Weekly Update – 25th June

I have just returned from two weeks travelling in Ireland.

Throughout my travels in Ireland the influence of the early Christian missionaries, such as St Patrick has been evident in the monuments and ruins of old churches and monasteries throughout the landscape.  These early Christians journeyed across the land spreading the gospel and left their mark.

Like the seeds from a dandelion seedhead, which will be taken by the wind or an animal to find fertile ground to sprout and grow, the gospel was spread and shared by St Patrick and other saints.  Sometimes people engaged and their ministry bore fruit as can be seen, but there were other times when there was a barrier and a resistance from people.   Often the early missionaries faced a risk to their lives in preaching the gospel.  St Patrick suffered hardship, imprisonment, and at one point faced execution as he journeyed on his ministry.   Nevertheless, they were all driven to continue to “proclaim the gospel from the rooftops” and the evidence of their influence and impact can be seen across the landscape today.

Jesus was clear in explaining to the disciples the costs of discipleship but equally that although the disciples may make a sacrifice for the sake of following Christ, they will find a new life (Matthew 10:24-39).  The gospel will be heard and God’s message will be revealed.

An article I read recently made a point that Christians living in the UK might feel the cost of their faith is small compared to examples elsewhere in the world where Christians are persecuted but equally, there are situations where people in the UK have felt a conflict between their Christian faith and something they have been asked to do in the workplace, for example.  Also, the article pointed out, the media often portrays Christianity in a negative light, ignoring the church’s good work, but readily reporting its misdeeds.  Points worth reflecting on.

If we were also to reflect for a while on what is around us, we will undoubtedly see evidence where lives have been dedicated to following Christ and spreading the gospel and where sacrifices have been made.  There will undoubtedly be signs of a positive impact being made by people who are focused on sharing their faith through the actions of their daily lives, whatever difficulty they encounter.

Jesus was clear to his disciples that there will challenges and difficult choices but have no fear.  Remain resolute because you will see a difference.

Finally, having mentioned St Patrick earlier, as we go out and hopefully make a difference on our faith journeys this coming week, we should remember one of his prayers:

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.