Blogroll: Sussex Parson
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"Those who would interpret it simply as a prophecy of the kingdom of Christ, seem to put a construction upon the words which does violence to them; and then we must always beware of giving the Jews occasion of making an outcry, as if it were our purpose, sophistically, to apply to Christ those things which do not directly refer to him. But as David, who was anointed king by the commandment of God, knew that the terms upon which he and his posterity possessed the kingdom were, that the power and dominion should at length come to Christ; and as he farther knew that the temporal well-being of the people was, for the time, comprehended in this kingdom, as held by him and his posterity, and that from it, which was only a type or shadow, there should at length proceed something far superior — that is, spiritual and everlasting felicity; knowing, as he did, all this, he justly made the perpetual duration of this kingdom the object of his most intense solicitude, and prayed with the deepest earnestness in its behalf, — reiterating his prayer in his last moments, with the view of distinctly testifying, that of all his cares this was the greatest. What is here spoken of everlasting dominion cannot be limited to one man, or to a few, nor even to twenty ages; but there is pointed out the succession which had its end and its complete accomplishment in Christ."Marc Lloyd
From The Rectory
Just in case you are in want of a New Year’s resolution, how about this?
If you don’t already do so, why not take a few moments each day to STOP and pray.
It’s an amazing privilege for Christian believers that Almighty God, our loving heavenly Father, delights to hear us when we pray in faith. Given our needs and God’s power, it’s madness that we so often neglect to talk to him.
Saying the Lord’s Prayer daily and reflecting on it might be a great place to start. The Psalms and the Bible’s other prayers might be a help to us.
There are many ways to skin a cat, but let me suggest one approach to things about which to pray that could get you going. It’s a very easy to remember structure: STOP.
Are there ways you know you’ve blown it today? Things of which your conscious accuses you? Maybe things you’ve done or said or thought? Or good things you’ve failed to do? God stands ready to forgive because Jesus died for sinners like me and you. He offers us restored relationship and a fresh start. A mini daily spiritual check up might help us to make real progress this year in being more like Jesus. Pray for God’s help with these things in the day ahead and tomorrow.
(2) Thank you
Gratitude is such a secret to contentment. There may be great struggles and difficulties and you may not have all that you desire, but what could you give thanks for? Whatever your circumstances, praise God that he made you and loves you. Thank him for the blessings you have in Jesus your Saviour, for who he is, for what he’s done for you.
Who do you know who is in need or who has asked for your prayers? Maybe you want to keep a note of a few people to pray for. And here’s an opportunity to broaden out your vision too, maybe to pray for our nation and government or persecuted Christians on the other side of the world. You might use the church notice sheet or prayer diary, or The Sussex Gospel Partnership prayer diary to help you. Or newsletters from Mission Partners. I’m told many people find the Prayer Mate App very useful: www.prayermate.net. Operation Worldis another useful resource to help us pray for the nations.
Jesus told us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” so we should be unashamed about bringing our needs to Our Father. Pray about whatever bothers you, both for your physical and spiritual needs. Ask for help too know, love and follow Jesus and to share his love with others.
I’ll be praying that you may you know God’s blessing in 2020. Your prayers too could make all the difference. STOP and pray. Why not take a few moments to do so now?
Happy New Year!
The Revd Marc LloydMarc Lloyd
I’ve just had a nice hot shower, for which I’m particularly thankful, as yesterday morning the power was off. Our eldest almost needed a boat to get to the school bus today, but he lived through it! It’s great that there’s a good school virtually on our doorstep and transport so readily available.
And so we could go on. There are so many things which we normally take for granted. Some of us do not have what we might like, or some of the shiny new things we notice others have. We may have to watch the pennies very carefully. But compared to most people down through history or around the world we have so much. The vast majority of the populations of Liberia, The Central African Republic, or Burundi, would find our consumption and waste almost offensive. A time traveller from Medieval or Victorian England would marvel at the affluence and convenience of life in modern Sussex. The choice available in a 24-7 supermarket is almost ridiculous and can be bewildering. And I am tempted to go and count the number of cheeses one could buy from our own village shop to make the point.
Yet we so easily take all this and more for granted. Perhaps we wouldn’t say so, but we behave as if we feel entitled. We can readily fly into a rage if the internet is slow, or the laptop takes an age to update at an inconvenient moment. Or we can feel so disappointed if that meal or event isn’t just so. Or expectations are sometimes so high that nothing can please us.
This December, amidst all the feasting of Christmas and the uncertainty of a General Election, let’s pause to thank God for all that he has given us, for the innumerable blessings which we enjoy. If we do not have all that we desire, we certainly have far more than we deserve.
Remember Remembrance? Gratitude is something we can learn from those who found themselves in the mud of the Somme. That hell on earth showed them with new eyes all that there was to give thanks for at home. Many soldiers came from poverty, but the trenches revealed in a new way the horrors of which human beings are capable.
And in the Second World War, on the home front, the privations of rationing were a reminder to some of the plenty of better times.
Or think instead of that first Christmas. Jesus was totally privileged. Absolutely and rightly entitled. He was by nature God the Son, the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity. Yet he chose to leave all the glory of heaven for the poverty of a no-where-place. In the words of the carol:
God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb.
He was born in disgrace and fear, soon fleeing as a hunted refugee with a price on his head. A majestic throne was his by right, but he chose an animal’s feeding trough. Not only so, but for much of his short life he had no where to lay his head. He would die a shameful death for us, in our place.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becomes poor.
(From a Hymn by Frank Houghton (1894-1972) based on 2 Corinthians 8v9)
May you and your family enjoy a very happy and thankful Christmas. May God give us grateful and joyful hearts that we may be content with little or much.
The Revd Marc LloydMarc Lloyd
For example, one might say:
- The church can grow despite persecution when the good news of Jesus is proclaimed.
- Growth can bring problems.
- The early church had problems which threatened the growth of the church.
- It is important to address issues which might impede the spread of God’s word.
- Prayer and ministry of the word are priorities for the church.
- Practical acts of caring and good administration are important too.
- Practical jobs should ideally be done by those who are known to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom.
- Leadership and service are shared with people having different responsibilities and roles.
- The Apostles led the church but everyone was involved in making / agreeing decisions.
And in particular how does it proclaim the biblical gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, for that is surely the purpose of Scripture and of all faithful preaching?
Yes, we need teaching about church life and how we might organise things and so on, but we need each Sunday to hear good news which will be life and joy to us as we trust in Christ.
So how would you do that from Acts 6:1-7. Oh, and one of the services is an all age too!Marc Lloyd