Duncan's message October 2018

Message from Duncan - October 2018

Isn’t the world full of funny people? For example, this report: ‘In a gut-busting showdown that combined drama, daring and indigestion, Joey Chestnut emerged as the worlds hot dog eating champion, knocking off six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi in a record-setting yet repulsive triumph. Chestnut broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes, before a screaming crowd.

Why do things like that? Why do we kill ourselves with nicotine, make ourselves sick with chocolate, give ourselves blocked arteries by eating the wrong things, when we know we shouldn’t?

Imagine you are God. You created humans. They do daft and horrible things; but why have you made them? It’s a big question. Answers range from ‘Nothing’ to ‘We’re fertiliser for the soil.’ But the Christian faith says God made us to share in his life of love, communion and joy. A free and harmonious fellowship of people united in the love of God and each other.

So, why aren’t we like that? We argue; each person independent, selfish, not caring for others. That was once called 'Thatcherism', Perhaps it’s now ‘Dancing the Brexit’. We only look out for number one, making our self the centre of our universe; in effect, becoming our own god. That sickness even affects our children. Yes, sometimes children can be wonderfully giving; but they easily pick up this idea of looking out only for themselves.

Look at it this way: God called humans to form a circle, holding hands together, facing towards the light in the centre of which is God. In that light, we see everyone else, and join with them in God's great dance. But, instead, we turn, face the other way, so that we can't see the light of God or each other.

Strangely, we're not happy with that. Psychiatrists are busy with people who feel alienated, unloved, and wonder why. The light of God shines, but with our backs turned it throws our shadow in front of us, making a dark world.

What can we do? We try to be happy by giving ourselves more. But we all know people who have everything and yet are desperately unhappy. Or we try to be perfect. But the more we think of ourselves and how hard we work, the more we are selfish, and that's what we need to avoid.

How, then, can we save ourselves? We can't. The good news is that God can, and hasn’t given up. Millenia ago he formed a new community of ordinary people, to show his love to the world. Through them, all the world would be drawn into a life with God and each other.

Yet they grew selfish. So God began again by coming himself, as a man - Jesus. He lived the life God meant everyone to live. As God he showed God’s love. As man, he loved God and others, completely.

He gathered around him ordinary people and taught them by example. Other people couldn't stand it, because his life showed up their rottenness. So they condemned him to die on a cross. But, a few weeks later, those disciples began to live in the warmest fellowship, growing in numbers every day. How had they come from failure and selfishness into a life of love? Through Jesus, who was not dead, but alive.

They saw that Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were the love of God, dealing with their sins. Here was forgiveness and new beginning, if they accept it. God said, ‘In Jesus, you are forgiven. Simply admit you need help, and receive it.’ Then we say, 'Thank you. ‘ This was God's plan, coming right: breaking through our sin and selfishness, and bringing us back. We can love God, and each other, because God loved us first.

Churches may fuss over buildings, how to worship, where to sit, and other niggles, but this community is what it’s really about. All are called to come to Jesus and find, in him, God's new beginning. Can you?

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