Sunday 12th July Message from Derek Mark 9 : 14 – 29

HUNGRY BEARS AND FAITH
The story is told of an atheist who woke up one morning and decided
to go for a walk. It was one of those perfect summer days. The sun
was shining brightly with not a cloud in the bright blue sky with a
slight breeze that kept you nicely cool.
As a poet put it ‘God’s in his heaven and all’s right with the world’,
except that as an atheist he did not believe in God.
He came to a forest and began to stroll through it. The tall trees
stretched up to the sky covered in wonderfully green leaves with birds
singing from their branches. Wildflowers bloomed beautifully around
with rabbits running through and hares bouncing up and down
thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Suddenly he heard a grunt behind him and turned to see an
enormously big brown bear coming after him with arms wide open
and his sharp claws extended, and it looked as if he had not eaten for
some time.
The atheist turned and ran as fast as he could with the big brown
bear pursuing him. He reckoned that he was doing all right when he
tripped on a root and fell down. He looked up and saw the big brown
hungry bear staring down on him from above. “Oh God help me “he
cried out. “What” said God, “All your life you have been an atheist and
not believed in me. Surely you would be the world’s biggest hypocrite
to change your mind right now?” “That’s true” said the atheist, “But
please God, could you at least make the Bear a Christian? ““So be it
“said God. At that the big brown hungry bear bowed his head, shut his
eyes, put his paws together and said. “For what I am about to receive
Lord, make me truly thankful”.
That’s the story which I hope raised a smile. But it also has a
message, if not several messages. First, be careful what you pray for,
you might get it!
Secondly, it is not only bears who should be thankful for food and all
the good things that are ours for the asking. A glance at any TV news
reel will show us how fortunate we are when compared with so many
in our world.
We live in a country not at war, food on our table, a roof over our
heads a wonderful Health Service, with friends and family to comfort
us.
Then thirdly it questions us, “What makes a Christian? “
Not just someone who goes to Church each Sunday. Although that is
a very good thing. We meet with other Christians to pray and sing
together, refreshing our faith with inspiring words and warm
fellowship. It also acts as a witness that we are Christians as folk see
us on our way to Church. But that is something that we have been
denied during this ‘lockdown’ period. We have learned to find other
ways to worship. Sharing in services on the TV or radio or with
churches on our laptop screens. The telephone has been a godsend
as we have chatted shrinking the miles between us. We have been
reminded that the church is not a building but the people of God, with
a common faith outlined in our Creeds and summarised in the hymns
we sing. For we Methodists not so much say our faith as sing it in the
hymns of Wesley and Christians down the ages.
We study our Bibles, meditate on the meaning helped by
commentaries and pray familiar and extempore prayers, and reason
together on the big questions of life and our place in it all. Above all
we allow Jesus to lead us in the confidence that we are loved by God
as if we were the only ones for whom he cares. As our new Methodist
President said in his inaugural address, “Together we are a
movement for prayer, for worship, for receiving and sharing God’s
love and for giving to those in need. “
Perhaps all of this is summed up in John Wesley’s
“Rule for Christian Living “:-

Do all the Good you can,
By all the Means you can,
In all the Ways you can,
In all the Places you can,
At all the Times you can,
To all the People you can,
As long as Ever ….You Can ! “
God Bless You All Derek Davidson
Blessing – May the Grace

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