Minister's Letter

United in love? - January 26th, 2020

 

Dear Friends,

I had always wondered whether God would give me an easy ride in my last year before retirement. But one thing I have discovered about the Lord is that he has a great sense of humour. Guide your church through the pastoral tensions, Biblical paradoxes and conflicting
opinions of an emotive hot potato. That will keep you busy seemed to be the Lord’s response.

Well, he got that right! The Methodist Church has produced its report on Marriage and Relationships and we are in the process of discussing its ramifications before it goes back to Conference. The Report is entitled God Unites Us in Love. Well it might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God but getting a Methodist Church to be united comes in not far behind.

Maybe it’s another side of the Lord’s humour that throws up today’s set reading (see below). Paul had to confront a church that was divided over whose leadership they should follow, and he wanted from the outset to deal with those divisions. Today we are arguing about something that is really important, but we are going to have to put Christ’s love at the heart of our discussions if we are to claim his name with integrity.

Paul wanted a perfect unity. Personally I’d probably be prepared to accept a little less. In the end we are all going to have to ask what kind of God we believe in, and whether we are made in his image, or whether he is made in ours. We will never agree totally with one another but I wonder whether we can be gracious enough to honour God by sticking together and loving one another without blowing a gasket. God’s wicked sense of humour may then transform into a respectful smile.


Philip


1 Corinthians 1: 10-11

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.

A Prayer

Lord, as you know I have a deep-seated sense that I am always right, and that my view of the world and yours dovetail pretty close. You had better help me put that aside as we seek your will. Amen.

 

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