July 2011 Ministers community Newsletter

 By the time, you read this I will have just returned from a trip to Israel. This Sate at the centre of the Middle East is surrounded by Islamic countries that seem to be facing internal problems at this time.  These Islamic governments are not democratic, as we understand the term and their ruling elite often seem to be indifferent to the plight of their ordinary people. 

It is not the same in Israel.  They area democracy as we understand it with free press, courts and all the democratic things we would take for granted here.   In its early years, the state of Israel was so much like us that people did not think twice about considering them to be like us. 

 Sadly, in recent years, Israel while being suspicious and resentful of their neighbours has begun to behave in the same draconian ways as they do. Certainly we as Britons can feel the about our European neighbours.  There does seem to be a level of corruption in European society, which would be unthinkable here in the U.K.  Although every country has its debt problems, the excesses of Greece, Iceland and Ireland and the willingness of our government to bail them out when there were job cuts here does seem confusing and annoying. 

Israel is a land where God has visited many times.  There are literally hundreds of Holy sites commemorating not just the acts of Jesus but also the acts of God’s prophets, kings, and leaders.  Every year millions of pilgrims from the three biggest world faiths, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, go there, not to mention the ordinary tourist who just wants to go to an historic country and find out more. 

With that great past one wonders why the people are so horrible to each other in that area. Then it struck me that I have received many great blessings from God, much has gone on in my life to thank Him for, and yet I can, on occasion, be rude, unfair and hostile to those around me.  I can think that they are beneath me and unworthy of me.  I fail to see that I myself am becoming more like them in my attitude and hostility.

 Moreton Hall now has a reputation for being the healthiest place in Britain to live.  Many people resent this title.  From time to time we, as Moreton Hallers, receive some unkind words and abuse.  Will we retaliate in kind?  I hope not.  There is a very real sense in which God’s hand does seem to be on Moreton Hall.  It’s not just the facilities and the environment, it’s the people themselves.  There is much here that reminds me that God is working in our midst and doing great things.

  Every week new faces appear at our church with people looking for something more in their lives and asking God to help.  We do the best we can for them, but there always seems to be this choice of being the person God wants you to be, or being like those around you.  I hope to come back from Israel renewed and strengthened in my resolve to use the good things God has done in my life to help those around me and to bring more people to Him. 

How about you?  Has God done something in your past which you want to build on?  Is He now talking to you to get on with it?  Are you making the choice between being who you should be and being like your neighbours?  Moreton Hall is a special place.  Israel is a special place.  Let’s all try to make special places in our hearts for everyone else. 

With every blessing,  

Revd. Canon Jonathan Ford.