September is a month of change. Primary school children change to a different class, year 6 to a different school. Secondary pupils change to a different year or change from school to university or college and for some they change from school to the world of work.
In the natural world the seasons change throughout the year and in September, officially at least, summer gives way to autumn. The changing seasons are celebrated in our Harvest Thanksgiving services which take place this month. At harvest we give thanks for God’s provision of food for another year. It is also a time for us to help change other people’s lives for the better with our special harvest gifts for the local Food Bank as well as Commitment for Life.
The Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement usually fall in September and Jewish people from the time of Moses to the present take the opportunity on these Holy Days to assess how they could change their own lives for the better and be more helpful kind and loving to their fellow human beings. For Christians change is an ongoing process and we need to continually consider what things we should change in our daily lives as well as in our church life. In Christ there is always the invitation to change and start again.
Some changes can be exciting and challenging but other changes are unwelcome and can be frightening. But one thing we can be sure of amid all the changes and uncertainties of life is God’s love for us in Christ Jesus remains constant.
God has promised us “never will I leave you, never will I desert you.”
As the prophet Samuel reminds us
“He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind.” (I Samuel 15:29)
Well the football World Cup is over and the England team came so very close!! Well done to Gareth Southgate and his squad, apart from nearly pulling off the ultimate prize they also pulled their country together in a positive way for a couple of exciting weeks of eager expectancy. While the World Cup is … Continue reading Football
Marion and I have just recently returned from holiday on the Isle of Wight. I hadn’t visited the island for at least twenty years and I’d forgotten how nice it was. While Marion and her sister and brother-in-law were undertaking the considerable feat of walking the entire island coastal path – a distance of 80 … Continue reading Encouragement
I am writing this on the morning of the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just after I have seen a young couple who are getting married at Emmanuel in September. All this wedding talk brought to my mind the number of times the marriage motive and wedding themes are mentioned in the Bible. … Continue reading Royal Wedding
I am writing this a few days after the UK together with our allies in the US and France have launched airstrikes against the chemical warfare installations in Syria. Regardless of our political persuasions all right thinking people can surely only be appalled at the use of such horrendous weapons by the Assad regime against … Continue reading For evil to triumph…
Easter Sunday this year is on 1st April – quite early in the spring. Because of our particularly cold winter, the daffodils are a bit late in blooming in our gardens but they are coming out now just in time for Easter. These spring flowers are natural and beautiful symbols of the new life which … Continue reading New Life
Although Easter is not until 1st April, the month of March contains two very important Sundays in the Lenten Season – Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. At first, apart from both being Sundays there doesn’t seem much connection between these two dates in the Church’s year. But there is a connection and the connection is … Continue reading Why did Jesus have two donkeys?
Easter is early this year – 1st April in fact, so Lent too is early beginning on St Valentine’s Day (14th February) which is also Ash Wednesday. What are you giving up for Lent? Giving up things for Lent is, of course, a matter of personal choice and not a requirement of our Reformed faith. … Continue reading What are you giving up for Lent?
By the time you read this Christmas will be over and the New Year with all its hopes and possibilities will be just getting underway. When I was a boy I associated the period between Christmas and New Year with writing “Thank You” letters. Mainly to several kind elderly aunties who had sent me Christmas … Continue reading “Thank You” letters
“Bah!! Humbug!!” These words we associate with the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the Charles Dickens novel, “A Christmas Carol”. This expression and calling someone a “bit of a Scrooge” are commonly used idioms to describe people who don’t enter into the Christmas celebrations with much enthusiasm. Odd as it may seem, in days gone … Continue reading Bah!! Humbug!!
It is 100 years ago this year that the United States entered the First World War on the Allied side. It was a US Senator, Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) of California who in 1917 observed “The first casualty of war is the truth.” Ironically Johnson died on 6th August 1945 the day the Allies dropped the … Continue reading Truth
We celebrated harvest at Emmanuel a little earlier than usual this year and I am grateful to everyone for their part in making it such a joyful celebration. In early October in the Jewish community another harvest festival called the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, takes place. This is a week-long festival whose … Continue reading Sukkot