Greetings from Ros (June Newsletter)
This last month there has been a number of times when phrases from the Lord's Prayer have been emphasized. Different Church leaders seem to be using it as a rallying call to encourage churches and individuals to take prayer and our expectations of God more seriously.
Thy Kingdom Come...
Last year the Archbishops of Canterbury and York encouraged the Anglicans to us the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost to pray for God's Kingdom to break into people's lives in their local area. This rallying call was taken up by others and the same has happen this year, and so we are joining in with the other Christians in Swanwick to take opportunities to stop and pray together.
On earth as it is in heaven...
This is the theme for the year set by our new Baptist Union President, Dianne Tidball. Her challenge to us is to seek to bring heaven into our everyday lives. The Kingdom of God is breaking in, but not yet taking over. Heaven is God's presence pervading all things - 'his compassion, justice, kindness and forgiveness, giving hope to the despairing and life to the hopeless'. God's reign is also seen in his outrageous generosity, and in his holiness and sacrifice - see the human need for forgiveness and offering his Son. Therefore when we pray for God's Kingdom to come 'as in heaven' we are praying for:
- God's presence at the heart of all we do
- God's mercy, grace, love, truth and justice motivating all we do
- God's power providing all we do
- God's joy and beauty reflected in all we are
- God's sacrifice and holiness underpinning all we are
So what is to be our response to God's call to create heaven on earth? Dianne called on Baptists to recognise the following as we respond:
...that our role is to co-operate with God's Spirit and bring communities of heaven into being here on earth
...to confess our lack of imagination, thinking that we have received all that God has for us; to confess our satisfaction with a compromised and second rate experience of God and his Kingdom
...to seek God, worship him profoundly and deeply, mind, soul and spirit. As we seek God we will increase our faith and hope. Heaven comes as we seek God in prayer and reflect on Scripture
...to share the good news of God and his Son Jesus. We are all called priests, all called to share the gospel
...to punch holes in the darkness. 'How do we see heaven on earth? By bringing God's presence into people's hell'.
There is much for ys to ponder as we work this out in our own lives and in the community of the church here in Swanwick.
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. Now and for ever. Amen