Monday, 4 March 2013

Quiet Worship at Central

Long before we reopened our Central press here building we were asked" Are you going to have worship there?"
Our reply became a mantra" we will, but it will be different!"
I think we have been as good as our word and just one year in we have had a whole variety of different services at different times,on different days, to mark different occasions
People have told us how helpful they have found this range of services
Yesterday we had a service of quiet reflection which included prayers (,both silent and spoken) ,a solo , a wonderfully moving testimony and a chance to meditate on scripture 
Our theme was "suffering and a God of love" which we had chosen because we are in Lent
Instead of a talk, I simply read this short passage from the writing of John Stott which I find both powerful and helpful as I think about The Cross

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as 'God on the cross.' In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it? I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering. 'The cross of Christ ... is God’s only self-justification in such a world” as ours....' 'The other gods were strong; but thou wast weak; they rode, but thou didst stumble to a throne; But to our wounds only God’s wounds can speak, And not a god has wounds, but thou alone.”

John R.W. Stott, Cross

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