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  • 12 March 2006 - Hallfold

    “On the Way”

    Christian life is a journey, hence there comes a time when we have to move on, try something different, experience God from a different perspective. 

    Jesus has arrived at a new stage of journey - it is time to move away from Galilee - from wandering rabbi - to Jerusalem - political and spiritual engagement. This was the not the deal Disciples signed up to - be fishers of people changes to suffering, rejection, death - Peter complains. Reality of discipleship - deny yourself, take up your cross, follow - lose your own life and be saved.

    Paul reminds us that the faith journey has always been uncertain - it was for Abraham - faith came from willingness to trust, obey, learn, grow - different settings, places, experiences.

    Deny yourselves - contrived for Lent, real life decisions - Norman Kember/Tom Fox/  -  Jamaica -. Fairtrade

    Take up your cross - a revolutionary slogan - confronting fears - action - decision/life’s deal - [visual - remove cross from wall place in middle of congregation to be touched, grasped, confronted] - Here it is in the midst of us, at the heart of our faith.

    Follow - with your fears, doubts, burden, - find life - life with purpose, direction, God’s life, God’s journey - the way of the cross.

  • 5 March 2006 - St. Andrew's

    Mark 1:9-15

    Genesis 9:8-17

    Out of the wilderness - kingdom

    Markplace of deliverance - place where God is to be found place of safety – but also a place of danger and horror - where Satan and the wild beasts are to be faced. (disclosingnewworlds)

    Out of the wilderness, kingdom.

    Noah - awful, deliverance & judgement - faithfulness,  from watery wilderness - kingdom.

    This mornings Hymns have all come from a time of wilderness - 
    Now thank we all our God  was written in the depths of the Thirty Years War when the whole land was devastated 
    If you believe and I believe comes from Zimbabwe's independence struggle - we sing it today as we launch our   Commitment for Life appeal and support our friend Marian.
    O love that wilt not let me go came from George Matheson's personal distress and has been used through the years to acknowledge grief and pain.
    Were you there when they crucified my Lord? comes out of slavery and the faith of a people oppressed and abused who found in Jesus liberation.
    By gracious powers is a translation of a hymn written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer in New Year 1945 whilst in a Nazi prison knowing that he was unlikely to survive. Amidst the pain is a wonderful confidence in God's goodness and grace.

    From war, hopelessness, distress, slavery, imprisonment, comes release, healing, freedom, grace, justice, hope - out of wilderness - kingdom. 

    Lent is created wilderness - fasting, prayer, reflection seeking God and God's will in our lives.

    Real Lives often involves real wilderness - there is no known time scale, no planned Easter.
    The programme “Facing the Truth” told powerful stories from the conflict in Northern Ireland, it has been a long wilderness for all of those involved - has the kingdom come?  in healing, in reconciliation, in forgiveness, we saw the kingdom come - people building a future with hope. Out of the it wilderness, kingdom.

    Your wilderness - if remembered - where did the the kingdom come, where was the healing, reconciliation, new beginning? If it is now, be encouraged by other peoples stories, be aware that in the wilderness as you face Satan and the wild beasts - God is present and out of wilderness can come Kingdom. If it is created for this Lenten period, then may your seeking allow you to know God's call on your life at this time.