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A week of hope and optimism!

July 11, 2015

I’ve had a strange week. In the schools it has been a week of saying goodbye and of moving on. Some are moving to high school, some to new classes, to college or leaving school all together. A time of change. Some are excited at the new opportunities, some are frightened by the uncertainties ahead. Some I will see again in September, but some I may never meet again. At one event I listened to all the things that the primary school leavers had done and I wanted to start school all over again! So, I think that the overall the sense I have from this week is of hope and optimism.

The same is true for these churches clustered along the Waveney valley. All is not perfect but things are good. The Spirit is flowing along our valley. A Spirit of life and hope. A Spirit that is leading us out of our buildings to share the love we’ve been given with those around us. The number of community events that now happen in or around our churches is growing and growing. I see the school children and the elderly smiling and happy in church. I see new faces coming to worship and new people coming to explore. To taste and see whether what we have is good and for them. The Spirit is flowing.

The Spirit is flowing and so all is not calm and serene. After all Jesus never promised an easy life. But when hatred comes then we seem to be standing by one another more than ever. We are praying and encouraging each other more. We are recognising God as our loving Father who has stood by us and will stand by us wherever the future may take us.

So again, I am feeling positive and hopeful. So much so that there is the real danger of becoming complacent: of taking God’s presence for granted. I read the story of John the Baptist’s murder in Mark 6 and I know that following God’s call doesn’t always lead to a happy life. A contented and fulfilled life perhaps but not always ‘happy’ in the way that many people around us would understand ‘happy’.

As with John the Baptist I know I’m not called to be popular but to be faithful; faithful to God’s calling. To faithfully show signs of God’s kingdom here on earth through my words and actions. To support all that is good but also to speak out against all that is not. To show no partiality to the strong or to the under-dog. This is a high calling and is beyond my strength. I try and fail so easily. I can’t do it, at least not on my own. I have though found that I do a lot better when I take the time to listen to God and receive his strength.

Through Jesus you and I have been given the task of making his kingdom seen here on earth: To receive a taste of God’s perfect world and to share that here and now. I know that I am to follow Jesus and lead people to be more loving. To show that God’s way of living is the best for everyone. To show the way of forgiveness and healing. The way for individuals, for our churches, for our families, for our schools, for our nation, for our world.

Along with all Christians I am called to show by my life that God’s people love and work for peace. It sounds hard but it really isn’t. All I have to do is let God start to work in me. Then he can change me into a more loving and peaceful person. Forgiving is hard but the Spirit can make it possible. With forgiveness I’ve found that I am healed of so much that holds me back and by sharing that forgiveness I share that healing with those around me. This is not my work or your work: this is God’s work in us. I am God’s child and he is making me more like him, if I let him.

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