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Monthly Letter - March 18


Dear Friends.


It will come as no surprise to you that I have to attend quite a few meetings. Often the meeting is routine but occasionally something stands out.  In January I was at the Executive Meeting of Churches Together in Reading, held in the café area at Grange. There were several reports including the obligatory finance but then people spoke about various projects the Church is doing in this town, which is an amazing amount.


Two students present from the University spoke about the forthcoming Events Week led by the Christian Union. Their week was to begin with a silent disco; if you don’t know what that is, see if you can find out.  The main focus of the week was to be a large marquee that was to be pitched in a central point on the campus, a spot where those walking past would not be able to miss it. In explaining this, a certain phrase was used and it was that which for me stood out and was so striking. One of them said how it was important, ‘to have a specific space to inhabit.’


What a wonderful way of putting it, for that is what Jesus did. He came to inhabit a human life, as the New Testament puts it, ‘the Word became flesh’ (John 1:14). It was not God’s presence as some vague concept or lofty words but within a human body like ours, one that got hungry, thirsty and tired. Our faith as a Church is not about a set of ideas or morals but that God himself, as she put it had, ‘a specific space to inhabit,’ God was there in a specific place and time, in a historical person.    


The marquee at the university was however there for a purpose and she put it quite simply that lunchtime that as the year before, that people would get, ‘saved.’ God lived our human life not to teach us some truth or show us how to live as we should but to save us; for we are not right with our Creator, we are lost in our selfishness.


We all need saving from where we are and we can’t do it ourselves, God has to do it for us and this we recall and rejoice in, at the end of this month and the beginning of the next. At times it is a sombre recollection, the cost to Father and Son beyond our understanding, as the hymn says, ‘we may not know, we cannot tell what pains He had to bear; but we believe it was for us He hung and suffered there.’    


It is right we recall the cost as an oft quoted phrase puts it, ‘grace is free but not cheap.’ It was God suffering in a specific time and place for you and me. So please use the opportunities over the coming weeks to reflect and rejoice in what has been done for you. This year we have the extra of the musical passion play Time for Jesus, some saw it a few years ago but the choir will be with us again, this time at Grange on the Sunday afternoon of the 18th March. It is as the publicity and my experience tells us, ‘the most moving and emotional musical passion play.’  


This month we recall and rejoice what God did for you, it was done in a certain time and place, in a certain historical person, God for you had, ‘a specific space to inhabit.’


Yours in Christ,