Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

February - March 2019

 

Dear friends

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Take a lesson from Jehoshaphat! At a time of national crisis, he was the King of Judah (c860 BC) who called the nation to prayer and the people to trust God: ‘We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.’ The first half of that prayer seems all too true of the Brexit impasse; the second half is the only focus that can resolve our problem. We are especially blessed in having a Queen, and her father in his wartime speeches, who have issued national calls to prayer and given a strong Christian lead to the nation. In this year’s Christmas broadcast, her Majesty said, ‘The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t provide theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life. Instead it’s about the birth of a child and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago brought to the world. Only a few people acknowledged Jesus when he was born. Now billions follow him…I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it’s needed as much as ever.’

Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:13-16) called his disciples to be salt and light: ‘salt’ in a decaying culture where Christian teaching on sexuality has been swept aside, behaviour condemned in Scripture is now openly practised and Christian witness dismissed as bigotry; ‘light’ in a society darkened by violent crime on the streets and family breakdown in our homes. In this setting the Church Army, which we supported at Christmas, is helping young people and families find a way out of crime. Stories from their Centres of Mission provide inspiring reading and reasons for hope: Tyler (15) says, ‘Before I gave my life to Jesus I used to be a troublemaker on the streets, getting into police chases and everything.’  ‘It breaks our hearts,’ say the Church Army workers, ‘that any young person’s future is stolen from them by the drug, crime and gang culture that has arisen out of poverty.’ Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ and to seek actively to be peace makers in our deeply divided nation. 

Recently the Times reported, ‘Just when politicians seem to need divine intervention more than ever to resolve the Brexit crisis, a cross-party group of MPs has called for an end to the 460-year-old practice of reading prayers in parliament.’ Thankfully the Archbishop of Canterbury has called on people to pray for God to grant MPs ‘wisdom and courage’ in the Brexit vote – and beyond. 

‘We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.’

Nick and Harriet