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At the front of St Mark's building there is a billboard which normally gets changed each month.
People may wonder what the meaning of particular posters are.
Every month we will provide an explanation so there is no confusion.
Grow Your Vision
Terms and conditions (T&Cs) are inescapable these days. When you sign up for insurance, join a sports group, attend an event, make a purchase, visit a website….almost everything we do comes with a little asterisk indicating pages and pages of fine print.
There are so many T&Cs in our life it would take hours out of our week to read them all before ticking every little box of agreement (the average time it takes to read one T&C is half an hour). So we don’t. A Deloitte survey found that over 90% of consumers do not read the online legal terms they agree to. We click the box and hope in the benevolence of the service provider, or at least the laws governing the service, to protect us. The Bible could be compared to T&Cs. It’s certainly a long document with some language we’re not used to. It’s often left unopened, unread, perhaps vaguely assented to. We could consider God as an obscure service provider who we hope wont take advantage of us for not reading the fine print.
However there are some important differences between the Bible and the usual T&Cs. Firstly, T&Cs are generally there to protect the service provider, not us. But the Bible is written for our benefit. Secondly, normal T&Cs are written in legalese which makes them rather inaccessible to most of us. On the contrary, notwithstanding some cultural references and vocabulary, the Bible has been written with the intention of communicating to us and for us to understand.
To continue the analogy, in the Bible the omnipotent “service provider” is reaching out to us, to provide us guidance on how to best “use” our life. More than that, in the Bible God is revealing Himself, coming close, and inviting us into a safe and intimate relationship with Him. The terms and conditions on offer aren’t about protecting God but us.
Protecting us from our own mistakes and evil and the consequent punishment. As God invites us through the prophet Isaiah: “Come to me and listen. Listen to me so you may live. I will make an agreement with you that will last forever.” Isaiah 55:3
The Bible is indeed a very long read - longer than any T&Cs. But reading it isn’t an intellectual process, it’s a relational one. When you read the Bible you are getting to know your creator and yourself. Your creator is perfect and good. You are sinful and weak. When you tick the Bible’s I agree box you are entering a contract of eternal life and forgiveness. That’s why the Bible is the best T&Cs you’ll ever read.
Dear God, please help me to read the Bible, to listen to you and accept your offer of eternal life and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Anxiety. Worry. Concern that something will go wrong. Heart palpitations. Feeling hot. A pit in the stomach. Restlessness. Racing thoughts. Sweaty palms. What does anxiety feel like for you? And what do you do with that experience?
All of us feel anxious at times. When we are not sure we’re safe. When something we want orcare about may be in jeopardy. It can help us protect what’s important to us. But there are ways we can respond to anxiety that make it feel worse. We can sometimes get anxious about feeling anxious. We can interpret our worry as something being wrong with us. We may have even heard a “christian” message that anxiety means a lack of faith.
When we criticise ourselves for our anxiety, or try to avoid our worries hoping they will go away, it only serves to make us feel worse. God doesn’t ask you to pretend you’re not anxious. He knows your worries and fears. Even more than that, he cares deeply about you and what you are experiencing.
As 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxieties on God because he cares for you.” Anxiety is part of life in this troubled world. But the bible teaches we can take our worries to the loving God of this world. We can call out to him in our distress. We can express our fears to him. We can put our anxiety into his loving capable hands. This doesn’t mean our troubles will disappear but it does mean we are not in them alone -- we have the ruler of the universe caring for us in them.
Do you have anxiety you can cast on to God now?
Dear God, I feel so anxious and worried right now about ______________. Will you please help me with this? Will you please be with me in my troubles and help me trust you care. In Jesus name, Amen.
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