Friday, 15 February 2019

I had a rough sea crossing the other week on a short outing from Newhaven to Dieppe. There was a gale and we were warned against going on deck. From the ferry you could see the rise and fall of the sea and smaller boats in the English Channel perilously bobbing up and down.

On board there was a gentle motion on account of the stabilisers which counter the rocking we’d otherwise have felt directly. It was a great parable of Christian faith which doesn’t take you out of troubled seas but helps you sail through them with peace passing understanding.

The same week I’d experienced a bereavement. Whilst the pain of loss was there I found it allayed by knowledge of the risen Lord, through whom we know life is changed and not ended by death. 

Jesus Christ is our stabiliser as we voyage through the stormy seas of life. His Church - the immense body it is - sails like a boat towards the eternal shore and, as the song goes, ‘with Jesus in the boat you can smile at the storm’. 

You can smile, but, as on my ferry, you still feel the sea’s movement. No boat is aloof in a storm even if its passengers benefit from those wonderful stabilisers below deck.

Like me you may be travelling now through a storm in your life. Put faith in Jesus Christ as your stabiliser and keep fellowship with others in the ferry which is his Church. You’ll one day reach harbour and be part of the rejoicing felt after a stormy voyage!

Friday, 1 February 2019

It’s a new month in a new year of tumult in our nation.

At this time the credibility of Parliamentary democracy has taken a tumble, with that of ministers, politicians and the media, leaving many bewildered not knowing who to trust.

Fear not - trust! Trust God - he is above all to be trusted!

In the tumult of an earlier age, as the Roman Empire fell apart in the 5th century, St Augustine of Hippo preached on the message of the Christmas angels in these words: ‘Fear not the coming of your God: fear not his friendship… Fear is a suffering that oppresses us. But look at the immensity of love.’

 To believe is to have the capacity to rise through natural fear into the glorious liberty of the children of God. To know you are loved, that God’s Spirit has been poured into your heart, is to connect through trust in God with the centre of the universe and see his perfect love casting out fear and its oppression over you.

In the tumult we’re living through over Brexit, believers refuse what Augustine calls ‘the suffering fear brings’ and immerse ourselves in the immensity of God’s love, wide as the ocean!

I believe this to be a month in which people who do so will become like beacons in this storm, drawing people towards ultimate security in the peace of Christ that passes understanding.

Fear not - trust! Trust God - he is above all to be trusted!

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