Friday 11 October 2013

The Collect for Sunday calls us to pray that ‘the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life’.

Quite recently I wrote about the foundations crumbling when referring to the way Christian values, morals and faith were being cast aside. I inferred that if Christianity was being phased out of the nation’s life as politicians led by the present Prime Minister, the judiciary and large sections of the media seem intent on doing, a spiritual vacuum would be filled with something else. Then this week it was stated in the press that thousands of militant Islamists trained abroad, were intent on attacking this country and intent on introducing sharia law.

At the same period it was stated that the Scouts were abandoning reference to God in their pledge, just as the Guides were coerced into doing. Now we have the Magistrates Association wanting the Bible to be removed from the Courts, so abandoning a centuries old tradition. They cowardly state so few witnesses take the oath seriously but rather without it having meaning to them. If that is their thinking, it needs to be asked what steps they have taken to make it clear the penalties available to make witnesses take it seriously. ( I have however never had much time for lay Magistrates, I found so many totally unsuitable and ill equipped to be sitting in judgement on crimes.)

Returning to the words of the Collect, how seriously do we in the Church accept these words, and how assiduously will we apply them. Let us consider, (and admire) the devotion of the non militant Muslims to their faith. The men have no embarrassment at attending the Mosques, and are ready to proclaim so. But if you put most British men in a Church they are disorientated, and when forced to attend for a baptism don’t know how to conduct themselves.

I have heard many excuses as to why people are unable to attend Church on Sundays, and it makes me wonder how people of other faiths can attend their places of worship when they have the same kind of obstacles to get around, and in fact do so.

You will never hear the BBC nor its depraved (comedians?) pass rude comments about the Koran, yet the Bible and Christianity are freely mocked. I cannot imagine any Council refusing to allow Muslim prayers in the way the way they object to Christian ones.

This country has for many years been one based on Christian teachings and standards. People through the ages, but never more so than at the present, have forsaken their religion unless it suits them for some social occasion. The Church has been grossly negligent by not adhering to the Bible and has argued its way around Biblical teaching to justify supporting immoral ways of living.

A recent report on religion in schools showed that inspections revealed this was not being taught in any responsible way in many schools, some teachers were apparently afraid of saying something
that might offend members of other faiths or none. Isn’t it amazing we can find so few teachers capable of telling children the stories from the Bible, yet no difficulty when it comes to those able to teach about sex education?

There have been two appointments of bishops in recent months and the priority of one bishop was to tackle poverty. (This is a politician’s priority) The other listed his interest as social housing, equalities, monasticism and cricket. I can understand any Christian having social or political interests, but wouldn’t it be inspiring to read that a new bishop had the priority of making the Bible more relevant and acceptable, and wanted to strive to bring people back to Church? Unfortunately most bishops seem to be theologically liberal, with distinct leanings politically to the left. I think few would be admirers of Margaret Thatcher.

During the 1990s we did have an evangelistic campaign ‘decade of getting back to Church’ but it was so badly organised with so little enthusiasm from on high that it ended with more people leaving the Church than joining.

We will be celebrating Bible Sunday later this month and this is such a time when the Church should make an all out effort to promote the Bible, but how many will in fact do so? Too many clergy for a start don’t believe much of the Bible, even before we begin considering congregational response. Until we get to know the Bible we will not be fully equipped to live according to Christ’s teachings or make His teachings known to others.

But however small a consolation, we can see the same declining position in the United States where the Civil Liberties lobby is showing what aggressive determination can achieve in stopping prayers in public places and schools, removing the Cross and tablets bearing the Ten Commandments from public view.

Turning to Scripture, a sentence in today’s bible passage reads,
(Jesus speaking) you may ask for anything in my name and I will do it’. Let us ask that ‘the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will that we may share with the whole creation the joys of eternal life’.

I hope you will be in Church on Sunday and may the Lord richly bless you

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