Dear Minster and Friends,
The masterful church leader and preacher, John Stott, said that the role of preachers was to stand between two worlds:
‘A true sermon bridges the gulf between the biblical and the modern worlds, and must be equally earthed in both.’ (J Stott)
But this bridge role applies to all Christians, and not to preachers and sermons alone. The biblical world is not merely the world of the biblical past and the need to bridge this insight with our contemporary lives, the biblical world is a world of realities which we discover through the bible – a reality to which the scriptures testify. In this reality the merest child of God is dignified and precious, sitting in the heavenly places whilst firmly entrenched in this world’s suffering and calamities. As Paul wrote;
‘God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.’ (Eph 1:3)
And before we imagine that we are entering territory which is only explored in scripture, take a moment to consider the rise of the ‘avatar’ – the portrayal of ourselves in a virtual world which is connected to our identity, but at the same time is transformed and effected by different laws, accessed through portals, bridges and warps. From the films that explore this through simulations and dream sequences, to the near-universal rise of computer games and the manipulated versions of ourselves and our lives which are portrayed through social media. It is possible to be a muscle-bound hero adventuring through titanic battles, whilst simultaneously sitting in semi-darkness in suburbia. All of this shows we live in a culture which is exploring what it means to be legitimately in two places, times or realities at once, and that we as human beings have this inbuilt urge to relate to our spiritual and mortal identities. The incarnation, when Jesus was seen to be fully God and fully human, allowed the eternal Word to pace this temporal world, and the author of creation to limit himself to the created world. He understands what this world is like, what evil is, and also how to defeat sin, death, shame, guilt, evil and domination in this fallen earth.
Today – as we go to work, handle family, plough through a to-do list, pray, worship and read our bibles, let us remember that we are firm and secure in a heavenly reality, involved in spiritual battles, and called to be bridges – straddling both worlds, but inviting people to the cross of Christ, the ultimate bridge into eternity.
‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might’ (Eph 6:10)
With every blessing,
For those having a half term break – we pray for a great rest for you and your families.
We will still hold intercessory prayer this Wednesday at 9am, and communion from 9:30am – 10am in the Small Barn. This is open to all.