Let’s change now

January 25, 2019

Perhaps it’s not too late. We may all have played a part in wrecking the natural world, but let’s do something about it.

This week Sir David Attenborough addressed the 49th summit of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland, and his major concern is that we act now to protect the Earth. Things are getting worse, not better, and it is high time that national leaders and their citizens make meaningful changes. “The Garden of Eden is no more” (*) , he explained, and we’re in a new age, the age of humans.

The reference to the Garden of Eden is taken from the beginning of the Christian Bible. It refers to the pristine state of the world, uncontaminated by humanity’s unrestrained greed and selfish ambition. The Bible presents our natural environment as God’s creative gift to us, and calls for us to care for it, to nurture it, and to maintain its God-given diversity and beauty.

“We need a plan” Attenborough said.

It’s never too late to change, is one of the underlying messages of Jesus Christ. It’s not only a spiritual message, but it also applies to lifestyle changes that celebrate the gift of our precious planet.

Let’s make some changes.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

*https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/david-attenborough-transcript-from-crystal-award-speech

 

The child of hope

December 19, 2014

“Where can a baby now be safely born?” asks modern poet, Felicity Currie, in her 2007 poem, It out-herods Herod[i].

Without doubt 2014 has highlighted how fragile it is to be a child. There have been too many accounts of historic and current child abuse, of children suffering in famine, of boys and girls dying of or orphaned by Ebola, and now there is the heart-rending news of the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar, Pakistan. These are among the stories that hit the headlines: do they represent just the tip of the iceberg?

What hope is there for all the children of the world?

The Bible suggests an answer, and, surprisingly perhaps, the answer is a child. Ancient prophecies pointed to a child who would lead humankind into a new age of peace and safety. One man, Isaiah, described it this way: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders…and of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

The child is Jesus. His birth changed everything. Jesus Christ was born to save everyone and anyone, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or politics. In that sense we were all involved in that stable over 2000 years ago. Every man and woman, every child that was ever born – including you – was there.

Turn to the child Jesus, the hope for children everywhere, and let him lead you.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

[i] http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/war_poetry_new.html#Poem_December_2007

We need a new heart

January 10, 2014

New heartHow can you repair a broken heart?

This week US researchers announced that they have developed a surgical glue that could potentially replace stitches and staples in heart surgery. The idea, which was inspired by the sticking capacities of slugs, would seal problem areas within seconds. It is likely that this glue would be widely available within two years.

So there is hope for the physical heart, but what about the metaphysical heart? Despite thousands of years of advancement in human achievements and in science, the basic problem of our condition remains: we can’t change who we are deep inside.

One ancient writer, the biblical Ezekiel, hit on the answer. He observed how men and women appear bent on their own downfall. The only way forward is to stop doing the things that lead to destruction, he said. What we have to do is turn to God to “get a new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31 NIV UK).

His message remains true today.

Spiritually speaking, each of us needs a new heart.

Turn to God through Christ.

Get that new heart.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

Who’s on your radar for 2014?

January 3, 2014

What next for 2014?How has 2014 been so far?

Hopefully each of us has had a chance to relax during the holiday period. As we get back into our routines, the child in the manger drops off our radar for another year.

Certainly the world has got back into its usual ways. Old war zones continue and new ones begin. Will the tenuous ceasefire in the Sudan work out? The situation in Syria goes from bad to worse. In the Central African Republic it looks like genocide may raise its ugly head as Christians mercilessly slaughter Muslims and vice versa. There are fears of more terrorist attacks at home and abroad; and in almost every country there are concerns about child abuse and domestic violence.

Will we have a Happy New Year? Perhaps, something has to change within us if we want to see improvement.

One religious leader, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, wrote in his message of the 1st January, “Let’s each make a determination to be a more sincere, compassionate, warm-hearted and non-violent human being”. Another, the Roman Catholic Pope Francis 1, in talking about the state of the world, asked the Vatican crowds, “What has happened in the hearts of men, in the heart of humanity? It is time to stop!! It is time to stop!”

Both leaders suggest that all of us – men and women everywhere – change how we are and how we think. It so happens that’s what the coming of Jesus was all about: so we could get a new heart and transform our minds.

Jesus actually.

Keep the child in the manger on your radar: it’s the only way forward for a happier new year.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk