Monthly Letter – May 2010

by Geoff Hall on June 6, 2010

May, 2010.  LIGHT

Dear Mentoring Group,
So here we are with a new Government!  The first mentoring group letter with a Tory Prime Minister in ‘power’!

I’m sure we are all excited by the potential for change, but what we really need to see is actual change.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote that we shouldn’t try and change the world, but try and change the world in us!  A profound model first expounded, I think, by Paul in Romans 12 v2.  “Inner renewal brings about outer transformation.”  When we see the great injustices of this world, things too which perturbed the writers of the Psalms, we see that there is not always a link between righteousness and prosperity, that the wicked can prosper and the righteous suffer want.

Many contemporary preachers and writers tell us of course that there is such a link; that we can choose the path of blessing or curse and whilst this is generally true, it does not follow that blessing = untold riches.  Much of the evidence for the link is extricated from the Old Covenant, from a covenant which has been replaced, fulfilled by two simple rules about loving God and loving our neighbours!  We also fall for the trap of taking things out of context, from the communal to the individual.  What in Deuteronomy was meant for a people or nation, we turn into personal rules of acquisition!

Jeremiah warns, in Chapter 23 of false prophets who talk of peace and prosperity through worshipping idols.

Following God does not always lead to acquiring the perfect (blonde) partner, the wonderful manor house, the latest model sports car or membership of the best and most exclusive social clubs!  Our example is taken from Jesus and the Apostles, the blood of the Saints poured out during a city’s purging the populous of undesirable types.  We are tempted to follow the idol of the ‘I’, craving the good life, but this jars with this testimony of persecution.  Proof, if you follow the logic off prosperity teaching, that there must have been some hidden condemnatory sin in their lives!  (Read Hebrews ch11 and it shows us that sometimes you do not get what you have been promised.)

So, what could God want when times are hard, when we feel broken and not fulfilled?

I was reading and praying out-loud the Psalms during my wilderness sojourn and came across one of those revelatory verses.  This is taken from The Message and Song 119 v130.  “Break open your words; let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.”

‘Break open your words; let the light shine out…’  It seemed to me that we are like words, (Paul said we are like epistles; letters, words written on our hearts) and whilst we live we may try and convince all sorts of people about the correctness of our faith in God, but it seemed to me in that brief, quickened moment of revelation that actually it is in our brokenness and perseverance that others are convinced and personal questions of why we are on this path, arise.  As we are broken, the Light bursts forth and ordinary people see the meaning of life in Christ, of life itself.

Whilst the contemporary fetish is for wholeness, there is something to be said for how God works in our brokenness.  It is nearly a year now since Mary Palmer’s death.  A poetry-reading of her work was held in Waterstones store in Bath.  It was amazing to see how many people, Christian and non-Christian, were touched by her life and work, because she had faith until the end of this part of the journey!  Although broken, the light shone forth, people began to see the meaning of her life and her work!

May our work be as the words which are broken open to let the Light shine forth.  May our work be so rooted in Christ that it is like the bread of life, broken for us.  For without the brokenness there would be nothing to share to the many; people looking for meaning and purpose beyond a new Parliament, a new era of airbrushed politics and digital propaganda; of ‘Big Society’, ‘freedom’ and ‘fairness’!


Peace and Love to you all,

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