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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 09/04/10


Mary Ives
Manager, YMCA Great Yarmouth
Just recently I was privileged to be part of the Women’s World Day of Prayer service held in Bradwell. The theme for this year’s service was taken from Psalm 150 ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’. The women of Cameroon had prepared the dove leftservice, which was flavoured by real enthusiasm for their faith. The service started with some enthusiastic singing and marching round the church led by a group of young people. Certainly this made a change from sitting in pews!
For many people Christianity is thought to be boring and lacking in any real meaning or excitement.  As a young person forced into attending church I found it extremely dull and lacking in anything which would attract young people to worship! I ask the question why? Psalm 150 is all about praising God with our whole beings. So where have we lost the fire and enthusiasm that was there in the days of the Psalmist! Since finding a deep personal faith I am much more enthusiastic in my worship – and engage not only my head, but my heart. Some modern worship is peppered with arms raised, waving flags and dance – to the concern of some of the older more traditionalist church goers.
Maybe there is a need for Christians to come to a more common understanding of each other and tolerance of different forms of worship. Some of my most meaningful experiences of worship have been where Christians of different Dove righttraditions put aside their differences and celebrated their similarities. At Easter time all Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, the core of their faith. This may take place in different ways, but for some this is an opportunity to share with Christians from differing traditions. However, God expects those who follow Him not only to share with others, but also to grow in their personal faith.
In the New Testament is a book called Galatians which was written by St Paul. In there he talks about what should happen to those who follow the way of God. He likens this to fruit – as an apple tree produces apples, a pear tree produces pears and so on, so those who follow God should produce ‘the fruit of the Spirit’. The list given is so positive - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As he so rightly says against such things there is no law. Is this then the outward mark of a Christian, one who has put their life into the hands of the almighty, yet loving God? I wonder if I met you and spoke to you today would you be full of enthusiasm for your faith, showing the positive aspects of the Christian life and excited in sharing with other people your love for God