Personal Appearance We have had lots of Christmas cards and I love them all but one from some good friends of ours had the following verse on the front of it.
"But when the kindness and love of God appeared he saved us....." (Titus 3:4)
I don't know if you approve of the Vicar of Dibley but I thought of a particular scene in it when I read this. The village fete was coming up and someone said that they knew a certain Reg Dwight. Everyone got very excited because Reg Dwight is the real name of the rock star Elton John. Reg Dwight was invited to come and open the proceedings. News spread far and wide that Elton John was coming to Dibley and the crowds were the biggest the village had ever seen. There was one problem. The man who appeared with his guitar wasn't the famous rock star but just plain, Reg Dwight. The crowd were not happy and the whole thing looked as if it was a complete disaster, when amazingly Kylie Minogue calls at the Vicarage and she steps in and saves the day.
On Sunday Alan reminded us in his sermon that Jesus was no last resort Saviour, but God's best choice. When he appeared he was the authentic Word of God. We need no substitute.
Jesus did much more than saving the day by sparing us embarrassment but saves us from hell itself.
These days if you want a A list celeb to make a personal appearance it will cost you. But the appearing of our Saviour cost him, not us.
Jesus makes a personal appearance but if we welcome him into our hearts he comes to live with us by his Spirit.
And what is more, he will appear again. "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a loud command...." (1Thess 4:16)
Apologies for the lack of blogs. Christmas. It has been a mad few days. All great stuff. Carolling, (I love it) sermon, meetings, Christmas party to organise, shop for, bake for, Carol Services, hospital visiting, Christmas letters and cards, sort out our house which looked like a bombsite...........
Pray, ah there's the rub. I have been praying and I have been reading my Bible, worshipping in the midst of the madness but its the lingering in his presence that's so difficult, it's being still enough not just in body but in mind to hear him speak.
Today, there is still a lot to do but not quite as pressured so sorry if this is not a long blog but I'm off to see Jesus for a minute of two.
Back in 1951 my uncle Edgar Evans, whilst doing National Service met a remarkable Arab Christian lady called May Ladah in Bethlehem. Her eyes had been blown out at the age of 8 and she had been brought up in a Christian orphanage where she gained an education and impeccable English grammar! By the time my uncle met her, May was running a home and school for blind and handicapped children.
For the last 60 years Edgar has continued to support the work, as a major fund raiser of what is known today as the House of Hope. I never did get to go on one of the "trips" to Bethlehem that he organised but as a child I was privileged to meet Aunty May Ladah, when she came to our house for tea. She was an inspirational lady.
Aunty May has long since gone to glory but the House of Hope continues to be a work of faith and labour of Christian love amongst the blind, mentally and physically disabled who come from all sectors of the local community. There are currently 57 day and residential students. It also runs a small workshop for ex -pupils and blind adults making floor brushes. No fees are requested and many of the young people come from remote villages around Jerusalem where conditons are still very primitive.
Circumstances in Bethlehem in 2008 are still difficult, for example the speech therapist who visits HOH three times a week faces a tortuous 2 hour journey even though he only lives a couple of miles away because of the number of times he is stopped for security purposes. Unemployment is widespread since the construction of the Security Wall which has devestated tourism and consequently the livelehood of the producers of carved olive wood and mother of pearl products.
A few years ago my uncle managed to organise and fund members of the Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society to have a stall at the Bath Christmas Market to give much need support to people who are struggling against poverty, hardship and community breakdown.
In 2004 Steve Court and Wesley Campbell brought out a book called Be a Hero which encouraged ordinary people to mobilise and become heroes to broken humanity. Since he first met May Ladah, Edgar Evans has never been able to get away from the calling to do something and be a hero to all the children who have passed through the doors of the House of Hope.
The most exciting thing in the world is to be a child of God. I discovered this when I was a very young child and continue to enjoy the great adventure of knowing Jesus Christ. Right now, together with my husband Alan I am serving him as a Salvation Army officer at Exeter Temple Corps UK. I am passionate about prayer, for reaching out into new areas of mission, holiness and helping people to be free in Christ. Alan and I have been married for 33 years and we have two daughters, Katie who is married to Chris and Hayley who is married to Ben.