Wednesday 2/9 - Coffee Morning
Hello everybody – here is what I might have said if we had been able to be together for our usual Wednesday Coffee service.
In a world of change and uncertainty
Lord, we live in a world of change.
Every day is filled with uncertainty.
We are surrounded by the twists and turns of life
and we often feel we have little or no control
over things that happen to us.
Lord, we come to stand in your eternal presence.
We come to you to find ourselves,
to find our way,
to find hope.
We come to you because in Christ
you first came to us.
As I listen to the news :
Fashion business in crisis
Car sales down
I am reminded of the suggestion that I brought you last month by the Mayor of Easter Island recommending a more balanced lifestyle.
Why are we so obsessed with an increase in the economy? If it does not grow this is seen as a failure. We do not need more - we need to learn to share.
Acts 2 : 43 - 7
I MUST change my wardrobe every 6 months
I MUST refurbish the whole house
I MUST change the car
If I don’t do these things the economy will not grow, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will fall and who knows what catastrophe will befall us all.
Matthew 6 : 19 – 21 & 24 - 34
Gross National Product
In 1968 Robert F. Kennedy campaigned to be the Democratic representative in the USA Presidential election. He was not successful in this but on the first day of campaigning he gave a speech at Kansas University. He spoke about student protests, the Vietnam War, and the gross national product and at the time, Kennedy's words on the latter subject went relatively unnoticed, but they have since become famous. And it is these words I would like to bring to you today – despite them having been given 52 years ago they seem to me to be as relevant now and they can apply equally to us here in the UK.
Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all. Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armoured cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife (two American mass murderers), and the television programmes which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.
Lord may we take to heart your words as given to us through your servant Matthew which we read earlier
1 Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
2 Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
3 Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.
4 Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
5 Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
6 Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)
Blessing and Prayer
Lord you have called us to be a people on the move; travelling light, ready to lose ourselves
for the sake of the world. You have called us to be a people with a purpose, travelling where
we are led, sustained by your Spirit, committed to the Gospel for the hope of the world. You
have called us, your people, to be the Church.
But we are a church with problems:
Too strong for the weak,
too staid for the young,
too respectable for the poor,
too divided for mission,
too obsessed with our own lives to think of the lives of others,
too unsure of our message to speak to the world.
Move us on our journey to where you want us to go. Take us on a journey from where we are to where you want us to be; so we become a community where :
all are welcomed and no one is excluded,
all are valued and no one is made to feel inadequate,
all are forgiven and no one is ashamed to belong,
all are encouraged and no one is too hurt to come among us.
Lead us on a journey from where we are to what you want us to be;
so that patience is built into us,
so that kindness is assumed in us,
so that gentleness is part of us,
so that compassion flows from us,
so that truth is second nature to us and
so that the commitment of love envelops us.
Let us gladly go on the journey in the peace and power of the Spirit
At the time, Kennedy's criticism of the gross national product didn't receive much attention, though it has since become famous, receiving significant coverage in the writings of economic critics. His words are credited as the beginning of the Beyond GDP movement. In an interview in 2008, Barack Obama said that Kennedy's University of Kansas oration was "one of the most beautiful of his speeches."