We welcomed Bishop Mark to our churches in July 2019 and he talked to us about the importance of God in our lives. He showed us two balls – a football and a tennis ball and asked us to imagine they were the sun and the earth and did we know which one rotated around the other.
The Earth was once believed to be the centre of the universe. For 2,000 years ancient astronomers believed that the Earth was static and had other celestial bodies travelling in circular orbits around it. They believed this because of the apparent movement on the Sun and planets in relation to their viewpoint. In 1543, Copernicus published his Sun-centred model of the Solar System which put the Sun at the centre of our solar system.
Bishop Mark then asked us “ who is the centre of your universe” and for most people it is ourselves and we think everything should revolve around what we want and our preferences. This is especially true of children who find it difficult to see things from another’s point of view and see the bigger picture. It is very hard for young children to see the difference between want and need, and they need everything now. As we grow and mature we should get a wider view of things and also be able to put the need of others before our own. We also realise that we can’t have everything we want and that some things need to wait.
As Christians God should be the centre of our universe in our personal lives and in the church. The reading from Colossians chapter 1 which we had on the Sunday Bishop Mark came, talks about Jesus and his relationship with God. “He is the image of the invisible God- the firstborn of all creation” Jesus shows us what God is like – he is the image, exact likeness. If we want to know what God is like then look at Jesus, who was with God when the world was created. Other phrases in this passage that describe Jesus are:
“ He is before all things
He is the head of the body
He is the beginning
The firstborn of the dead so He may come to have first place in everything.”
The letter to the Colossians was written by Paul from prison to a Christian group in modern-day Turkey. Some members of the young church in Colossae had adopted a set of beliefs that downgraded the role of Christ Jesus. So Paul shows Christ as both presenting to us the true nature of God and being our way to God through Christ (source Michael Arundel)
God gives his son the most important part to play in the world and our lives. So let’s think about how we can make Jesus the centre of our universe.
When we meet together as a Christian community how often is God and Jesus part of our conversation. We talk about God as part of the church services but is He part of our discussion afterwards over coffee? When we have meetings in the church whether it is PCC, mothers union, youth Church or any of the other groups we participate in as a community we usually start with a prayer but then how much is God invited into our thoughts, discussions and decisions?
When we invite non-churchgoers into our community at open events such as the flower festival can we use these as opportunities to talk about our faith and show that Jesus is the centre of our universe?
In our personal lives, we should be confident to talk about what we believe in. We say the creed every Sunday which states what we believe but it is hard to include this in a conversation even within the church and even harder outside. I had experience of this recently when during a conversation someone said they didn’t believe in God. It was difficult but I responded gently with “ well I do, and my faith is a source of support and strength”. That was the end of the conversation but maybe it will develop in the future.
The end of the passage in Colossians states that “It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ”
Later in Colossians Paul tells us that we should “set our minds on things that are above not on things that are on earth”. We should put off those things that are earthly and put on the things that Jesus wants us to do and be. There is a list in Colossians chapter 3 of the things we should not do if we follow Christ and one of these is greed. If we are clothes ourselves with the new self then we too will be the image of our creator. There is no place for hatred and racism in Gods world. Everyone is equal but greed and the striving for things and money can separate communities in the same way as racism can. Luke’s gospel tells us not to store up treasure for ourselves but to be rich towards God.
The best way to show that God is the centre of our universe is by the way we live. How we talk to people, the help we offer, the kindness we show, the support and love we give, listening and talking. Another way is to give generously, as we are able, of our money and time to keep the church functioning. Let’s try to start each day asking God quietly to guide our words and actions during that day.
I hope we can all grow in maturity in our faith by putting Jesus at the centre of our universe in our personal, working, community and church life.