2023 News Archive

AC TALK JUNE 2023 1A TALE OF TWO KINGDOMS

It was Coronation week in the UK as I began to sit down, contemplate and muse over Kingdom and its role in our lives.

I was drawn in even more by a scene which I had just witnessed on one of the British television channels. It was a full-dress rehearsal of the spectacle which would take place in just a few days time, to be watched by millions around the world. The thing which struck me most about the rehearsal was the moment the imposing, exceptionally tall gold carriage drew up outside Westminster Abby in the dark of night or early hours of the morning. The carriage had been designed by Sir William Chambers in the 1700’s to celebrate the coronation of King George lll in 1761 and has been used in the Coronation of every British monarch ever since.

What fascinated me was how they ceremoniously opened the door of the magnificent carriage, even folded the steps down for the alighting monarch to descend, only to peer in and discover that there was no monarch inside. How similar to that first Easter, I thought, when Mary and those disciples peered into the tomb, only to discover it was empty, the King was not there!

I began to reflect on the two kingdoms, one eternal, the other temporal. 

I couldn’t help but process the stark contrast, how one King would ride to his coronation on a donkey, with palm branches and coats being laid at his feet. The other riding in a gold-plated carriage with lush carpets rolled out for his path.

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AC TALK MARCH 2023 1HOW HEALTHY IS OUR CHURCH?

It is not a strange idea to visit your family physician annually for a routine check-up to make sure that your health is okay. If not, you might discover that you have a serious or life-threatening disease when it is too late. In the same way, a church will do well to consider its health regularly.

I deliberately avoid the word “successful” in favour of the word “healthy”. The criteria we select will be largely influenced by a “success” or “health” paradigm. Some people are considered to be successful because they own multiple properties, and vehicles and have great financial clout and influence. Yet, their marriage is shipwrecked, their children are scattered, and they have fallen victim to various coping mechanisms. A public success, and yet a private failure.

What is the most biblical way to define a “healthy” church? Should a church be considered “healthy” when it draws large crowds of people to its meetings? Perhaps a church is “healthy” when most of its growth comes from new converts or has a social outreach programme serving the 0community. Is an effective children’s ministry or youth program the key element for “health”; or perhaps the fact that the church engages well with the culture in the city? There are many different things we could focus on.

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