Dear e-News friends and church members,
Finding Grace In Desert Places
This was an important week in the global diary in that much of the world commemorated Holocaust Remembrance Day. Most of the events were online this year, and we joined in with the UK broadcast on Wednesday night. The moment ended at 8 PM with participants lighting a candle and placing it in a window – indicating light in the darkness.
Participants included the Prime Minister and all three first ministers of the UK nations. It’s horrendous to hear accounts of unbelievable suffering and the slaughter of 6 million Jews, other ethnic groups, disabled people, gays, and some sects and cults. Anyone in fact who did not fit in with the way the Nazis saw the world.
Whilst we all vow to never allow such a thing to happen again, regrettably it is happening in China, Myanmar, and Sudan to mention just a few.
Amongst the horror, there are stories of courage, self-sacrifice, and kindness as many stepped up to help those in such desperate need.
This weekend at our 5 PM and 9 PM service I have a short interview with Jenny Sedov an attaché at the Israeli Embassy and head of the civil society department.
Important and sobering thoughts and insights, please take a moment to watch.
We as a church and movement have recently signed up to the IHRA (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance) declaration of anti-Semitism and will stand with Israel and Jewry in opposing anti-Semitism.
Jeremiah writes and reminds his national audience that they once found grace in the wilderness (Jeremiah 31:2):
“Thus says the Lord: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;”
And we all remember the stories, of God’s supernatural provision of food, water, clothing, and direction as Israel travelled on through those wilderness years.
God’s favour where least expected.
We the world, are in a desperate wilderness right now as Covid-19 continues to rampage causing deep distress and much despair, yet we can find and are finding grace in the wilderness. God’s covenant love and kindness are so evident.
Truly we are “Thriving! (Not Just Surviving)”, and the testimonies are already coming in for this first month of this new year.
The strange paradox of evil and trouble is that it can be the fuel that feeds the furnaces of salvation fires. More people are searching for truth, God, and hope than ever before.
Paul was saying the same thing in Romans when he wrote,
“…where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” – Romans 5:20
We are now in the ‘much more’ season.
I continue this weekend with part 4 of “Thriving! (Not Just Surviving)” and I can’t wait to share and be with you at church online.
In the meantime lets be the grace bringers, the gospel sharers, and the hope givers to all those around us. When Jesus told us to love our neighbours He didn’t only mean those who live in the flat upstairs, but those who were nothing at all like us. Young loving old, black loving white, straight loving gay, right loving left. If the gospel works for one then it will work for all.
Love you guys.
See you at church online,