Wallpaper #3 “From whose womb did the ice come forth,..?

Free wallpaper - "From whose womb did the ice come forth...?" 1440x900

Free wallpaper for desktop or tablet #3                                                              (Click to enlarge.)

Another on our wallpaper download page.

The Power and the Glory

Abutilons in my garden, click to enlarge.

This is a photo of one of my favourite plants – abutilon, or Chinese Lantern flower. The orange flowers really glow, and you can see them from a long way away. But there are other flowers in this picture – there is a native shrub, whose name I don’t know, with shaggy insignificant flowers behind each leaf. These other flowers take a bit of looking for, and they’re not very pretty. But do you know what? These scruffy flowers get pollinated, and set seeds in orange berries, which by the way look quite good with the abutilons, but the birds love them! Net result, the seeds are spread everywhere- little shrubs sprouting up all over the garden, and even in the lawn.

It seemed to me that God was speaking to me through these flowers. The showy orange lanterns are all very well, and arrtactive, but they never go anywhere. The humble little ones whose name I don’t even know are the ones which really go places. They are carried everywhere, and grow into persistent woody shrubs. Maybe the sort of celebrities who have very public charity work are like the abutilons. And maybe the sort of people who work quietly away in the background are like the shrubs – their work isn’t showy – it’s very mundane really, as they feed schoolkids, help addicts, care for children, teach Christian Religious Education  and a myriad of other hands-of-Jesus ministries. It’s these ministries that bear fruit! Just as our shrub has lots of berries with seeds that are carried everywhere, so the Christian workers, which should be all Christians will bear fruit that carries, and spread, even if it isn’t obvious in the community.

It’s a bit like the pharisees who give while blowing trumpets, isn’t it?

Helping hands

it has been a very eventful week with Kevin’s health, but he’s home now from hospital. On Monday morning, we needed to call the ambulance, as his heart rate was way too low. The paramedics were very caring and professional, and apologised whenever a procedure they were doing caused Kevin pain. The staff at the emergency department were also caring and professional, as were those in the cardiac care ward where he spent two days.

I got me thinking. First, thanking God for these people, who saved my husband’s life. But then, I started to think, what is it inside people that makes them want to care, want to love?

As Christians, we can say, we love because He first loved us. But I don’t know what was the motivation for all the health-care professionals – did they love because they knew that God loved Kevin too?

All around me, I am seeing evidence of people made in the image of a loving God, people who care enough about their community to get in there and help people. But most of these people are not doing it in the name of Christ, but because it is the ‘right’ thing to do.

What is the role for the church then? The church was instrumental in making health-care available for the poor, and developing education. It has had a huge role in pastoral care, but now it seems that the community is doing fine without the church. The need never goes away, but surely the church has something else to offer.

Are we too shy about the “why we do what we do” to let people know that we love them because God loves them? Why is that? Perhaps we need to develop more intentional strategies to tell people why we love them.

Whose mission?

At our church we are focussing on mission this month. It’s good to have a reminder about what being Christian means in terms of our outworking. One of our preachers had this quote:

“The church of God doesn’t have a mission in the world. The God of mission has a church in the world” (Dr Tim Dearborn, of World Vision International)

I like this! It reminds us that it is God’s mission, God’s work, and that we, as the church, have the privilege of belonging to the God of mission, working out God’s purpose in God’s world. As the church, we belong to God, and we are in the world. Not just bishops or priests. Not just deacons. Not just those with lay licences, but all God’s people are people with a mission, on a mission, a Great Commission.

“Praise God from earth…,

Earth’s kings and all races, leaders and important people,

Robust men and women in their prime, and, yes, graybeards and little children.

Let them praise the name of God – it’s the only Name worth praising!” (Ps 148:7,11-13a, the Message Bible.)