Category Archives: Moderators’ blog

Indiscriminate Violence

As I drove home today I heard about the terrorist attack in Stockholm, with what seems to be the weapon of choice these days, a motor vehicle.  It was fortunate that the bomb the truck was carrying did not go off.  Another sad occasion and my heart and prayers go out to those involved in the incident.  What gets into a man’s heart (and I think the recent examples have all been men) to make him think it is OK to drive a vehicle into innocent and unknown passers-by?    In the past week President Trump has threatened North Korea and has sent cruise missiles into Syria.  I heard a commentator saying that President Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase had been within an ‘inch’ of the Russians launching a retaliation!  And just before I published this blog I heard of the news of two bombs detonated in Egypt targeting Christians on Palm Sunday!

The chorus on the song Pete Seeger wrote in the mid-fifties comes to mind … When will they ever learn?

A common response to these atrocious acts is to ask where is God in all this?  Fortunately, I don’t have to theorise about free will but simply turn to the acts of the ordinary people in the street who were caught up in the attack on Westminster: they got down on their knees to help the injured.  Hundreds more turned out to the ‘service of hope’ in Westminster Abbey last Wednesday.  The love of God continues to shine even through the darkness.

Let me finish with a prayer from Michael Jagessar.

God of peace and possibility, in the midst of strife, violence, distress and chaos we turn to you. We pray for those mourning the dead and grieving over the strife in their land(s). Bring healing to all who are suffering from violence that is creating divisions, pain, destruction and death. Turn the hearts of all towards the way of love and compassion – so that goodness, just deeds, the common good, hope, and trust may flourish. Lead all to turn their instruments of death into gifts of life – so that the cycle of violence and chaos may be broken with the way of peace, reconciliation and love. We pray in the name of the peaceful one, who taught us to pray ‘that heaven will invade earth’. Amen

Blessings to you all,

Alan

Forever God is Faithful

We arrived in Swansea to enjoy a weekend on moderatorial visit, but also to catch up with friends in the church and district where I served as minister for thirteen years. Our first day included attending the funeral of a church member, who was remembered in the service for her faithfulness to her family, work and church – which all made sense because she was a woman of faith. We then heard that the church secretary of the neighbouring church had also died that week – someone who had served the church as elder and secretary faithfully for many years. And so, on Sunday morning in worship, we needed to open our lives for God to fill us with both comfort and renewed faith. The lectionary reading both challenged us into finding new depths to our well of faith, but through it we found that well replenished with life giving water, as we grappled with the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are rare stories of people being miraculously brought back to life, but they are rare indeed. Even Lazarus would later physically die. So it would be cruel if God was offering the chance of this happening for us. Continue reading

Freedom Seder

On Monday evening, I attended the first Freedom Seder organised by the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ).

The Seder ceremonial meal

The Seder is a ritual which takes place at the beginning of the Jewish festival of Passover.  At its most basic the Seder (Hebrew for “Order”) is designed to remind people of the story of the Exodus from Egypt through various retellings and symbolic foods, and includes a ceremonial meal at its centre.   The photograph shows the ceremonial meal: the lamb bone, the bitter herbs etc on the plate, the box of unleavened bread and the red grape juice.

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