saviour who is both worthy and deserving of my praise
So I use words.

 

My heart extols the Lord. Blesses His name forever.
He has won my heart, Captured my mind
And has bound them both together
He is defeated me in my rebellion
Conquered me in my sin
He has welcomed me into His presence
Completely invited me in
He has made Himself the object of my sight
Flooding me with mercies in the morning
Drowning me with grace in the night.
But if there are words for Him,
Then I don’t have them.

 

But what I do have is, good news
For my God knew that man-made words
Would never do, the words are just tools
That we use to point to the truth
So He sent His son Jesus Christ
As The Word, living proof
He is the image of the invisible God
The first born of all creation
For by Him all things were created
Giving nothingness formation
And by His words He sustains
In the power of His name
For He is before all things
And over all things He reigns
Holy is His name.

 

So praise Him for His life
The way he persevered in strife
The humble son of God becoming the perfect sacrifice
Praise Him for His death
That He willingly stood in our place
That He lovingly endured the grave
That He battled our enemy
And on the third day rose in Victory
He is everything that was promised
Praised as the risen King
Lift your voice and sing
For one day He will return for us
And we will finally be united with our Saviour
For eternity, eternity.

 

So it’s not just words that I proclaim
For my words point to The Word
And The Word has a name
Hope has a name
Joy has a name
Peace has a name
Love has a name
And that name is Jesus Christ
Praise His name FOREVER!

Where are you ?

Were you ever asked the question ‘Where are you?’ Who asked you this question? Was it your wife/husband, children/parent, friends/neighbour? This question gets intense when those who love you can’t locate you in your usual place. This question highlights relationship. However when you are found to be in the wrong place or trapped in bad surroundings their obvious reaction will be one of anger or disappointment followed by love and a resolve to protect you and to get you back again to the safe space.

The Trinity in the Christian faith is a story of a Father who lost His children and His sacred family. In our Bible in the Book of Genesis (3:8-15) we learn of a tragic breakdown of a wonderful godly family in Adam and Eve. When God came to meet His children He found that they had moved from the safe space He had given them. Out of a concern-filled anxiety God shouted loudly ‘Where are you’ Adam and Eve, my children?  The answer was “we are hiding because we are naked and we feel ashamed to come in front of you.”  God’s family was corrupted. Another strong power, called Evil or Satan or the Devil, successfully uprooted this lovely family from their safe, holy and desirable space and led them into dangerous place. This story sets in motion God’s resolve to fight this Devil on earth and to bring His family back home.

The story of the Trinity begins with this messy and broken love relationship between God and the Devil. In this story we learn that it has been a long drawn-out battle where God has to progressively fight the devil as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This battle culminated on the Cross of Jesus. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. And this unending love leads further to the Gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. There is an ongoing battle against the powers and principalities of this world. The difference is that today the battle against evil has to be fought by the believers in the Church.

During the Sundays after Trinity a call to confession is made. In the story of the fall of God’s family, Eve said that she was beguiled by the Devil and Adam said that he was beguiled by Eve.  Neither of them were willing to accept their fall and own it.  Rather they blamed each other.  Instead of blaming each other and hiding themselves they should have cried out like the Psalmist (Psalm 130) ‘Where are you O God’? The Psalmist recalls his human vulnerability and cries out;

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;

Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

The Trinity offers believers the assurance of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness if only we confess our sins. God’s grace through the gift of the Holy Spirit offers hope to God’s children to reconcile with God and also an opportunity to mend broken relationships and the healing of our body, mind and soul. St. Paul’s understanding of the Trinity is helpful for us in realising how important we have become after being redeemed by Jesus Christ and after being nurtured by the Holy Spirit. We are a new creation. The old Adam and Eve in us is dead with Jesus on the Cross.

The Trinity gives new meaning to our life. Paul in 2 Corinthians speaks about Christian life as a plain pottery jar which holds a candle. Our lives may look very ordinary, but we contain the light of Christ. The same God who said at creation ‘let there be light’, has now placed the light of Christ in our hearts. Paul speaks about a confident relationship with his creator (2 Corinthians 4: 13-5:1). The only aspect of Paul’s earthly life which will also be with him in heaven is the Spirit of God within him. The Spirit is God’s down-payment and guarantee – the sign and promise of eternal life.

During the Sundays of the Trinity season we will realise that God has enabled His children (us) to respond to the question ‘Where are you?’ not as old Adam and Eve, filled with Sin and Guilt and Curse and Punishment. Rather as a new creation a new Adam and Eve filled with Grace and Mercy and protected and owned by Unconditional Love and Redemption through Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

With much love

Arun

 

 

Give us this day…

Bread features very prominently in our daily lives. A simple sandwich or a slice with salad, toast for breakfast or just a mid-morning snack! Most of us would say that we could not imagine life without bread.

But all over the world there are many, many people who do not even have anything even as simple as a piece of bread to eat  –  and even in this country of ours, rich as it is, there are many who struggle to make ends meet in living day to day!

The period of austerity (are we emerging from it?) which we have experienced in this country over the past few years has given rise to ‘Food Banks’ which have done much wonderful work in giving basic foodstuffs to those who cannot afford to feed their families properly. Those of us who are well off are able to give of their generosity in stocking the food banks and in doing so prevent many less fortunate people from starvation.

Just imagine for a moment the many people who are starving for want of bread. Their hunger and their desperate need for food! They will all suffer a deprived and hopeless life with no real opportunity for change.

Jesus had quite a lot to say about bread too. He famously said “I am the bread of life” which meant that to follow him was to receive nourishment for our souls; He also said “no man lives by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!” He was not diminishing the physical requirement for nourishment, but was in fact emphasising a more important kind of ‘bread’ which builds us up and makes us spiritually strong. That ‘bread’ is His word, found in the pages of the Bible, and if we wish to be fully healthy and ready for His service we need to feed ourselves on that word day by day! I’m sure nobody would be likely to miss out on their daily nourishment of bread (food) so why do we so often leave the more important bread of life  –  our Bibles  –  unopened and ignored?

The words of the Lord’s Prayer “Give us this day our daily bread” take on a whole new meaning when we look at it in the light of the provision which God has given us in his Holy word. We eat bread to live, but only when we take in the daily bread of God’s word will we begin to REALLY live!

As we begin to read into God’s words we find Him teaching and enlightening us more and more. The pleasure of a daily conversation with our Father in Heaven through scripture just cannot be underestimated. The alternative is that of going hungry and perhaps starving ourselves too much!

God Bless

Peter

 

Behold The Son of God

Christmas – A time to celebrate Jesus as the Saviour of the World

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

John one of loving disciples of Jesus wrote of Jesus so that people may believe that

John 20:31 “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in his name”.

It is amazing that gentile seekers (the Magi) took a long journey to behold the Son of God with their gifts. Jesus’ birth was predicted in prophecies of the Old Testament and we learn from the book of Daniel about Magi working as the King’s dream interpreters and advisors in Babylon. The “seventy sevens” prophecy in Daniel chapter 9 predicted the precise date that Jesus, the Messiah, would be “cut off.” These seekers had studied these prophecies carefully.

In Luke 2:8-22  we read that the Shepherds not only took a journey to behold the Son of God in Bethlehem, but also “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them”.

Jesus was to be born as perfectly human and perfectly divine (Isaiah 7:14). He was to be called ‘Immanuel’ which means “God with us” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus was to be actively involved in every sphere of this world: “…the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Micah 5:2): Jesus’ origin was from of old, from ancient times.

The foundation of the Christian faith therefore is based on our firm belief in the historic Jesus. He is the true revelation of God. A healthy church is one where its worshipping community acknowledges with honesty the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ and beholds Him as their Saviour and the only true God in this world.

Bishop Julian in the Diocesan Synod on 18th October shared his vision for the Diocese of Blackburn, asking us ‘Where we are Heading?’ This document has already been published on our website and is included in our magazine this month.  In January 2015 the Diocesan Synod will adopt this document for the next twelve years.  In 2026 when the Diocese of Blackburn will celebrate its 100 years as a Diocese, it is hoped that this vision will bear fruit.

Bishop Julian brought to our attention that the decline in membership of the Anglican Churches in Lancashire is the highest nationally. We are standing on a burning platform. We need a radical change and not just tweaks and adjustments.   He emphasised that the Church has to reinvent itself and become a healthy church capable of transforming the communities. He emphasised that without wholehearted discipleship and complete faith in Jesus our outward expression will be ineffective and futile. We have to inwardly become Christ like.

This can only happen when we renew our understanding of being disciples of Jesus Christ. We need to return to the Gospel of the Scriptures. We have to take the biblical revelation seriously. We have to recover confidence in the Gospel for the urgency of evangelism. We have to reequip our lay and ordained leaders for today’s missional context.  We have to unashamedly bring others to faith in Jesus. We have to change our methods of sharing the gospel without changing its true message.

We do realise that in the context of inter-faith relationships and meetings there is some level of hesitation in affirming honestly Jesus Christ as our Saviour.  A healthy Church does not dilute or adulterate the Gospel.  The writer of Hebrews in his concluding exhortations encourages the persecuted Christian community to speak the truth in love about who this Jesus is to the Christian? Jesus will never leave His people and will always be there for them. He reminds them of the purposeful and focussed leadership of the Apostles and says that (Hebrew 13:8), “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”.

We have a great example in St. Paul who uses his knowledge of Greek Literature and existing ideologies and writings of his time as a vehicle to communicate and proclaim his firm faith and belief in Jesus Christ in Athens (Acts 17:28). Paul quotes a Greek poet Epimenides of Crete: “for in him we live and move and have our being”. Paul also quotes, “We are his offspring”, from Cilician poet Aratus.  Aratus was referring to Zeus, but Paul is talking about God who is the Father of all.  Paul puts it to his hearers: why are you insulting this almighty creator-Father-God by making idols of metal and stone? This ignorance must stop! He wants people to turn from the ‘Unknown God’ and discover what God is really like in Jesus.  Jesus is the One who died and rose to life. Jesus is the One who will come to judge the world.

Unfortunately we enter into inter-faith dialogue with less knowledge about other faiths and also lack of honesty and passion for communicating this unique incarnate God in Jesus Christ.  Our faith conversations are reduced to either social gatherings with other faiths or a hesitant and half-hearted theological stance from Christian practitioners. We are not confident enough to take the name of Jesus publicly with honesty and sincerity. Christian theology has taken too many pains to justify its existence in the European context since the Middle Ages. We unconsciously or consciously become Universalists in our theological position and fail to speak about the uniqueness of Jesus’ teaching in response to the serious existential issues facing the communities. The issues of Peace and Justice are reduced to faith-based regional interpretation. Our tongue has become too tight to speak about ‘God’s yes’ and ‘God’s No’ and to proclaim ‘Good News’. We all want to either be politically correct or in a settled way manage community relations without any substantive spiritual values for living together.

Let this Advent help us to reinvent our life in Jesus. Let Christmas be a time to celebrate and behold this Son of God through the eyes of our hearts. Let us take our ‘Theology of the Word’ and proclaim this ‘Word made Flesh’ unashamedly. Let us show the power of Love, Compassion and Sacrifice Jesus showed on this earth in His person and work . CS Lewis known for his wonderful quotation shares his passionate faith in Jesus. He writes, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 BINA AND I WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND JOYFUL NEW YEAR

Arun

Sources used to write this article

Bible – NIV Version

Andrew Knowles, 2001, The Bible Guide

Karl Barth, 1962, Evangelical Theology – An Introduction