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Religion and faith

A rehearsal for choral evensong may not be the first place one would go to look for inspiration for writing. Nevertheless a comment made by the visiting choirmaster struck a chord with me!

At the beginning of one work, our entry was not confident and together. He likened it to people trying to use a moving walkway and acted out the way that they might hesitate before getting on. Our walkway was the introduction on the organ; we had to get on at the correct point without hesitation.

The thought which occurred to me was that taking a step of faith is very similar.

I remember as a pre-teen being convinced that Christianity was the best religion. I had been brought up in a family where both parents were confirmed members of the Church of England and I had attended Sunday School from an early age.

At (day) school we studied comparative religion, looking at the major religions at that time – Judaism, Islam, Shintoism, Hinduism and Buddhism. Humanism may have been mentioned as well. It seemed to me that if everyone practised the teachings of Jesus Christ the world would be a wonderful place.

What I didn’t understand at that time was the difference between religion and faith.

Religion is concerned with rules. Judaism, from which Christianity arose, is full of rules. Christianity includes the Old Testament (similar to the Hebrew Bible) and the New Testament, which begins with four accounts of the life of Jesus Christ, the story of his early followers (The Acts of the Apostles), letters (Epistles) to Churches and individuals and a vision of the future (The Revelation of St John the Divine).

The letter to the Hebrews lists people of faith from the Old Testament and explains how they lived out their faith. Hebrews 11

Christianity differs from other religions in an important way. Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Messiah. Adherents to Judaism are still waiting for the Messiah. As far as I am aware in Islam Jesus is regarded as a prophet, but not as the Son of God. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God rested on a few individuals, sometimes only for a short time, while they performed an important task or prophesied.

The prophet Joel looked forward to a time, when God would pour out his Spirit on all people Joel 2:28-29

Christians believe that this began on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to those who believed in Jesus Christ. Acts 2

It is easy to mistake Christianity for a set of rules. Anyone who tries to be a Christian by obeying rules is bound to discover that it is impossible. However, Christianity is a way of living in a relationship with the living God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Through this relationship, which is strengthened through worship, prayer, Holy Communion, Bible-reading and fellowship with other believers, Christians are changed from within to become more Christ-like. We need to trust God to give us his strength rather than act or speak in our own strength.

Our society emphasises self-improvement, but Christians should be looking to God to improve them. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Christianity can only be proved to be true from within. Without taking the step of faith and beginning to trust the God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it is impossible to know whether Christianity is true. There is no benefit to those, who do not believe and trust.

It is like knowing that the moving walkway would save time and effort, but failing to step onto it.

Have you taken the step of faith?

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

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Z is for Zoologist

Once again I have picked a theme for the A to Z Challenge. This time I aim to entertain rather than to educate. My theme is careers or occupations. I begin with a piece of creative writing.

To navigate between posts, please scroll down to the end of the widgets in the sidebar and use the arrows << or >>.

Zoë and Zak are zoologists. They do not work at the zoo, although some of the people they studied alongside do. They have learned about animals of every size form zebras and zebu to microscopic organisms known as protozoa. Zoë and Zak specialise in marine life. They like to work out of doors. As well as conducting surveys along the shoreline, they visit schools to speak about conservation, especially about the damage carelessly discarded rubbish can do. Plastic is dangerous to marine life (among other creatures). There are campaigns to clean up coastlines, but it is an enormous task. However, every little helps. #2MinuteBeachClean

Further reading: Zoology

Zoological gardens

King Solomon included zoology in his wealth of knowledge. 1 Kings 4: 29-34

Y is for Yachtsman

Once again I have picked a theme for the A to Z Challenge. This time I aim to entertain rather than to educate. My theme is careers or occupations. I begin with a piece of creative writing.

To navigate between posts, please scroll down to the end of the widgets in the sidebar and use the arrows << or >>.

Yvonne is a yachtswoman and Yuri is a yachtsman. They learned to sail as youngsters on inland lakes. Later they served as crew in offshore regattas. They yearn to sail solo around the world, but it might take them years to earn enough to finance such a venture. Meanwhile they are learning all they can about winds and currents and the experiences of other people, who have set of on circumnavigation of the globe.

Further reading: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (and all his other books)

Sir Francis Chichester

 

Sea travel was used in ancient times. Jonah found a ship that was going to Tarshish. Jonah !  (Why not read the whole Book of Jonah? It is very short.)

St Paul was shipwrecked Acts 27