In 1902, the author J M Barrie wrote a book called the Little White Bird. It was not a children’s book and in it, he introduced the world to the character of Peter Pan, who escaped from being human as a little baby, and lived a fun life with fairies, and never grew up. Peter Pan did grow up a bit. A play in 1904, another book in 1911, and we have the older boy that has captured the imagination of so many people. We now have endless films, musicals, and spin-off TV series, all starring the charming character of the boy who wouldn’t grow up.
The Antiques Roadshow has been running for 40 years. I’m not an avid follower, but you’re probably familiar with the format. They travel around different British towns with antiques experts, so members of the public can bring things to have valued.
There are inevitable disappointments. Something the owner thought was priceless turned out to be worthless. But then there’s the reverse, as someone’s jaw drops when something is worth vastly more than they’d dreamt.
Which is more important in the life of the church: Truth, or unity?
It’s a trick question, of course, but it’s one we often ask all the same.
Some people say that truth is all-important. What matters is that we hold onto the truth. If that means relationships get strained with those who don’t agree with us, then that’s a price worth paying.
Others say that unity is what matters. Jesus prayed that his church should be one. If a church falls out with itself or with others because of its stand for truth, then that’s a total tragedy and a defeat.
Being a Christian changes so many things. It affects every area of your life.
What is the single most important thing we do? What’s at the heart of what it looks like to live as a Christian?
Is it our church services: the songs we sing, the prayers we say, the bread and wine we share?
Is it our charitable work, helping the needy as best we can?
Is it the community we build, the way we look out for one another, and take others under our wing?
These are all good and important things. Maybe one of them chimes with you in a particular way.
Do you ever read something and think, “I’ll pretend I didn’t see that”?
Some homework set by a teacher at the last minute that you’d rather your children didn’t have to do.
An email sent at 5.25pm inviting you to some drinks after work.
A new “no-right-turn” sign on a route you drive every day.
We all get tempted to put our fingers in our ears from time to time. Pretend we didn’t hear something that is somewhat inconvenient.
At times, the Bible can be like that. Sometimes, God says things to us that we’d love him to unsay.
Last time we began to think about the question: What happens to us after we die?
Many people are plain confused about what waits for us after death. And with confusion comes fear. The Bible doesn’t answer all our questions, but it does have a lot to say. It addresses the future of those who do not know the Lord Jesus. And it addresses the future of Christians who do know and love him. And 1 Corinthians 15 is one of the places where it does.
Most of us wonder at times, what happens to us when we die.
Often the answer is that we just don’t know.
So we make something up that would make us feel a bit better if it were true. Many a parent has told their children that granddad has just become one of the stars in the sky, and if you look up you can see him looking down on us. We know it isn’t true, but we just don’t know what else to say.
We all struggle to remember things at times. To remember, and not to forget.
It’s why we have Remembrance Day every year. In 1919, every community in Britain resolved that we would never forget what had just happened.
In fact, there are two ways to forget, to fail to remember.
Does God still speak today? That’s the question asked by our Bible reading.
If he doesn’t, we’re in the dark.
We’ve just baptised Andrew. He’s got to chart a path through life, and his parents have just signed up God to be his guide.
Well, our boys love mazes, and maybe Andrew’s brother and sister do too. If you’re a bit lost at Crystal Palace or Leeds Castle, you’d love to have a birds eye view. Someone who can look down and see the whole maze and tell you which way to turn. They could then shout down directions: “Left. Left. Right. Not that one – it’s a dead-end”.
Introduction: Christian Worship
What are we doing here this morning?
What happens when Christians come together, for what we call “church”.
It’s always good to have visitors with us. Maybe you go regularly to another church elsewhere. But if you don’t, I wonder what you think gets Christians to come here. As opposed to stay in bed. Play football. Go shopping.