Weybourne Community Church

Serving Jesus in the Community

Philip Greenslade Reflections

Philip Greenslade

 

Having originally trained for the Baptist ministry, Philip Greenslade has over 30 years’ experience in Christian ministry. 

He is a highly respected theologian and his books include God’s Story, Voice from the Hills, Leadership & Ministering Angles (all published by CWR) and A Passion For God’s Story & Worship In The Best Of Both Worlds (both published by Paternoster).

During the COVID 19 uncertainty Philip has written some reflections which many readers have found inspirational, they are pure balm to the Soul!

The subjects, to date, have been:

JESUS AND SELF ISOLATION

Jesus’ promise:  ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid…

Paul’s response:  ‘So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day…

I’m sure I am not the only one who feels weighed-down by the psychological heaviness of these surreal days we are living through.

Cut-off from our usual human contacts and bombarded with media bad news, we can readily be plagued by ‘fightings within and fears without’. 

It is disconcerting, to say the least; depressing at worst. Read more..



JESUS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING    Luke 24:13-15

13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.

This business of ‘social distancing’ seems odd and unnatural to us, doesn’t it?  

Is ‘social distancing’ inhuman, we wonder?  Yes, it is.  No handshakes, no hugs,

no kisses, no closeness, no-reaffirming touch on arm or shoulder.  

Is it un-Christian?  How can it not be when ours is so incarnational a Faith.

The apostle John never got over the stunning reality of it all:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—   Read more...…..



JESUS AND VE DAY

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Did you join in celebrating the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe) last Friday evening, May the 8th?  We did.  We wanted to honour that wartime generation for the fortitude that helped secure our freedom.  So we strolled down our avenue to savour the mood of the modest, impromptu street parties, under red-white-and-blue bunting stretched across the road.

How much the many owe to the few - then and now.   Read more.....



JESUS AND THE ‘R’ FACTOR   

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Romans 8:18-25 ESV).  Read more......



JESUS, CORONA AND CLAPPING

33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
      Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Pentecost Sunday has come and gone.  So did Ascension Day, a Thursday or two ago, passing ‘under our radar‘ in its annually unobtrusive way.  The Ascension of Jesus often seems the most under-rated, underfunded festival in the Church’s worship calendar.

This is strange, considering the significance of Ascension Day for us and for our world.  If Christmas celebrates Christ’s birthday, Ascension Day celebrates his Coronation, his triumphant enthronement...….read more


JESUS AND THE NEW NORMAL 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

‘On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, not in the cool of the evening but the dawn.’ (G. K. Chesterton ‘The Everlasting Man’)

For Christians the inauguration of the new creation in Christ’s resurrection forever changed the way we see and inhabit the present world.

‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ… there is new creation; the old has passed; behold the new has come.’





Ever since that first Easter rising, new creation-life has been for us ‘the new normal’.

We do not yet see all things in subjection to the ‘human jurisdiction’ God intends, but we do see Jesus crowned with a “glory bright with Eden’s dawn light”.(Hebrews 2:8-9, The Message).

We can truly say: “Nothing has changed; but everything is different.”

The Risenness of Jesus makes all the difference in the world.....read more.


JESUS AND RISK AVERSION 

I tried to imagine the twelve apostles, in two groups of 6, striving to maintain social distancing, huddled in their ‘bubbles’ at each end of the Upper Room. 

I saw Leonardo da V. trying to get them together for a portrait of the Last Supper.  Frustrated, the great painter settles for a diptych.  Only problem now: where to fit Jesus in as the spare number 7 in either panel! 

I then tried to imagine Jesus in full PPE stooping to wash Peter’s feet with disposable towel and foot-sanitiser to hand!  I tried to imagine all this and failed!

My mind gratefully gravitated to Scripture for a better grasp of reality......read more


JESUS AND SAGE

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him…

…After consulting his theologians, who confirmed from the prophet Micah that the real king would be born in Bethlehem, Herod despatched the Magi to go and locate the child so that he might worship him.... !

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way (Matthew 2:1-12).....read more.


JESUS, VACCINE AND DEATH

No doubt the pandemic has heightened the sense of our mortality.

Reflecting on this led me to Jesus and to John 11:25-26:

Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”.......read more...


THOMAS MEETS THE TRUTH

1. Thomas is not ‘doubting Thomas’, after all - but ‘disbelieving’ Thomas.

Rationalistic critics sneer at the very idea of resurrection. But Thomas isn’t one of them.

His scepticism may not have been about whether Jesus was alive but how he was alive,

and in what form.  After all, Thomas had been there when Lazarus was raised.

But this was different.  A newly resurrected body would not merely be a resuscitated corpse and if so - then surely the wounds would not still be visible.  Thomas might not unreasonably have assumed that the marks of wounds ought not to be there on the pure, pristine skin of a truly resurrected body.

But Jesus pulled back his cloak and there they were! .............read more.....


JESUS AND THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN

By all accounts, the man who respectfully knelt before Jesus, in a seeker-friendly frame
of mind, was a prime candidate for conversion. 
He was wealthy, youthful (Matthew 19:20-22), and a ruling official, possibly in
the synagogue, more likely in local government.
He was the rich, young ruler.
What he said to Jesus tells us much about him; what Jesus said to him tells us even more about Jesus and is very challenging.

Listen to Luke’s account of the dialogue: ..............read more.....