From Gavin’s Desk

Readings: Psalm 25: 1-22, 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13, Jeremiah 33: 14-16, Luke 21: 25-36

It is incredible how our body joins together with our minds to help us work out what we are feeling. Our non-verbal communication most often speaks louder and more clearly than our words as we seek to give expression to what is going on beneath the surface. When our favourite team or individual wins a point in whatever game we support we jump in celebration with our hands held high – we know by our response that we are very happy and excited and grateful. When they loose a point, we hunch over and our mood becomes sombre. For those who are a little better at controlling their initial responses, you will still see the signs (even if they are only by viewing the edge of the mouth as they lift or droop a little and the tone of the voice as a gruff “umm” is breathed out in muffled excitement or in a more sombre tone).

When we are sad and depressed or ill, we more often than not draw into ourselves (there are those who would believe that it is because we are trying to get ourselves back into the foetal position), When we are happy and full of confidence, we walk upright (unless you are teenager who has to walk with stooped shoulders because it is a matter of course) and we push our chest out and swing our arms and make big movements with our head held high.

The liturgical Churches have understood this concept long before psychology as a science was able to be able to put words to it. Whenever we thank God or praise God in our prayers, litanies and worship, we normally stand with raised hands (sometimes) and when we are asking God for something or when we seek mercy in repentance, we kneel or we are seated. Our bodies and our words help us to understand what it is we are experiencing within our hearts.

In this season of preparation we stand with our hands held high as we worship God for coming as an infant in order to offer us the fullness of live; to save us from the darkness within ourselves and within the brokenness of the world (and it really makes no difference whether Christmas is the exact day or not; it is so vital that we have a day on which we can remember the greatest love story of all eternity with consistent regularity…)

We stand with hands held high as we anticipate His second coming with joy and excitement even as we face the disarray of the world without becoming overwhelmed by the disorder – we celebrate and long for His second coming because in Him; we know that all things will be brought under His authority and be a part of His peace.

We stand with hands held high because we know that He has already come into our hearts and so we have the incredible privilege of being a part of the peace and harmony He brings into this world of disorder. We become the rational voice that speaks into the face of the folly of mankind because we speak as representatives and friends of God most High, the God most worthy of all praise. Let us help the world celebrate the coming of Christ with us as we actively prepare our hearts for this celebration of live. Remember the story. Live the story. Tell the story.


From Gavin’s Desk

Readings: Hebrews 10:11-39, Psalm 16, Acts 2: 25-41

Imagine how much easier exercise would be if there was no resistance to it. Imagine if we could run without the wind blowing us backwards while we try and move forwards; imagine if we could run long distances without our legs and feet and lungs arguing with us every step of the way. I guess though that if there was no resistance there would be no exercise. If you could lift heavy weights without any effort at all, you would not need to lift heavy weights in case you one day needed to lift heavy weights and if there was no resistance; then nobody would be buff (well-toned) and if nobody was buff, nobody would want to be buff and so nobody would need to lift heavy weights in order to be buff.

Life would be a lot easier if there was never any resistance to the things we wanted to do. Imagine never having to argue with someone about which road is the better one to take in order to get somewhere or at least have a desire to argue about which road is better (because sometimes we want to argue; but just don’t argue about that kind of thing because experience has shown that it isn’t going to help in matters like these).

Imagine beginning a work and knowing that the next step after this one is the one that you planned when you started the job because everyone will do exactly what they are meant to do and you will not have to repeat or redo anything because someone disagreed with you or failed to pull their weight or actually did something that actually made it much harder for you to do what needed to be done. Life would be easy, but then we would also never be emotionally or spiritually or socially buff (mature).

This kind of a life would be simple and uncomplicated, but if it is impossible when we are on our own; how much more impossible is it when we are a part of a community because even our close friends reason and think and work (and don’t work) in a way that is not our own. We are not even consistent in everything ourselves, how much less can we expect the world around us to be consistent. We grow because of resistance, we mature because of obstacles, we learn from arguments and we even learn from arguments that are never going to be resolved. It is because of resistance that we learn how to adapt, it is because of resistance that we learn how to do things in more ways than one (why would anybody want to skin a cat in the first place); it is because of resistance that we achieve our potential and become who we were created to be.

God had a plan, but as God was moving one step forward with creation, we moved a whole heap of steps backwards. God still had a plan and even though it was going to take a little longer, He would be one with His creation because God created it and it was good and God will make it good again. We still choose whether we will work against God or work with God, whether we will draw close to Him or reject Him.I wonder how often I (and we) extinguish the fire of the Holy Spirit, yet even in this God is never mistaken and He continues to invite us to help Him fan the fire of the Holy Spirit.