Letters From Brian, Our previous Minister

Recent copies of the letters from our previous Minister Brian. These are reproduced from the monthly Newsletter..

June 2022: From The Minister’s Notes

In a recent sermon I recommended you tell your family and friends of your faith and love now, and in a letter or card when you had gone. I thought it was right to share some encouragement with you at the end of the letter

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”
(1 Corinthians 13:13).

Every so often someone asks me what is the most important thing a Christian should do - like, hate, know etc. The verse above is a useful response while thinking of other answers. Living the verse will keep us busy for most of our days. But for faith we need to have a clear understanding on what makes faith and what faith requires. Our faith is built on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Apologies to those saying ‘we know all this’. As Paul says, if Jesus was not resurrected, then our faith is futile (1 Corinthians 15). That is surely the most important thing for Christians. If we agree on that, we can live in harmony. Right?

We do like to build a highway to our Lord. Terms and conditions apply, and how. Other Christians soon say 'You vote for who!’ ‘ You can’t be a Christian and vote for that lot’. ‘ You saw what in Exeter at the Cinema’. At least we don't have the American problem of guns in the UK. In the States that’s a very hard topic and it’s not down to geography. For many the love of a gun comes a long way above faith.

To be honest harmony eludes many in simpler things; what to wear in church (still a problem in some places.) Which hymn book is used. Well, the screen solved that for many because people didn’t know which book they were singing from. Who can take communion and what makes communion, still a problem between denominations.

The asset we often overlook is the life of Christ. He was not apt to turn everything into a battle or push his way past others. Jesus is the guide through many of our battles. After all Jesus is not like us. It’s why we need a Saviour.

There are times in life when living the faith can be very challenging because of illness, things that seem beyond our control. Other times we have struggled with bereavement. Sometimes conflict overtakes everything. Faith, hope and love may not be the first response to attack or rebellion.

What follows can be a triumph of the Gospel or a sign you need to read the bible more. One thing I can cheer you with is the fact that Jesus often challenged those who brought chaos. (Luke 4:18) ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour’. It was direct and it didn’t get a good reception from some but others saw that God had a plan for those who were often left behind or powerless.
In Mark chapter two, Jesus and the disciples start challenging the Sabbath quiet and made the Herodians so cross they imagined a world without Jesus and his merry men.

The Sermon on the Mount upgrades Christian living (see Matthew 4:12- 7:29). It’s radical, clear and no longer a spectator religion where certain people call the shots; it was a challenge to all. And we may need to give it voice in times of persecution.

The bible verse we started with (1 Corinthians 13:13) still has a place in the mix.

We are called to live out the love of Christ though it may take a deep breath to deliver and forgiveness may take months or years to be able to say with conviction. Lastly I can say honestly I have always loved this Church and its people and always will.

Jesus said ’Love one another as I have loved you’

Keep that at the centre of our fellowship and we will welcome many more in the years ahead.

Best Wishes

From Our Previous Minister, Brian
There are times in life when living the faith can be very challenging