I like watching television – I do really; the Vicar of Dibley, Midsommer Murders, Allo Allo (oh! yes I can find them on the box if I try hard enough), but then the serious stuff, the news, panorama, week in week out, bring me back to more worldly matters, and I wonder, and sometimes despair where they are all leading us. Whether it is war, violence, intolerance, abuse, fraud, environment etc. etc. there is always something; sometimes the world seems to have gone mad and bent on its own destruction. Then on a Sunday I worship God and tell him I am thankful for all that he does for us. Ummm! Is there something wrong here? Can we be thankful always; well be honest can we?
Paul tells us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good.
To be thankful we need to be able to see God in all things, but when we watch some of the pictures unfolding on our television screens, God is not the most obvious thing we see. So how are we to see God in all things? Well Jesus tells us we must pray, pray using our whole selves so that God may reveal to us those things we are unable to see. Prayer is about communication with God; it is about asking the hard questions; it is about requesting his intercession; it is about arguing with Him, making ourselves heard when all around us seems to be utter chaos. But most of all praying is about rejoicing always that God does not, cannot and will not let us down even in tragedy, and I can tell you that from first hand experience as I suspect many of you can.
In praying without ceasing we bring before God our heartfelt desire for a better world, and through that desire God calls us to action. It may seem a long way from all the needs of the world, but in its own way it enables us to communicate our deepest concerns and make a difference, not only to those whom we pray for but also in our own lives as we pray.
In prayer we can change things, but to do so it takes action and it is all our actions that can change things – that’s the circle, there is the challenge.
So if the community of Hunstanton decides one evening to join together in prayer let me know; I will even give up Midsommer Murders to join you.
Steve (Rev Steve Oliver)