Simon writes: July/August 2012

Running the Race

It strikes me as a little odd that on the bill boards of sporting events and in the breaks between the action, whether it is football or the Olympics, there are numerous adverts for all kinds of drinks and junk food. As if the message is, join in with this sporting spectacle by stuffing your face! In fact, the bigger the sporting occasion, the bigger the contrast between the athleticism on the pitch and the tempting adverts around the pitch. So, when we talk about mass sporting events, is our participation limited to switching on the telly, putting up our feet and reaching for some comforting food?

Jesus met a number of people who did rather sedentary jobs – tax collectors sitting in their tax booths, fishermen sitting in their boats (ok, so they were probably active) – and he called to them “Follow me”. To put it another way – don’t just watch me, join me! Get stuck in, get involved. And this message was not just for 12 guys, 2,000 years ago – it is a call to each one of us today. So I’m inviting you, not to be a spectator on the sidelines, but a player on the pitch – to run the race!

How might you do that? Well, if you’re at the Infant or Junior school (or your kids are) then come along to the WAVE this summer, where our theme is “Running the Race”. In case you don’t know, the WAVE is the holiday Bible Club run by Christians in Faringdon (more details below and on the outside back cover). If you’re a teenager – then why not go on a summer camp, like Foremarke 3? But don’t let age limit you – there are plenty of ways that you can get involved – both on Sundays and in midweek groups for those starting out and those wanting to explore faith further. Do find out more about midweek groups by checking out the calendar of events.

I’ll leave it to the government to ask you if you are ‘fit for life?’ – but let me ask a deeper question: are you fit for eternal life? Church is here to help you find out more and get involved.

Simon

 

Charles writes: June 2012

I wonder if you can think of anyone who has been in the same job for sixty years? Well – there is only one person I can think of – and that is our Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has carried this role faithfully and consistently for 60 years – that certainly is something to give thanks for, something to celebrate.

It challenges me to think about our own faithfulness and consistency in our faith, our discipleship and our ministry. It’s one thing to go for a sprint – all out, soon finished. it’s quite a different challenge to go for a marathon.

I wonder what has sustained the Queen so that through so many ups and downs, both for our country and in her own family, she has been able to keep going without faltering for so long?

I would imagine that three things have been important. Firstly the support of others, both in her family, and her many advisors and support staff. Secondly her own belief in what she was doing and the values she has lived and worked for. Thirdly her personal faith in God and in the teachings of Jesus has surely been a sustaining strength to her.

Perhaps these are exactly the three things we all need, to keep us faithful and consistent in whatever work we are called to do. We too need to be supported by others, trying to do it by ourselves is always a mistake, we need the support, encouragement and affirmation of other if we are to keep going in the long haul. Secondly, we too need a belief in what we are doing and in the Christian values, the “Kingdom of God” values that we live for and work for in our lives. Finally, above all we need to “sustain our sacred centre” keeping ourselves rooted in God, rooted in in Christ, in our prayer and our worship.

We have much to celebrate this month. A time of celebration and thanksgiving and also a time for church and community to celebrate together, a time to build relationships and come closer together.

We have another special occasion at All Saints on Sunday 24 June when David and Liza Cooke from Church Mission Society will be speaking at our 10.30 Communion Service. It is a while now since we have had a CMS mission link, so it will be very good to meet them, hear about their plans and their hopes and to hear what they have to share with us. CMS is also our Mission for the Moth in June, so we will be praying for their work throughout the month.

Do join us and share in all these occasions as we look to our community and our world. As the children’s song says “He’s got the whole world in his hands”. So as we celebrate this 60 year Diamond Jubilee, we celebrate above all God’s faithfulness, to us and to his world.

Charles