As I picked up my mug of tea at breakfast the other day, I was thinking about writing this pastoral letter I glanced at the mug randomly selected from the cupboard. The words on the mug said:“my Dad’s okay” and “love you Dad”. When I turn the mug around and written on the other side are also other father orientated Comments: “No 1 Dad” “I love you Dad” “Dad rules” “my Dad is great” “Dads are Brill” “my Dad’s fun” the mug was given to me by my children.
The course of family life never runs smoothly, and I have had cause from time to time to punish them and also to tell them that I’ve been disappointed with their behaviour. This leads me to thinking of a newspaper cutting of a cartoon from many years ago; picture in your mind the hedgehog father sitting on a stool with his son child bent over his knee. His hand is raised, and he is about to punish the child. The caption below reads (the father is talking): this is hurting me more than it is hurting you. This amused me but it illustrated an especially important point. When I needed to consider punishment of my children it also hurt me. Back to the mug.
The mug reminded me of my Heavenly Father and all the captions on the mug remind me of Gods characteristics. We have a Heavenly father that loves us all very much. The whole of creation reverberates of that love. Wherever in the heavens I look the stars display God’s handiwork. Also, as I look in the garden he is there too! In all the creatures of animal Kingdom, he is there too. Then look at the creation of human life is there too. We are told that we are created in the image of God and because of that, he loves us.
In the Bible we find many illustrations of God’s love. One is when there is the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus. The punishment at the time was the death sentence carried out by stoning. We are told that Jesus looked compassionately upon her. Justice needed to be carried out. The accusers demanded she should be punished and asked Jesus what should be done. He addressed the crowd. He said “okay you want to punish her go ahead the person who has not sinned must be the one to throw the first stone”. We are told that the on looking crowd dissipated to nothing and only Jesus and the woman was stood there. Jesus is compassion; He said to her “where are those who accuse you”. She said, “they have gone Sir”. He said I don’t condemn you to death either, go in peace and sin no more.
Sin could be described as a virus that affects us all, at the moment we are also subject to the restrictions inflicted upon us caused by the Coronavirus and we long for a vaccine which may lead us back to normality.
There is a cure for our sin too. Moses told the people bitten by snakes in the wilderness to look at a Bronze snake on a pole to be saved. Ironically, a symbol of that Snake is often used outside Pharmacies. Today we can look with love and gratitude on Christ Jesus to be saved from mankind’s virus of sin. He took upon himself, a human sacrifice for sin and then rose and went back to heaven. His departing words to us all was to go tell the message of his love and the path of salvation that he has provided.
That brings me to circuit news. In this shutdown period we are now using social media in all of our churches to stay in touch and for fellowship. The streamed services from Waltham Chase have proved to be particularly useful and is proving to be a means of mission as well.
The Circuit team has had to make the hard decision not to take part in Wickham Festival this year for safety reasons and many of the other planned outreach events have also been cancelled.
Waltham Chase church want to expand the work of the streamed services. To continue and improve particularly after lockdown has finished and use it as a mission tool. To this end an appeal has been made. Shirrell Heath Church are sending £2000 and the Circuit is donating £2000. Waltham Chase Church also has £2000 available from their own funds. If you feel that you have missed out on this appeal, please contact the Waltham Chase leadership team or Steve Oliver the Church treasurer or the circuit team and we will point you in the right Direction.
Meanwhile please find ways to advertise the streaming of the services on your church notice boards and also elsewhere in your communities so the love of God can be widely shared.
May God richly bless you in all you do for him
Yours in Christ