Monthly address

june

Dear parishioners,

June is “bustin’ out all over”, to quote the lyrics from the movie Carousel! We have cast our “clouts” because the May is most certainly out! We have entered our “summer” calendar. It always takes us by surprise (albeit a delightful surprise), when those hot days appear in the middle of those cold wet weeks.

June marks the official start of summer, where once-dormant trees spring back to life. It’s a season for new growth and renewal. In our Church calendar we have journeyed with Jesus from Christmas to Ascension, we have witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit and we have begun our new Church year, and after Trinity Sunday, we will move into a long period of “ordinary” time. This stretches from the Sunday after Trinity right into November and Advent. Now is the time when we take a break from our busy church activities for a few months and look to our personal journey of faith. A time for us to rest and a time for us to attend to the renewing of our bodies, minds and spirits. So, a time for personal healing and spiritual growth.

I don’t think there is anyone who, during the course of everyday life, doesn’t have a need of healing of some description. The healing we experience through rest (Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”), through joyful activity, (“Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy.” - Psalm 33:3), and through communion with nature, (Psalm 19:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”). Speaking of which, I just have to mention the recent aurora borealis experienced in Northern Ireland’s skies, as pictured in our wonderful cover illustration! I hope that many of you witnessed this spectacular display of lights in the heavens. Sadly I missed it but was thrilled to see photographs. The colours were reminiscent of the description of the throne of God in Revelation 4:2-4, “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby; and there was a rainbow around the throne, that shone like an emerald.”

Speaking of healing, our Healing Ministry continues to thrive, and our Healing Hub is having a time for healing prayer in the afternoon on Pentecost Sunday. You will see the wonderful testimony of Jenny, whom our intercessors and many people all over the world were praying for. And I have a similar story of a lady who was given palliative care, whose doctor said when she presented herself six months on, “I don’t know what you are doing but keep doing it”. But how do we feel when physical healing is not given? When people come for prayer, we pray for God’s healing power to touch them in body, mind and spirit. Of course we desire physical healing, but in communing with God, in coming into His presence and drawing on His compassion and love, we open ourselves to a much deeper healing than the relief of physical symptoms, for the Lord is with us - and He himself is our truest and deepest healing. His healing means, even though we die, we will live forever, in a place where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain’ Revelation 21:4.

As you continue your journey of faith in this time of renewal and growth, may God pour out His richest blessing on you, body, mind and spirit, and may this “ordinary” time be “extraordinary” for you, as you draw closer to the source of all life, as you receive peace and restoration through His love, as you travel joyfully and fearlessly on our life’s journey assured of His promises.

With love in Christ,
Carol

Rev. Carol Harvey

Rev. Carol Harvey

Rev. Andy Heber

May

Reflections from the Glebe House

“I was just thinking...

...am I a Shiny Christian”

Over Lent a number of us read a book called “Our Radiant Redeemer” by Tim Chester which had some fascinating insights about Jesus’ Transfiguration.  You’ll remember the story: Jesus went up a mountain with three of his disciples and was transfigured, shining like the sun,  before Moses and Elijah appeared to talk with him.  This story pointed forward to the Resurrection and foretold Jesus’ appearance once he had been glorified; however, the really exciting thing about this process, as Tim Chester pointed out, is that it’s a process that we Christians share in, not only in the future but also the present.

Certainly when we die, if we are in Christ we will be given new resurrection bodies and the promise to us is that: “The Righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matthew 13:43). However, what I found mind-blowing is that we are already in the middle of this process now as we live our lives on this earth.  As Christians we are being transformed every day, more and more into the likeness of Jesus!  In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul puts it like this: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  Just get your head around that!  If you are a Christian with God’s Spirit within you, then you are being changed daily to be more and more like him, which means you will be getting more and more shiny!

How does this happen?  Well Moses’ face shone after he came down from the mountain having been in the presence of God, so it comes through spending time with God, in prayer, bible study and church where we rub up against other shiny Christians, that our transformation takes place.  It also happens as the Holy Spirit does his transforming work within us.  Additionally, maybe our transformation becomes visible to others when we don’t take up many of the default positions that other people so often do.  Paul in Philippians 2:14 says: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”  For so many people, that dissatisfaction with life’s circumstances leads them to grumble or dispute.  If we don’t do that, we will stand out as different and shine as we accept our circumstances and trust that God is working through them.  Then other people will see us as positive people and the sort of people they want to be around.

The promise implicit in the story of the Transfiguration is that Jesus will share his glory with us.  We, like him, will become radiant with his glory, and excitingly that process begins this side of heaven.  The life and light of Christ is in us, and we need to shine as lights in our world, letting that light out.  Maybe, like Moses, we won’t be aware that we are shiny people, but others hopefully will notice as we reflect God’s glory and show the attractive face of Christianity by living differently and positively in a world that so badly needs to hear and see a better narrative.  As the old song goes: “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”
Andy