Is There Something Deeper to My Experience of Life???

Whenever I visit a local shopping centre/mall at this time of year my mind goes back to the days when I was at high school and then university and worked part time in the food hall of David Jones in Bankstown Square.  I remember the long days of holidays when we had more hours at work to cope with the Christmas rush.  At lunchtime we had 30-40 minutes and having been on my feet all morning I usually found a seat in the middle of Bankstown Square and sat quietly eating lunch.  It was somewhat fascinating and revealing to watch the people all around me.  Most people rushed past with great intensity and many seemed quite stressed.  As we got closer to Christmas they seemed more intense and rushed by even faster.  I wondered what made them so anxious?  I wondered what they were so focussed on and why there was no time to smile or seemingly enjoy the moment.  Most looked like they needed my seat much more than I!

In the store, the food hall of David Jones, people would rush in late on Christmas Eve and ask what we had left.  They had forgotten someone and needed a gift, any gift.  By 5:00 on Christmas Eve, there was little of worth left – some dented tins of biscuits or other items that didn’t sell.  They were annoyed that we didn’t have the right thing, the exact thing they needed and rushed out in a panic.

As I think back I feel a little sympathy for these people as they experienced a mini-catastrophe, a mini-crisis in the midst of the ensuing chaos of this confusing season.  They rushed around in search of something elusive, something that seemed hidden – there but not there.  Many were fulfilling expectations of a culture increasingly bent on material realities and the escalation of the commercial success of Christmas.  I suspect that this is really the root of the crisis.  People’s lives were, and are, escalating out of control.  Expectations around material ambition and aspiration dominate our lives.  We are pulled in a multitude of directions by forces that are uncontrollable, as much as they are unseen.  We feel this crisis of meaning and expectation in our being and the forces to comply and fit in can be overwhelming.  There are diverse stresses that pull us different directions and life can feel difficult, tiring and like being on a treadmill.  This is a crisis and I think there were many crises rushing past me in the David Jones Food Hall those many years ago.

It is in the midst of ordinary life with all these things going on and the balancing of time with people, tasks to be done, the joyful, the necessary and the mundane moments of our lives that we experience a moment of wonder.  Sometimes wondrous moments sneak up on us and break into our conscious world like the suddenness of a lightning strike or spontaneous action that takes us by surprise.  Sometimes these moments grow into our awareness like the approaching storm with its build-up of grey/black clouds and eerie silence before the first rattle of thunder or drops of rain.  These moments of wonder may take us by complete surprise and leave us confused and disoriented.  It is the sudden awareness that there is more, much more to our existence than the forces and realities of this ordinary life with its more mundane moments.  When we encounter a relationship of love or vulnerability where simple beauty fills us our senses and draws us out of the cycles of rush and expectation, our perspective changes.

Sometimes it isn’t a wondrous moment but a deeper crisis that confronts the mundanity of life, leaving us with a heightened sense of the world in a deeper, more painful or fearful way.  The mini-crisis/catastrophe gives way to some deeper reality that life is really tough at its core.  We suddenly open to the world that many know as a daily reality through the harshness of poverty or war, oppressive regimes or displacement from homes…  How do we live in the midst of these in-breaking realities of the world?  How do we understand them and engage with them?  How do we live in the midst of crisis or catastrophe, whether mini or major, whether acute of chronic, whether personal, communal, national or cosmic?  How do we live in the midst of this and where does faith or God fit into this picture?

Our reading for this first week of a new Church year, the first week of Advent (Matthew 24:36-44), applies this image of cosmic catastrophe and speaks in apocalyptic tones.  For the community of Matthew in the late 1st century (around 80 AD), there was cosmic crisis in their world, having lived through the Roman-Jewish war a decade earlier that resulted in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.  The small community of Christians were excluded from the Jewish synagogues and experienced the general poverty of the people living under oppressive Roman rule.  The Christians were struggling and life was very harsh – with more persecution to come.  How should the followers of Jesus live in the midst of such crisis and chaos?  How should they hope and what should they do?

Matthew provides his community and those of us who reads his words millennia later with the wisdom to watch for the in-breaking experiences of the ever-present God.  He speaks about watching and waiting and his message is that the realities of ordinary life around us, mundane, exciting or harsh are not the full picture.  We can engage in the life expected of us and fit in with everyone and everything around us but we may miss the in-breaking of wonder, grace and love that accompanies the presence of God coming into our lives in these sublime or lovely moments.  If life is filled with distraction and fear, worry or anxiety and we allow ourselves to be drawn down into places dark and deep this becomes our life.  The lens through which we see everything may be darkened by the struggle we feel or the depression that draws us down.  This lens may be clouded by the messages, mixed and controlling of a world that seeks to define us and our existence.  It may be that the experiences that overwhelm our being stops us short in the journey of living and stalls any movement forward, at least for a time.  Matthew wants to say that these realities, harsh and difficult as they are will not be the final truth that defines us.

Matthew warns his readers that God is like a thief who breaks into human life and disrupts our order.  Sometimes God is like a thunder storm in summer that is both beautiful and amazing but also scary in its uncontrolled power and awesome display of sound and light.  Sometimes God is a gentle sunset of vibrant beauty that makes us stop and stare, smile and breathe more deeply – and become aware that there is more, much more to our lives.  Matthew would have us understand that there is a God who holds all things in a web of grace and invites us to stop, breathe in the Spirit, look more deeply at life and embrace the wonder, promise and love of God who perpetually breaks into human life.

By geoffstevenson

The Sustaining Presence of Radical Love When All is Changing

We live in strange times, or so I keep hearing.  Most recently this has referred to the triumph of Trump and the ensuing conversations, protests, head-scratching puzzlement and general uncertainty surrounding this event.  It is more than that, though, because the world is undergoing all manner of drastic change.  Wherever I am and whoever I am with there is increasing recognition that everything is and has changed.  Older generations point to that which was, often sentimentally with yearning fascination.  Younger generations are caught in the vast slipstream of change as the normal milieu of living.  It is all they have known.  Technology has an increasingly short shelf-life and the ability to adapt to new things is part of the DNA of younger generations.  The generation in between are caught between the what was and what is and feel the stress and confusion (and exhaustion) of holding everyone in balance.  We do indeed live in strange times!

Every organisation I have either been part of or encountered over these last years is struggling to come to grips with how things work in this new or emerging world.  We marvel and despair at the turnover of Prime Ministers over the last few years.  Political parties seem clueless as they stagger from policy to policy seeking to appeal to an electorate uninterested and confused by their ramblings.  But it isn’t only the political system that finds itself overwhelmed by the milieu of confusion and mystifying transition all around us.  Our churches, with their diverse religious systems, find themselves struggling to be relevant in a world that is searching but looks everywhere else.  Add to this community organisations of all persuasions, sporting clubs and the business community.  Technology has an increasingly significant place in the new market place with internet shopping placing enormous stress on businesses, large and small.  Change is always part of our lives but the intensity and degree of change we are experiencing has been ramping up for some time now and suddenly we find ourselves struggling to come to grips with the way things are.

I wonder if part of our struggle is that the things we have placed so much expectation and trust in have proven somewhat hollow.  The material expectations that have dominated so much of Western life and hope continue to leave us somewhat empty.  We have gained the whole world but perhaps the cost has been more than we bargained for.  Politics, economics, philosophy, science, technology, communications, social media and the plethora of ideas and activities that consume our time are good and even necessary but are they a source of inner strength, hope and life that will hold us in this time of upheaval and change?  Do the things we rely upon offer a solid foundation for life or do they become another distraction amidst the turmoil of life?

Even religious activity, which claims to provide a deep and profound basis for life often comes up wanting.  When we place our trust in the ideas, the belief systems or the structures and institutions we may well find some things to occupy our time and wonderful ideas to engage our minds and even cause to give ourselves to but they can easily become much like everything else.  Like all other institutions the church is facing immense struggle in the midst of change and the turmoil of uncertainty.  The structures of church life that have served so many so well for so long don’t necessarily measure up in this new era.  For many, the church like other institutions and organisations can become a place of escape, somewhere to hide away from a scary world.  Those who cling to what has been resist any form of change because their trust is in the forms perhaps more than the reality at the heart of faith.

The irony is that the One we call God has no name and can’t be defined but is revealed as the ‘One who will be’ (In Exodus 3 Moses asks the mysterious Deity in the burning tree for a name and is told ‘I Am who I am’ or ‘I will be who I will be.’).  The God at the heart of all that is, is changing and creative and holds everything in a web of connected wonder, love and relationship.

This week we celebrate the last Sunday of the Church’s year, called the Reign of Christ Sunday.  We ponder this paradoxical reality that the ever-present reality of the Living Christ invites us to let go and live in faith.  Such faith is, of course, ludicrous or seemingly so.  We are invited to believe that there is an alternative way in the world that transcends any power, wealth or dominating reality that presents itself; there is a firm and sure hope that defies logic and requires faith and is grounded in the pure essence of love.  One of our readings (Colossians 1:11-20) speaks in a profound and poetic, lyrical manner of this Christ who is the image of the mysterious, invisible God.  It speaks of this word as the wisdom in creation, ever-present and evolving within and through us.  It is the power that will lift us up from despair and confusion and drive us forward into new life.  This power will be revealed in weakness and humility, the power of love that holds everything and is a reconciling, relational love that draws all things together to the source of all that is.  This love is the essence and presence of God and is a constant, if changing, Presence through a world of transformation and change.  Perhaps God is at the heart of the change that is?  Perhaps God is drawing us forward into a new way, a way of justice that will overturn the institutionalised wrongs and the structural injustice that means some people have way too much and others way too little?  Perhaps God is the source of a call into the human heart that breaks us open to deeper life lived relationally and simply amidst the beauty and wonder of a world full of surprising beauty and wonder.

Over the last couple of weeks 4 of us journeyed through Western Australia, my first visit.  My first and abiding sense was of barren and desolate flora that hugged the coastline of the South-West.  It was of such a beauty and wonder that I wanted to constantly take photos of it.  There were brilliant and simple colours of flowering delight superimposed against coastline of immense beauty and wonder.  I saw giant trees that left me speechless and diversity of nature rare and beautiful.  How could I not open my heart and soul to this wonder?  How could I not be filled with awe and ponder the love and creativity at the heart all that is?  How could I not want to find my being, my life and hope in this Presence of grace that touches my heart and holds me firm?

By geoffstevenson

To Dream the Impossible Dream – of God!

This week’s passage comes from the ancient prophetic tradition of Judaism. It is Isaiah 65:17-25 and was written around 2,500 years ago. When I read the words of hope and promise my spirits lifted. It begins: ‘Behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth…no more shall be the sound of weeping and the cry of distress..’ It goes on to speak of children surviving beyond childhood and living into old age, of people building houses and living in them (rather than the houses being taken by force by others) and planting vineyards and eating the fruit. It speaks of long life, lived in peace and harmony, of God answering the people’s calls before they even cry out. The passage concludes with these words:

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat the straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain.’

These are indeed lofty words but what do they mean in our world where injustice, conflict, abuse and struggle is a daily reality on many levels and in all cultures? If this promise was made on God’s behalf 2,500 years ago, when can we expect it to be realised – or have we missed something?

Let’s backtrack a moment. This text was written after the Jewish exiles returned from Babylon. The Babylonians had moved through Jerusalem and destroyed the wall, the city and the Temple. Many people were taken back to Babylon and lived in exile. When Cyrus the Persian took control of the Babylonian Empire he reversed the policy of holding captives and allowed the people to return home if they wanted to. A few did and were met by insurmountable odds. The city lay in ruins. The crisis that the exiles faced was physical, economic, social and spiritual (theological). Where and when were the promises of the prophets to be fulfilled? Instead of a bright new day, they encountered hardship and despair.

After a couple of generations the people still hadn’t seen anything much of the fulfilment of these great promises of the prophets. In their despair they turned to anything and everything to find hope. Some integrated the faiths they experienced in Babylon into their own faith. They were apathetic and lacked any sense of justice towards one another or the foreigners in their midst. Their lives were lived outside the will and ways of God, the ways of their ancestors, their Scriptures and their ancient faith. At the very heart of this faith was justice or righteousness – right living before God. There are over 2000 verses in the Bible that call for or speak about justice. This is the central value of love that lies at the heart of God’s dream for a new world. The people simply weren’t just! (and therefore they weren’t loving!)

The prophet called the people together and announced a national day of repentance, a day to recognise that the lives of the people were at odds with God’s good world order. It was a call to look within themselves and hear the cries of their own hearts, the yearning of their own spirits and turn to the One who promised a new way, a new life, a new dream. On the basis of the national time of repentance, the prophet then spoke the profound words of hope, the dream of God for a new world, transformed and healed. It is a world where people live together in peace. It is a world where people have the right to live in their own homes without fear of someone more powerful forcing them out and taking it over. It is a world where everyone has enough to eat, clean water to drink, clothing, shelter, relationships in caring community. It is a world where young women can walk the streets without the fear of rape or violence and where they can be valued for who they are not what they look like. It is a world where young men can express themselves creatively in the diverse ways without fear of rejection or the group mentality of peer pressure that pushes them into stupid, anti-social acts. It is a world where people take responsibility for their actions and reach out to others to offer a hand up. It is a world where the pandemic of depressive illness, anxiety, stress and the addictive mechanisms employed to cope with such stresses are no longer necessary. It is a world where everyone has enough work and no-one has too much – where there is a healthy balance between all the dimensions of our lives. It is also a world where the earth is valued and creation enjoyed, nurtured and cared for. It is a world where power, profits and greed are not the dominant forces or motivating factors. Rather it is a world of sharing, equality and nurturing love. It is a world where competition occurs in truth and integrity and where we accept winning or losing in grace, enjoying the competition more than the result. It is a world where justice, love, grace and peace prevail and nations share and work together for the common good of the world’s citizens.

So, where is it? What’s holding everything up? Is this just another pipe dream, a fairy tale that someone who can’t cope with reality dreamed up?

The prophet was very clear that this dream of God’s is not just something that will be at the end of time… It is the dream for this world but it is not something that magically appears. This dream is only realised through people. God doesn’t play puppet-master with people. God doesn’t manipulate people or make us do things we don’t want. That’s the big part of the problem – you and I. In the prophet’s vocabulary, sin was understood to be a matter of living in ways that violated God’s order in the world that had consequences that were worked out in physical ways in the reality of life. There were real life consequences for the failure to live as God’s people according to God’s order for the world! When we work against the created order that God has for the world, we will eventually experience the consequences. If we live the high life – too much food, drink and too little exercise – we will experience severe health problems sooner or later. If we choose a life of greed and power over others there will eventually be consequences as people only relate to us through greed or fear. If we continue to abuse the earth and use all of its resources we will discover an earth that cannot sustain our life. If we overload our lives with stress, work and busy-ness, it will all come down on us at some time. If we choose to live isolated lives rather than intimate relationships we will feel the isolation  and lost-ness of being alone.

This dream of God finds its way into reality through human hearts that are transformed and live in the hope of God’s dream. It lifts our hopes and helps us live in new ways that are hopeful and loving – to ourselves, others and God!

By geoffstevenson

Trump comes up trumps (or will he be trumped??!?)

There has been a diversity of responses to Trumps, perhaps, surprising win.  They range from abject despair, hailing the end of the world as we know it through disbelief, frustration, anger to jubilation and hope that liberation has come in this puzzling, complex persona of racist, sexist, abusive arrogance.

Trump hasn’t so much captured the hearts and souls of lower and middle America as he has captured their desperation and confusion with the way things are. Like so much of the western world there is a deep disillusionment with the establishment and Clinton was/is the establishment. Brexit, Trump and the machinations of our own political situation with 5 PM’s in as many years (and a strange cacophany of voices in the new Parliament) are the symptoms of deeper confusion and uncertainty across the western world.  Trump no more has the answers to the underlying desperation than Clinton would have but he looks different and comes from a different place. Ironically Trump is as establishment as anyone and occupies that niche in US life  where the top1% (of which he is part) control significant wealth and power. He has no understanding of the real issues that confront ordinary Americans but he is different enough from what was to be seen as hopeful. DoesTrump have the answers? He doesn’t even know what the questions are.  No Trump is a deeper symptom of what is happening across the West. In one very real sense he does represent the end of the world as we know it. Not that the world is ending but we are experiencing the tumultuous turmoil of societal transformation. It is a siezmic upheaval of proportions not experienced since the time of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Great Reformation. The cataclysmic changes of that time thrust Western society into the Modernist world, with capitalism, liberal democracy, Protestantism, nuclear families alongside the breakdown of feudalism and local Lords, extended families and clans…

What Trump, along with the rest of the political system and the broader commentariat (and other institutions including the church), doesn’t understand is that society is changing irrevocably and simplistic answers will continue to fail. He, like Clinton and our own leaders, are working to sustain a system and paradigm that is dying. They are desperately seeking to protect their own interests – power and wealth – as well. I sense that the desperation of so many of us lies in the alienation we feel in terms of relationships with one another, the earth and our own deeper spiritual being (we may use the religious language of the Divine, the Holy, the Sacred – God). We have been slowly drawn more deeply into the narrowing way of materialism that has gently choked our spirits and left us dry and thirsting for something that touches our deeper being, our spirit. We have lost our way and the religious traditions of Western Christendom have themselves unravelled somewhat as we seek to make sense of life in the world of quantum physics where everything becomes relational once more. We live in a world where we are removed from meaningful interactions with the world around as we exist in controlled, closed off environments – behind locked doors of climate controlled homes etc.

Does Trump orTurnbull or any of these leaders fully understand the particular pressures that people face in daily life or the fear, uncertainty and confusion that engulfs us? Prsumably they feel it as well but perhaps they soften its harshness through the escape into the superficial world of material indulgence and excess. The poorer parts of our populations do not have this luxury; nor do they have the resources to ensure their well-being, adding deeply to their distress.

This is a spiritual malaise of immense proportions and without a firm and secure foundation on which to nurture life with joy, hope and deeper meaning, the prevalent confusion and distress will grow more intense. Trump does not understand the deeper issues at stake. Nor do most people as we feel it in our being but are oblivious to the deeper realities that cause our existential angst. Sadly traditional, institutional forms of faith (perhaps ‘religion’) do little to ameliorate this angst and nurture deeper spiritual grace, awe and wonder. The materialistic world view is as questionable as it is failing. Economics as an end in itself is bereft and the idolatry of markets and market forces continues to lead us down dead ends. Violence and the abuse of power will never generate lasting peace or hope. At some point we must stop our onward rush of compulsive acquisition and learn how to ‘be’ humans engaged in relationships grounded in mutual respect that transcend differences in culture, creed, ethnicity, gender, orientation and the vagueries of political perspective. Religious affiliations and fundamentalism of credal belief is unsustainable and proving irrelevant to a world thirsting for spiritual depth, meaning and experiential engagement. The world is changing and we must get on board for the rough, rugged, exciting and even hopeful journey but we need a grounded, sustaining spirituality to hold us firm when rubber (or anything else) hits the road.

Trump is a symptom of what is happening and there will be more to come before we’re through. He will be trumped as he lives in a 2 dimensional world that is fading away – but he is no less irrelevant than Clinton or many of the other would-be leaders presenting themselves as having solutions to problems they neither understand nor want to engage with. The future belongs to those with the courage and wisdom to stop, look, listen and be prepared to move in a different direction from the relentlessly stubborn and provocative status quo. The future belongs to those who believe in nurturing deeper relationships with people, the earth and its creatures and with the Spirit abundantly present within the beauty, wonder, awe and sacred places and moments of life. The Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth, for one, encourages love and justice, peace and inclusive community,  simplicity of life and sharing with the poor of the earth. He spoke of God’s Reign of justice for all and lived and died for a vision of reality that transcended the abusive, acquisitive and greedy power of the world around him. His vision holds firm and challenges the meagre offerings of political pundits and wealthy powerbrokers who run rough-shod over everyone, who maintain the status quo and promise the world to anyone ignorant enough to listen. The journey and challenge lies before us and Trump’s election has raised the stakes. Who will come on the journey into a new world before us? Who will help forge the future yet to be? Who has the courage to follow this radical vision of inclusive justice and uncompromising love expressed through relationships, just economics and ecological engagement?

By geoffstevenson

Finding A Solid Basis for Life!

A few years ago there were a couple of different houses built in our street.  I watched with fascination as they dug around 70 holes to provide deep and stable foundations.  I remember one section where the hole digger (technical term for the large boring drill) kept going down deeper and deeper. They would dig a bit and then check the soil coming out.  Eventually I suppose they found either rock of some suitable base deep in the earth. All of these holes were filled with concrete and formed a stable and firm foundation for the slab laid over them. The slab is quite thick and very solid – enough to support the structure for the house.  The foundation, contrary to what I imagined, took considerable time. It was a lengthy process and not rushed.  It was rather obvious when I thought about this, that the foundation ought to be both very solid and require considerable care.  If the foundation is not firm and stable, the house, above will not be stable or sure.  The foundation is vital if everything else is to stand strong.

In our jazz band, we have a rhythm section that provides a solid base of rhythm, chords, bass line and riffs that undergird the melody which is either sung or played by the front line of horns.  If the rhythm section was to lose its cohesion and be disconnected the rest of the band would be lost.  I find it really important to have the solid base of the rhythm section that allows me to play over the top, to swing the melody with the trumpet, trombone and tenor sax or to improvise.  When we have had to rehearse without most of the rhythm section for some reason or another, it is easier to lose our way. It sounds thin and lacks depth.

It is the same in life. If we don’t have solid foundations, then our lives are prone to instability.  When tested in the chaos and tough patches of life we will be shaken and come unstuck.  There are a variety of foundations upon we might build our lives – a belief or ideology, a career, a relationship, a set of values around material wealth, the power of a position or other foundation.  Some of these things provide good stability through life and other things give a false sense of security.  If we put all our trust in work or money or power or position, for example, what happens if we lose our job or there is an economic downturn or a relationship fails…?  What happens when we encounter crisis and all we have is a bank account?  It can’t restore health, a relationship, or give us deep hope within.  When a crisis occurs in our life, where do we turn?  In what do we trust?  What holds us firm when the rubber really hits the road?  What do we want below us holding us up when chaos reigns?

For most of us (at least in the wealthy West), life rolls along and we accumulate many things – ideas, money, opinions, possessions, education, career, hobbies, relationships (of different depths and intimacy levels). When all is going well these things feel good and we roll along accumulating more and more.  It is easy to become confident in our accumulations and to trust their efficacy. We begin to build our lives on ‘the good things’ in life. The problem is that these things, as nice as they are, begin to be substitutes for what is really important and foundational at the centre of our lives. Good times, affluence, aspirational thinking are popular and cause people to reach higher for more. Under such pressure, foundations are tested, stretched and shifted. It’s a bit like the man who wants to reach something near the ceiling and can’t be bothered getting the ladder. He begins with a chair but it is too short. He balances the chair on a small table and is just short of the mark – he is also a little off centre. So he stacks some books on the chair and stands on the tips of his toes. He reaches out as far as he can and then a bit further. Of course the inevitable end is several weeks in hospital in traction for broken bones! The foundation no longer supported him because he reached further than it was able to sustain him. It is the case with so many people in life!

The real test comes when a crisis occurs in our lives – illness, death, loss of job, emotional breakdown, financial crisis… What will hold us up when everything seems to be falling down around us?  Have we got a ladder beneath us or are we balancing on chairs and tables and books?  Will our belief system mean anything when we feel the struggle of life?  Will our money comfort our spirits, our deep yearning?  Will our job dig us out of a hole?  Will the fun and pleasurable distractions that fill in our time, be able to offer anything of depth, truth or comfort when pain fills our being?  What will bring us true hope when the darkness overwhelms us?

Too many people I have met no longer have substantial foundations at the heart of their lives.  Whilst all is well for the most part and life rolls merrily along, at some point the crunch will come and what then?  It is not only individuals who are building lives on flaky foundations, but as societies we are increasingly building more on less. John Pilger, speaking about  the politics of the West, a few years ago put it this way:

“The major western democracies are moving towards corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope. The main parliamentary parties are now devoted to the same economic policies – socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor – and the same foreign policy of servility to endless war. This is not democracy. It is to politics what McDonalds is to food.”

This week our New Testament (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17) and Gospel (Luke 20:27-38) readings both speak of groups of people who trust in particular ideologies and lose sight of deeper truths that will sustain them. Jesus is caught in an attempt by the Sadducee Party to trap him. He turns their questions around demonstrating the hollowness of their belief system and the fallacy of building life on ideology and law alone. The church in Thessalonica was caught in a time of crisis, doubt and uncertainty. Paul points them back to the foundations of their faith – the relationship with God through Christ. He encourages the life of faithful prayer, worship, service, caring for each other, encouragement and he points to the deepest hope he knows: God’s love and grace!

What about you? What lies at the heart of your life? When the going gets tough will your foundations hold up? Is the foundation you rely upon most going to hold you up in life’s darkest moments?  What is the source of your hope?  When the going gets tough what will you trust in, depend upon and call out to for sustenance and help?  What will sustain your spirit when all is being tested?

God’s love is strong, firm and deep!

By geoffstevenson