Focus on Easter Our cross will be outside the church from Palm Sunday and palm crosses will be available to place in it as a public testimony to the darkness of betrayal and crucifixion to which Jesus was heading.
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You may find this list of opportunities to access services/Christian content on radio/TV and on-line helpful: the Daily Service at 9.45 on Radio 4 long-wave The Sunday Service on Radio 4 at 8.10am Songs of Praise Sunday 1.15pm ish on BBC1 Choral Evensong Sunday Radio 3 at 3pm and repeated on Wednesday Radio 3 at 3.30pm Tim Daykin Radio Solent Sunday 6-9am for worship songs, interesting information and a feeling of connectedness
Monday night, I watched two semi-finals of the TV quiz Mastermind. The famous fanfare music played by brass instruments accompanied by thumping drums seems to be designed to strike fear into the hearts of already nervous contestants, especially as they approach the foreboding big black chair! It is amazing how calm and collected they appear, as nervous as they often say they are!
Mastermind – the questions testing the contestants’ knowledge of their chosen specialist subject, and the depth and breadth of all manner of subjects and their incredible memory for facts and figures in the general knowledge round!
But I am never sure if quiz shows like Mastermind are a good way of gauging someone’s intelligence. If intelligence is just about having an incredible memory, within which a person can store all manner of information and answer all kinds of obscure questions on many subjects, then yes – that is what intelligence is about. And the person with the biggest photographic memory would be the most intelligent person in the world!
But surely intelligence is more than just having an outstanding capacity to remember facts and figures? Is intelligence not about the ability to put human knowledge to good use in often new and amazing ways? That’s more like it, I think!
For decades we have heard a great deal about ‘artificial intelligence’ too – the ability of a machine to store and process huge amounts of information, far quicker than any human being. Yes, it can ‘remember’ a huge, unimaginable amount, but a computer can also use that information. Perhaps the most famous computer of all time is Alan Turing’s machine that, after much trial and error, played a crucial role in breaking intercepted German coded messages sent using the Enigma machine, shortening WW2 by an estimated two years, and saving countless lives.
Today NASA’s helicopter named ‘Ingenuity’ flies over the surface of the planet Mars, controlled by a computer that enables it to make its own decisions, avoiding obstacles and calculating the best way to get to the locations it needs to get to on its mission to send information back to its ‘sister’ computers here on earth.
As Christian people, we believe and have faith in the ultimate Master-mind, the living intelligence that surpasses all others, the Maker of all things good, whose intelligence put into motion the whole of creation from the vastness of the universe to the atom, and placed all things in a wonderful working relationship with one another which we call God’s ‘intelligent design’. Yes, God is the ultimate intelligence through whom all things are created and are renewed. Albert Einstein, celebrated as one of the world’s most intelligent people said, “My comprehension of God comes from a deeply felt conviction of a superior intelligence that reveals itself in the knowable world.”
For us, our understanding of our relationship with God, with other people and with the created world, is continuously being revealed through our deepening relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Luke, in his Book of Acts, remembers how Peter and John had been arrested “for teaching and proclaiming that, in Jesus, there is the resurrection of the dead” (4:2b NRSV). Facing their judges at trial, Peter and John speak eloquently and powerfully about the truth of what they said. Listening to them, the rulers, elders and scribes, “understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, [and] they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (4:13).
Yes, as ‘uneducated and untrained’ as Peter and John were, their ability to understand, to speak with true wisdom, came from their relationship with Jesus. May we continue to speak and act as Jesus’ disciples with Christlike love and compassion for all people, and inspired by the wisdom of God.
Also, let Mike know if you have particular prayer requests (for yourself or others) in these challenging and uncertain times and If you would like to contribute a prayer, poem or reflection for the weekly Sunday service outline.