Monday, 15 October 2012

Session One – Loving People

The situation facing the church in the UK is not unlike that which faced the Jewish people dragged off into exile in Babylon. Read Psalm 137, and you quickly get a sense of how painful their loss was. Consider the emotions which are expressed in this psalm – bitterness, loss, injustice, humiliation, a desire for vengeance. The presence of the psalm reminds us it’s ok to bring such feelings to God in prayer, but we need to think seriously about how we process such feelings.

We are now a minority. Only 6-7% of the British population are involved in churches, and we don’t feel ‘at home’ in our society like we used to. This leads to a strong desire that we have to blame certain people and groups for what is happening in our culture.

Think about the people we struggle to love:
The growing Muslim community
Secularists/the ‘new atheists’
The media

We need to think seriously about how we love ‘the other,’ those who are different to us. We also need to understand that to love others is to pass on the love we ourselves have experienced on God. You might it helpful to reflect on a passage Sian read, John 15:1-17, which speaks of the centrality of love.

You may also want to take time giving to God the people you find it hard to love, reflecting on the following questions:
Why do I find it hard to love this person?
What does their presence do to me/
What thoughts and feelings do they raise in me?
What do they teach me about myself?
How do I feel about that?

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