Friday, March 5, 2021

World Day of Prayer 2021

 Our God,

You are the one foundation,

the unshakeable rock to your worldwide church,

the reason and focus for our denominations, organisations, family and faith, actions and attitudes.

May we anchor ourselves in you.

Let us accept the changes we sometimes fight, knowing your plan is perfect and you will stabilise us through all light and shadow, every peak and valley.

Rising seas and deadly winds tear lives apart for our Pacific hosts but they are strong in you, their faith is persistent and they show us the way.

Reward and strengthen them.

We experience strength through your love

your love flows to us and from us, changing hearts,
transforming lives.

We build on you.

I was asked to write a prayer for World Day of Prayer. The host nation is Vanuatu. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What I believe

My course requires to write 600 words about my personal belief system relating to faith. I might as well put it here:

·         I believe in a God who created the universe, knows everything, is all powerful and is everywhere. He has the ultimate control over what happens all the time and everywhere, including in my life. I find comfort and hope in this idea of God. I try to be obedient to Him and then I can be released from a lot of worry because I know He will take care of the rest.

·         I believe that this God is intimately interested in me and can be relied on to provide what I need. This provision is in His timing which can often feel extremely late. Waiting on God’s timing can be very uncomfortable and often seems very last minute, sometimes we will be hanging on by the skin of our teeth before we feel that He has acted.

·         I believe that I can directly access God through prayer or reading the Bible and there is no need for any kind of intermediary. Others can pray for me or I can pray for others and this is a good thing but I can access God without having to rely on any other individual. Prayer might be very deliberate and well articulated or it might never be expressed but felt as a desire of the heart.

·         I believe Jesus was the human form of this God. When God seems very abstract it might be helpful to look at the documented life of Jesus.

·         I believe that  the Bible is the document God wrote for our guidance and encouragement and that it should be interpreted carefully, with prayer and generosity. The way we read and understand the Bible will be tailored by God so that different aspects will jump off the page at different times. Interpreting to suit our  own purposes should be avoided though I acknowledge that we can’t always know when we are doing that, which is the reason we read in tandem with praying.

·         I believe that a relationship with God is the way to have the most meaningful life. On earth and after. Jesus was separated from God when He died. That death and separation served as the proxy for  me and for all of humanity. It means we don’t have to endure separation from God.

·         I believe that our relationship with God starts when we understand and acknowledge our need of Him. This might manifest differently for different people but we all come to a point where we have a need of a greater power, our own resources are not enough to help us with the issue we face.

·         I believe that a person does not need to understand God in the Judeo Christian tradition as I do, to be able to know Him and have a relationship with Him. It is not for me to judge who is in relationship with God or exactly what that will look like.

·         I believe that my continuing relationship with God is made possible by his love toward me, (not by my good works) but the relationship will end if I don’t love Him (by loving others)  If my relationship with God is made possible by His love and only by His love, it frees me from the tyranny of trying to work hard to be in God’s favour. When I am secure in His love, the mental energy I might have spent in trying to “be good” or “do good” can be  used more productively.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

fires , climate , faith

I am not of the mindset that *insert bad news story* is a punishment from God or a message from Her or any other thing. I usually see disasters as disasters and God as God but this time it is different.

I can see the fires as a disaster of our own making, a symptom of impending climate catastrophe. And I do. The enormity of the suffering pains me. The depth of ecological loss angers me. My own helplessness frustrates me. It's a distressing, depressing situation.

Or I can try to find some hope, which I also do. I look for the stories of humanity, of resilience and compassion, generosity, selflessness. There are good news stories and I look for them, enjoy them, share them.

The positives I speak of are nice but they are not enough. Stories of communities pulling together, wildlife carers, millions of dollars in donations and burrow sharing wombats are not enough to shift my despair.

I don't think anything can really shift my despair over climate change but as I see my nation react I have just the tiniest glimmer of hope. My hope is like a dying match, little more than a glowing splinter and wisp of smoke in a vast universe of blackness.

Is it possible that this huge crisis can shift people out of their complacency? Is it possible that our government will start to listen to the people who cry out for action? Will the suffering we see inspire a deeper compassion? Will we repent of our selfishness?

I do believe that the earth can heal if we allow it. And I believe in a God who will honour our attempts to make things right, if we are committed and genuine. I do believe this situation can be turned around

I also believe that it probably won't be. I hope I am wrong but I think we are creating our own armageddon.

The only place I can find hope  is in my faith. These times are so very bleak