Fellowship Number 3, November
Cross alk God’s Peace Process – has it Inside this issue: God’s Peace Process Has it failed?
Who is Colin Glen?
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At Christmas-time, the birth of Jesus is celebrated as the season of peace and goodwill. But with conflict on the streets of Belfast, the War on Terrorism, International War Crimes Tribunals, soldiers in Bethlehem, and rumours of war with Iraq… we can ask; did Jesus really come to bring peace on earth? If he did, it certainly hasn’t happened yet! It’s no surprise that some people see God as little more than a Santa Claus type figure who hasn’t delivered his goods, as they wonder if he really exists at all.
reconciliation with God is new life, showing itself through increasing “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”2
A new kind of peace One reason for this is that God’s peace is different. When political leaders and others mention peace, what they have in mind is generally the absence of war or conflict. But Jesus told us; “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”1 True peace is not simply between people, whether superficially or from the heart. It begins with peace towards God. As sinners, we need to be reconciled with God, through Jesus as the only mediator. The result of
The original Good Friday Agreement Jesus told us that he came to earth in order to die on the cross for us.6 The Apostle Paul also taught that we can only be reconciled to God by Christ’s death on the cross.7 The ‘agreement’ is that we are completely forgiven and guaranteed eternal life, if we accept God’s terms. His terms are that he has done all that we need for salvation, and we simply have to accept it, without trying to excuse or deny our sin, or try to earn God’s favour.8 We can be forgiven, because Christ took the punishment that justice demands for our sin, all because of God’s great love for us.
The dove has become a symbol of peace since Noah sent one out to see if the flood waters had receded (Genesis 8v8-12).
Peacemakers Jesus said; “Blessed are the peacemakers…”3 Christians can be involved in conflict resolution and should live peacefully with others.4 Yet the greatest peacemaking tackles our relationship with God - the core issue that causes conflict, enmity, and ultimately war.5
Full implementation soon For now, Christ is setting up his kingdom on earth, in the hearts and minds of everyone who turns to him. Looking into the future: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed (Continued on page 2)
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away.”9 Until the ‘Judgment Day’, God may appear to be slow in implementing his peace agreement. Why? Because he is patiently giving us more time to turn to him.10 Then, we will see its full implementation. However, anyone who is anti-‘God’s agreement’ will then be excluded, suffering outside of God’s presence forever.11 In the meantime Until then, we can know the peace of God in our hearts, which is beyond understanding or explanation.12 We
can also work for peace, both among people and between people and God. But it is wonderful to know that our peace with God is assured, if we have accepted his peace agreement, simply through faith alone in Christ.13 If we have already done so, we can celebrate Christ’s birth at Christmas with joy and peace from God in our hearts. 1
John 14v27 Matthew 5v9 5 2 Corinthians 5v17-21 7 Colossians 1v20 9 Revelation 21v3-4 11 Matthew 10v34 & 25v46 13 Romans 5v1 & 8v1
Who is Colin Glen? Colin Glen "Who is Colin Glen?" someone asked thinking that we had named our Fellowship after a person! We were amused, thinking that everyone would realise that Colin Glen is the name of a wooded glen in West Belfast.
Christian But who, or what, is Colin Glen Christian Fellowship? We chose the title Christian because we want to let people know that we are not members of a sect like the Jehovah's witnesses or Mormons, nor are we members of particular historic Christian denominations such as Methodist or Catholic. We seek simply to follow Christ and obey his teaching, offering a warm and friendly welcome to everybody.
Fellowship “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” 2 Corinthians 2v14 (NIV)
Why Fellowship? The dictionary definition describes a community with common interests, sharing and companionship. The Bible also encourages Christ's followers not just to meet together but also to support and encourage and help others. Although we have many friends in a variety of churches, we are independent and have no denominational, cultural, political or financial ties to other organisations.
Galatians 5v23-24 Hebrews 12v1 6 John 3v16 & 12v23-32 8 Ephesians 2v8-9 10 2 Peter 3v7-9 12 Philippians 4v6-7
John Duffy & Ken Allen
we have experienced this reconciliation across community divides ourselves. We also discourage anyone from using political, national or cultural issues to create division or to foster bitterness or disharmony. No one needs to deny their culture or nationality or hold specific political beliefs in order to be part of the Fellowship. Instead, we simply ask everyone to submit every part of their lives to the teachings of Christ.
Guidance We believe in the authority of God’s Word, alone, the Bible, to guide and direct us in all areas of life. By using God’s Word in this way, not simply using it to reinforce our own ideas, we can follow Christ as the head of his Church.
Welcome Everyone is welcome to all our activities, especially ‘Open House’ Bible study on Friday evenings. For a copy of our introductory leaflet (available in Irish), or for more information, please contact us. Or, visit our website, where past issues of
Values We believe that God wishes to reconcile everyone to himself, through Christ, so that having experienced his love and forgiveness they may also then be at peace with themselves and each other. Although still a small group of people,
Photos courtesy of Colin Glen Forest Park. For more information on the park, visit the website www.colinglentrust.org
Jesus said: “But seek first his (God’s) kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (necessities) will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6v33 (NIV)
Have you ever not wanted to see a musical? After hearing about Les Misérables twenty years ago, it didn’t attract me. A friend told me that it was about a fugitive who turned over a new leaf, met a dying prostitute, brought up her child, and evaded a policeman who hounded him throughout his life – all set in France almost 150 years ago. Not exactly an inspiring storyline, I thought. But a few years later, I saw it with my fiancé. It turned out to be the best musical I have ever seen, and very different from the portrayal I had been given. I went again (twice), bought the tape, but didn’t buy the tee-shirt…
Unforgettable The unforgettable music touches many emotions, from the tear-jerking “I Dreamed a Dream”, the haunting “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, of unreturned love “On My Own” to the final rousing anthem, “Do You Hear The People Sing?”
Film version While several films have been made of Victor Hugo’s 1862 classic novel (over 1,000 pages), I’m also looking forward to seeing the 1998 version directed by Bille August. It stars Liam Neeson as Valjean, in which some critics say he should have received an Oscar.
True to life Characters Jesus said: “No-one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Matthew 6v14 (NIV)
John Duffy acter. Throughout, there is also the unscrupulous couple (the Thernadiers), milking whatever system they can, even masquerading as Christians when it suits them.
Big issues Two themes dominate the musical. Firstly, there is the theme of justice without mercy: Javert’s relentlessly pursues Valjean, even after he is a reformed character; also, the poor of France (or Les Misérables) suffer while the heartless rich are not merciful to them in their poverty. Secon dl y, there is the dilemma that the poor and oppressed face. Should they follow the path of r e b e l l i o n , ‘The Uprising’, by Honoré Daumier unmercifully turning the tables on the aristocracy and becoming rich themselves? Or should they follow Valjean’s example in seeking a better future in God’s kingdom?
Will you join in our Crusade? The rebels first sing the rousing crusade anthem. But in the ‘Finale’, the others join them, too. Both groups have hope for the future, both have a barricade before them. But, they have made their choices, which we all have to make. Some are struggling for a better life before they die. Others have the long term future in view which is far better. They have God’s forgiveness, kindness and mercy now as well as an eternity of love and peace guaranteed, after the final barricade (death) has been crossed.
While the story centres around the fugitive, Jean Valjean, various themes are developed through different characters. These range from romance to armed rebellion - a realistic cross-section of life in France at the time. Valjean is jailed for stealing a loaf of bread. After many years in prison, he escapes and the first thing he does is steal from the Bishop of Digne. When caught by the police, the Bishop shows him mercy, saying While being rich or campaigning against that the goods belong to Valjean. This triginjustice are not wrong, which is more imgers a turning point where Valjean commits portant in the long run — striving after his life to God. Valjean is a renewed man wealth and happiness for our relatively who is kind, gracious and heroic. short lifetime, or securing love, peace and Without giving away the plot too much, the all God’s blessings for eternity? legalistic chief of police, (Javert) a man in whom there is not an Last lines of the ‘Finale’* ounce of compassion or … They will live again in freedom in the Garden of the Lord, grace, continues to hound They will walk behind the bloodshed, they will put away the sword. him. On the run again, The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward. Valjean adopts and brings up the daughter of a forWill you join in our crusade? who will be strong and stand with me? mer employee as his own Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see? Do you hear the people sing? say, do you hear the distant drums? (Cossette). But Javert ultimately cannot cope It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes… Tomorrow comes! with Valjean’s forgive*From the musical, 'Les Misérables' by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg' (used with permission.) ness and change of char-
Colin Glen Christian c/o John Duffy 42A Cloona Park Upper Dunmurry Lane Belfast
Phone: (028) 90600323 Email: email@example.com Website:
Open House We meet on Friday evenings at the address above, for prayer, praise and a Bible study discussion (tea & coffee too). Join us as we go through the Bible to see what we can learn from it, and how it is relevant to our lives today. Everyone is welcome — just turn up, or ring beforehand for more details. Every Friday 7.30-9.30 pm
The Uniqueness of The Uniqueness of ChristianChristianity ity (J.B. Nicholson)
For a free copy of our tape “The uniqueness of Christianity”, or for an alternative tape in Gaelic, contact us by phone & email etc.
Visit our Website
Jesus said: “He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters.” John 7:38 NIV
For past issues of ‘Crosstalk’, Christian website Links, free stuff, etc, go to: www.cgcf,supanet.com
Test your knowledge Bible Questions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
How many wise men were there? What was Joseph’s occupation? What does Immanuel mean? In which country did Jesus become a refugee after his birth? What animals were present at Jesus’ birth? What was Jesus’ younger cousin called (Elizabeth’s son)? Who was the angel who appeared to Mary? What does Messiah mean? How long before Jesus’ birth were some details foretold? What does the name Jesus mean?
Answers 1 Don’t know - the Bible doesn’t say, but there were three different types of gift (Matthew 2v1 & 11) 2 Carpenter (Mark 6v3) 3 “God with us” (Isaiah 7v14, Matt 1v23) 4 Egypt (Matthew 2v12-23) 5 Don’t know - the Bible doesn’t say. 6 John the Baptist (Luke 1v57-63 & 3v2) 7 Gabriel ((Luke 1v26) 8 Same as Christ, “The anointed One” 9 About 700 B.C. (Isaiah 7v14) 10 It is Greek for Joshua, meaning “The Lord Saves”
Did you know? ‘Santa Claus’ originated with Saint Nicolas, Bishop of Myra in Turkey (died 350 AD), whose feast day is 6th December. Legend has it that he gave gifts to the poor at night through their windows. ‘Silent Night’ is the world’s most famous Christmas Carol, originally written for singers and guitar in an Austrian Church — it is believed (wrongly) to have been written and composed on Christmas Eve because mice had eaten through the bellows of the church organ. (Words written by Fr. Joseph Mohr in 1816 and music composed by musician-schoolteacher Franz Gruber in 1818). ‘Хmas’ comes from the first letter of the name ‘Christ’ in Greek, pronounced Chi, written as Х. Different legends say that the first decorated ‘home’ Christmas Tree was in Riga, Latvia, in 1510. At the festival of Saturnalia — worship of the Sun around 22nd to 25th December at the time of the Winter Solstice — the Romans decorated trees with trinkets and candles. The Christian Church did not celebrate the birth of Christ until after Constantine made Christianity the established religion in the Roman Empire in the fourth century. In 1647, the English Parliament passed a law that made celebrating Christmas illegal. Boxing Day (St. Stephen’s Day) was the day when gifts (including hamper boxes) were given to the lower classes, after gifts were exchanged among equals on or before Christmas Day. Holly, Mistletoe and Ivy were ancient evergreen symbols of fertility and everlasting life. They were also believed to have healing properties and to protect against evil. Mistletoe was very sacred to the Druids.