January 2021 has been a momentous month. The political fervor in the United States had been whipped up to a crescendo, which had its explosion in the storming of the Capital buildings, while Joe Biden’s presidency was being confirmed in congress.
After the event I remember seeing a photo of a man standing, with his head bowed, holding a life sized cross on the mall, with rioting confusion in motion all around him. For me this was one more sad realization of how misdirected parts of the church body had become, when it whole heartedly endorsed a ‘spirit of politics’, rather than work through the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt this has been a very painful time for the body of Christ; from those believing they were striving through a prophetic word with all the zeal they could muster, to those who perceived them turning a blind eye to the complete lack of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and consistent lies.
However, God can and will turn this situation into a time of self examination, because the whole body of Christ has suffered through these polarities. Jesus always called us to stand together knowing how important that was, he prayed at length in John 17 for our unity.
‘Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.’
Jesus prayed that the church could follow in his ways, his teaching and his name. If we are able to move closer together as one church, it will be a healing opportunity. A healing opportunity I recognize I need.
Christine has been working on two icon commissions, one is the last supper and the other depicts St. Teresa of Avila with St John of the Cross. She has also completed another online icon teaching class which was very well attended. Also an application has gone to the Prince’s School in London to pursue doctoral study of contemporary iconography and its place in Western Christianity.
Michael’s work as Chaplain to an elderly community is running another Alpha program in person. He has found people in their 80s, and 90s respond really well to the program and are able to share personal spiritual experiences of their childhood which had formed life long rejection of Christianity. Alpha is available on line [alphausa.org] and is being held all over the world, especially during the present lockdown; for elderly people the challenges they face with the internet requires they use in person programs. Unfortunately sharing a meal, usually enjoying a meal together is a central part of an Alpha evening, we are unable to do that with restrictions.
Another initiative has been to set up an ASK [ask, seek, knock] e mail list; where people can share and put out prayer requests. Many of the seniors can handle using e mail rather than social media and this has been getting a lot of use. Having people connect after such a time of forced separations and loneliness is a needed healing for us all.
Our prayer in this time is for the church to work together, using all the variety of gifts and view points we have, to build it up; as Paul writes 1 Corinthians 14:26
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
Let us know how we can pray for you and thank you for your prayers.
Sending Love and prayers,
Michael and Christine