Reflections and Prayers The 2nd Sunday of Lent, 28th Feb
I can name almost everyone who contributed most to my becoming a Christian - my parents; my godmother; Revd. Walsh, the parish priest; Mr. Miller and Mr. Bond, my headmasters, Revd. Talbot, the school chaplain; Michael Cleminson, skipper of a yacht on the Norfolk Broads on a Scripture Union cruise; Chris and Bill, fellow law students at university. None of them wore the label "evangelist" and none of them tried to persuade me by reasoning, threat or reward. Some gently exposed me to Christian worship and teaching; some actively encouraged me to be confirmed and think more deeply about God; some invited me to services and talks; I am sure that all of them prayed for me.
The one whose name I have forgotten is the only one among them whom you would recognise as an accredited evangelist – he travelled around universities, preaching and inviting students to go up after the service and make a commitment to Christ. One evening I was one of those who made the commitment, although I still feel that I had been a Christian throughout my preceding 20 years.
With or without the evangelist label, all of those people were agents of God in bringing me to accept His invitation to enter into a living relationship with Him. Many unofficial evangelists have helped and continue to help deepen that relationship in the 40+ years since that evening in Cambridge.
As a member of what used to be called the Gideons (we are still waiting for our new name in the UK) I have spoken about my faith and offered Bibles to hundreds of year 7 students in east Suffolk, many of whom have no knowledge or experience of Christianity. Sometimes, I may have addressed other non-Christians when leading worship, or preaching a sermon, or writing in Mini-Grapevine. It's the nearest I get to being an evangelist in the mould of a Billy Graham or a J. John.
The much more challenging side of my evangelism doesn't involve training, wearing a reader's blue scarf, or addressing the masses. It is the evangelism I do alongside all Christians, namely trying to live my life in a way that attracts people to God and reflects His love to them. It is always hardest among my family, friends and those who know me best, including my warts.
Evangelists all, what keeps us doing it, whether the Billy Graham sort or the daily living and loving sort of telling the Good News of God? St. Paul wrote, "For Christ's love compels us." Pope Francis writes, "The primary reason for evangelising is the love of Jesus which we have received."
I Am Bending My Knee
Originally from the Carmina Gadelica I, 3 Taken from Esther de Waal
I am bending my knee In the eye of the Father who created me, In the eye of the Son who purchased me, In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me, In friendship and affection. Through Thine own Anointed One, O God, Bestow upon us fullness in our need, Love towards God, The affection of God, The smile of God, The wisdom of God, The grace of God, The fear of God, And the will of God To do on the world of the Three, As angels and saints Do in heaven; Each shade and light, Each day and night, Each time in kindness, Give Thou us Thy Spirit. To Pray for
We pray for the arrival of our new Rector, Katrina Dykes, husband Phil and their family as they prepare for their move to Suffolk
For a safe transition from Lockdown restrictions to some normality in our lives
In Fairtrade Fortnight, we pray for a better life for those disadvantaged farmers and workers in the developing world and all the people involved in Fairtrade, who makes sure this happens