Ian’s Idea – continues

Ian’s ideas – Revd Ian Whitham writes . . .
Dear Friends 
   The Lions Roar
I am sure that many of you have been to Chessington World of Adventures over the years. I don’t know about you but it always feels like I am in a different country when I am there even though the Theme Park used to be just a few miles away from where I lived in West Ewell, in Epsom, about three years ago. Now unlike the other theme parks in the UK, Chessington has its own Zoo and I really enjoy having a look around, it makes a welcome change to standing in all those queues. The best part of the Zoo for me is the Lion and Tiger enclosure. I stand there looking through the glass windows with great respect for these big cats because they are beautiful animals but also powerful……..

However as I look at them I cannot help feeling sorry for them, because they are not truly a lion or a tiger. Yes, they look like them and sound like them when they roar but somehow I cannot help feeling they are incomplete. “Why?”, you may ask. Well they are caged animals, they have been tamed, they are not free to hunt and be what they were born to be: wild, dangerous and free. That said I would not like to jump into their dens anytime soon!

Now as I reflected on this I realised that so often as Christians our faith can be like these lions and tigers: caged. There could of course be lots of reasons for this. Personal circumstances, our lifestyles, we feel God is far away from us at the moment, or maybe we are feeling oppression by the Devil because we have opened ourselves up to him in some way.
However one reason for us feeling caged like those wild cats could also be false teaching.
Now don’t get me wrong: I believe we should ask the difficult questions: why is there suffering, can we trust the Bible, did Jesus really exist, did he do all those miracles and in the light of Easter did he rise again from the dead? However there is a lot of very one-sided teaching out there these days which undermines who we are and what we believe: they will say Jesus did not really do those miracles or rise again, he was just a good and wise teacher who was misunderstood and that a lot of myths grew up around him.

One of the problems with this kind of teaching is it really does undermine people’s faith, it takes away something that is very important. Like those big cats our faith becomes tamed and respectable, not dangerous, exciting, life- and world-changing. I believe that it is that kind of Christian faith that is needed today because as I look at our world things are not getting any better; in fact you could say they are getting worse. I believe that as we approach Easter we need to be reminded of what the Apostle Paul said, that “we need to hold fast to the teachings of the Apostles” and what Paul himself taught and not to listen to false teaching. As he said, “they will come in among us and draw us away from true faith”.

So may you over this Easter time be reminded that our faith is miraculous, exciting and life-changing! Remember we believe in a living God not a dead one, who walks with us, wanting us to challenge the status quo, to stand up for truth, justice and the oppressed just like Jesus did. 
God bless you all and may you all have a great Easter and not
eat too much chocolate!