Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Gospel and Culture

Whilst Studying Paul's missionary journey's in Acts this evening I was asked a very interesting question ... It is a question which I know various colleagues have asked in the past however it is a very pertinent question at this time.

It arose as we looked at what mission is and how we can talk effectively into the culture of our day. Let me unpack this a bit more.

Paul in Acts used the language of the day, Jesus used the pictorial language of the rural farmers when he was teaching. Time and again culture impacts on the presentation of the gospel.

Our culture ... how can we speak into it?

What is our culture today ?

It is many things ... it is how we spend our time, our money, what we think about and what the world is like around about us.

In our study tonight I used the fact that many people go to movies, watch TV, listen to music, spend their time online.

There is much that could be said about the latest films which we could analyse, discuss and debate about. Perhaps that is indeed something which we should be doing.

As we watch TV do we know what that is doing to our beliefs, our understanding of the world?

As we listen to music ... what is the messages we are listening to ... are they healthy? are they counter gospel values?

As we spend time online ... what are we viewing? why do we spend so much time online now?, with Facebook is it authentic community?

Loads of questions have arisen from this study this evening ... I do think a bit more thinking has to be done in the Curatage about these issues as they are completely relevant to what it means to be a Christian today.

Newspaper and Bible in the pulpit comes to mind.

This certainly is an interesting road to go down and something which the Blog can certainly help with... Let's go on the adventure!

E100 Now Finished

Over the past 20 weeks or so our Bible study in church have been studying God's word

Each week day for the past 100 days I have been sending out emails to around 40 people with a reading, thoughts and prayers ... this has been a great experience, discipline and tool to engage with scripture in a new and innovative way.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mothering Sunday

A sermon preached in St. Columba's Parish on Sunday 18th March 2012

Today is Mothering Sunday ... and I wonder if the mums in the congregation have been having a good morning ... was it different to any other sunday morning ... how was it different?

This week I came across some things famous mums might have said
Humpty Dumpty's Mother: "Humpty, If I've told you once, I've told you a hundred

times not to sit on that wall. But would you listen to me? Noooo!"

Michelangelo's Mother: "Mike, can't you paint on walls like other children? Do you have any idea how hard it is to get that stuff off the ceiling?"

Barney's Mother: "I realize plums are your favorite, Barney, but you're starting to look a little purple."

Little Miss Muffet's Mother: "Well, all I've got to say is if you don't get off your tuffet and start cleaning your room, there'll be a lot more spiders around here!"

This morning I need a wee bit of help ... I have some images of some things which mums do for us ... take a wee look ... what do they tell us about mums?

I only have six of these but hopefully they are representative of the many many things

  1. Teach us

  2. Guide us

  3. Tend to us – Look after us when we are sick

  4. Hold us / comfort us / love us

  5. Tell us off / discipline us

  6. Protect us

Mothers are special people... as we look at these qualities
As we look at them ... we are quite mindful that our mums do quite a bit for us.

In the Bible reading this morning we hear a bit about Jesus' Mum ... She had brought Jesus to the temple and an old man who was there and he said some amazing things as to what her son would accomplish in his life

He said God, you can now release your servant; release me in peace as you promised.

With my own eyes I've seen your salvation; it's now out in the open for everyone to see:

A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,

and of glory for your people Israel

It is great that we have Jesus who knows what it is like to be in a family ... with all its ups and downs ... all its stresses and strains.

Also as we see in todays reading ... Mary, Jesus' mum was someone who was ordinary in terms of she didn't have a trouble free life ... she had joys and also we see right from the beginning of the story she was going to have to undergo much suffering and emotional turmoil.

Whoever we are we have got to respect mothers and what they do for us... The things which we have said about Mums also hold true of the church and of God himself...

In Church we call today Mothering Sunday ... its when we remember the qualities which mums display day in and day out ... and it is a day when we remember that in many ways the church displays these qualities as well because God wants us to be a family.

Mothering Sunday ... is a reminder to us of what the church should be.

‘Mothering Sunday’ was for many centuries, called ‘Refreshment Sunday’, when people returned to their ‘Mother’ Church, the one where they had been baptized.

It was a day on which to renew and refresh baptismal vows to live the Christian life of obedience to God. The Church knew her people. Coinciding with the warming of the earth and the upsurge of new life in field and barn and hedgerow, it was a good day in the midst of Lenten fasting and discipline, to celebrate the promise of a plentiful supply and variety of fresh food after the limited diet of the harsh winter months.

Then, in the nineteenth century, the custom in uk, changed again. In rural areas, especially, youngsters working as servants in the houses of the wealthy were allowed leave to visit their families and on the way, would gather wild flowers to present to their Mothers.

So Mothering Sunday is linked to Church and is about giving time to say a big ‘thank you’ to God, to the Church and to all Mothers - and others - who ‘mother’ us. It is about community with God at its centre.

And thats exactly what we are doing on mothering sunday

We are thanking God for Mums, we are thanking God for how much the church means to us and most importantly how God is able to provide those things for us.