Thursday, 6 February 2020

Faith = Belief x Action

I'll have mixed emotions when I first receive a Brexit 50p coin, and perhaps that's exactly right. We've been told to choose one option or the other: in or out, control or influence, border or not.
Jesus' actions were challenged by a trick binary choice: should he pay taxes to the emperor or not. He asked for a coin [Matthew 22.15-22] and flagged up that it had two sides, one bearing the emperor's head. He argued that his challengers had responsibilities both to God and to the emperor.

It is unclear quite where the United Kingdom goes from here, but whatever the outcome it should include a balance between all our responsibilities. Open debate is essential, and the disturbing trend in government of avoiding scrutiny is a dangerous path. Jesus responded to questions, and asked many himself. 'Speaking truth to power' is the motto of the United Nations; we all need to be held to account.

The famous engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel's father believed that he could build a tunnel from Kent to France. As I understand it the Chunnel actually starts at the original site of what proved to be a hopelessly optimistic attempt. He had belief but his actions didn't bare it out.

Several generations after that failure tunnelling machines working from France and Britain met under the English Channel. 25 years later an average of 60,000 passengers pass through the tunnel each day, along with 4,600 trucks, 140 coaches and 7,300 cars; that's about a quarter of our continental trade.

The faith of many thousands involved was demonstrated by their actions in turning their collective belief into reality. It wasn't easy, but adventures rarely are. However, they left an amazing legacy, and a fine example of greener travel because it's powered without using carbon fuels.

You and I won't build a tunnel, but the small details of our living can present the same challenge: will we #makeadifference by demonstrating our beliefs through action? I thank God so many do, and add my hearty encouragement.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Adventure, and toothbrushes

Robust romance leads to adventure, so if I send or receive a fleeting gesture on Valentine's Day it's unlikely to be remembered. On the other hand if I live in a grace-full way as opposed to a grace-less one, then life will be more exciting and rewarding.

East Suffolk Council

After Christmas I try to thank any 'recycling operatives', the fantastic people clearing away the tons of rubbish after our celebrations. They are often cheery, even though only getting one or two days holiday. So much of what they collect is the residue of fleeting gestures.

The amazing lego kits will be built, jigsaws done, internet bombarded with a myriad of new devices ... and what will last? Imagination to create something different from all those coloured bricks; websites giving inspiration, perspective, and humour; and above all relationships that evolve with generosity.

In September 2018 I bought some bamboo toothbrushes [as if only cleaning one tooth?!]. I was delighted to be asked in a pub what had happened to them. Well, the spent brushes didn't go to landfill; instead I used them as kindling to light the wood burner. It felt good not to add more plastic to the environment.

by Ash Mills

At first sight this stunning picture makes it look like Salisbury Cathedral is flooded; in fact the reflection is on water filling the font. The image reminds us of our relationship with nature. Will we be graceful towards her beauty and power, or treat her as a dump? 

Half hour worship by candlelight takes place in St Andrew's at 7.30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. We've just finished a series on marriage, and celebrated a core part of life which needs support from everyone, whether married or not. Some of the wisest counsellors are single and can see the wood from the trees.

In in all our relationships with each ourselves, with other, with different cultures, and with nature may we seek the greatest fulfilment. Jesus' first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding. He blessed adventure.