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Viewpoint from Rev Derrick Hill 05/10/2012

Rev Derrick Hill
Pastor, Park Baptist Church

So, what’s out there?

Derrick ProfileDove rightI’m writing these notes just after the “Out There 2012” International Festival of Circus and Street Arts once again filled St George’s Park, right next to our church, with crowds flocking to see some extraordinary sights – with many of the acts coming to us from continental Europe.
The previous weekend had also seen throngs of people, that time flocking to the quayside for the Maritime Festival, celebrating Great Yarmouth’s proud history as a seaport – and recognising the sense of adventure and exploration that led many of our forebears to explore the great “out there”.
There is little doubt that in the current recession, when many people have been struggling with the basic routines of daily life such as buying food and paying bills, there remains a real interest in things beyond our current observation. You only have to look at the racks in the local video store to see the extent to which sci-fi, for example, continues to fascinate. Surely most of us can quote that familiar phrase from Star Trek – “Where no man has gone before”
For many that quest for something beyond themselves finds expression in spirituality – and all the evidence is that, whilst the doom-mongers quote figures of declining church attendances, significant numbers of people are engaged in a search for something “out there” that is truly spiritually meaningful.
Such a situation is hardly new! The Bible describes many periods in which the dove leftlongstanding faiths of Judaism and Christianity lost their vibrancy and people searched elsewhere for something to fulfil their needs. However history tells how the “new religions” foundered over time whilst the historic faiths stood the test and became resurgent as new life was breathed into them. And if indeed, as many of us believe, there is one eternal, unchanging God “out there” that is hardly surprising. Perhaps there is nothing really new?
In recent months, Christians from across the Borough have been meeting regularly to pray for revival – and have been experiencing a renewed sense of unity and vibrancy in their work of bearing witness to seekers about the person and character of the unchanging God. And one of God’s most amazing promises is that “if you seek Him, He will be found by you”
Jesus Himself, said: “Seek and you will find” – so if you are looking “out there”, seeking something meaningful in life, why not try seeking Jesus?