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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

risking the best...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I can't believe how busy life is at the moment and am annoyed at the things I'm having to neglect as a result... such as this blog! So, just to post something and break the long silence, here's a short thing I wrote for our latest church magazine...

I was having a conversation with someone last night who was commenting on how unimpressive France had been in their opening fixture of the European Championships and I replied, “isn’t it great to be able to criticise other European teams, knowing that it won’t rebound on you in a few days time?” It’s true to say that I’ve not been as relaxed at the beginning of a major international football tournament since… well, since the World Cup in 1994 – anyone notice the connection?!

But, of course, the reason for being relaxed is also a source of disappointment and regret – there’s no community atmosphere surrounding these championships, no cars flying the England flag, no empty streets on the all-important match days. If the truth be known, Euro 2008 is all a bit of a letdown, despite the BBC’s ‘who will you support’ efforts at raising public interest!

By England not qualifying, and so not taking part in the competition, we might avoid the stress and near-inevitable heartache, but we also miss so much more besides. If I were honest, I’d rather have the stress, despite what I said in my conversation last night.

And this has got me thinking about the journey of faith! The easiest way to avoid trouble or potential suffering is to keep your head down and not get involved. But this is also the surest way to miss out on so much of what Jesus wants us to enjoy. Jesus likened following him to travelling on a narrow road that only a few manage to find (Mt 7:13-14); he warned that being aligned to him may well divide families (Lk 12:52-53); he spoke of his followers suffering and being persecuted because of him (Mt 5:11-12); and he sent his disciples out as ‘sheep among wolves’ (Mt 10:16). It would have been far less stressful, far safer and far less likely to end in tears for those disciples if they had ignored Jesus’ call to follow and simply carried on fishing, collecting taxes or worshipping in the temple.

But, and it’s a big but, there was something so compelling about this man Jesus that they simply had to move out of their comfort zones and follow him, come what may, and in doing so they changed the world – the easy option is not always the best! The same compelling Jesus calls us to follow too, with the same warnings and the same opportunities. Like England’s football adventures, it may bring grief at times but surely it’s better to be involved!

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posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 9:04 AM


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