Monthly Reflection -June 2016
Good afternoon; our reflection this month arrives a few days before Andy and I are off to the Christian Vision for Men Gathering representing the CPA so I would ask that you remember us in prayer as we go and have fellowship with other Christian Men and hopefully encourage others to take their faith into their work places! We will be live ‘Tweeting’ from the event so if you are on twitter please keep an eye out for our posts! Also any prayers about ‘good weather’ would be appreciated!
In out, In out, shake it all about!
The Supremacy of the Son of God
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1 15-20 New International Version
So this week we see the long awaited referendum on EU membership; this reflection is not and will not be an advert for one side or the other in the debate- I will say that from the very beginning!
I was reflecting this week on the divide that has appeared in our country over this issue- it is a divide that has gone across political parties, across faiths and in families up and down the land. The debate has at times been toxic and divisive with seeming battle lines being drawn as the vote gets closer and closer. A good friend of mine asked an interesting question of me saying ‘Whose side do you think God is on in the referendum?’ a question that I have taken time to think and pray about!
I believe that sometimes we can get caught up in worrying about whose side God is on- I suspect that around and about there are hundreds if not thousands of people praying that their team or country does well in various sports including the European Football Championships!
I was greatly encouraged by the view of a Christian Racing Team who I had the privilege of meeting at a men’s breakfast in Hitchin who said that part of their ministry when racing is to pray on the grid at the start of a race- They don’t pray to win but pray that it is a good race with safety for everyone involved; it was also a sentiment raised by a number of Christian rugby players during the World cup last year where they also prayed for ‘sportsmanship and safety’! For me it really is this simple– ‘It isn’t about winning it is about honouring God- win or lose’.
During the American Civil war there were various claims and counter claims made about ‘doing God’s work’ and President Lincoln was once asked if God was on his side. He later wrote in reply- ‘I do not boast that God is on my side, I humbly pray that I am on God’s side.’
This important concept should be of more relevance than speculating on who God is siding with over any issue- including the referendum!. One should consider as to the way of becoming on God’s side, what does it mean in light of current events? and how does my being on God’s side affect me? These are the important questions.
The Bible is very explicit as to how one becomes on God’s side. Christ pointed out that God sent Him into the world to provide eternal life, to everyone who accepts Him for salvation from their sins (John 3:16-18).
Over many centuries many terrible acts have been perpetrated by people who claim to have ‘God on their side’- but we must be aware that by simply making that claim it doesn’t make us right!
We have all seen it haven’t we some issue or disagreement arises- such as the referendum. One side flings some mud at the other, and the other side flings it back. Both claim to be right. Both will not back down, refusing to remove the log from their own eye, while throwing mud in their brother’s eyes. What would we say if both sides claim to have God on their side? And it drags on for days and weeks, both sides continue to demonize each other. Both sides paint the other as evil caricatures, incapable of good, incapable of God’s love, pointing at, and talking about, the other’s specks, while failing to see their own logs, flinging more mud and dragging each other’s names through it each time they scoop up another handful…… Sound like the last few weeks?
In the scripture above we see the supremacy of Christ described- I love this piece of scripture and it reminds me that whether we think we are in charge or we think we are in the right- our Lord is in the right and we must humbly submit to his will and concentrate on being on God’s side before our own!
When Britain was close to defeat during the 2nd World War, and the entire British Army was trapped at Dunkirk, in desperation George VI called for a National Day of Prayer to be held on 26th May 1940. In a national broadcast he instructed the people of the UK to turn back to God in a spirit of repentance and plead for Divine help. Millions of people across the British Isles flocked into churches praying for deliverance and in extraordinary scenes outside churches across the nation including Westminster Abbey people queued up to pray. A number of events immediately followed. Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region grounding the Luftwaffe which had been killing thousands on the beaches and harassing efforts to save the army. And then, a great calm descended on the Channel, the like of which hadn’t been seen for a generation, which allowed hundreds of tiny boats to sail across and rescue 335,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 20-30,000. From then on people referred to what happened as “the miracle of Dunkirk”. Sunday June 9th was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving. I am not saying that during world War two God was on the allies side- I am saying that on that day at that time our nation put itself on God’s side by humbly turning to his divine providence!
In John 15 we read:
The Vine and the Branches
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
John 15 1-17 (NIV)
He is the vine- we are the branches- His commands not ours- We did not choose him he chose us and appointed us!
So my answer to the question I was asked by my friend is that ‘God is on God’s side’! Tomorrow as we vote in the referendum (Or choose not to vote) remember that our first and only thought must be ‘I want to be on God’s side’ and not think if God is for ’Brexit’ or ’Bremain’! And after this week’s vote let us all remain humble following the result and remember we are commanded to ‘Love One another’!
God Bless you all!