To Laugh or to Cry...

...That is the question.

This morning was the last time I ‘churchwardened' (yes, I've decided to make churchwarden into a verb, along with things like action and resource) the 11:00am service at St Tees. In terms of organisation (and through nobody's, and everybody's (definitely including me!), fault) it was quite the most chaotic service I can ever remember 'churchwardening'. If it had been my first, I should probably have run screaming from the building, down the steps, and sneaked off to join Lancaster Free Methodist church. But it wasn't, it was my last, and somehow the chaos seemed fitting... Though at the time I really wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

This is by way of a sort of retrospective random ramble through six years of life.

When I was first asked to consider becoming churchwarden, my initial reaction was to laugh and say something along the lines of ‘You must be joking!' - it was so far outside what I had ever experienced, and such a long way beyond my comfort zone. But, gradually, I came to realise that this was God's call on my life for the next few years. So I agreed, reluctantly, to take on the role - thinking that, if I did really badly, I could refuse to stand for a second year. And now, here I am, at the end of the maximum allowable term of office, six years, wondering where the time has gone.

God is Love, Part II

... God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. 1 John 4:16-18,20-21 NIV

“You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:43-45 NIV

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NIV

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2022