Thursday, 13 February 2014

A simple confession

March 2014

“It’s not that I’m against Christian faith, I just like to believe what I believe without a public fuss.”
“Christians are entitled to believe what they like but they shouldn’t expect their views to be taken into account by those who create laws or run our country.”
 “The Christian faith should return to its simple origins when it was about one brilliant teacher and those who chose to listen to him.”

Well, one of the earliest and simple confessions of Christian faith was ‘Jesus is Lord’, but that was never a private belief that didn’t ‘interfere’ in public life.  The resurrection was proof that God had made Jesus Lord, and therefore that the Jewish authorities should not have killed him; that claim didn’t go down well.  Before long the Romans realised that ‘Jesus is Lord’ was a direct challenge to the official line that Caesar was Lord, and the imperial lions were called to deal with the problem.

And in the centuries since, many Christians have discovered that this simple confession has been enough to deprive them of their property, their employment, their family and even their life.
So too today.  Christian faith is a direct challenge to any authority or power that tries to ignore the risen Lord Jesus.  If ‘Jesus is Lord’ over this world then everything is under his command, including the economy and the weather.  If ‘Jesus is Lord’ then his words must determine what my family believes and how we use our time.  Jesus gets to declare what the church must teach and who can be its leaders.  And, in the state, Jesus has the right to say when tax is legitimate, what marriage can be and what constitutes a crime.

That’s the simple and original Christian faith:
“ … if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  (Romans 10:9)


Graham Burrows

Why am I still a Christian in 2014?

February 2014

Wasn’t the Christian faith out of date in the last century, let alone in this?  So why am I still a Christian in 2014? 

Well, firstly, because it’s the truth.  I first trusted in Jesus at the age of 12; since then I’ve had many years to consider the Bible’s teaching and the objections to it that are often raised.  My confidence that the Bible speaks truthfully has only grown.  I don’t know of anything else that makes such sense of our bitter-sweet experience of life, that speaks with such disturbing accuracy about my own flawed character and that tells such an unbelievable story (as the account of Jesus seems to be) in such a simple, matter-of-fact, truthful way.  Every century has had its way of hiding this but Christian faith remains true, just as sugar remains sweet and the sky stays blue.

But secondly, I’m a Christian because the message of the Bible gives me hope.  If it wasn’t true then this would just be false hope, but because it is true the hope is of the solid, 24-carat, armour-plated variety.  There is hope for me personally because the great debt that I owed to God for stubbornly resisting his right to tell me how I ought to live has been paid in full and wiped from the slate by Jesus Christ.  There is hope for my family; how can I hope to protect them from all the circumstances that might threaten to overwhelm their lives in the future?  God promises in the Bible that his love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children.”  And there is hope for the whole world because the Bible confidently asserts that the rule of Jesus Christ will increase year by year until there is no town or village outside his just government and no person who does not acknowledge that he is Lord.

Christians often feel pressured to let go of their faith and adopt an easier outlook on life.  But where else could we find such a true hope to live for?

Graham Burrows

Ring out the bells!

December 2013

In our cities now a church building can easily be dwarfed by the surrounding blocks of flats, shopping centres and offices but when old churches were originally built it seemed appropriate that they should be much higher than all the buildings around them.   Here in our village the church can still be seen for miles around but we have other ways of obscuring its significance, chiefly by thinking of it as an interesting, beautiful, but largely irrelevant, ancient monument.  For the last year church services have alternated each week between Burton and Holme with the other building lying empty on a Sunday morning, but our two Church Councils have recently decided that, from January, Morning Worship will be held in both churches every week.  We have agreed to service times of 9.15am at Holme and 11.15am at Burton. 

Why might this be significant?  To have in any village a weekly gathering to worship the Lord Jesus Christ is significant.  The trail of people heading for the church declares to the other rulers and ‘gods’ of our age that there are some who still firmly believe that Jesus is really King of Kings and Lord of Lords; the open door proclaims that the church is still a welcoming place of refuge for those who see their own brokenness, and the loud singing calls to others saying, “you are living in God’s world as if he isn’t there, come back to your senses and return to him”.  Maybe one day we will even find a way to ring the bells again and call the village to worship the living God and his great Son.  As Mary was told about her soon-to-be-born son, “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High … his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:32-33)

Assuring you of a sincere welcome at any service and wishing you all a very Happy Christmas,

Graham Burrows


Tales of the Unexpected

November 2013

Yes I know you don’t normally read this page but I’m glad that you have this month because this is for you.  I’m gathering together some small groups of people who frankly find the Christian faith less than convincing but who would be willing to hear again some of the startling stories that Jesus told and to discuss what he meant by them .  Each of the four evenings will begin with puddings and coffee (always a good place to start), lead on to short DVD presentations of one of Jesus’ stories-with-surprising-endings, and give plenty of time to discuss the stories and other questions that you might have.  These groups will be informal and no-one will be asked to read or pray or sing or do anything they don’t want to do.

Choose between the two ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ groups;  I will lead both.
·         Four evenings 7.30pm – 9.30pm
·         Burton on Wednesdays 6th, 13th, 20th& 27th November
·         Holme on  Thursdays 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th November
·         There is no charge but please book a place by contacting me  - see below.

Why are we doing this?  The church does not exist just for those who think of themselves as ‘religious’.  We are not a closed club.  If the things that Jesus claimed about himself are true then we want to explain them and share them.  We will not assume that you are familiar with the Bible; you are welcome to ask any question, however ‘obvious’.  Nor are we afraid of hearing the views of those who want to question what the Bible says or who are uncertain about the things that the Christian church stands for.  We expect these groups to be full of lively debate and you are very welcome to join us! 

The Rev’d Graham Burrows