May '22 Sunrises
"Who Would You Choose?"
Eurovision 2022 is on tonight and it is definitely one of those “marmite” events. Some people love it and some people hate it!! Apparently, Ukraine are the most likely winners for this event and I think that was before any had even heard any of the songs. Of course, the UK has an entry that people in this country thing is a good song by Sam Ryder. This country has a great history of music of all styles and yet our history with Eurovision is not the greatest.
There have been some OK songs that we have submitted, some not so great songs submitted. Some of the performances have been mixed with no backing music or singers who cant hear the music. Who remembers “Puppet on a String” or “Boom bang-a-bang” or “Save your kisses for me”. Our last winner was “Love Shine a light” with an American singer in Katrina & the Waves.
One of the highlights was always the expert commentary from Terry Wogan, whose dry wit kept us sane through the hours of varied and interesting European performances.
The voting was always the most interesting part, where you could almost predict who would vote for who, I don’t think it was based on any of the songs, just on the political interests of the countries taking part. Is it any surprise that the UK did not attract many votes!?!?
So, if you were giving someone a vote, who would you choose or more importantly how would you choose? I would like to think we are generous and look at how people have tried and put their heart into something. Not consider how they perform against some other external standard but support and praise those who try, those whose heart is in what they can achieve.
There was a lovely moment in Britain’s Got Talent when a dance group from Nottingham went straight through to the semi-finals, the group is aimed for those with disabilities or special needs and they put their whole selves into the dance and were given their reward of a semi-final place.
In our journey with Jesus, he encourages us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind”; which Jesus describes as the first commandment. We should put our whole selves into loving Jesus and showing that love to others, as Jesus then also says the second commandment is “You must love your neighbour as you love yourself.”
Jesus put his whole being into loving us and choosing us, do you choose the same for Jesus?
"Walk This Way" - 13/05/22
Some of you may have seen the film, “Hook”; starring Robin Williams as Peter Pan. In this version of the story, Peter has grown up and is now a successful businessman in New York. Nonetheless, through the magic of fairy dust, and a host of special effects, he revisits Neverland and confronts his old enemy, Captain Hook. Peter looks him up and down and declares, “I remember you being a lot bigger”. To which Hook roguishly replies, “To a ten year old I'm huge”.
Which goes to show that age, which is just another way of describing time, provides us with a different perspective. Things that worried us as children don't trouble us now that we are adults. Looking back, we can see examples of difficulties that we have overcome. Some of them more serious than others, but all of them given a different perspective by the passage of time. Those problems may once have seemed dreadful, but with the benefit, and possibly wisdom, of hindsight we can look back and see that we were able to endure them, painful though they might have been. We came through them. We are here now.
There are many stories in the Bible that speak of God's people facing difficulties. Sometimes those difficulties looked insurmountable. Sometimes the people wanted to give up, to turn back, to lament their plight and fall into despair. On every occasion, God walked alongside them and helped them through to the other side. When we look back, our experience of God will be the same. God has walked with us through every difficulty we have faced.
We need to look at our present worries through the lens of time. One day, what troubles us today will be behind us; but right now, right at this moment whilst things might seem overwhelming, we need to look back and remember who it was that walked alongside us in troubled times. It was the God of history. The God of love. The God of peace. The God of hope. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged”... because He still walks right beside us.
'Self-driving Cars' - 02/05/22
New cars today can be quite different to drive. When I learned to drive, most cars were a manual gearbox. The instrument panel had a few different switches for lights or wipers. A posh car had a heated rear window. You could lift the bonnet and actually see the engine. If it needed any work, you could try yourself. Changing oil or spark plugs, adjusting the fan belt or swapping an alternator. These days cars are quite different. You don’t need to use a key to unlock the door, when you sit inside and things start moving automatically. When driving, lots of cars are automatic, but then there is the “adaptive cruise control” which sets your speed and changes according to the speed limit. If a car slows down in front, the car slows down automatically. There are automatic lights and wipers, heated seats and air conditioning. The cars beep warnings at you if it thinks you are not driving safely. The cars are themselves making driving “easier” and hopefully safer.
But if you can find the right part of the manual, you can turn all that off. Then there are no warnings, there is no help, you have to drive the right way. It is great that all this help is being added to cars, as it could make road travel safer and easier.
In our lives, we can be in full control, decide how fast and safe our lives will be. A lot of us will do a great job, there will be some mistakes or accidents. But we can learn from that, hopefully repair and move on. But we also have Jesus available as our helper, if we choose to listen to his advice and allow Him into our lives to help us, we will then know that our lives are secure in Him. Of course, this does not mean there wont be any accidents or mistakes along the path, but if we live our lives being faithful to him and accepting his guidance, our lives will be fulfilled and we will have an eternal life with Him. Jesus was talking to His followers and said
“Because a loveless world, is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighbourhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me. I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace.”
So do we listen to the beeps, do we allow our speed to be managed, to be advised if we start to change direction? Do we choose to love Jesus and listen to his words?