Flip the pancake!

December 7, 2018

I’m writing this from a coffee shop where I’ve ordered toast and marmalade. I came here at 7.45am, and am looking forward to the crispy, toasted bread. The problem is that often they serve it toasted just on one side, meaning, in my view, that it’s only half-done, and so I ask for it to be toasted on both sides. Am I being too fussy?

It reminds me of a description from the Christian Bible. It refers to an indecisive nation as a half-turned cake. Imagine making a flatbread or a pancake and not turning it over so that it cooks thoroughly. The result would not be good because it’s neither one thing nor the other. Just unfinished. Does this describe the UK right now? Not just the UK, but so many countries are in turmoil, and don’t know where to turn or on which side their bread is buttered!

On a personal basis I realize sometimes I’m like a half-turned cake. So many things incomplete, stopped halfway, betwixt and between, stuck in the middle. Maybe, what I’ve got to do is get help so that I can finish and let myself become like a cake that’s baked, fully risen, and that tastes good, so to speak.

That’s what Jesus offers us…to help complete who we are, to become the best we can be.

If each of us lets Jesus help, hopefully the knock-on effect would be that our nations would cease to be like half-turned cakes stuck on the griddle of life.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Who chose you?

April 21, 2017

Now there are elections coming up across Europe, including the UK, France and Germany.

It can be difficult to know how to vote, especially when political parties adjust their policies and manifestos to suit the national mood or changing circumstances

It can be just as confusing when choosing which faith tradition to follow, if any. So many options and varieties within those options.

When it comes to Christianity, the view is not that we choose Jesus, but that Jesus has already chosen us. His policy is his desire to give us grace and love abundantly. What is remarkable is that nothing changes that policy. It is constant, irrespective of our changing circumstances.

As we think about voting, let’s remember that Jesus chose us. In fact, to confirm his choice, he died and rose from the dead for all people, including you and me.

And, thankfully, he’s coming again to rescue us from the mess we find ourselves in.

Jesus chose you.

james.henderson@gracecom.church

Still time to remember

November 10, 2016

village-garden-of-remembranceIt’s still time to remember,

Perhaps, during this momentous week in world politics, it’s even more fitting that we remember how precious were the lives of those men and women who died in warfare throughout humanity’s long history. When I wear the red poppy, it’s not just in remembrance of those who gave their lives in service to their country during the First World War, but it’s also a protest against the futility of war. More importantly, it’s a statement of hope – a certain hope that everyone who has died and who will die, be it in warfare or not, is not lost forever.

There is hope, not just because we remember, but above all because God remembers. That’s why he sent his Son, Jesus, to us. Jesus came to die that we might live beyond death because God remembers us.

No matter what turmoil the world is in, no matter how unsettled the political scene may seem, no matter what wars happen next, no matter how hopeless things appear, nothing can separate us from that hope which God gives us in Christ Jesus.

There is hope because God remembers each and every one of us.

Let’s remember.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

Interference?

April 22, 2016

ID 44372737 © Palinchak | Dreamstime.comAfter a week of royal celebrations here in the UK we are back to bickering politics as usual. The debate at the moment is about whether the leaders of other countries should comment on our own national affairs.

The issue in question is the UK’s referendum about remaining in the European Union. The leaders of various countries, including Germany, France, India, Canada, China, and now the USA, support the case for Remain, whereas those of Russia and the so-called Islamic State back the Leave argument.  But, should any of them publicly state his or her point of view? Do they have a right to say what they think in a free and open world system? Should they speak up? Is it interference?

When it comes to how we lead our lives, some think that God interferes. What right does God have to comment? Are his views an assault on our personal liberty and on our right to choose what we want? What about world politics? Does God have a view and should he interfere? Or should he stay impassively in his heaven and look on as things go from bad to worse?

Biblically speaking, God has interfered already, does interfere, and will interfere again. He sent his son, Jesus, whose crucifixion and resurrection to life changed the course of human history. The Father and the Son sent the Spirit into the hearts of Christians so that they could intervene and change things for the better wherever they go.

And, what’s more, just as the reaction of world leaders may be regarded as interference in our national affairs, so the the return of Jesus to this earth will be regarded as interference in international affairs. In fact, some scriptures suggest that Christ will be met with great resentment and anger.

Surely, as we look at the parlous state of the world, we need someone from somewhere to interfere for the good. That is what Jesus is all about.

God does and will interfere.

And thank God that he does.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk

What’s happening?

September 18, 2015

ID 45344833 © Deanpictures | Dreamstime.comWith all the news of European politics, the migrant crisis and the fighting in the Middle East, it’s easy to forget that there are other things going on in this world of ours.

For example, have you been following the events in West Africa concerning Boko Haram, the terrorist group that began some years ago in northern Nigeria, with a spreading influence in Cameroun, Chad and Niger? The reports are that over the past five months about half a million children have been displaced and have fled due to threatening Boko Haram activities. The terrorists’ tactics involve violence, fear and intimidation.

There are so many terrible things going on in the world that it’s difficult for us to pay attention to all of them.

What about God? Are there some things, such as the recent earthquake in Chile, which receive his immediate attention while others get neglected or forgotten? Is it just the breaking news that pre-occupies him, or does he show the same level of compassionate concern to those caught up in the daily struggle of life as he does to those involved in the tragedies brought into our living rooms on the TV or that we read of in the newspapers?

According the the Bible, God knows and cares about everything and everyone, from someone dying unnoticed in a retirement home to all those thousands fleeing from Boko Haram; from those suffering hidden abuse to the all those televised victims of the Isis Jihad.

God’s capacity for compassion is limitless.

Whatever is going on, God is there.

Whatever is happening in your life, God cares and is there for you.

james.henderson@gracecom.org.uk