Dear Friends

1 Corinthians 1 verse 9
God is faithful;
by him you were called
into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
What do we know about God from this short verse?  First of all he’s faithful.  Second, he speaks, for he has called us.  Third, he has a family – we hear about his Son.  And finally, he’s not too choosy who he adopts into this family.  After all;  he’s welcomed you and me into the fellowship.  This is quite extraordinary!  A God who does something!  He communicates.  He has a personality.  He loves.  He almost sounds real!
Isn’t it peculiar that so many people think of God as something static, who does not really have any impact on our daily lives, only on our ultimate destination.  Would you say you were aware of God’s impact on your daily life?  And would you say God is faithful?  What does the word ‘faithful’ mean anyway?  I remember having a conversation with a dozen or so people of all faiths and none who were generally quite upset with God because he allowed so many terrible things to happen to them.  He didn’t simply do what they wanted. He clearly couldn’t be faithful.  It didn’t occur to them, and it didn’t occur to me in time to say it, that it might lead to a much more wholesome view of life if they took the spotlight off whatever God was or wasn’t doing for them, and instead asked themselves, what they were doing to allow God to be in control in their lives.
They’re speaking as if God is a faithful old dog, who trustingly follows you wherever you go.  That makes you the master or mistress, and the dog as subservient.  The focus is on you, as ruler.  I certainly hope, and normally believe that God is with me, is in me, through his Holy Spirit, wherever I go, but Christian faith is all about giving our lives to Christ, rather than the other way round.  God is the ruler, or should be, not us.
Perhaps that is the key to thinking about God being faithful;  remembering to keep the authority with God, rather than ourselves.  If I’m in charge, God has indeed a remarkable talent for not doing what I want him to.  And it’s easy to think of him not being a faithful God.  When I think like this he often lets me down.  You can’t rely on him to fulfil all your demands.  But you can rely on him, he is faithful, in helping you discover what love means, for he modelled it first with Jesus.  He is faithful in combating loneliness, because he has given us a new family, where Christ is the head.  We just have to go and find it, and remember that we are not the head.  And he is faithful in changing the direction of our lives by calling us to follow Jesus, which almost always means making some changes to the priorities we hold dear at the time of the call.
Is this the interpretation of ‘faithful’ that you prefer?
A prayer
God, who as at this time
taught the hearts of your faithful people
by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit:
grant us by the same Spirit
to have a right judgement in all things
and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort;
through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen
You may like to listen to Christian Foreshaw’s arrangement of Mortal Flesh, based on the beautiful hymn, Let all mortal flesh keep silent, which puts the spotlight firmly on the God we worship.
Every blessing for a wonderfilled Advent