From the Manse July - August 2018

Meeting with the baptismal worker and the group of parents recently, we were asked to say what was important to us. I wonder how you answer that question?

The most common answer, no prizes for guessing, was family - such a little word, our short-hand for all the relationships that support us, have supported us and will support us. Living our lives for and with one another is part of our Christian calling, as we follow Jesus example of unconditional love for one another.

Having visited Belfast for the first time for the European Area Seminar - Methodist Women (WFM&UCW), just walking around the city you have a sense of the opposite views and lives of its inhabitants.

At such depths of disagreement, it seems hard for the outsider to understand what does make the difference, that enables peace and freedom to occur. How is it possible to be vulnerable to others; there's always the risk of getting hurt, again. At the same time, we aren't to be Christian doormats.

Our love and service of one another begins with knowing ourselves and having good boundaries, ways of behaving, which offer respect and open honest conversation. Self-reflection and a degree of vulnerability is required as we ask ourselves the "why does this matter to me?" question.

And then follow through by being willing to separate the person from the position they take. Philippians 2: Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus... 

Jesus loves us, loves you, loves me, loves those we fear and those we hate, loves those we love and those we are caring for. Jesus came and took away all our reasons to be protective of what we have and who we are, in other words fear of the other. God's vulnerability and openness offers us fulness of life, when we engage with another, when we are open to thinking about things in a different way.

It is hard to see situations in the media which are examples of vulnerability and respect. However, there are always times in our lives within our Churches, communities, workplaces and homes which offer opportunities to work through our differences in ways which honour one another and allow glimpses of the self-giving of Christ to be made visible in our life together.

The power to make change is in us, because God is in us, inviting us further and deeper into relationship. "...for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

What is important for you, because it is important for us to hear that and to be able to walk forward together, with a greater understanding of that infinite love which compels us.

God bless us

Rev Suva