Anger and Hope: How NI haass to embrace forgiveness.

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What is it about someone saying something we disagree that gets us all riled up? Is it bad to get angry or is it more important how we react to anger? Anger can lead to hate which can lead to violence. When there are individuals or groups of people who stand against everything we believe in, our initial reaction is to get angry.

Coming from Northern Ireland, a country that has been damaged by people who have hurt each other over and over in ways that have caused the deaths of thousands of people, I have seen first hand how anger can take over.

Not all anger is a bad thing though.

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An Easter message for Christmas: Flags and our identity

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There is a story in the Bible about the moment just before Jesus was taken captive by the Government. Jesus was about to experience unimaginable pain and torture. He was going to be humiliated and He was going to face death. His best friends had recently deserted him at the time when He needed them most. One of whom was responsible for turning Jesus in.

Up steps Peter, the same Peter who denied knowing Jesus three times. He had a chance to redeem himself so he takes out his sword and cuts off the ear of one of Jesus’ captors.

If there was a moment for the son of God to use all the powers He had at His disposal, this was it. This was the moment that they had all been waiting for. Jesus could now accomplish what he promised and there would be no chance for anyone who stood in His way. The violence that they had planned for Jesus would be no match for the revolution He could now unleash.

Except, that’s not exactly how the story went. Continue reading

Why we should stop caring about flags. Matthew 6.

My Pastor at Village, Lucas came up with the hashtag #inBelfastasitisinHeaven a while ago that he uses often uses on twitter.

That prayer is as much needed today in Belfast as it has in a long time.

He of course is borrowing from the Lord’s Prayer. A prayer that is echoed by thousands of people every Sunday in churches all across Northern Ireland. Yesterday you may well have said it. We’re taught it from an early age and it becomes so engrained that we can recite it in our sleep.

Which is partly why I have a problem with it.

Not the prayer itself but how we have become so over familiar with it that I suspect we have forgotten or indeed never truly understood the power it has.

In case you don’t know it here it is.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Reading through it seems like a lovely prayer that we can use if we can’t think of our own words and need a little prompting. It seems to cover everything that Christians think are important. God, Heaven, forgiveness and sins. Pray for these things and we will be fine.

But it’s not an easy prayer to pray and mean. Continue reading