St John & St Mark Church, Bury

Message For The Month

   July & August 2017

We’ve just come back from Manchester after seeing a show at the Palace Theatre – one of our pensioner days out. Nothing unusual about that except it’s June 1st just 10 days after the terrible attack at the Arena. The Metrolink has been running again to Victoria station for only two days and you could still cut the atmosphere with a knife, plenty of people but oh so silent!

It reminded me of a trip in France to Oradour–sur-Glane, a village completely destroyed by the Nazis in reprisal for resistance activity, full of people – sightseers like us – but all in reverent silence or hushed tones.

Outside the station there was a large security presence of police officers from all over the place, especially Merseyside and Wales judging from their vehicles, many of whom were armed. At the doors of the theatre security men were checking tickets and bags before you were allowed to enter the foyer. I’ve got to admit I found it all a bit threatening; more so than after the many IRA bombings in Manchester.

It made me think again about where do we find our security? Is it as the Arms manufacturers insist - in buying more of their lethal weapons? Is it by carrying a knife to school or on a night out? Is it like us by having an alarm system fitted and working? Is it having a large bank balance “to see us through”? Or is like a baby having a teddy and a security blanket? Some might think that by having faith in Jesus it’s a security blanket, something soft and woolly.

But they’d be wrong!

The word secure is only found twice in the New Testament – in 2 Peter 3:17 and in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 6:19.

Peter is reminding us of the way we should conduct our lives, that we will be scoffed at, and to guard ourselves that we won’t be carried away by the errors of evil people and fall from our secure position.

Paul tackles head on what that secure position is. It’s the certainty of God’s Promise. And the promise is that he will make the world over anew – completing the work begun in Jesus. Paul likens it to a strong anchor (Jesus) that we are secured to by a great metal cable or chain, and as long as we don’t let go of that cable we are anchored to the presence of God. All the winds, tides and storms that might come can’t shift us. We are promised that we will be kept safe. We must hang on and be patient through thick and thin. This promise Paul assures us can be regarded as firm and secure, holding onto hope and persevering in faith. It’s not a security blanket, all soft, woolly, optimistic and with a vague sense that everything will turn out alright. Our Christian faith is trusting God and going on trusting through thick and thin, hard as it may be at times when atrocities occur. God makes an unbreakable promise to make all things anew, a promise that He will keep.

So as the hymn says “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life…”               

It will, if we securely hold on to the cable that links us to the anchor that is Jesus.

Wishing you all a very safe and peaceful summer.