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The Swift Phenomenon

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 

1 Corinthians 10:31

The temple cleansing passage assigned for our sermon reflection today focuses our attention on a value which should underpin our Christian faith: we live and serve for the glory of God.  


I have served in parishes - small, medium or large – if we can categorise it at all.


Have you ever wondered how a three thousand strong parish can stay and serve together?


We imagine that is only possible if the Vicar is “strong” or dictator-like.  Of course, a kind of leadership strength and maturity is needed to pastor a large parish but I know of many large churches which are pastored by pastors who looked very normal. I know because I have been there! In fact in modern secular management, the prevailing values center on servant leadership values.


So back to that question, unity is possible if it is a parish that driven by common values, not so much by common views, tastes or other forms of homogeneity. The congregation is hardly uniform when it comes to race, generations or age, political views or even languages. But a common and over-riding concern for His glory can help the parish to stay and serve together for a long time and sometimes, over many generations.


Sometimes leaders or members disagree strongly. While I don’t remember that there were banging of tables, but I have been in some leadership meetings where voices were raised -  literally. Yet, at the end of the day, these very same folks will still stick and serve together. There is a mutual submission and ultimately they do so for His glory.


Looking at the title of this Vicar Writes, you may be thinking that I will make a comment or two to criticise the Taylor Swift mania which is sweeping our country and region for these next week or so. That I should be wagging my fingers and shame the world for idolising a 34 year old American singer. You may think I should say, "And I you have bought some tickets, surrender it to our building fund!"




I am actually commenting on the phenomenon of the swift shift towards a personal and need-centered view of Christianity in our generation. This puts a lot of pressure on a local parish to change her values. Sometimes these may be done at the expense of the glory of God.


I will leave this question for us. If you and I are to be driven by a desire to glorify Him in the way we live our lives, how may it look? How will it change our behaviour and decisions?


We should also ponder on these questions collectively as a MPCC community. If the Lord willing, we experience growth in the years to come, will our unity endure?


May the Holy Spirit speak to us and guide us during this Lenten season.


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