Minister's letter for January 2020

 

“The time has come,” He said. “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”  (Mark 1: v15)

Dear all,

With the above words Jesus began His ministry. Those around Him were made aware of the time in which they lived, it was God’s time and it was good news! From time to time we can all do with some good news. This was different though, this was good news for all time, not just the present. God was breaking in through the life and ministry of Jesus and the urgency to “believe” and “repent” came with it.

I see this urgency as an important part of our own faith stories and find this text helps us as we renew our covenant promises again for a new year. It’s a promise we make to God as we give our lives in love to the will of God.

  • Put me to what you will
  • Rank me with who you will
  • Put me to suffering
  • Employed or laid aside
  • Exalted or brought low
  • Full or empty
  • All things or nothing
  • I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.

Not an easy agreement to make, but, that’s the point, repenting, believing and changing and serving in the ‘Kingdom of God’ requires commitment and promise and a covenant relationship. The circumstances we find ourselves in are all relevant to God and all fall within the “Good News” of God with us. The promises we make are a reassurance that we are not on our own in this life! The Kingdom of God is near; hear, so we are to believe! I want to remind you of an entry in the journal of John Wesley on 24th May 1938. “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the laws of sin and death.”

So, in a time where Wesley was clearly brought low, his actions to be in Aldersgate Street in his words ‘unwilling’, possibly feeling empty and even suffering at this time he places himself under the word of God and hears the “Good news” flowing from a discussion of the preface to Luther’s commentary of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome.

Are we ready for the ‘Kingdom of God?’  Are we ready to ‘repent and believe?’ Are we willing to commit unwillingly, even maybe kicking and screaming, to the will of God?

Are we ready to promise: “I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal”

Thank you for all you do in the life of our churches both gladly and at times unwillingly. It’s a privilege to stand and work alongside you in it all.

 

O Jesus thou hast promised

To all who follow thee,

That where thou art in glory

There shall thy servant be;

And, Jesus I have promised

To serve thee to the end;

O give me grace to follow

My master and my friend!

(C Wesley)

 

I close by wishing all a Happy New Year,

yours as always Rev Colin