Anglican Newsletter - June
United we Stand, Divided we Fall.
Why do communities find it necessary to be nasty to each other resulting occasionally to finding themselves caught up in civil war ? As we read the newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio we are constantly reminded of man's desire to 'get one over' or pick a fight with their neighbour for no other reason than ill will, an ego or power trip or worse. Look at Putin, Asad and all the other power hungry bullies who not only make people's lives a misery, they also incite hatred and killing.
It is not only other countries either. In our own back yard there have been riots in Brixton (1981), Lewisham( 1977), Toxteth (1981) and very recently Croydon (2011). Trouble makers exist everywhere: towns, cities, villages, clubs, even in families and it was no different 2000 years ago when Paul wrote to the Galations ( now in present day Turkey). This Epistle in the New Testament reminded the people of Galatia, as it does for us today, of the dangers of being a trouble maker, of causing division, of being selfish.
An old lady, well into her 90's,who I used to visit over 45 years ago, once asked me to write out a poem for her as she felt it would benefit the world if it was spread near and wide- she never explained how I was to do this and I must admit I took it home and promptly lost it. I have no idea, now, what the poem was about but I have never forgotten the sentiment of the title: 'United we stand, divided we fall'. Why did it pop in my mind and why had I remembered it after all these years? Well, it took me ages to write it out by hand - no computer then- I did it to mollify a dear sweet lady . However, the words of the title resonate across the world as one country after another find themselves locked in conflict. From Ukraine to Syria, from London to our villages, it only takes one or two people to make many, many people unhappy or to destroy the harmony of a community by selfish actions and hurtful words. We, meaning all peoples of the world, no matter where we live, should be supporting each other & working together for the common good. Many are, but some are not - why?
My late father, once told me, ' There are some who 'do' and there are some who moan and criticise. Make sure you choose correctly.' I try and yes fail at times; and that is all we can do. But try we must for the good of ourselves and each other; try to be good neighbours to all we meet.
Below is that letter from Paul to the people in Galatia. It is good advice what ever belief you hold and if we all try to follow that advice our communities will be happier & stronger. One day our villages. towns, cities, country and yes the world will be a better place for everyone - Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.
New Living Translation (NLT)
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”[a] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
We Harvest What We Plant
6 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.