Thought for the week 23/05/22 

storm 

The Furious Storm Calming Saviour

What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:27
 
Are you the sort of person who loves or hates a weather storm?
 
There are some people who love weather storms so much that they go looking for them. ‘Storm chasers’ will search weather forecasts looking for the locations guaranteed to have the windiest, wettest, scariest furious storms. And then instead of staying safe at home they travel to meet the storm.
 
Matthew, Luke, and Mark all record an occasion when Jesus and his disciples got caught in the middle of a furious storm while out on the Lake of Galilee. Galilee is an area where storms can suddenly occur. However, given that some of the disciples were professional fishing people we might have expected them to avoid travel in potentially dangerous conditions. And it is dangerous. The storm is described as ‘furious’ with waves sweeping over the boat.
 
Picture the scene. Little boat. Big waves. Frightened fellow travellers.
 
What would you do in such a situation?
 
What does Jesus do?
 
“But Jesus was sleeping” (Matthew 8:24)
 
It is difficult to sleep through a ‘furious’ storm.’ Why was Jesus sleeping? Did he not care?
 
Some of us may be facing storms in our lives just now. All of us will have to travel through them at some point. They may be ‘storms’ created by fear or illness. Storms created by stresses at work or home. Whatever our storm looks like sometimes it can feel as though it’s a furious storm.
 
During a furious life storm, we can ask
 
“Is Jesus with us?”
 
We may even wonder
 
“Is Jesus sleeping?”
 
What should we do when a furious storm hits us?
 
We read that the disciples went and woke Jesus.
 
A life-threatening terrifying event was occurring. The disciples had plenty of experience among them about what to do. Unable to save themselves they went to Jesus.
 
“Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25)
 
At what point will we go to Jesus?
 
Jesus’ response may seem a bit harsh.
 
“You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26)
 
I can think of many times when these words could have been applied to me. A storm comes and instead of turning to Jesus I panic and frantically try to sort things out. Eventually the only option left is to turn to Jesus.
 
“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” (Matthew 8:26)
 
The impossible became possible. The Lord of creation had just commanded creation to be still.
 
Where in our lives today do we need to know the peace that only Jesus can bring?
 
And will we find the faith to trust him even when the furious storms come along?

Keith Wilson, 23/05/2022

Thought for the week 16/05/22 

Love in action 

Love in Action

Love must be sincere.” Romans 12:9
 
What does love look like in action?
 
Imagine you are married. For some of us this may not require much imagination at all. You say to your partner each day: “Darling, I love you.”
 
This is a nice, some might say romantic, thing to do.
 
We all like to be told that we are loved. However, imagine that you repeat these words day after day after day.
 
“Darling, I love you.”
 
Which is very nice. However apart from some nice words you rarely do anything else. You leave the kids to run riot. You fail to do any household chores. You expect dinner on the table but do little to get it there. You never buy flowers or little presents. As for birthdays and special dates well…. they are not on your agenda. All in all, your fine words are not accompanied by any actions.
 
It has been said that love is a verb. Having briefly been awake in an English lesson I seem to recall that a verb is a doing word.
 
In other words, the word ‘love’ has to be accompanied by actions.
 
God wants more than fine words from us.
 
In Romans 12 Paul outlines what love might look like in action.
 
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
 
We can tell God that we love him. We can sing the songs and even read the words from the Bible. But if we really love God our fine words must also be accompanied by equally fine actions.
 
It’s a reminder to us that when Jesus was asked which commandment was the most important, he replied:
 
“Love then Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
 
Paul wrote:
 
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)
 
Which makes me wonder.
 
Do I truly love God?
 
And when did I last demonstrate that love?

Keith Wilson, 16/05/2022

Thought for the week 09/05/22 

Justice

The Christian Society

Learn to do right; seek justice.” Isaiah 1:17
 
Believe it or not I did go to university. The first week of term, Freshers Week, was an opportunity to find our which clubs or societies you might like to join. At the university I went to we were encouraged to join at least one of these societies. I joined ‘Geogsoc’ – which was the society where Geography students (of which I was one) could unwind and have fun looking at meandering contour lines! There was also ‘Greensoc’. Rather than being a colour of foot covering this refereed to an environmental society where we had fun bemoaning the state of the planet. I managed to avoid the ‘Beersoc’ and the ‘Winesoc’. I think there was even a ‘Whiskysoc’. Students weren’t quite so poor back in the good old days.
 
Are you a member of any clubs or societies today?
 
Sometimes coming to church can feel like a bit of a club. There are members. There are rules to follow. We speak a similar language and try to have fun together. Yes, church can be fun!
 
Is church meant to be a club – where only the good get in? Or is there more to church than this? What if church was meant not to be a society, but to change society?
 
What might a Christian society look like?
 
Would it be one in which everyone goes to church? One in which we all read the Bible every day? One in which worship music tops the charts?
 
What would a Christian society truly look like?
 
Isaiah gives us some hints. In Isaiah 1:17 we read:
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
 
Why do such values matter? Such values are key to us understanding what the kingdom of God is like.
 
The Christian church is the visible representation today of the future kingdom of God. When we do mission. When we share our faith with others, we are inviting them to be part of the kingdom of God. It’s only natural that if you’re invited to somewhere new to ask – well, what’s it like?
 
Dr Ruth Valerio writes: “If we follow God’s word, a Christian society would be one that is free from inequality. One in which people looked after each other with compassion. Christianity is more than church numbers – it’s about justice. To build God’s kingdom is to lift up those who have been cast down. Without doing that, we are missing the whole point.”
 
You know I’d like to belong to a society like that.
 
What are you and I doing to help create that kind of a society?

Keith Wilson, 09/05/2022