Wednesday 21 March 2012

Celebrating the SonRise

This is a copy of my church magazine article for April 2012

What does Easter mean to you?

Does it mean Easter eggs and bunnies? Does it mean daffodils and tulips? Does it mean a long weekend off work? Does it mean the end of one school term and the beginning of the next?

For me, it has meant all of those things, although these days the long weekend is not one that I take off work! Yet the most important aspect of Easter for me is the SonRise!

In my childhood years, I used to go with my parents and my sister to the early morning Sunrise service that took place at Ness Point, Lowestoft. It’s not a scenic landmark, but it is Britain’s most easterly point. In 1999, Lowestoft Town Council put a lot of effort into advertising the town as the first place in the country on which the new millennium would dawn – until someone pointed out that due to the curvature of the earth, the sun would rise first over Dover! That’s probably still true in March and April. Even so, there was something special about gathering with other Christians on Easter Sunday, and celebrating the SonRise whilst seeing the sunrise!

After the darkness of Jesus’ crucifixion, and the seeming finality of his burial, the gospels tell us that some women went to anoint his body with spices, early on the Sunday morning. It was just after sunrise, and as they journeyed to the tomb, they wondered who would roll away the stone in front of it to allow them to perform this final act of service for Jesus. They had thought that this man might be the Son of God, but now he was dead. They reckoned without the power of God, who made the SonRise! Two angelic figures said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here: he has risen!’

Jesus, the Son, has risen! He is still the Risen Lord! He has conquered death! Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can know life. The SonRise gives me confidence that all of the darkness of my life, and the pain of the world, will one day be overcome. I hope it gives you that confidence, too!

The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!

Sunday 18 March 2012

Accepting God's Call

This is the text of what I shared with my church, as I had the emotional task of telling them that I and my family are moving on.

We are called to accept one another as Christ accepted us. Sometimes, we are called to accept one another’s decisions.

As Christians, I think that we should be constantly asking the Lord if we are walking in his will, and serving in the place that he wants us to be. Last year, I spent much time in prayer and through retreat days, asking God if here at Park Road was where he wanted me to be. To be honest, I really didn’t know what he was saying, but whatever it was, I wanted to be obedient. With that in mind, I decided to talk to some other churches to see what God would say, seeking either a renewed call to be minister at Park Road or a new call to serve elsewhere. One door in particular kept opening wider: through a meeting with a pastoral search team, and a meeting with deacons, and a visit to preach and meet the church, and then, last weekend, an invitation to preach with a view. After a special church members’ meeting last Thursday, that has culminated with a clear and decisive call to be minister and team leader at Newbury Baptist Church. So, in the summer, the Edworthy family will be leaving Peterborough to go to pastures new.

We love this church, and since you are the church, that means we love you. We have shared with you through life’s joys and sorrows and, thankfully, the joys have come out on top. We can think of many reasons not to leave Peterborough: among them, the exciting things that are happening here, our friendships here, our children’s education, Wendy’s job. One thing outweighs all of those things, and will always outweigh them – that is … God’s will. We believe that God is calling us to Newbury and from Newbury, because He is already there! I recognize the implications of our departure from here, but I know that God has his plans for this church and this city.

Discerning God’s will is not always easy, and Wendy and I have agonized through this process of what God has and hasn’t being saying to us. However, a friend reminded me that living in God’s will is the best place to be. I feel completely at peace about accepting the call to Newbury, and believe this to be God’s will. We ask your prayers for us as a family as we plan to move, and your prayers for Newbury Baptist Church as with them we enter into a new sphere of ministry. We shall continue to pray for you, not least as we have four more months of ministry to share, and as the future unfolds.

With love in our Lord Jesus Christ.

18th March 2012

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Easter Cross

Here is the painting 'Easter Cross' mentioned in my last blog. It's a bit bigger in real life!

On being an art critic!

I can't really tell one end of a paintbrush from another, but I am feeling quite arty at the moment!

Firstly, the local Street Pastors' management committee, which I chair, has been involved in an art project over the past 12 months or so. We had to choose from several different proposals and went for the one that we felt would give us the best publicity. That choice was for Grennan and Sperandio, artists who work on opposite sides of the Atlantic, but who collaborate together. Simon Grennan went out with local street pastors on a number of occasions, taking photographs and asking questions, before retreating to the studio (or more likely these days, his computer) to develop the project. And so, a comic strip series was born to be published in our local Evening Telegraph on 15 consecutive Fridays. The cost to us has been nothing, except a little time, and we hope that our profile will be raised in both financial and recruitment terms. The first in the series is above. I think it's rather good! There is more to come, and perhaps I'll post them - watch this space!

Then, today, I spoke at the Cathedral on the theme of 'The Glory of the Cross.' The Wednesday at One series for the season of Lent is based upon an exhibition of paintings entitled 'Rejoicing in the Cross. My given painting was 'Easter Cross' by Karola Onken. I can't manage to get it posted next to this text, so please see it in the next blog!

Two very different pieces of work, but both with a story to tell!