Tuesday 26 February 2013

When you have friends like these, who needs enemies?

So is the well known quip. This springs to mind when one considers the enormously bad publicity being brought upon the universal Church in the Western world. The constant bickering and contesting between rival factions, the inappropriate behaviour of some within the Church, are destroying the Church in Western society which is increasingly secular of its own choice.

There has to be firm leadership within the two main denominations, from the new Pope whoever he may be, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. There is far too much self concern amongst groups within the Church seeking to promote their own agenda, and these must be brought to an end.

Now we have allegations of serious sexual misconduct made against the highest ranking Catholic in Britain. If this be true, it leaves a deep scar on the Christian Church; a majority of people do not acknowledge denominations. If it not be true, it is still serious for malicious action.

The hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is damningly condemned this morning by a one time editor of the Catholic Herald, who points out the strong condemnation of homosexual behaviour from Pontifical letters and pulpit preaching, only for it to be revealed that not a few priests are practising homosexuals, a fact widely recognised.

Damian Thompson a distinguished columnist for the Telegraph newspaper has written that it is widely accepted that many Catholic priests in Western cities are gay, albeit celibate. (I have never understood how a person’s sexuality could be defined if they were celibate). If however such is the case, then in consideration of the Bible’s teaching, to put it euphemistically, something is very much wrong within the Catholic Church.

I think this is very sad for there are men within the Catholic Church, who at least appear to be sound thinkers. and not afraid to voice their thoughts. The two London Archbishops, Vincent Nichols and especially Peter Smith have impressed me with clear down to earth messages.

The Catholic Church has acted honourably in refusing to accept that two same sex people could adopt children, and closed down their adoption agencies rather than succumb to government bullying. The Church was at the forefront in opposing same sex marriage.

The Anglican Church in the West is not immune from criticism. The in fighting has left the Church looking ridiculous as various factions have waved banners outside meetings with rather inane slogans on. There deems to be no end to this situation as the dispute over women bishops and homosexual clergy continue to rage.

When women were ordained into the priesthood we were told that was their sole ambition and no further appointments were desired. Anyone who believed that was either a fool or naïve. Leaving aside the rights or wrongs regarding the appointment of women as bishops, what should be a matter for consideration is the effect it is having on the Church in general. We will be separated from the Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical Churches when such appointments are approved, as undoubtedly they will be. It is obvious to all realistic minds that within a few months ways will be found to circumvent any opposition, and legislation will proceed accordingly.

I can understand the frustration of those women priests who see their career prospects being blocked, and to be honest, that is so much more important to them than their vocation as priests, just as it is with some men. From a personal point of view I am not bothered either way, I have little, if anything, to do with bishops, but for the good of the unity of the Church worldwide, I had hoped there would be the sacrifice of personal ambitions.

I have just been watching a film about the work of Jackie Pullinger, the missionary who went to the walled city of Hong Kong in the 1960 era (now destroyed). This was an amazing woman who worked for Christ in the most appalling conditions imaginable, mastered the Cantonese language, possibly the most difficult one to learn, in order to communicate with the people, yet did not seek any recognisable title.

There must be so many people out there who would love to find a spiritual home but are confused at the constant mixed messages emanating by word and action from those within the Church. When we take Holy Orders we vow to honour and respect Holy Scripture, and a high standard of honesty, integrity and dignity are expected. Until too many people begin to behave and speak accordingly, the Church will never prosper.

What the Church needs so badly are more men and women with the Jackie Pullinger commitment.

Friday 22 February 2013

The Church
I want to speak to you about the Church. Let me begin by reading to you an extract from an article which appeared in one of our national newspapers some time ago:

‘In an average English village today, Anglican worship has become little more than a dying bourgeois cult. A small cluster of motor cars may be seen outside the parish church when the service is in progress; the bells still ring joyously across the fields and meadows on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings, but fewer and fewer heed them, and those who do are predominantly middle-class, female and elderly.
(that would suggest the wisdom of middle class elderly ladies. However, he went on.)
It must be desperately disheartening, and the Vicar often gives the impression of being dispirited and forlorn. Whatever zeal he may have had as an ordinand soon gets dissipated in an atmosphere of domestic care and indifference on the part of his flock. Small wonder, then, that in the pulpit he has little to say except to repeat the same old clerical banalities. He doubtless feels himself to be redundant. The villagers stoically die without his ministrations; they would resent any interruption to their evening telly if he ventured to make a call... So wrote Malcolm Muggeridge some 30-40 years ago, and the situation has not improved. If we are brutally honest we would have to agree that bears some reality.

When I came to live in Bedford it was a complete change of environment in ministry, from having spent all my life in a big city, followed by suburban parishes, to taking services in village Churches. This is something I have enjoyed immensely and met many lovely people. What I find hard to understand is how the residents of these villages so easily dismiss the Church. Similar indifference also exists of course in town and cities.

I saw a sketch in a television programme in which the writer was taking a dig at the Church. In this a man and wife newly arrived to live in a village were taking a walk on a Sunday morning and finding the atmosphere strange. The man says to his wife, ‘I almost thought of going to Church, but thought better of it and went to sleep’.

I suspect many residents don’t even get as far as thinking of going to Church. Yet these people live in beautiful surroundings, in lovely homes, no anti-social behaviour that there is in towns and cities, most with good jobs. So much to be thankful for, yet so thankless and self centred.

At one time the village Church, and every village had one, was the centre of the community. It brought people together as no other organisation was equipped to do, being a gathering of different backgrounds, ages, class and sex. People’s lives were bound up in the Church through baptism, weddings and finally funerals. It made life more enjoyable and fulfilling.

It has been said that we live in a post Christian age, meaning little, if any interest, is shown in the Church by the majority. There are very few people who would seriously deny there is a God, indeed the majority own up to believing in our God, but that is as far as they go. They lead godless lives and don’t want Him involved in their lives. Many people however do claim to be Christians yet do not want to attend Church. Various excuses are offered for not attending, excuses which do not apply when it comes to wanting a baptism.

But a local Church gives one a sense of belonging, a feeling of spiritual safety, increases our knowledge of Scripture, and most importantly, give children teaching on their Christian heritage. Now, generation after generation grow up without any Scriptural knowledge. What people ignore at their peril is that their parish Church may cease to exist.
They all expect it to be there for their use when required but give no thought as to how it is kept open, where the money comes from to maintain the property and pay necessary expenses.

We live in a world full of evil and despair. Some terrible crimes and actions are being carried out daily. It could be thought there were ample grounds to express gratitude for being spared the grief many are forced to endure and for being able to live in a country where one is allowed, however tenuously, to worship freely. There are many people living in non Christian countries who would dearly love to have our conditions in exchange for the perilous way in which they have to live out their faith.

In many parts of the world Churches cannot exist and Christians are forbidden to meet together under pain of beatings, imprisonment, even death. Churches are being burned down, Christian homes are attacked. Think of Nigeria, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, to name just a few. Here despite the efforts of politicians, biased judges, and the agenda of minority groups we can express our faith. But if not cherished, valued, and supported, there are those waiting and anxious to displace and banish Christianity. What they fail to realise is that would create a spiritual vacuum which would be replaced by something else probably quite disturbing

Jesus Christ established the Church. He did not merely establish individual Christian living, but corporate faith. The Bible teaches that people who are believers are connected to a local church where they live out their faith. Individual Christianity is nowhere found on the pages of Scripture.

Christians should have regular fellowship with one another. We read in Acts that the first Christians met to learn together and build each other up. We come to give and to get. The Bible states, ‘let us not give up meeting together as some do’. Accepting that there is a God is not enough, we have to draw near to Him and the only way is through Jesus Christ. He alone is the way to God. People are ever ready to say love your neighbour without showing the same love for God.

There is a misunderstanding of the Church in society. Today, there are all kinds of organisations to cater for social needs and the Church is often seen as a sort of social organisation with a spiritual flavour. There are parts of the Church which encourage this image as more attention is paid to that side than the spiritual. So we should remember when the disciples sought out Jesus to attend to people’s needs, He replied that what He came for was to preach the gospel. Whilst He did perform many acts of mercy, His main purpose of preaching was made clear. That I suggest should be the attitude the Church takes, namely that we will engage in social activity and see the Church is the centre for that activity, but never at the neglect or reduction of our main purpose. The Bible sees the Church as much more than just another social organisation.

The Church has a special importance in God’s plan. It also means we ought to know how we are to live and function within that plan. In spite of living in a world of opposition, we must hold fast to our faith. We are under so much pressure by press, television to turn away from fundamentals, and government legislation works against us. The messengers of secularism and multiculturalism and ethnic faiths are given so much attention and respect.

The Bible uses various terms to describe God’s people. An army, a fellowship a body, but the most powerful is a FAMILY. In families we are related to one another it is a strong bond based on allegiance and fidelity. A family consists of , different ages, different sex, different race, experiences and background, and is the only institution in which such a mix can meet in harmony and peace.

Most Church members rely on the Sunday services for their connection with the Bible, and even owning Bibles rarely use them in the home. This is why we need to come to Church to learn the Bible from the readings, have it expounded in the sermon, pray together for our needs and the world’s, praising God as we sing together, sharing the bread and wine in Holy Communion, as we remember what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.

We share a relationship to God and to each other, based on a common spiritual life. We are to care for one another, and when others need encouragement and support, we are to give it. God put us with a variety of people we may not ordinarily like, but God expects us to grow together, yet we respond just like the world responds. We choose and insist on mixing with those we particularly like, and so cliques are formed.

Each year hundreds of people give up worship. There many reasons, pressures of the world, ridicule from friends, family trouble, a bad experience at a church, all of which are expressly good reasons for going to church. There are times when coming to Church can be hard. Non Christians can make it hard especially when family members oppose you. There are of course the housebound and those working shift hours, and indeed it can be hard if you have been made unwelcome at a previous time.

It is largely a case of priority, and Jesus expected to be given priority. If we can find time for all the other things in life but not for Church, we must ask ourselves how important is our faith, God, and Jesus to us.

The great American evangelist D L Moody told the story of a young man who had fallen away, and as they sat round a coal fire, Moody knocked one of the coals into the hearth and it died out. He picked it up and put it back on the fire, and it glowed. He pointed out to the man that this is what happens when a Christian falls away from Church, they burn out

There are few people who can say they have no worries or problems, all in my life is sunshine and roses. It may be a health worry, concern for the future, domestic problem, a Church problem. To all these people Jesus says, ‘come to me and I will give you rest for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your soul, take my yoke upon you’.

Never give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. Be at Church on Sunday and may God bless you.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Turn with me to Luke’s gospel in Chapter 4 verses 1-11, the story of the temptations faced by Jesus in the wilderness. We read that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

In the Old Testament the Israelites were led into the desert to be tested and humbled to prove to God that they were able to keep God’s commands. Here at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry He is going to prove that He will obey every word that comes from God and be faithful. It was important for Jesus to be tested for if He had succumbed to temptation He could not be our Saviour.

When we talk of the devil people conjure up an image of some wild eyed creature with horns and a flaming mouth. What is meant by the term devil we mean that evil spirit which comes upon us and tries to influence our thoughts and consciences so making us do evil things. There are times when we have to decide a course of action. In our minds we know one way is right but the other is more appealing, and whilst we know what we really should do, we succumb to temptation, and do the wrong thing.

When you listen or read news reports you can readily appreciate the powerful influence of evil, for the stories are frightening. When we read, ‘the devil said to Jesus’. or the devil took Jesus, we are to understand that in a vision Jesus had these temptations put into His mind. It is through our innermost thoughts and desires that the tempter comes to us and puts such evil thoughts into our minds.

There are occasions when people feel the devil is very real. Martin Luther was once so convinced of a presence of the devil that he threw an inkwell at his wall.

We read that Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights so would be extremely hungry. Forty is a significant number in the Bible. Moses and Elijah spent 40 days fasting when they were seeking God’s purpose for them in the wilderness.

The first temptation was when the devil called on Jesus to turn the stones into bread. Jesus was in the desert situated between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, known as the place of devastation. It was an area 35 miles by 15, an area of yellow sand and crumbling limestone. There could be no lonelier a place. The desert would be littered with little round pieces of lime stone, each of which was exactly like a loaf of bread, so for someone in a starving state and who had supernatural powers, the temptation was there.

There is always the temptation to use powers God has given us for the wrong reason. God has given us all gifts and we have to ask not what I can make for myself out of them, but what can I do for others. A person may have a talent for making or doing something but will only do so for personal reward. It is perfectly acceptable to make profit for an ability but wrong to do so exclusively. Jesus could have turned the stones to bread, He would later turn a few loaves into food for thousands, but replied as in each temptation it is written, then He quoted Scripture. In this case He said that we live not only by bread, material food, but also by spiritual food, God’s Word. One sure way to get a following is to offer people something for free, but Jesus did not come to bribe people, and nor should His Church ever think of doing so. Jesus called people to give and not just to get to feed the hunger in the heart.

Then the tempter tried in a different manner. In a vision Jesus was taken to the top of Mount Sion where there was a level plateau and the Temple buildings were there. There was a drop of 450 feet and Jesus was asked to jump in order to capture the people into following Him with devil recognising the power of Jesus saying ‘you are under God’s control.’ A gospel founded on gimmicks is bound to fail, as we have seen in our time as Churches sometimes resort to silly ideas. Faith which needs entertainment is not real faith.

Finally the devil calls on Jesus to worship him. There seems to be a similar call now as we are being asked to compromise and follow society in being modern, 21st century etc. Jesus laid down the uncompromising nature of the Christian faith, and we should never be ready to answer the call of those who are prepared to change our faith to be popular. The devil has already claimed millions for his own.

Seventy years ago men fought the Battle of Britain and now we are fighting the battle for Britain, and the enemy is more powerful than the Luftwaffe ever was, he (or she) is right among us not many miles above us. The moment you become a Christian, you are facing opposition. The Bible says, ‘be vigilant, be sober. because your adversary the devil is like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour’.

The temptations in this passage could only have overcome b y someone with special powers. Only Jesus would have known of these temptations, so the story must have originated from Him. Jesus made it clear He would live by the Scriptures and Christians and the Christian Church should do the same.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Pope Benedict

It was with much sorrow I heard that Pope Benedict has decided it is time for him to retire. I understand fully the reasons and sympathise with him, but I feel this is a great loss to the Christian Church (universal) and not only to the Roman Catholic Church.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope there was much wailing by the liberal minded and we heard the abuse that he was the Rottweiler man. Paradoxically that was as much a compliment as abusive, for it was stating here was a man steeped in tradition and a conservative theologian who was saying all that true Christians wanted to hear.

Pat Robertson, the celebrated television evangelist and founder of the Christian Broadcasting |Network, described the Pope as a great scholar, brilliant theologian and thoroughly biblical. Many of us would support that tribute.

When the Pope came to Britain he received rapturous receptions at each venue and even when passing through cities. At the Masses he celebrated hundreds of thousands attended, and they were not all Catholics. Which other religious leader in the world could match this?

How I wish the Anglican Church had or did have such a charismatic leader, and one able to speak so positively about the increasing secularisation, and not afraid to speak about morality (and the lack of it) with biblical frankness.

(I see David Cameron was praising him. What a pity he didn’t try practising what the Pope has said)

I join the many who wish him a very happy retirement.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Mark 9. The story of the Transfiguration.

This week’s gospel reading is about one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible. It comes just after Jesus had been asking His Apostles who they thought He was and received Peter’s great confession, and after He had told them He was on the way to the Cross to die and then be raised.

Jesus wanted to be alone on the mountain top and took with Him on the journey three Apostles with whom He appeared to have a special relationship, namely Peter, James and John. \these three Apostles were also with Jesus when He raised Jairus’ daughter and in His agony in the garden. The mountain was thought to be Mount Hermon, one so high it could be seen from many miles away. The climb must have been strenuous for Luke tells us they were feeling sleepy and tired.

Jesus was going up the mountain that He might receive God’s confirmation that it was the intention for Him to go to the Cross. Jesus we find always was anxious to consult with God at His every step. Here is a lesson and good advice for us.

Each year I go to Scotland, and up in the Highlands you can go up the Cairngorms on the mountain railway, and whilst there is the obligatory shop and café, there is also a balcony. You can there gaze down on scenery unsurpassed in any other country and see one of God’s most glorious creations. You can feel close to God on a mountain top, away from the ordinary things of life.

Mountains figure conspicuously in the Bible. It was on Mount Sinai that Moses received the Commandments; Mount Horeb that God spoke to Elijah. Jesus we are told was transfigured on His Mountain, meaning His appearance changed. There He met two of Israel’s great names, Moses who brought the law from God and Elijah the supreme prophet through whom God spoke, and they discussed the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem. They advised Jesus to go forward being the One foretold of in the Old Testament.

Many people are puzzled as to how God speaks to men and they scoff at such talk. I believe a lot of what is claimed to be from God is self manipulated. I once visited a Theological College where ordinands were completing their training and I was surprised to hear how God had told so many to go to the South of England; I am sure God really does care for the North as well.

God speaks to us in several ways. Sometimes it is through a preacher. I had a lady who came to Church very infrequently and one time she said I always seemed to be getting at her. I told her that as I prepared beforehand and never knew when she was coming, it may be that someone higher than me was getting at her.

Many people were converted by one of the posters containing Scriptural messages placed by the London City Mission in the Tube Stations. Sometime God speaks through our conscience, or when we pray about something and an answer comes into our mind, not always perhaps the answer we want although probably for your ultimate good.

When Peter realised what was happening he offered to build three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. He was struck with awe and wanted to prolong the experience. Jesus rebuked him for he was in error in that he was equating Jesus with Moses and Elijah.

We all like to feel we are on top of the world both figuratively and actually, but most of us live their lives more realistically on the level or down in a valley.

This can happen at worship. When Billy Graham came to England thousands went to hear him and came away on a spiritual mountain. They had heard the world’s greatest and most successful preacher, massed choirs singing glorious hymns; then the following Sunday went to Church and realised they had come down to earth with a shattering bump. Instances were quoted of Vicars mocking Billy and wanting their old staid services, some Bishops even wanted to stop him coming. Even now Church leaders are anxious to change Scripture to meet modern cultural desires.

The lesson of the Transfiguration is that we must always let God speak to us and follow His Word; He has a plan for all our lives. When we turn to Him we too can reach a mountain top, but also we can close our minds to Him and lie in the valley.

As we go into Lent the Cross and the suffering of Jesus is in mind, soon we shall see the glory of the resurrection and the hope we shall share with the |Lord one day. This passage tells of Moses who had died many years before, as did Elijah, yet there they are alive but in glory. This should indicate to us that when our last breath is breathed in this life there is another to come, another world beyond the grave.

There is much mysterious about the future, things we cannot understand, but let us be sure God has all planned and Jesus is taking care of those who have gone to be with Him, as He will with us.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Luke 2 v 21-40
Sunday was observed in some Churches as for ‘the Presentation of Christ in the Temple’, otherwise known as Candlemass. In this passage we see Jesus undergoing three ancient ceremonies.

First, like every Jewish boy Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day after birth. This was the only ceremony that could be carried out on the Sabbath it was deemed to be so sacred. The boy also got his name on that day. Today when most of the world seems to be anti-Jewish, Christians should bear well in mind that Jesus was a Jew, born of a Jewish woman, we worship the God of Israel, and we revere a Bible written by Jewish men. If Jesus had not gone through this ceremony He could not have been accepted in the line of David.

The name of Jesus was given by special command of God meaning Saviour, so we know Him as one to deliver us from sin and evil. He had submitted to this ancient ceremony although it was no strictly necessary as the Son of God, which should encourage us to make sacrifices and perform tasks readily in the service of God

The second act related to Jesus being the first born son, which made Him sacred to God. According to Jewish custom the parents could buy back their son for the price of five shekels which had to be paid to the priests within 31 days after birth.

This ritual was to remind the Jews that one night when the Israelites were in Egypt and all the little boys were slain, the Jewish children were spared. Mary and Joseph publicly consecrated their child.

There was also the ceremony of purification of Mary. When a woman bore a son she had to wait 40 days before she could rejoining worship, and 80 days if her child was a girl. When she returned a woman was obliged to take to the Temple a lamb and young pigeon as an offering, but if she was poor and could not afford such just two pigeons. The fact that Mary took the poorer offering indicates the home in which Jesus was brought up in was not a luxurious one.

For a period of 450 years in Jewish history God did not speak to his people. God had promised his prophet Malachi that he would come personally into the world by a Messiah who would bring about salvation and judgement, preceded by a messenger who would prepare the way for him. For all that time the people of God had been waiting for this promised Messiah who would bring judgement and salvation into the world, who would destroy God's enemies and who saw their rightful place in the world as supreme and would one day be realised by another king like David who would attain world supremacy

We meet two older people, a man named Simeon and a woman Anna. Simeon believed things had to be left in God’s hands and God had through the Holy Spirit given him assurance that before he died he would see God’s own appointed one. There was therefore excitement in Simeon's soul when he heard that promise that he would actually witness this great coming. After all those years of silence, at last the promise was going to come true.
When he saw Jesus, he knew that time had come, and he was ready to depart in peace. So we heard him recite the words which have been sung in Anglican Churches through the centuries at Evening services, in which he praised God and foresaw Jesus to be the light of the world.

But, Simeon finishes with some disturbing words. This marvellous salvation through Jesus had a dark side. There will be many who will not accept and follow Jesus; there will be a falling as well as a rising of many in Israel. Jesus will be a sign of division and will be spoken against. He will cause division an conflict; decisions will have to be made for him or against him.

Anna too had been waiting. She was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. When she saw the holy family, at that very moment she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Luke shows us there is a place for everyone in God’s Kingdom. Older people able to wait on the Lord; a young woman having a baby to dedicate to God; a husband going to Church with his wife (Not a very common sight now); every person having a role to play.
So in this story we have read that Jesus was born into this world as a baby, offered to God as a child, grew into manhood and faced all the emotions of human life and able to empathise with us in every aspect of life. And tells us He was the true Messiah who would one day give His life in a cruel death that we may be made righteous in Gods sight.

Saturday 2 February 2013

Luke 8 v 22-25

This week’s gospel passage is one recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels. It is the story of when Jesus was asleep in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and a storm blew up.

The sea is 8 miles across and 15 miles long and is 600 feet below hills on either side. At times winds blow between the hills and can whip up the water and create difficult conditions on the water. This is what happened on this occasion.

The Apostles had set out with |Jesus to cross the lake and during the crossing Jesus fell asleep due to being very tired. He had had a busy day healing people and teaching the crowd, which was the reason He wanted to cross the lake so He could have some peace and quiet, being physically exhausted. This shows the humanity of Jesus who experienced all the motions we feel.

Suddenly a storm of great proportions blew and caused water to swamp the boat. The sea of all the natural phenomena causes much fear, but these were experienced fishermen used to the sea, so Jesus would have left them with complete confidence to cope with the uncertainties of the weather. They knew that particular lake and would have had experience of its vagaries. This must have been therefore a particularly violent storm

When the boat began to take in water the Apostles became afraid and woke Jesus, telling Him they feared drowning, but it appeared to them Jesus just wasn’t interested.

The question they asked Jesus is one which many people will have asked in their own minds when faced with some problem or disaster in their life. ‘Jesus don’t you care? Maybe there is someone who will read this letter who feels like asking that very question because of some spiritual, domestic or economic worry.

When He is awakened Jesus causes the wind and waters to subside, which they did, and then rebukes the men by asking them where their faith is. The fact they called urgently on Jesus suggests they had some faith that He could save them. His actions did however cause them to be struck with amazement that such miraculous power was being displayed before their eyes.

Television brings into our homes incredible pictures of nature’s power in action, and we see storms pounding our shores with the consequent damage they cause. Just recently we have witnessed horrific winds in America’s South where cars and homes have been lifted up and carried away. Imagine some clergyman standing in the middle of a town and crying ‘be still’. What do you think your reaction would be?; yet this actually happened that day on the Sea of Galilee, but this was no ordinary man.

If Jesus was to ask you the same question He asked the Apostles, (where is your faith) how would you answer? The Apostles had lived and travelled with Jesus and seen just how miraculous and powerful He could be, yet still panicked when a difficult occasion arose. Do we not do likewise?

Perhaps for many people the fact they have managed to cope with their lives for a long time and have littler contact with the Lord, fail to realise the help that could be available to them. For others they have no time to spare for God or Jesus, but when disaster strikes the first thing they do is to question why God let it happen and where was He then.

This I read was the oft repeated cry when the Twin Towers were struck in America. And a reply was given that He was in the same place in all the years before when people were not interested.

People cannot treat God as if He doesn’t exist and ignore Him until suddenly they feel a need of His help and expect Him to be at their beck and call.

Christ has promised to be at our side through all our life, but He expects us to show our loyalty to Him. When anyone feels the need to cry out, ‘why God haven’t you done anything,’ remember what God has done for us when He gave His Son to die on the Cross, and Jesus us from the gravest peril we could ever face, the judgement of God because of our sins.