If you should wonder at the response of the Methodist Church to the deportation of people to Rwanda please read this letter from our President and Vice-President in April – https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/response-to-the-government-s-plans-to-offshore-asylum-seekers-in-rwanda/?fbclid=IwAR0UM-UYjX4zHqMX9o8eZzykTS2aCyKzK6xeA_AmUFbkiH2caEkzG-X9Zjc
‘Fishing with question marks’ https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2014/14-march/features/features/fishing-with-question-marks
There are times in all our lives when we question what is happening and when our faith is challenged and shaken. What happens when we reach the point where it feels as though our faith makes no sense. For many in contemporary society this seems to be the case. Perhaps circumstance leads them to this point. For others there is the sheer illogicality of believing in something intangible, metaphysical. What then? We cannot force belief on someone, it simply doesn’t work. Fred Pratt Green frames the theme like this:
When our confidence is shaken
in beliefs we thought secure;
when the spirit in its sickness
seeks but cannot find a cure:
God is active in the tensions
of a faith not yet mature.
Fred Pratt Green Copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd
In this circumstance faith is incomplete. We do not have the full picture. Arguably, where God is concerned we never can have the full picture, in which case we need to be open to the fact that faith, in Sydney Carter’s words is framed by a creed which is never fixed or final. I raise a question in the following text:
How can we live at one with God,
inspired by Christ the living Word,
infused with all the Spirit's power
when life is twisted and absurd?
[…] to grasp by faith, to act in love,
while nothing fixed or final stands.
Put another way:
When life juggles with our learning,
with the things we thought secure,
then it seems the artist’s palette
spins and faith becomes obscure.
In the wash of different colours,
as we seek for shape and form,
others paint their faith by numbers
forcing God to fit some norm.
But when life has torn the canvas,
when the numbers twist and slip;
then we need to find an image
that will help our hope to grip:
holding us, when we're past holding,
grounding when we're insecure,
till we find a faith, not drifting,
still dynamic, free, yet sure.
All the above Andrew Pratt unless otherwise stated, verses copyright Stainer & Bell Ltd.
Am I in debt?
In debt for the love you have given me.
Undeserving, sometimes callous, thoughtless and cavalier with the expectations
of others. Yet I am loved.
And so I owe this debt of love.
How can it be paid?
How do I repay the patience of a nurse who stands by me while I am sick?
How do I return the love of a mother who invested her life in my life from birth
to her death?
How do I thank those people who affirm me in what I do, in writing and in
How do I thank the teacher who told me, but then demonstrated that from his
point of view there was some good in everyone?
How do I thank my son for music, art and an openness of spirit?
How do I thank colleagues who have stood by and encouraged me as my life has
changed pace and direction often giving them more work to do?
How do I thank my wife for her care?
How do I thank the child who smiles and hugs me and says, ‘That’s better’?
How do I thank countless friends who have done the things that only they could
How do I thank the father who taught me to work with wood?
So much to be thankful for!
Am I in debt?
To each and all is owed a lifetime of love, so graciously given, so easily received.
No wonder he said, ‘Love one another”!
I’ll try, really I will.
From Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal, former President of the Methodist Conference, and shared with his permission and encouragement:
“The gospel does not go from crucifixion to crucifixion. It goes from crucifixion to resurrection. Anything that goes from suffering to suffering contradicts the gospel. The Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament is a case in point. It treats already suffering people with more suffering and humiliation. It treats people as deserving and undeserving refugees. The criteria to determine refugee status is not fleeing suffering but the means of travel and routes taken. Sending people seeking sanctuary to Rwanda is inhumane, cruel, morally bankrupt and theologically nonsense. It demonises harmless people, dehumanises human beings, sanctions hatred and hostility. It takes people from crucifixion to crucifixion. We need safe routes for all refugees, from anywhere in the world. Government has a duty by UN Refugee Convention to provide safe care and hospitality for all refugees. Justice, mercy and humility, not injustice, cruelty and humiliation for all the crucified people of the world. This is the challenge of redemption, resurrection, restoration.”