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 innocent civilians including children. As Edmund Burke, the famous 18th century philosopher observed, “For evil to triumph all that is required is for good people to do nothing.” It is a pity that so often the only telling response has to be a military one but again reasonable people can only negotiate with other reasonable people.
In Jesus’ day the fear of war was just as real as it is today. The weapons were not as sophisticated as in modern times but still the fear of sword and spear was just as big an issue as bombs and bullets in our time. Jesus acknowledged this when he said to his disciples,
“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Nations will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Such things will happen but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:7)
Jesus with these words, I believe, was not so much giving a realistic assessment of the mankind’s proclivity towards self-destruction but was reassuring his friends that the world is destined not for inevitable destruction but for ultimate salvation.
No matter how the newspaper headlines may worry us, let us continue to work for justice and peace and remember and believe the vision of the apostle John that in the end God’s love will triumph.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” ‘Behold I am making all things new.’ (Revelation 21:4)
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
September is the month of beginning again. Schools return, university terms start as do all the host of church and secular activities that take a summer break. September to me always seems a more sensible time to celebrate New Year than 1st January which was the date the Romans chose and we have followed on … Continue reading New Year?
During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” … Continue reading The King’s Cave
As I write the General Election is over by less than a week and the Prime Minister is in the process of putting together an agreement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party to secure a parliamentary majority going forward. Needless to say the two sides don’t agree on everything and a compromise will have to … Continue reading Politics?
Dear Friends, I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that this month, on Thursday the eighth, we have a General Election and all the main parties have been, for what seems an age now, wooing us for our votes. It is certainly not for me to tell you for whom to vote … Continue reading Fake News