wepray - March 2022

I woke up in preparation to write this months wePRAY and almost the first thing I read was an article about former President Trump’s appearance on Fox News. According to the article, Trump had been told: ‘We’re just learning that US officials are looking at a potential amphibious landing now in Odessa, Ukraine’. His immediate response was to question the wisdom of American troops involvement in the Russian conflict. Whilst this statement comes from a sense of confusion or misunderstanding, it made me wonder what the internets most commonly held mis-beliefs are. Below are my top 5 favourites!


  1. 7% of Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows! (Really?)

  2. The Great wall of China can be seen from space (Nothing human made can be seen from space).

  3. The forbidden fruit mentioned in the Book of Genesis is an apple! (The type of fruit is never told).

  4. Coffee is made of beans! (It’s actually made of seeds called a bean!)

  5. The Titanic didn’t exist and was a complicated Insurance Fraud. (Why subject us to that film – and song – if it wasn’t real… that’s a cruel and unusual punishment if it isn’t!!)

  6. Not everything you read on the internet is true?! (www.wikipedia.org!)


I’m sure you’ve probably heard a few other strange things that people believe which would be equally at home on my list (I’d love to hear from you if you have some…)


The reason I wanted to start with this was because we’re heading towards Easter. The beginning of March marks the start of Lent, the period of the Christian calendar where those who follow Jesus traditionally spend 40 days in reflection prior to Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For many non-Christians they may add Jesus, his miracles and resurrection, to this list. Our film this month focuses on the weeks after Jesus’ resurrection and the task one Roman Tribune (A Roman military commander), Clavius is given in searching for the body of Christ, in order to disprove the rumours of a risen Messiah.


So, the simple question for you is this… what do you believe?


Enjoy!!


Risen



At some level we have all been present, or alive during significant moments in human history. Some of you may be old enough to remember the Queen’s ascension to the throne in 1952. Others (slightly younger) may recall watching on small TVs as Bobby Moore lifted the World Cup in ‘66. For those of you who are younger still, the Falklands War, Zeebrugge or Challenger Disaster, and more recently 9/11. These are significant, moments that shaped a generation.

This is the opening premise of Risen, a film which finds Clavius, a Roman Tribune (and Pontius Pilate’s go to man for problem solving) being tasked with discovering where the body of Jesus the Nazarene has gone. Pilate is dealing with the fall-out of Barabbas’ pardon and the pressure being brought by Caiaphas and the Pharisees, when the body disappears from the tomb. Caiaphas and his cronies, fearful of scripture being fulfilled cry foul and it is Clavius who is tasked with averting a civil uprising. Pilate see’s Clavius as the perfect witness, because the narrative places him at the Crucifixion commanding the Roman soldiers. He has seen the event and the death and given the command to pierce Jesus’ side. As a soldier, the one thing Clavius clearly knows is death… and this is what he’s witnessed here… first-hand.

What follows is a journey through the days after the tomb has been discovered empty. All the questions and searching that you’d expect of someone desperately trying to prove that what they’ve seen with their own eyes must be true.


In a moving piece of evangelism, what we see is someone who has little or no interest in the Messiah, setting out to prove that this man was simply that, a man, not the Messiah risen from the dead. He meets and interrogates followers of Christ who share of the miracles of the Nazarene with great joy and hope.


Eventually, having threatened, cajoled, bribed and demanded, he discovers the Disciples hiding in a room, where sat amongst them is Jesus, the man he helped put to death.

As Christians in the 21st Century, we live by faith. We have to, as these events in history happened long before even the oldest of us were alive. Unlike Clavius, we don’t have the ability to question what we saw with our own eyes, rather we’re called to respond to the good news we’ve heard and experienced. Perhaps strangely, it isn’t the analytical data that convinces many (though that is available), it’s the heart which can persuade us most. It is our own experiences and personal interaction with Christ through the spirit which is what often ‘clinches the deal’ when it comes to our decision to become a Christian or not.


In Risen we’re left with a (hopeful) cliff hanger… despite all Clavius experiences and the relationship he builds with Jesus through his time with him, when asked by Peter to ‘fish for men’, he declines, however, as the film reaches it’s climax and he’s asked if he believes what everyone is saying about Jesus is true or not he responds with these final words:


“I believe… I can never be the same.”

As east to west we are privileged to serve as Jesus’ hands and feet in the projects we support. We are blessed to meet children, young people and families who are experiencing difficulties and challenges which are hard and upsetting and heart breaking. Our (God given) mission is to bring hope to young lives; to be as Christ for them in a place of darkness and hopelessness. It is through these encounters, and in the ways we serve and support, that they have the opportunity to experience just a little part of God’s love for them… and maybe… just maybe, ‘never be the same’ either.


God Bless


Dan


March Prayer Requests


This month we’ve asked Clare to share prayer requests from the Emerge project. We also wanted to share the answers to prayer that happened when Emerge was our October focus:


Answered Prayer
  • Thank God for Clare who will be taking on the Emerge Project maternity cover. Please pray for a smooth transition as Clare is inducted and settles in over the next month. Clare has settled in really well to the team and proving to be an amazing asset to both Emerge and east to west.

  • Thank God for the amazing Emerge volunteers who so willing give their time and energy to supporting young people. The team continues to grow, and we are so thankful for this as it allows us to expand our provision. Do pray that more are added as we seek to expand our provision to 6 evenings a week. We’re really pleased to have launched a Friday evening provision (5:30-7:30pm). The team also continues to grow with more volunteers and team coming on board.

  • Pray for the young people we are working with in the community and wisdom for our team as they support them. We’re really blessed to carry your prayers into hospital every evening we’re in.

  • Pray that our team will be ‘bringers of hope’ in the hospital, to those families and young people in crisis but also to the hospital staff as they move into what could be a very busy winter. It was a very busy winter period, and we’re grateful that we’ve been able to serve in such a valuable way.

  • Thank God for the continued strength of our relationship with the hospital. Pray that this continues, and we are a blessing to them. We continue to build these relationships and grow our presence in the hospital – thank you God for going ahead of us on this journey.

  • Pray for Simon and Eliz as they embark on the journey into parenthood. Pray that the birth would go well and that the baby would be delivery safely and in good health. Baby Judah was delivered in good health and family are thriving!


Prayer Requests

1: Give thanks for the volunteers and their commitment to the project.

2: Please pray for the new volunteers who’ve joined over the past few weeks – give thanks for their joining the team and pray for safety and health as they visit the hospital.

3: Give thanks for all the St. Peter’s staff as they come out of the Covid restrictions.

4: Great news that Jenni is joining the team as the new Emerge RSW – pray that she settles in quickly and well.

5: Give thanks for Liz (who’s stepping down as a volunteer), for her amazing work during the early years of Emerge – she’s been a ‘good and faithful servant’ over the years and been a real blessing.


COMING SOON: Witness