This still makes me smile and lifts my spirits …
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator;
If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist;
If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Saviour.
On Monday at Messy Church our focus was heroes – specifically the heroes of the Bible and how we can all be superheroes for God as we respond to the command: Love God, love others. We encouraged our young people to dress up in a hero costume and so we had – Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, we had Superman, Batman, various princesses, Captain Jack Sparrow, Mulan, SuperSmurff, Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, to name but a few. We had fun games, made crafts based on various stories of Bible heroes, heard the story of the greatest Superhero ever – God’s son Jesus, and shared a meal together at which over 90 were served … a great time was had by all.
I have a friend who will be having surgery tomorrow because she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the months since her diagnosis I have found myself praying for her daily, but at all sorts of odd times. The prayers come easily into my mind and I find no difficulty with the words I offer to God. I am also praying for another two friends who have had surgery for different cancers over the past couple of months, and prayers for their ongoing recovery also come easily.
But it was not always so.
Several years ago my family were going through a crisis: my Father was diagnosed with cancer, so was my brother in law, and my niece … well my niece was born with it. The whole family was so numb that all we could do was ‘stand still’. We got angry at God; we got angry at the doctors who gave the diagnoses. We wanted something done, and done immediately – by the doctors … by God. We looked for answers and we looked for reasons. The question that was continually asked of me was ‘well when things were good … was that when God was with you’ therefore, ‘now that things are bad … has He abandoned you?’ This was my ‘behind the closet door’ crisis.
Prayer was difficult, concentration more so. But it was during this time of numbness, and going through the motions of everyday life, that I found myself singing the words of two songs:
“Father God, I wonder how I managed to exist without the knowledge of your parenthood and your loving care. But now I am your child I am adopted in your family, and I can never be alone ‘cause Father God, you’re there beside me’
“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, your heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”
I sang those two songs as I drove up and down to Glasgow every weekend for months. And through them, I was able to recognise once more that God was with me – that he had not abandoned, but was present. And through this realisation I found comfort and the strength I needed to step forward into the unknown.
The future is unknown to us; but we do not go into it alone. We can be certain that when we are going through the difficult times of life, God is always with us, we need never doubt his presence, even though we are numb to it at the time. He keeps is word: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb 13:5) and he promises to give us power and strength along the way.
This amazing cake was made by an amazingly talented member of our congregation, it marks the 10th anniversary of my ordination and induction to Banchory-Ternan East.
Some anniversaries are ones of joy and celebration, while others, especially the anniversaries of tragedy, are particularly difficult.
When you say the ‘9/11’ people instantly know what you are talking about as they recall harrowing pictures of planes flying into the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.
So every year, as the anniversary of my ordination and induction comes around. I have mixed feelings: There is joy as I remember a special event in my life, but it is also tempered with a sense of sadness, because I also remember that there was another event that happened, which touched and shaped my ministry, and which touched and changed our world.
We pray for our world.
We pray that the fellowship of the church will stand as a sign of the possibility of barrier-breaking.
We pray for those who mourn and those who suffer – especially those who mark today an anniversary of loss.
We pray for peace.
And all God’s people said … Amen.
As we look at the world around us – the pain that so many are suffering – perhaps it’s good to just stop and remind ourselves that we are actually loved by God. Pain and suffering are not His will for us, healing and wholeness are. Sometimes though, it is difficult to return that love so freely given to us. Sometimes we want to rage against God and hold back our love. It’s always easier to proclaim our love for God when our emotions and circumstances are all in a good place, but when we’ve lost someone so dear to us that it becomes almost unbearable, those are perhaps the times we have to choose to love.
When Christ laid his life down for the world, He demonstrated what real love looked like. It was a choice, beautiful beyond words. That’s the kind of love Circleslide sing about in their song, “Love Amazing”.
All my needs have been replaced