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The God of the Grey – A Faith Worth Sharing

May 20, 2017

I’ve been thinking about “Thy Kingdom Come“. The word’s from the Lord’s Prayer that are the guide to the time of prayer between Ascension (25th May) and Pentecost (4th June). Thy Kingdom Come will be an exciting time for the people in the churches here, and around the world. I’ve copied information about it below.

The Christian faith is something very special so I’m very happy to share it with others. Faith is intimate; Jesus (himself) said, “those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14.21) But so many people don’t see that.  The see words, written words, and spoken words, and they miss all the rest.  Even some Christians get lost in the fog of words and lose sight of the Risen Lord. If I am to share a faith, it needs to be the true faith; a faith that is fit for the good times and for the sad.

The Christian faith is wonderful, but that doesn’t mean that everything will wonderful, all of the time, once you’ve become a Christian. Last week I found myself drawing alongside a number of people for whom life was grey. They had faith but life for them is sad, grey, even despairing. This is a reality.

Their grey times have forced me to look for hope in sadness. I looked for an enthusiasm for life that I could share or at least that would provide me with the inner resources that I needed. I feel strong and full of life, but to be of any use I needed to go back to times in the past when I have felt like them.

You see the grey times are like a spiritual fog.  They smother the brightness and vibrancy of life.  Nothing has really changed but it is as though someone has turned down the brightness and colour settings.  There is no immediate threat but as the colour drains from the world so enthusiasm for life drains:  Drains slowly, almost imperceptibly.

I remember saying the words, the prayers, and reading the words of scripture, while needing more. In the grey times I needed to find hope:  Hope to give me the sure footing I need to carry on through and out of the spiritual fog.

I remember finding this hope shot through the words of the Bible. It was not the words themselves that brought hope.  It was the ideas and realities that the Spirit brought to life up from the dry words; it was when the dry words were watered that they brought hope.

Looking back, it is one set of words from Acts (17.22-31) that has often been the source of hope for me (God) “himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, ………, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; ………., ‘For we too are his offspring’.”

These are the words I need for the grey times!  Times when it feels as though I’m groping along trying to find my way, my hope and my life. Even in the grey, God is with me, in me; and not just words, but God himself.

Faced with the grey sadness of others, I went back into my past, to find the resources that God had given me. I did that and felt the strong presence of God within me, making me whole, complete and, yes happy. I found myself smiling. Then a further memory came back as a warning.

I also remembered the pressure to be cheerful through the greyness. I remembered how painful it was when people tried to cheer me up or tried to get me to “look on the bright side”. They meant well but it just made it all worse. I felt guilty for not making them feel better. I remembered the pressure to be bright and confident, as though not being cheerful meant there was something wrong with my faith.

But that simply is not true.  At times strong Christians, with a real faith, will feel as though they are groping forward.  Or feel as though they are groping around aimlessly without direction. It may feel like that when I am in that fog but that doesn’t make my faith any less real.   It doesn’t make my faith any less strong.  In fact a real, strong faith has little, if anything, to do with what other people might think.  Real faith is about experiencing all that life gives; the highs, the lows, and the grey misty plain.

It is real faith that holds me close to God through all these times, whether I feel Him there or not.

Going back to Paul’s sermon in Acts once again, “he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; ………., ‘For we too are his offspring’.”

That is what faith is about.  Faith describes the bond I have with my Father, ‘For we too are his offspring’.   It is my faith that reminds me that God is my Father and Mother, that Jesus is my brother, and that the Spirit is in me all the time.

After all, “he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.  Words brought to life by the Spirit:  That have power when I act on them and feel their reality.

So God is in me and around even when I feel in a fog. God is in those that I drew alongside this week, in just the same way. God is with here in the grey times, just as much as when we are happy, bouncy and enthusiastic.

These are not just words:  These word bring life.  These words give birth to faith; real faith, living faith.

A faith worth sharing.

God bless,

Nigel.

——————–

From the Thy Kingdom Come website:

Thy Kingdom Come

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/about

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement, which invites Christians around the world to pray between Ascension and Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus Christ. What started out as an invitation from the Archbishops’ of Canterbury and York in 2016 to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer.

The hope is that:

*   people will commit to pray with God’s world-wide family – as a church, individually or as a family;
*   churches will hold prayer events, such as 24-7 prayer, prayer stations and prayer walks, across the UK and in other parts of the world;
*   people will be empowered through prayer by the Holy Spirit, finding new confidence to be witnesses for Jesus Christ.

“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses …to the ends of the earth. When he had said this…he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight…Then they returned to Jerusalem … and were constantly devoting themselves to prayer…
    When the day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place… All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit… and that day about three thousand persons were added.” Acts 1,2

“In praying ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we all commit to playing our part in the renewal of the nations and the transformation of communities.”
Archbishop Justin Welby

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One Comment
  1. jean black permalink

    Very thought provoking

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