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OUTLOOK


Outlook June/ July 2024


Jane Robson

Minister's Letter

Jesus told them another parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took
and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked
all through the dough"
Matthew 13:33


Dear Friends

This morning I heard two things on the radio. One was a news item, the other from the ‘Zoe Ball Breakfast Show’. (I had determined this month not to lead off my letter with a reference to a TV programme!) The news item was about the announcement to be made by the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. “…the UK "stands at a crossroads" ahead of "some of the most dangerous years", [he would be saying] in a pre-election pitch to voters this morning.”1 My immediate reaction to that was a sinking feeling in my stomach with the words, “some of the most dangerous years” churning around in my head.

Tina Daheley
Tina Daheley [BBC]

It seems the words had affected Zoe Ball in a similar way because after the 7 o’ clock news she shared with her listeners that if there’s too much bad news in the news (when isn’t there? I wondered) she sings! Specifically she sings, “Tina Daheley” to the tune “Morning has broken” (no, I don’t know why either!) For those of you who don’t know, Tina Daheley is the main newsreader on the Breakfast Show and is also often seen on the BBC1 News at Six and News at Ten. Whatever the reasons for Zoe’s choice of song and words, it made me smile. Blocking out the bad news. Replacing it with something simple and joyful.

Pentecost

But of course it doesn’t change the bad news. The singing acts as a wonderful distraction, but it’s not possible to sing all the time. And when the singing stops, the news stubbornly remains. Such is life.

The worldwide church has just celebrated Pentecost, the blessing of the gift of the Holy Spirit on all God’s people, whose coming Jesus had spoken about to his disciples just before his death. Much of that discourse is captured in the Gospel according to John and in chapter 16 Jesus is giving them some fairly blunt teaching. The disciples even say in verse 29, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.”

The chapter ends with these words from Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Already. Even before his death and resurrection. The world had already been overcome. By Jesus, who now has defeated death. Our risen and ascended Lord has overcome the world. With all its bad news. With all its worries. With all its despair. With all its pain. “Take heart,” says Jesus. “I have overcome the world.”

Singing is a wonderful tonic. It lifts the soul. It’s good for us. Whether we can sing tunefully or not. It doesn’t matter. And I can identify with Zoe’s desire to sing to change her mood, to drown out the bad news and fill her mind and spirit with something more positive. But that’s the equivalent of sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and sing-songing, “I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you!”

At some point we have to engage with the world as it is. The world in which Jesus says, “… you will have trouble.” So, by all means sing (or just turn off the radio) if that helps but what better way to face the world and all the bad news than by holding firm to and standing firm on the words of Jesus: “… take heart! I have overcome the world.” “…in me you may have peace.”

Every blessing,

Jane



From the Editor

In view of Jane's letter I used the picture on the front cover, which I took recently on my visit to Suffolk, for the front of Outlook. It stands outside Woodbridge Quay Church and reminded me of the song "He's got the whole world in His hands". The same is true of Tilehouse Street Baptist Church and everyone who worships here.