Thursday, 5 April 2012

Not celebrating a 'living legacy'

Dear Mr Cameron, 
"This is the time when, as Christians, we remember the life, sacrifice and living legacy of Christ."
No, it is not. We celebrate as our only hope in life and death, the perfect life, atoning sacrifice, bodily resurrection and current intercession of Jesus Christ before the throne of our Father God. 

Please do not patronise us with talk of shared values. Pretending to share values does not even restore society, or reconcile families, never mind restore us to a reconciled relationship with the God of the universe. Jesus Christ did not die and rise again to share a vague feeling of peace to inspire us. While we are powerless to do peace, he came to be our peace, to make peace, and to preach that peace with the Father [Eph 2]. There is no eternal hope in a 'living legacy'. There is sure and certain hope for a broken, rebellious and dead world, in a Man who defeated death and rose as the first-fruits of a new creation, and will return to judge the living and the dead.  

The chronologically-challenged 'Cranmer' draws out an interesting comparison with Barack Obama's Easter speech here. Glen Scrivener treats us to something better:

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Who's church for?

Many people I know have some idea that church isn't for them - or at least, that church-going folk would think that church isn't for them. And in a document of the 16th century, I came across a helpful summary of who the Lord's Supper (and therefore church) is really for - and who would be best staying away! Which are you? 
Who are to come to the Lord's table [in church]?
Those who are displeased with themselves because of their sins, but who nevertheless trust that their sins are pardoned and that their continuing weakness is covered by the suffering and death of Christ, and who also desire more and more to strengthen their faith and to lead a better life. Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgement on themselves. [Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 81]
So, sinners welcome; hypocrites keep away. Will you come? 

As Christ said, 'Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Power, cool and decline

A Brit in America reflects on what the church can learn from The Iron Lady - resisting the temptation to stir in the polarised American political scene, Trueman highlights the portrayal of the loss of glory in old age.

I was slightly surprised to hear from African brothers and sisters at Cape Town 2010, that they often felt ignored in the church while still 'young', pre-Forty-and-married, say. In the UK, probably some churches have that dynamic. But we are more in danger of despising age than despising youth. 

'Ageing brings whispers of mortality, of weakness, of limitations; and such whispers bring an ever-increasing sympathy with others. Only the one who has felt the slow creep of weakness can truly sympathise with the weak. ... The church does not need leaders who feel strong; she needs leaders who know weakness.'