“What an amazing occasion. 2,400 women of all ages, dressed in pink, gathered in Vivary Park on Sunday 14th July in tremendous heat in order to run, walk, dance or skip for 5 kilometres. Thousands of pounds will be raised in sponsorship money for Breast cancer research. As many of you reading this will know, our daughter in law, Paula, lost her battle with breast cancer on 25th March this year, and Diana Fletcher and I ran (well we walked) and raised money in her memory.
The atmosphere in the park was wonderful with joy, sadness and hope mixing. So many supporters cheered us on our way and our thanks go to you all who have supported us in prayer and fundraising.”
Last week we spoke of the three persons of the Godhead. Today we look at the second great trio in the Bible. ‘Faith, Hope and Love’ are all inextricably linked together. Although we are looking at them in Colossians, they are more usually referred to as being in 1 Corinthians 13:13.
Faith, we are told, is how we are to live in this life. We are required to believe many things that we cannot see. This is not however a blind leap of faith but is based on outward evidence, and confirmed by an inward conviction. We are told to walk through this life by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). It is all a matter of trusting what God has said, and then obeying it.
Unlike Faith, Hope does not change the present. Hope is not to do with the present but with the future. One day things will be better and that hope sustains us in the present. Sometimes faith and prayer do not bring the change in this life that we long for. In those cases (especially when under persecution), hope holds onto the promises of God that one day he will sort it all out.
Faith and Hope sustain us in this life, but they will not be needed in the next one. Faith will be swallowed up in sight and Hope will become a reality. However, Love will go on forever. Love is the essential ingredient of life now and hereafter. Love makes the world go round. But love comes from God, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
We need all three, and all three are gifts of God. If we are lacking in any, then there is only one answer: pray for it. In fact, all three dwell within you by the Holy Spirit so through prayer you will lay hold of them.
Thank you Lord for your incredible threefold gift. Forgive me when I neglect to exercise these gifts within me. Amen.
1 See what Paul says about love.
1 Corinthians 13
2 See the people of faith who still hoped for something more.
Saying goodbye is always difficult. Doing so now after 11 years as Bishop of Bath and Wells is doubly so. It has been a privilege and a joy to be among you and to seek to serve Christ together with you, Changing Lives, Changing Churches, Changing Communities.
Last Saturday the Farewell Service in the Cathedral, followed by the party on the Cathedral Green was a moving, joyous and life-giving occasion which Dee and I will never forget. The presence of so many in the Cathedral and on the Green was symptomatic of a warm and generous diocese. That generosity was more than amply demonstrated in the gifts of a wonderful cheque, and memorable picture of an occasion when I addressed the crowds at the Glastonbury Festival.
Thank you for all your kindness, affection and love, it means so much to us. And now, in words offered in the service ‘For all that has been, thanks’ and for all that is to come, ‘Yes’.
God bless, enrich, encourage and keep you in his love and care.”
Dick Ackworth is asking you to visit www.IAgreeWithDick.org in relation to how people with mental health problems are being adversely affected through re-assessment with the Work Capability Assessment, in particular his son, Edward.
There is a copy of his letter to Iain Duncan-Smith and more information at the back of church.
“… of God … of Christ … in the Spirit.” (vv. 6-7) RSV
Things come in threes very often in this world. We speak of “third time lucky” or “trouble always comes in threes” or a three-leafed clover. The Greeks felt that ‘three’ was a profound number and was represented by a triangle. Perhaps three is deeply imbedded in creation since it is an extension of the threefold nature of God.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not found plainly stated in the Bible, and indeed it is fairly tortuous to explain it and defend it. Such talk of ‘essence’ or ‘substance’ seems to bring a foreign element into God whom we believe to be ‘spirit’.
But there is no doubt that the three (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are one in relationship and one in activity. As Jesus said: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), and elsewhere, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). There are many similar texts that could be quoted.
Today’s reading gives us a natural linkage of the three persons of the Godhead. Paul speaks of the “grace of God” (v.6) and of “Christ” (v.7), and of “love in the Spirit” all in the same breath. The triune God is perfectly blended in harmonious activity.
In turn, we respond by being drawn to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. There is only one God and he draws us by “grace” (v.6) and by “love; (v.7). God so loved the world that he sent his only Son (John 3:16), so that we might be convicted by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).
Great is the mystery of this Faith. But unless the pure and perfect God comes down in person to save us, then there is no hope. If he simply tells us to be good then we are lost!
Thank you Lord that your plan and purpose are perfect. Who could have dreamt it? You are indeed three in one. Amen.