Viewpoint from Rev Jemma Sander-Heys 30/08/2019
Rev Jemma Sander-Heys
Team Vicar for the Great Yarmouth Team Ministry
also published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury
Even if we don’t go near church we pick up ideas of what God may be like and what it’s like to be a ‘spiritual’ person. Film directors love the theme: keen on scary, glamourous and weird ideas of the ‘supernatural’, focussed on the most peculiar Christian ministers (personally, I’ve a soft spot for Clint Eastwood in classic western ‘Pale Rider’)!
But unless our reason is chemically altered or damaged by lack of sleep, we’re unlikely to confuse extremes of film fantasy with the subtle spiritual realities of daily existence - so most of our strongly held ideas about God come from other people
Sometimes that’s unfortunate: supposing a fiercely strict grandparent was a regular churchgoer – they might cause you to imagine an angry god who acts only with heavy-handed judgement! They too may have inherited an idea of God in someone else’s likeness and so might not know God’s free forgiveness through Jesus Christ, or God’s creativity, his empathy with our suffering or his sense of humour!
Sometimes it’s helpful: if someone knows how to listen to and appreciate you and happens to be a Christian friend, you may begin to recognise through them that God sees and cares for you personally. If they challenge you without ceasing to care for you then you may begin to know that God is already active in your life, that you have in your soul something of God’s own image, that, with God’s help you can begin to uncover it NOW
But everyone makes mistakes, and as St Paul says in the Bible, ‘If I say I’m not a sinner, then I’m a liar!’ We ALL need God’s forgiveness – directly… not just through hints and whispers, but through Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the one who shows us best just how much God loves us…
If you’ve never been to church on Sunday, it may seem a pretty weird start to a Sunday morning… It’s hard to imagine what it’s all about - so why bother? The reason is not a personal whim of course, it’s about a search for truth and steady relationship with God, through Jesus Christ… it’s because we’re not satisfied with hints and whispers, we want to know the truth. So it’s for a bit more of Him, that we go to church
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