Thought for the Month (October 2006)

Dear Friends,

If you travel along Dowding Way on the North Farm Industrial Estate, Tunbridge Wells, you cannot fail to notice the new bright shiny palaces that have been built in recent months, all dedicated to selling motor cars – different sizes, colours and prices. So different from when Henry Ford first made his Model T version when he said you could “have it in any colour, so long as it’s black.”

We are told that the consumer today is King and choice is ours, whether spending money, obtaining health care or education. Of course, that’s not true for so many. Their choices are limited by money and where you live. In many parts of the world today there is no choice, in either their government, employment or what religion they choose to practise.

In the past, Hawkenbury was also known as “Tutty’s Village”, after James Tutty, a farmer from Brenchley who owned land in Hawkenbury. To him fell the unfortunate distinction of being the last Protestant Martyr burnt at Canterbury by Queen Mary.

Many choices we make in life have a profound effect on our lives – whom we choose as our spouse, what employment we will follow, where we will live, what religion we will follow.

The biggest decision, in the words of the old hymn, is “Who is on the Lord’s side?” (Songs of Fellowship No. 607)

When Jesus asked his disciples (Matth.16:13) “Who do people say that I am?” it brought forth the response from Peter “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God!” This was the one for whom they have left their homes and jobs, and for some it was to lead to martyrdom.

Hopefully we are not called to be martyrs, but choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour has consequences, which are profound for how we view the world, the economic system, the environment, other religions, and above all other people. The Bible tells us that God hates false religions and the worship of other gods, but looks on all human beings with grace and mercy and longs for a meaningful relationship with them.

So, as we march on through this world towards the next, let us take our mark from Jesus. Let us be true to our non-conformist roots, which remind us of Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of mind.”

After all, if the world sees us as different in a special way, they might want to know where we got it!

God bless,

Pastor Richard C. Blackwell

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church