multiplying blessings

Free Family Fun Festival

Tomorrow promises to be an amazing day.

It starts with a Free Family Fun Festival in the park in the centre of Colchester – do come along if you’re in the area. I will be performing some ‘street magic’ around our church’s gazebos (if you can perform street magic in a park).

wedding rings

The day finishes with me conducting a wedding at our church for a lovely couple. i love conducting weddings as they are such joyful occasions – a celebration of love and commitment and a reason for family and friends to come together in honour of the bride and groom.

I hope that I will bless other people through my participation in these events but I know that people will be far more blessed than simply by my contribution. That’s God’s economy: he takes something we offer and he multiplies it. It’s not just with loaves and fish, it includes fast food too.

I read on Facebook just now an account of someone who kindly paid for a family’s McDonalds order when the Mum couldn’t find her money and people around were getting rather huffy. The Mum was blessed. The children were blessed. The staff were blessed. And the generous donor was blessed by their response.

And it’s not just about food. However we bless someone else we often find that God is multiplying the blessing. An encouraging word can build someone up: they may thank you (blessing multiplied) and then may seek to encourage someone else (blessing multiplied further).

You can put this down to group dynamics, human nature or any other rational explanation. But in doing so all you are doing is describing the method of multiplication, not the one who gives the impetus and adds momentum.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

The following day I am being blessed by being on a week’s holiday, so this will be the last bloggage until I get back – enjoy the break!

teddy bear theology

girls
The bride, the bridesmaids and Mr Gruff (look closely)

A couple of Sundays back we held a wedding blessing in our morning service. It may be old hat to some of you to do things that way, but it’s not something I have ever done before. The wonderful couple [they read my bloggages so I have to say that ;-)] had been married 10 years ago in a civil ceremony but wanted to mark their anniversary by renewing their vows and recognising that God is now a part of their marriage.

I was not at all apprehensive about the service, but I did wonder how it would go – whether it would fit into a worship service and whether it would feel ‘right’. In fact it felt brilliant. It was an opportunity to thank God for all he had done in their marriage, to celebrate marriage, to think about relationships with God and one another.

In the sermon I commented on how, in their photos, a small bear called Mr Gruff was present. He had been there when D&S had met, he was there as their relationship blossomed, he was there at the wedding, he has been with them in their married life (good times and bad) and he was in church with us for the blessing too. He was also in every one of their wedding photos, but was mostly hiding in the background.

To me that seems like a lovely parable of how God is involved in our lives and relationships if we will let him. He’s there all the time. Sometimes we are conscious of him, sometimes it’s as if he’s in the background. Sometimes we acknowledge him and include him, other times he’s simply ‘just’ with us. Knowing that he is there is reassuring and encouraging.

Of course his preference is to be involved, to be acknowledged, to be engaged. But he is gracious and patient enough to be with us all the time, waiting for us to turn to him, to involve him once again and to include him in every aspect of our life.

He’s waiting for you now.

Be blessed, be a blessing

asleep
It was all too much for D…

spiritual landmarks

If you look back over your life what significant events do you remember? What are the highlights? What are the days that are etched firmly in your memory as significant moments?*

This coming weekend has the potential for awesomeness because it is full of such events.

On Saturday I will be conducting a wedding at our church. We do not have very many weddings at our church in a year so they are always very special occasions. On Sunday we will be holding two separate services of Believer’s Baptism: one in the morning and one in the evening, and another local churches using the pool in the afternoon to baptise some of their members. and in the morning service we will also be celebrating communion and welcoming more new members into the church.

I love the way that people can celebrate significant moments in their life in the church – it is wonderful that our church family can be the context for such significant moments that are landmarks in people’s lives. These are some of the moments that I love and cherish as a minister and I hope will be moments that these brothers and sisters in Jesus will also cherish. I hope and pray that they will be wonderfully joyful, exciting, encouraging times for everyone, especially those getting married, baptised and welcomed into membership (different people).

Without diminishing any of what I have just said I also want to point out that these spiritual landmarks are not normal life. They are not the everyday occurrence. Those who are married do not live every day as if it is their wedding day. Those who have been baptised do not get immersed in water in a church each morning. Those were welcomed into membership are not welcomed into membership each time we share communion.

But those occasions can also remind us of when they happened for us. Weddings remind me of my wedding, baptising people reminds me of my own baptism, welcoming people into membership reminds me of my own membership in this church. And remembering those spiritual landmarks helps us in the normal everyday life. We can get distracted and embedded in routine and everyday activities and forget those amazing moments that have occurred.

Mountain TopIf you read the Old Testament narrative you will find that often places were renamed or altars were built where significant encounters with God had happened. These were to be tangible reminders of God’s presence and involvement in people’s lives. They were reminders of God’s covenant promise to his people. people would see the altar or remember the name of the place and be reminded of God and his involvement in their lives. Whilst we do not do that today in the same way there are spiritual landmarks that can serve the same purpose. 

In each of the three different events this weekend, promises will be made. The happy couple will make promises to each other in the sight of God. Those being baptised will make promises to God. Those being welcomed into membership will make promises to the church and the church will make promises to them. We can all use such occasions to remind ourselves of the promises we have made in the past and renew our intention to keep them. And most of all we can remember how we encountered God and all that he has done for us. And those promises and memories are for the every day, normal life.

And that is where the fourth event that I mentioned at the start is full of godly awesomeness: sharing bread and wine with fellow believers reminds us of Jesus’ death and resurrection and all that that means for you and for me is a regular reminder of God’s amazing love.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

*Apologies to anyone who read the earlier version which was done with my speech unrecognition software!