…"Once more, I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens.”
… what can be shaken can be taken away… Then what can't be shaken will remain.
‘We are not living in an era of change but a change of era.’ (Pope Francis)
We are living through a shaking moment in history, and this is happening across the whole globe. One that is challenging leaders in Politics, Business, and, not least, Religion. A telling recent example of this was the resignation of Liz Truss to go down in history as the shortest-serving prime minister. She has been in office for just 46 days. In the words of Pope Francis, 'We are not living in an era of change but a change of era.'
In his recent article, Paul Woolley (LICC CEO) describes our shaking moment in the UK, saying,
"The last month has been a turbulent one. Days after Truss became PM; Queen Elizabeth II died after 70 years on the throne. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng then spooked the financial markets with his mini-budget. Three days later the pound hit an all-time low against the dollar." And he added, "It's not just the last month. The last six years have been turbulent. We are arguably witnessing the slow collapse of the political, economic, social, and cultural model that has underpinned our common life for a generation."
Woolley's and Pope Francis's words made me reflect on the question -
what should our response (people of faith who trust in God's story) be on our everyday frontlines? I want to briefly reflect on this question in the following lines, but more importantly, I would like to leave this question with you to keep reflecting on.
First, we should not lose heart, as our security is not located in the shakeable things; but in the unshakable and unchanging God. God is mightier than our chaos, His love for us is everlasting, and his one main desire is to be WITH US.
Second, we should re-examine our ways - turn away from all that is leading to more chaos in our personal or public life and turn to all that is most redemptive and life-giving in any given situation.
Thirdly, it is becoming more evident than ever before that we cannot go through all this alone. We need to go through this as a community that takes care of each other loves each other sincerely, and seeks God's kingdom of life, peace and love to come on earth as it is in heaven.
According to the promised future in God's grand story, once the ungenuine things that are shakeable all fall apart, the authentic and life-giving things will only grow. Therefore, let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:28).
SHARING GOOD NEWS
I asked you through one of this month's sermons to share the good news that happens in our lives - and here is one story that was given to me to be shared:
I live in Old Windsor, and Revd Adel Shokralla has encouraged me to share my testimony.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Fibroids, an illness of the womb, this was causing uncontrolled menstruation, and I bled continuously for weeks. Consequently, I was very anaemic with low energy, sleeping for hours and hours and not functioning well.
I was followed by a medical professional and had already had two to three surgeries. I also prayed a lot about it with friends and family and attended healing services, but nothing was happening. I was unwell and went to A&E when things were bad.
One day I went to the service, and the minister was preaching about a familiar story of the bleeding woman in the bible and talked about her faith and made a statement that many here are not receiving healing because they don't have faith in God's healing. I was agitated because I wondered how someone could make such a statement when I had been praying and doing everything about God's healing.
That Sunday, I was very sad and couldn't control myself at night. I was crying and thinking about my possible lack of faith. I cried for a long time in my bedroom. I was truly troubled by everything and decided to write a letter to God. As I continued crying and telling him about all the prayers I had been making and asked many other questions, I told God that I trusted Him and can He tell me if I lacked faith. Suddenly I felt like my pen started responding to my questions on the paper. It happens very fast, and what stayed with me until today was, "you don't like being ill". This seems understanding, but the main message I understood was that my upsets and moans were blocking my faith. Then I was on my knees, fighting with myself and crying until I fell asleep.
The following day, I woke up, had this incredible energy, and went for a long walk. I walked for hours, which I could no longer do for months and felt like my mind had renewed and I was no longer upset. I wouldn't say I liked the rain, but I was walking and laughing in the rain. Since that day, I don't mind the weather. I take each day as it comes, I was grateful for the gift of life, and by then, I realised that God had visited me that night.
My condition improved overnight. I was no longer tired, I didn't feel sleepy anymore, and gradually, I was bleeding less and off iron tablets. I also kept all my medical appointments until the doctors didn't need to see me again. God healed me here in Old Windsor. I hope my testimony will encourage someone waiting for God's help.