Slower, Lower, Weaker

The Olympic motto, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’, is a pretty good one. Those simple three words conjure thoughts of sprinters shooting down the track with smoke coming off their running spikes, pole-vaulters twisting into the air as if gravity worked the other way, and weightlifters going red in the face as they lift the equal of seventy bags of shopping. Anyone who’s ever had a go at athletics will recognise that ‘faster, higher, stronger’ is the whole focus – pushing the human body to the apex of its performance, and then going beyond it.

Is this a good motto for life in general? Certainly there are many areas of our lives where pushing ourselves will reward us in the end. There are even times when people will grit their teeth spiritually, determined to summon a greater discipline or to reach out more keenly for God. Sometimes, though, I believe we have to pursue the opposite of the Olympic ideal.

For example, there are very few places in the Bible where anyone is urged to go faster for God. On the contrary, coming before him involves slowing down and putting our own capabilities in perspective. In Psalm 46 it is being still, not being fast, that is the way to know God. In the same way, the apostle Paul charges Christians to ‘be willing to associate with people of low position’, a challenge to anyone whose life is all about climbing ladders. Perhaps most surprising is the New Testament paradox that it is often when we are weak that we can do the most. The decisive event of the gospels is Jesus Christ at his weakest, held motionless by nails, exhausted from a Roman flogging, bleeding and asphyxiating on the cross. Bewilderingly, this is the most powerful moment of his ministry; this is where he does the most good for the world; this physical low point is a spiritual high point.

Perhaps (when the Olympics are over) we should try out ‘Slower, Lower, Weaker’ as a motto for a while. We might discover that slowing down for God’s sake, noticing the lowly in our communities, and trying to understand the power of weakness are things worth striving for.
Corin Child St John’s King’s Lynn

“Chillax” after the Grandchildren have been!

We have just enjoyed a visit from the grandchildren. We learnt a few new words that might appear one day in our dictionaries. Now we “chillax” after a busy day! If the grandchildren enjoyed the ride on the Wells and Walsingham light railway, then it was “wicked”, but we did pay for the tickets! Words can come to be used differently. We are reminded that language is a living phenomena, just as our words are. They convey our life style. Have you noticed the present way we describe what’s going on in our nation as our “culture”. Culture can be good and bad. But who is to make the value judgement?

Recently the chairman of the Bank of England used the word to describe some of the behaviour of one of the banks that cost it a hefty fine. He told us the culture of the banks had to change. I am sure the general consensus would support his judgement.
But over some other behaviour in our national life there might not be such quick consensus.

The trouble with calling for a change in behaviour by a change in culture is that it avoids the root problem. If the majority disapprove of the behaviour, then there will be some steps taken to regulate behaviour and make it harder to indulge greed and deception. But I doubt there will be much sense of shame about the reasons for the culture change. If we want a heart felt change in the nation, then we would be wiser to talk for a need to repent. Yes, I do know that word has gone out of coinage but we are the poorer for ditching it. To repent means to have a change of mind leading to a change of heart. It acknowledges the truth that some corporate behaviour is plain wrong, and rides rough shod over the Bible’s command to love our neighbour as ourselves. It takes ownership for my share in corporate guilt.

Repentance is calling time on corruption and turning around to head off in the right direction and ask for forgiveness. Some will find it hard to forgive those who have been found out and face public disgrace. But God is willing not only to forgive us but also to give us a change of heart that will keep us out of a culture that disregards the well being of others.

John Wallis, Gayton Parish

Easter to the A-Team

From Easter to the A-Team

Easter and springtime is a time of excitement and new life As I write this a couple of ducks, that have appropriated our front garden for a nesting site, are quacking happily away at passers-by. The walks is in bloom, new life is everywhere.

As surprising as this may seem, this new life, and this excitement translates to church life. Over what used to be termed Holy Week (Palm Sunday, through to Easter Sunday) we at King’s Lynn Baptist Church have had what’s called a 24-7 Prayer Room( Simply put from Midday on Sunday 1st April, through to our Easter Celebration service on Sunday 8th people have been praying non-stop in a room in the church. As Christians we believe that prayer changes lives and situations, that we have a God, that is not only willing to be involved in our lives, but is eager to be involved in our lives. Over the course of the week, people have been praying not just for themselves and their families, but for their town, their nation, and their world. And it isn’t all just about sitting in a room in silence, for an hour – the walls of the room we used were covered in artwork done in the room, and most of the time music was blaring out.

It works. This was the third year in a row that we’ve taken Holy Week, to pray like this, and every year, lives have been changed, situations have been resolved, and it’s been a catalyst for newness amongst us, a catalyst for excitement. In our lives there are always things, whether situations or people that we need just a little extra help with. Prayer is an avenue to Almighty God, that makes change, and brings a newness, a freshness, an excitement to our lives. The old A-Team TV show famously started with the words “…If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire…THE A-TEAM!” If you have a problem, if no one else can help, talk to a Christian, come into a church, just sit and pray yourself, give your problem to God, communicate with him, and take hold of that change, that newness, that excitement that comes from prayer.

Kieran Woodward – Assistant Leader – King’s Lynn Baptist Church.