Advent Credo

Advent Credo

It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life; It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, hunger and poverty, death and destruction— This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly. It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word, and that war and destruction rule forever— This is true: Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of peace. It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to rule the world— This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth, and lo I am with you, even until the end of the world. It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted, who are the prophets of the Church before we can be peacemakers— This is true: I will pour out my spirit on all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions and your old men shall have dreams. It is not true that our hopes for liberation of humankind, of justice, of human dignity of peace are not meant for this earth and for this history— This is true:...
Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

This year, we at Royal Docks Community Church look forward to wishing ALL* of our neighbours tidings of comfort and joy this Christmas! *Even if, like Mary, you’ve got lots on your plate and you’re stressing out about how you’ll cope and live up to everyone’s overwhelming expectations. Or if, like Joseph, for you Christmas brings with it difficult emotional baggage but you still have to put on a brave face for your relatives. Perhaps, like the Wise Men, Christmas has totally different cultural significance to you – yes, we mean you too. Maybe you can relate to the Shepherds in that you have no expectation of being welcomed or included in the Christmas story – we are so sorry you feel that way: we absolutely mean you too! And especially if, just like the donkey, you’re not getting a break from work this Christmas. However you intend to spend it this year we want to extend, and pray that you experience, tidings of God’s great comfort and joy this Christmas and in the new year. God bless you.  ...
Safety Nets and Tightropes

Safety Nets and Tightropes

Is community a safety net you hope is there when you need it? There are times we really need others’ support. Being at home with 3 young children taught me this. I have never so actively sought company as I did in those years. I needed the emotional and practical help of being with others who had this, and sometimes only this, in common. Largely sleep deprived, often anxious, yet mostly hopeful, I found a group of local parents and together we learnt how to be each other’s safety net. This week, I heard that community is more like a tightrope than a safety net. Not just there for the tough times, being in community is the only way to authentically move through life. Challenging and rarely comfortable, community knocks the edges off our pride and self-centredness. It’s a tightrope walk. A recent Guardian series on ‘Live Better’ focussed on the idea, ‘Get Involved’. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/25/eight-reasons- people-do- not-involved- community Seeking a way to ‘Do Something’ about climate change and resource shortages the author approached Dr David Fleming, who had invented a clever mechanism to incentivise individuals – and entire nations – to save energy. What, in his opinion, was the most important thing anybody could do to tackle these threats? “Join the local choir,” he said. At first the author found his answer annoying. Was he being cute? Not at all. The most important thing, when trying to Do Something, the late Dr Fleming explained, was to build a sense of community. Community makes bigger changes possible. At Royal Docks Church we have been leaning into community. It goes against...
Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Have you ever heard of the verse in the Bible where Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life? He explains that ‘Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.’ (John 6:35) Well I have to admit, despite considering myself someone actively working on trying to ‘get to’ Jesus, I woke up this morning more than a little peckish… Must I be doing something wrong?? Well, not necessarily. Last Sunday, we celebrated Harvest Festival – thanking God for all we have and responding to the call to share His blessings with those around us who perhaps need to know more of His blessings in their lives and situations. We also sampled a wide variety of breads from different countries: from Isreali Matzah, Lebanese flatbreads, German Rye, French brioche, Indian Chipatis and more! We thought about what all of these breads had in common and realised – they all form a staple part of that national, cultural diet. Bread is something we eat lots of in this country – be it as toast in the morning, sandwiches at lunch or forming the base of you pizza at dinner – chances are, bread has featured in your diet at some point already this week and perhaps even today. It’s so commonly eaten, that even people allergic to bread have worked to perfect gluten-free recipes allowing them to join in on the comforting carby-goodness! Looking back at Jesus’ metaphor of himself, the cultural context he was speaking to would have understood that what He meant was ‘I want to be a staple part of your lifestyle.’ He’s not the ‘Glace Cherry of...
Beauty in Nature: Appreciation vs Thankfulness

Beauty in Nature: Appreciation vs Thankfulness

What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘Beauty’? Do you immediately recall the appearance of a person you find irresistible? Or a scenic view of a place close to your heart?… Thomas Aquinas, prominent philosopher and Catholic Priest of the Middle Ages, defined beauty as ‘something which gives pleasure when seen’ – or as more accurate translation might suggest, ‘when contemplated’. He believed that beauty is both objective (can be formulated and recreated) and requires active intelligence to be appreciated. Much of what we think of as beautiful is likely the result of human design and creation – a painted master piece or an emotive musical composition, for example. But have you ever seen anything so stunningly, but seemingly unnecessarily, beautiful – that it’s made you question how and why such a thing exists at all? You’re not alone: Beauty in existence has been the inspiration behind philosophical thinking for centuries! Aquinas concluded that the only reasonable answer to nature’s naturally occurring beauty is an intelligent designer, or God, and that the only reason we are able to contemplate, recreate and find pleasure in it is because that God must be good and care about us. Did you know, with all of Science’s accumulated knowledge and understanding – still no-one can explain why leaves are green? We know the thing that makes leaves green is chlorophyll. We know that chlorophyll works by absorbing light to fuel the photosynthesis needed to grow and sustain plants. But we also know that of all the available colours on the natural spectrum, black is by far the most efficient at light absorption. Evolution teaches us...