Sunday, September 30, 2012

Harvest-We reap what we sow

I have always found the lyrics in the Bruno Mars song “Grenade” disturbing, especially as it has introduced the word into popular culture, anesthetising society to the use of a weapon as a metaphor for unrequited love. 

A bride once asked to go into church for her wedding  to the song without actually releasing the songs full content and context. I have heard school children singing the song. It has been used on X factor. 

For those of you who do not know the song, it speaks of a love that has been spurned even though the person  spurned is prepared to die for the other person.  That is where the grenade comes in, “I would have caught a grenade for you” is the songs lyrics. These words are uttered without any comprehension of the what they mean or the consequences of the actions.

In my view this song is as equally dangerous as the gun culture of rap songs, but has sneaked in below the line of condemnation. 

This week two police officers caught a grenade for society, in a cowardly act of entrapment. Now the song did not cause the incident but in my eyes it brought the thought into people minds, society digested the concept, mixed it with drug and gang violence and the potent mix has resulted in four deaths.

There are of course questions: were the grenades came from, who supplied them?  

Sadly the story does not end there because in the same week, the heroism of the police was unrequited by government as they were told to “ known their place” in Downton Abbey style by a government Chief Whip. The fact he has not resigned as I write this article is an equally cowardly act.

I have written before about how people say, ”oh it’s alright,  it’s only a song, it’s only a game” lowers the bar of what is acceptable, plants the thoughts in people minds, that something is OK when it is not OK.

Sadly guns are  in our society, we try to restrain their use, we make obtaining them difficult, their unlawful use and possession is taken very seriously. While they are foremost an instrument of death we are sadly familiar with hearing about them. Also, the deadly use of knives has all too frequently been in the headlines recently. 

However guns and knives have been present in society for a long time, but grenades we only hear about on battlefields, restricted to their use by soldiers at times of warfare. The use of a grenade somehow defiles our very society, it tells us we have sunk lower than we can possibly imagine, it is a warning from the battlefield that unless we want our streets to become battlefields then we need to return to the roots of the Christian belief that built this nation. 

This terrible incident in Manchester really should make us all wake up and think we need to draw a line in the stand and demand better for society. The problem is, we are society so we need to start with ourselves. We all need to raise the bar,  think about what we accept and actually start to say NO to those who constantly try to lower the bar of what is acceptable in what we read, in what we listen to, and what we look like. 

Dying for someone who does not return your love is not new, Jesus did it for the whole of humanity. Some accept his love and this act, some don’t. My prayer is we start to rediscover the life of Jesus in our society so that society is changed by it.

As you read the above it will be October, and during October we are following up on my article a few months ago about church finances by having a sermon series on Christian giving. Now this is not all about money before you all turn the page. I will be preaching about what our response is to what God has done for us in sending His son to die for our sin so that we my have eternal life. We will end the series on the 28/10/12 with a pledge Sunday when people can either renew their gift to Church or begin a new gift to church.

Now, yes, church does need to have a better  financial position so we are asking people to re-consider what they give to church. We hope some people will give regularly when they have not done so before.

We are also looking for people to give their time and talent in a variety of ways such as being part of a number of groups to help with the running and development of the church. For example, perhaps you could help with the production of the magazine, be part of a new welcome team in church, help organise events, help with looking after the buildings. 

I also want to look at how we could be better at following up on bereavements, baptism and weddings. You may not even be a regular church member but would like to get involved, if so then please contact me.

The beginning of October also sees the season of Creationtide coming to a close with our Harvest celebrations, which are shown on another page. Any produce given will go to St John’s Hospice. As last year, we will be focusing on raising money for Farm Africa during Harvest Events under the slogan Give Hunger the Boot. Farm Africa are a charity whose aim is to find sustainable solutions to the problem of feeding the people of Africa through teaching new farm techniques, improving irrigation etc. 

At  beginning of October we also  start  a “Saints Alive Course”. This is a great course to do if you would like to understand or get a refresher in the basics of the Christian Faith. We are having a pre-course meeting on Tuesday the 2nd October at 7:30 in St John the Evangelist in Balby for those who would like further information, or you can contact me.

And lastly, you may remember me writing previously about having a more focused area towards the persecuted church around the side altar in St John the Baptist. I hope that we can formally do this at the all Saints Day service on the 1st November. We will then follow this up on the first Sunday in November as we join in with other churches around the world as we take part in the International Day of Pray for the Persecuted Church.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bishop of Sheffield - at Wadworth and Balby churches this Sunday

The Bishop of Sheffield, Revd Dr Steven Croft, will be leading worship at St John the Baptist Church in Wadworth this Sunday at 9am and later at St John the Evangelist  Church in Balby (on Greenfield Lane, opposite GPs) at 11am

If you haven't been to church for awhile then this Sunday would be a great time to come back. Bishop Steven is a great preacher and this is a  great chance to meet him, so please come along.

Later in the day at 3pm at St Katherines Church Loversall we have a special service for the Healing of Creation which is suitable for all ages. So please come and join us on this