Ministers' Blog

Occasional musings from one of our ministers or worship leaders

Dangerous Prayer

Posted on 24th June 2020

‘Prayer is a marvellous and necessary supplement of our feeble efforts but it is a dangerous substitute’ Martin Luther King.

I do not know the original context of these words. The quotation turned up in the monthly mail-out of Contemplation and Action; a movement based on the ministry of Franciscan Richard Rohr. It was part of a series of comments on Black Lives Matter.

As a Baptist, King would have been brought up in an intense praying culture. In his time Baptist prayer meetings were signature events. They define the pattern of Baptist spirituality. Personal prayer is expected of each member of the congregation. So his comments have a back story.

“Let us pray about this” was a default response to any situation. King knew this could be a powerful force. Prayer has been called primal speech. It is an intrinsic part of human evolution. Whoever you might pray to and whatever you think will happen is not the point. Prayer like Soul describes the intrinsic mystery of our life. We are not alone.

But is prayer a substitute for action? King seems to be suggesting this. He knows action can be deeply influenced by prayer but prayer instead of action is in his words ‘dangerous’. What could he mean by this?

[read the full Dangerous Prayer post]

Filed in church

Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment?

Posted on 20th May 2020

What do we do about the story of the Ascension of Jesus? Do we really have to believe that if we had been there we would have seen Jesus going up into the sky? Two hymns help us to consider these questions. The first from the 1700s, the other written in the last fifty years. They are both in the hymn book Singing the Faith.

John Rackley explores this story.

[read the full Is the Story of the Ascension an Embarrassment? post]

Filed in church

Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves

Posted on 12th May 2020

Abraham was charged by God to teach his children ‘the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just’ (Genesis 18:19) and ever since we have wondered what that means.

Jonathan Sacks gives a superb summary of how the Jews have interpreted this instruction in his latest book, Morality.

Love your neighbour.

Love the stranger.

Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard.

Liberate the poor from their poverty.

Care for the dignity of all.

Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less.

Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind.

Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against.

And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity,

Whatever our colour or culture, class or creed’.

[read the full Christian Aid Week and the Three Loves post]

Filed in church

Responding to Covid-19

Posted on 24th April 2020

Rev John Weaver is a past-President of the Baptist Union and, subject to the future of our movements, is coming to Christchurch in September to talk about the Climate Emergency.

In conversation with John Rackley he has developed this pattern of reflection to help anyone consider their experience of COVID-19. An expanded version of this is available on the Baptist Times website (link to John Weaver’s Baptist Times post).

[read the full Responding to Covid-19 post]

Filed in church

Fake theology:even more dangerous than fake news?

Posted on 16th April 2020

Back in March, which seems an age ago now, Rev Dr David Hilborn gave a seminar at the Christian Resources Exhibition in Stoneleigh titled “Fake Theology: even more dangerous than fake news?” We live in a world where extreme views can be propagated easily through social media channels. These views are sometimes supported by very dodgy theology, and Christians today need to be able to recognise these distortions of the gospel and to counter them.

[read the full Fake theology:even more dangerous than fake news? post]

Filed in church

Restrain Yourself!

Posted on 15th April 2020

Some thought for Lent from Rev John Rackley – a bit late, but perhaps it still seems like Lent in these strange times! [read the full Restrain Yourself! post]

Filed in church

A Baptist Thinks about the Methodist Covenant Service

Posted on 26th January 2020

The annual Covenant Service is a tradition going back to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. On January 5th this year it was led in Christchurch by our Baptist minister, and here are his thoughts on its meaning.

[read the full A Baptist Thinks about the Methodist Covenant Service post]

Filed in church

Thoughts on the Dedication of a Child

Posted on 6th December 2019

A couple of weeks ago the morning service included the dedication of a little boy, born to a member of the church. For various reasons (there was a lot going on in the service) the sermon got squeezed out! So here is the sermon the Rev John Rackley had prepared for this service.

Thoughts on the dedication of a child

Filed in sermons

The Covenant Service

Posted on 6th December 2019

It is a tradition in the Methodist Church, going back to John Wesley, to hold an annual Covenant Service, when we recall the promises made when we were baptised or confirmed and recommit ourselves to following Jesus in our lives. This sermon was given by Rev Edson Dube at the Covenant Service in January 2019.

The Annual Covenant Service reminds us of our commitment to God and to his mission in the world through the church community. It is in this service that we are all invited to reflect prayerfully on our place in the life of the church and in the world around us…

Text of the sermon preached at the Covenant service Jan 2019

Filed in sermons

Kicking off

Posted on 6th December 2019

This blog will post articles from time to time from our Baptist or Methodist minister, or one of our Worship Leaders. These may be the notes from sermons or just something they wish to talk about.

Filed in Uncategorized