Month: October 2019

Faith of a mustard seed

As we continue to look through our school values this term we will be exploring our value of faith.

Over the years I’ve had many a conversation with pupils who require absolute, categoric proof that God exists. I’ve tried to argue with them that categoric proof would almost defeat the point of God. God requires us to believe and to have faith. Faith is something that Jesus talks about numerous times in the Gospels, he talks about the disciples needing faith, and he refers to only needing faith as small as a mustard seed.

Why a mustard seed? A mustard is one of the smallest seeds known, and yet when it grows, it grows in to a tree, that is large enough to hold birds. I have been involved in the Church all of my life, I decided to believe in God when I was a teenager. I still have so many questions, I don’t understand how and why things happen, but I believe that there is a God who loves me, and who oversees it all. I don’t need to know it all, a small amount of faith is enough to carry me through the tough.

Our thought for the week comes from Jack Coe who says

““If you’ve got just a little bit of faith as a grain of mustard seed and begin to praise God – that faith will mount up, until fear won’t be able to stay in your heart””

In the same way that to be able to go for a walk you need to take a step, in order to fight the fear and the trouble of life you need faith, and it will grow and develop.

Over the next few weeks we are going to be looking at different aspects of faith, including how faith can move mountains, how we need to have faith in ourselves, and also the faith of different people that celebrate during advent as people prepared for the saviour they had faith God was going to send them and who arrived in the person of Jesus that we celebrate at Advent.

I pray that over this next term you will take that mustard seed and see it grow.

Love one another

As we come to the end of our exploration of the value of Love we come to the one command that Jesus gave to his disciples. In the Old Testament there are hundreds of commands that are expected to be followed, and things that people have to do in order to make up for things that have been done wrong to restore their relationship with God. But Jesus gives a new command which john tells us:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

The previous commands were given as a way of becoming closer, but then, when God came to earth in the person of Jesus we have the perfect example of humanity, the perfect example of love. Many people still think that Christianity is about following lots of rules, and then saying sorry when we break them. But actually Christianity is about being in relationship with God through Christ, and allowing that to change your life.

One comment I come across a lot in my job is ‘there’s no proof of God, I can’t see Him, therefore He isn’t real’ but then I am challenged by this statement made by Shane Claiborne who says

“No one has seen God, but as we love one another, God lives in us”

God is not a tangible being that we will see, but we can see God in the loving actions of others. If we think of the work of Foodbank, street pastors, the salvation army – these are just a handful of organisations that demonstrate the love of God. When my dad died in June, I was overwhelmed by the support the Church gave to my mum especially, but also to me.

In science we often don’t see the atoms mixing with each other, or the electrons colliding but we see the result. In Christianity we may not see God but we see the result of God being welcomed in to the lives of others.

Jesus commands us to love, not just those who are closest to us, but to love all. He never says it will be easy, but He will give us the strength to be able to do so.

Challenge: how can we show love at Archbishop’s school?

Prayer: father God thank you that you only give us one command, to love. Help us to receive your love that we may love other, and they will see you through us. Amen

Love is patient and kind

When I was a child we had 4 TV channels, that was it. You couldn’t record anything, you couldn’t skip intros or adverts. You watched what was scheduled or you turned the TV off. Now, you can stream things, watching entire box sets in one sitting. I rarely watch TV live, because I want to be able to forward through adverts. And often now as soon as the first episode has been shown you are informed that the entire series is available to download.

This is just one example of the culture of want that we live in. We expect things to be available when we want and need them.

Patience isn’t encouraged. I get asked a lot ‘what are we doing today?’ – shockingly I do intend on telling my groups the plan of action but not necessarily as soon as they’ve walked in the door, and having to say it 25 times.

Kindness is also becoming a lost art, and people seem to be shocked, overwhelmed or even suspicious when people do show kindness. After all why would someone just do a kind act?

Paul had spoken about love a lot to the early Church and in his letter to the Corinthians, a passage read out at many wedding ceremonies, he tells the Church the characteristics of Love saying

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”

Patience and kindness are attributes of love. In today’s society they can often be seen as weaknesses, that someone is a push over, however Anupama Attri gives a very different perspective saying:

“Patience and kindness are powers not weaknesses”

How are they powers? Through patience we are taking time to explore the world around us, the people around us, that may strengthen us and strengthen others. In a world where everyone is in a rush, and where everything has to happen straight away, imagine how much someone will appreciate another being patient and spending time with them. There has been a lot of research looking in to the power of kindness, and how kindness breeds more kindness. If someone receives an act of kindness then they are more likely to be kind to someone else. People are encouraged to do a random act of kindness a day, but why does it have to be a big thing? Why does it have to be random? Why can’t it just be what people naturally do?

We have been exploring what love is, and although we have looked at the sacrificial love of God, the greatest gift to humanity, that may seem a bit out of our reach. But patience and kindness are still sacrifices, and are how we can demonstrate love in our lives.

To see what patience and kindness might look like, all we need to do is to look at the life of Jesus. There are times when you can see he could get frustrated with the questions of his disciples, or when they don’t seem to have understood what he’s been teaching them, but he doesn’t have a go at them, he will listen and will respond. He showed kindness to all people, even the Romans and one of the criminals next to him at his Crucifixion. God doesn’t expect us to be experts at patience and kindness, but he gives us the perfect example to follow.

Challenge: what is the effect of you sowing patience and kindness in your life?

Prayer:Father God we thank you that you demonstrated kindness and patience when you came to earth, help us to be a reflection of that in our lives. Amen