Unmasked

July 24, 2020

Am I the only one to get confused when wearing a mask? Recently I had my face mask on when I went for a cup of coffee. I tried to pay by using my phone, but it would not process. What was the problem? My phone’s security works by facial recognition and the mask obscured my face! I felt flustered and peered intently at the phone, thinking it would click in. People in the socially distanced line behind me were sniggering as they watched, and I too began to laugh.

Masks have a fascinating history and were worn for all sorts of reasons, and they still are. I remember watching a movie which featured a masquerade, a party where people wore elaborate masks to conceal who they were. The idea goes back to the theatres of ancient Greece and elsewhere, where actors would don a mask to get into character. Typically, they’d use a mask that featured a recognisable attribute of the role they were playing.

A friend of mine, who knew I was a Christian, asked me about God. What is he like? Would he please come out from behind his mask and identify himself? My friend was being sarcastic, but I had an answer. Jesus came, I said to him, to show us who God is, to reveal how God is love.

It’s something worth noting. If we want to know what God is like, how he thinks and how he cares for us, we look to the life of Jesus.

Jesus is God unmasked.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

This is the air we breathe

July 17, 2020

Sometimes

All I need is the air

That I breathe

And to love you

Do you recognise the song? It was popularized by the Hollies in the 1970s, and it was a hit for Simply Red some 20 years later.

The air that we breathe is in the headlines again this week, and, surprisingly, it’s good news. Apparently, air quality has got better during lockdown. Some have speculated as to whether high air pollution has been a contributing factor in the spread of coronavirus. But, with fewer cars on the road and with many factories closed, air quality in major cities like London and also in rural areas has improved hugely.

It’s late news in one way, for many of us have noticed the difference when walking, running or cycling. It’s great to breathe in the purer air, and I for one don’t relish returning to how things were before the outbreak.

Another song I like is “This is the air I breathe” by Michael Smith. It’s a Christian song which suggests that the more we breathe in the freedom of Jesus, the more we want to do so. It’s like our newly restored air quality: the more I breathe it in, the more I want to go for a walk and indulge in a long, slow intake of clean, fresh, unmasked air.

Sometimes it’s all we need.

And to love, of course.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

And not a drop to drink

July 10, 2020

Water.

Drinking water. Around the world major fresh-water rivers are under threat from the salt content of rising sea levels, and natural underground reservoirs are being steadily depleted.

This week the news is that even in England’s green and pleasant land groundwater is being extracted at an unsustainable pace, and that a water crisis will hit its shores within 20 years. It seems impossible, unthinkable even, bearing in mind how much rainfall we have in the British Isles. The UK’s reputation as the umbrella nation might drizzle out!

 

Most religions see water as a gift from God. In fact, it is valued so much in the Christian tradition that it’s linked to eternal life. Drink the waters of Jesus and of his teachings and you’ll live forever, is the thought. He is the fountain of living waters.

Whatever our view, there’s no doubt that we need water. Fresh, vibrant, life-sustaining water.

Let’s value it and use it wisely.

James Henderson info@because.uk.com

Light in the darkness

June 4, 2020

‘I can’t breathe’ was not said by a Covid-19 patient urgently needing a ventilator but were the final words of George Floyd, a black man who died last week at the hands of a white policeman, sparking violent protests in the USA and demonstrations in the UK. There is no place for racism and the injustice it brings in its wake within our society.

Christian minister and civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King once said, ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ It’s a statement that reminded me of Christianity’s founder Jesus Christ who suffered excruciating pain and injustice when he was crucified on a Roman cross. The mechanism of death in crucifixion is asphyxiation, and as Jesus hung there struggling for breath, he uttered words of forgiveness for the humanity who was killing him.1 The ‘Light of the World’2 was driving out darkness, love was driving out hate. He included all human beings in that forgiveness because all lives matter to him.

If you have suffered the injustice of racism (or any other ism) why not check out the love, light, and inclusion Jesus Christ brings, and see just how much you matter to him.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

1The Bible, Luke chapter 23 verse 34
2The Bible, John chapter 8 verse 12

Good news

March 6, 2020

Sajid Javid made history as the first British-Asian Chancellor of the Exchequer – but may now be remembered as the second to never deliver a Budget. Following a cabinet reshuffle next week’s budget falls to the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak, but will it contain good news or bad? Will there be the good news of a rise in the National Insurance threshold, saving many workers around £100 a year? Or the bad news of a fuel duty rise? Will there be more spending on social care to provide people with dignity and security in old age? But to pay for it will councils be permitted to raise council tax above inflation? Good news or bad, or maybe both, we’ll just have to wait and see.

In contrast, the Christian message contains only good news. In Jesus’ death and resurrection there is forgiveness, healing and reconciliation for all humanity. This is not something you have to wait and see if it applies to you. Everyone is included, everyone is invited, there is room for all, even you and me. Now that’s good news to be heralded from the despatch box, and which I commend to those who hear.

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

Love banishes fear

February 21, 2020

Fear can make us do terrible things.

I was filled with sadness this week when I read about how a bus containing evacuees from coronavirus-hit China was attacked in Ukraine. This was not a rational response, but as this crisis escalates the rational arguments are rapidly giving ground to emotional ones.

For many of us, our great fear is death itself. The end of life. Interestingly one of the hallmarks of the Christian faith for the last two thousand years has been its followers’ willingness to die for their faith. To give their lives for others no matter the cost.

At the root of this is the Christian belief that death is not the end. Through Jesus Christ, Christians believe that even in the darkest of circumstances there is always hope. Because of God’s love for us, there is life after death.

Love, not death, has the final word.
Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

Gavin is an editor at Because

 

Because Magazine January / February 2020

December 16, 2019

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Because Magazine January / February 2020

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Because Magazine January / February 2020

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Manifesto of hope

November 22, 2019

A ‘manifesto of hope’ is how one of the political parties in the UK described their intended policies if they get elected to government.

One of the Christian claims is that a new kind of government is coming, one which will have Jesus Christ as the head. If you want to know more about his aims and policies (and what he has done about them), they have been recorded in the gospel accounts of the Bible.

Unlike many political parties in the world today, Jesus did not just promise change, he also gives us the power to make meaningful change in our life.

Turn to Jesus and find hope.

Gavin Henderson info@because.uk.com

Gavin is an editor at Because

Another one

November 1, 2019

‘You’re joking? Not another one!’ So said ‘Brenda from Bristol’ when Theresa May called a General Election in 2017. Now we are faced with yet another one and with it 6 weeks of electioneering before the poll on 12 December.

All candidates will be making promises of what they will do if elected in order to secure your vote: Brexit done and dusted by 31 January 2020; Brexit stopped altogether; a people’s vote to determine the way forward; more money for the NHS; more police on the streets; more choice in education or the closure of private schools; higher taxes on the wealthy, lower taxes on business. The promises go on and on. Will any of them come to fruition or are they as Mary Poppins once said, ‘pie crust promises – easily made and easily broken?’

The future after a General Election is uncertain, but the Christian Scriptures tell us of a future hope that is certain: one where every tear will be wiped from our eyes, and where there will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). But are these promises just ‘pie in the sky?’ Not according to the writer of the book of Revelation: he reassures us that these words are trustworthy and true (verse 5).

Although God doesn’t need our votes to bring this future about it’s one I vote for and want to be involved in – how about you?

Barry Robinson info@because.uk.com

[Image: Nottingham Post]

 

Because Magazine September /October 2019

October 1, 2019

You can see our new monthly magazine here

Because Magazine September/ October 2019

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