Bishop's Comment: ​Raising Expectations

5th April 2018

'Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.' 2 Corinthians 5 verse 17

Where would you be most surprised to find evidence of Christian transformation?

In the past three weeks I have seen the Bible, prayer and teaching revealed in unexpected places.

On what I had thought was a business lunch and visit to Lloyds Insurance in the City of London I was treated to an explanation of a simple but profound way of introducing individuals to Christ through This guided reading of the Bible is being a blessing to senior financial executives with no previous religious knowledge and seemed to me appropriate for a wide range of people in our own contexts here in the Midlands.

Even more surprising, while visiting Industrial sites during an intensive week of Faith Reflection in South Africa was the immovable practice of mine workers and their managers saying prayers at the beginning of each shift. How refreshing is this reality of lived religion and how I long for mature leaders in our Birmingham enterprises to commit their day in prayer publicly to the Living God.

A Messenger text arrived on Good Friday from the mother of a five year old boy who had come home and announced to his non-church-going family that 'Jesus died and has risen again'. His mother remarked: "Obviously paying attention at school!" Are we giving our young people the full information so that they can learn about Jesus and make their minds up about his claims?

Saint Paul who wrote the verse at the top of this article also testified to the dramatic change in his life after an encounter with the risen Christ Jesus. 'By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain' 1 Corinthians 15:10

There are two opportunities this month for Christians to cooperate with the transforming power of Christ Jesus.

The first is to accept the invitation of 'Thy Kingdom Come' to prepare to pray leading up to Pentecost for five people whom we would love to meet the living Christ Jesus. 

The second is to be aware in the next four weeks of increased campaigning for the Local Authority elections. This Wednesday, while addressing Parliamentarians from over 30 countries on Inclusive Economic Growth, I was aware of an openness and hunger for spiritual and not just material insights. Please pray for politicians, that that the very best Councillors will be elected so that our city region will be transformed for the benefit of all.

Wishing you surprising joy and renewed purpose this Easter.