From Our Minister's Workstation
Recent copies of the minsters letters from our Minister Brian.
August-September 2022: From the Minister's Back Catalogue
I have had on my screen desktop a sermon written in December 2012. I have kept thinking to use it again and this seems like the time. It is unchanged apart from balancing the past and present phrases to give a context
When the EU was awarded the Nobel prize ten years ago it was a time for the reflection for many about the different world that we found ourselves in to that experienced 60years before . Ten years on, it’s tragic to realise how quickly the ground has shifted. War, death and horror have burst loose once more. Costs are through the roof and all at the door of one man again for chaos. Ten years ago we could reflect on the cost of that peace. We did have much to be grateful for and could only wonder at those who gave their lives for our freedom – we remember them but mourn the failure of attempts to keep peace.
In the present:
We have had peace in Europe and out of the ashes we have rebuilt nations and worked together, I know it has not been perfect. Srebrenica and Georgia etc. were later casualties with awful conflicts but the overall picture is one of peace and we should praise God for that – pray that it lasts.
As a nation we have known the struggles of conflict in Northern Island, The Falklands, the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan. From the first World War to the present they mark sad chapters in our history. And we focus on different conflicts according to our age, outlook or experience. But Europe has seen the greatest conflict and found the most enduring peace after the fiercest battles
For all our progress though, we may yet find the horrors of conflict returning, they are never far away with economic turmoil, terrorism, the fear of rogue nuclear states or cyber strikes. The latter is feared most by the security services; GCHQ spoke candidly recently about possible attacks on our infrastructure and the chaos that could unleash. We could come to our knees without anyone coming near this country. Anyone who’s Natwest bank account froze a few months ago will have had a whiff of how serious that could be. SO we must never take peace for granted.
I watched the chimney sweep the other morning deal with our open fire, a neat sitting room, light natural coloured carpet, everything in its place and everything perfect during and after his visit. – the man knew what he was doing.
But it wouldn’t have taken much for chaos and clouds of soot to engulf the happy home.
Our relationships with each other can be just as fragile and the world stage can be equally vulnerable. And both are not focused on the price if conflict ensues.
Eccles. 3:8, in the chapter that says there is a time for every purpose under heaven, God’s Word says, there is: a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Peace is a fragile thing and we are more inclined to conflict than harmony, that is our fallen nature. So peace takes more thought to maintain, costs more than just losing our cool and squaring up to others. Calmness and tolerance are under rated qualities. We should pray our leaders have such gifts. By the same token counting to ten would often help our own lives.
Deuteronomy 20 gives an agenda for conflict which is surprising and wise. There is to be stirring talk about going into battle when the odds aren’t great, that talk is to be given not by a politician but by the priest. The soldiers are to be challenged about their distractions, new homes, vineyards, news, wives – simply being scared by their officers not by the politicians. So this way only people who really mean business go into battle.
But when it comes to the time of battle offer peace. At the last minute offer dialogue so that peace may prevail. If they won’t settle lay siege to the city.
Defending peace is very hard and it is the politicians who have kept it in Europe, hence the award.
Christians struggle with this question of war more than most. We want peace but may be overwhelmed by the agenda of tyrants. There are plenty who’s minds are closed, modern terrorists don’t leave bomb warnings and not too many armies now say we will be round the day after tomorrow.
But meaning business cometh the hour will send many aggressors packing. Peace does have its price and its astronomic as many have found over the years.
But even those conflicts are as nothing compared to the price paid by Jesus for our eternal peace. So value our nation’s peace more this day and always
From Our Minister's Work Station
As a nation we have known struggles ....