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Revd Steve

Truth, Power and the Church - 13 Mar 2017

'The World faces the worst humanitarian crisis since 1945', says a UN official this week, adding 'with the possibility of 20 million lives dying of starvation.' Yes, 20 million. That will of course be predominantly women, children, the in firmed and the elderly. The common factor for all four Eastern nations that represent these figures is that each one of them is in conflict. 

Where there is conflict there is of course an absence of peace. Peace for the east is a misnomer. The tragic reality is that peace, given the chance, could halt such a humanitarian catastrophe. But chance is often sacrificed on the altar of choice and choice is seldom, if ever used to secure peace. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, the West has chosen to sacrifice truth on the altar of fads, fables and fantasies. Where we were once a "post modern society' we are now the 'post truth society'. Who needs truth when celebrity titbits sell? It doesn't matter if a twitter is true, as long as it informs, right!

Whilst eastern children die in gas bombed attacked hospitals the West worries about who is going to replace Mary Berry on 'The Great British Bake Off' Nothing like getting our priorities right. Still, social anesthetisation is as common as blogging. The West has been apathetic to the east’s suffering for centuries, why change now. 

Within the west, there is an insatiable apatite for the superfluous compared to the east’s desperate need for the basics. Here in the west we have produced a generation with an insatiable appetite for love of self, all to often lived out through the social media networks. Which is the ultimate devise to feed the current narcissistic petulant self obsessed wannabes. Once of the ‘last days’ signs is an increase of self love’ well in the west we now have a generation lives for self edification where 'take' supersedes 'give' and 'I' rules over 'us'. The term "there is no I in T.E.A.M" has never rang so, well, true, that is, if truth is what their looking for. 

Article 50 looms ever nearer and President Donald Trump's hope of producing a travel ban continues to press on despite the hindrance of a judge who keeps reminding him of 4th amendment; that old obstinate fact that everyone has rights. 

When we step back and observe our split valued world we see a global schism producing a world of non-integration, one half in survival and the other with an implosion of self preoccupation. And so we see a social vacuum of fear, austerity, prejudice, famine, contradiction, genocide, untruth and social instability; which in turn feeds hopelessness, social insecurity and deep social cynicism. 

'Peace', we hear the East cry out, but history reveals that there is no peace. For the world cannot give peace, as history reminds those who take the effort to search the facts. That is, if truth is what your searching for. 

Just like a rotten tooth, truth decay is causing a global gum disease. The foul stench of corrupt leadership's bad odour continues to pour forth its poisoned political spittle amidst a backdrop of the rich getting richer and the poor remaining chained to the dark, dull and lifeless treadmill that never seems to stop but only increases speed at every social, educational and financial spin of the wheel. 

And amidst this decaying globe there's the Church. An institution fighting for a voice in the market place. If Jesus were to return today, what Gospel would He find being preached, what image would His Bride look like and how affective would she have been whist her Groom has been away. 

We need to ask ourselves why haven't we made the impact Jesus intended for us too, after all, wasn’t Him who said: ‘He that is in us is greater than we in the world’. 

I believe that the answer is right beneath our noses. For to long Christians have focused their attentions on how we “do church” our ecclesiastical practice rather than on learning how to facilitate the presence of Christ amidst our church service. And because we forsake Christ first and misplace mission, His great commission to the Church. In theological terms it is like this: Ecclesiology, Christology and Missionology.

The study of Church, Jesus and evangelism. Christology feeds good missionology which in turn produces good ecclesiology. Sadly, we focus on ecclesiology first, then Christology thus leaving missionology to last. 

The cold factual, historical, practical and Biblical truth is that once we facilitate the presence of Christ within our ecclesial Church framework mission will become natural and the world will encounter The Living God who is Life, Light and Love personified. Jesus, church mission, not church, Jesus and mission. 

Mark Twain once wrote: ’The two most important days in our life are when we were born and the day we learnt why.’ 

Well, the two most important reasons why the church was born was to function as Christ’s ambassadors on earth until His return. Truth and peace will never prevail until the bride of Christ lives in the ‘ex-soo cio’ the authority and power of our God. Concluding that Jesus first, mission second so that how we do church follows. MTBSF ASHP. Amen.


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