These posts originally appeared in our Six Ways Monthly Magazine. This is  available in printed format on a reduced annual subscription rate or an individual cost of 75p. For more details or to start a subscription contact the editor

We were made to be together

We were made to be together. Literally. Weren’t we?

At the beginning, The Creator says of Adam, that it is not for him to be alone. The Bible from start to finish is a story of people together. Behind it all time after time, is God our creator addressing nations: Israel, Judah, the world.

We were made to be together. We were made to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, together. So, it has been good to be reminded with our Six Weeks at Six Ways project and We Are Church, as well as all the other things that we do, together, that we are not only stronger and more effective together, but happier too and, it is simply right. It is God’s will for us.

Jesus gathered a team around him. The early followers of Jesus did what they did together. The writer to Hebrews urges the believers not to give up the habit of meeting together. It has been good to see more things happening with more of us meeting to do all sorts of things: some fellowship, some worship, some both. We don’t have to stop at six weeks.

We are made to be together, so, come on church, let’s keep meeting, let’s come up with more ways that we do that and do more things together!

For the sake of the Kingdom!

God Bless, Gerard

Resurrection Stories. 4. 29 April 2018

Reinstated John 21: 15-19

There is the neat counter-balancing of Peter being asked three times by Jesus against the three times that Peter denies Jesus prior to His death. And there is the prophetic bit about the way Peter will be martyred because of his faith. But what always gets me as being so very beautiful about this passage is that Jesus not only wipes the slate clean for Peter but He gives him a crucial job in (“Feed my sheep” v.7) and this is based on love. Jesus trusts Peter. He believes in him.
He believes in us.
Peter messed up. We mess up.
Peter is forgiven. We are forgiven.
Peter says he loves Jesus. Do we love Jesus in the same way?
Peter is restored in this way because he has work to do. We are restored in
this way because we have work to do.
And by the way – notice this all happens after they have eaten together.

Resurrection Stories 3. 22 April 2018

“Believing” Thomas. John 20: 19-29

Usually we call him doubting Thomas. And yet he cries “My Lord and my God!”. He needs a different way to encounter the risen Jesus. Jesus offers him a multi-sensory/touchy-feely/scientific way of finding out for himself. So, read this and permit yourself to believe in the way that works for you so that you can say with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”
Are there any areas in your faith where you need to explore a little bit more/where you need more proof?
And then look at what the object of our faith has to say when He arrives in the room! Jesus “stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” (v.26).

What greetings do we offer to people? What do we bring into each situation? Is it peace?

Resurrection Stories 2. 15 April 2018

Welcome the Risen Lord. Luke 24:13-43

I find this episode so exciting and yet at the same time quite baffling. How did they not recognise him? The question intrigues me but I think it is of more importance for us to concern ourselves with the question of why we don’t recognise Jesus in our lives and the lives around us.
I believe that what happens here between Jesus and his friends can help us to do this. What can we pick up on here?
– first of all Jesus listens.
– second he is able to give a Bible explanation.
– hospitality leads to revelation. In the breaking of bread and the eating of fish they see Jesus for who he is. They get a glimpse of Him as He breaks bread. Simple and sudden, surprising.
– and there is a continuing theme of disbelief on the part of Jesus’ followers. We should not let our doubts cloud our vision.

In response to what this passage is saying it would be great if we gave more importance to food fellowship as a time when we might glimpse Jesus. When did you last invite someone to eat/drink with you?

And finally, a powerful factor for the Emmaus disciples is hindsight (verse 32).
Look back and be spurred on by high points, heart burning moments, on your
walk with Jesus.

Resurrection Stories: 1. 8 April 2018

Mary and the gardener. John 20:11-18

Mistaken identity is the stuff of comedies and mystery drama. But here it is a profound expression of grief and confusion and maybe also a sign of the awesome mystery of God.
According to John, Mary Magdalene is first to meet the risen Jesus.
As you read these verses, try to imagine how Mary must have been feeling. How have you felt when experiencing a deep sense of loss? Is it hard then to recognise even some familiar things?
Mary is grief-stricken, she has lost a friend and mentor who has enabled her to feel part of things, enabled her to feel fulfilment and self-worth. But when all is lost and she can’t think straight she hears Jesus utter her name. She is once again, affirmed; she once again has hope. Mary is “resurrected” by the resurrected Jesus.

Think about how important it is to know that we are called by God, as individuals, by name. And how important it is that we call others by their name, that we show that concern and recognition that we see in Jesus.