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Viewpoint from Rev Martin Upton 01/07/2022

MARTIN UPTONRev Martin Upton
Assistant Minister, Bradwell Parish Church


What are you looking forward to at the moment?  Summer holidays?  A birthday?  A wedding or anniversary?  A visit to someone or by someone special?  Some other occasion?
We have just come back from a holiday on the Welsh coast.  Having walked over 100 miles in the two weeks, we were very aware of the difference from walking in Norfolk.  In short, there’s a lot more ‘up’ than locally here!  The views – both on the coast and inland – were spectacular, and it made it worth the effort of getting there.  And sometimes, going back down was trickier than going up
dove leftWe have also just celebrated the Platinum Jubilee with all the highlights, both national and local, which marked that long weekend.  Being retired myself, I didn’t have to go back to ordinary work on the Monday, but I was very aware of the number of people who came back to ‘real life’ with quite a bump. But I did have to go into self-isolation for 4 days
That’s all ‘part of life’s rich pattern’: highs and lows, ups and downs, thrills and spills.  We can’t live life on the top of the mountain, we have to come back down to the ordinary. 
It’s one of the things that makes me trust the Bible – even the heroes are shown to be ordinary people with strengths and weaknesses, experiencing highs and lows
If it were not trustworthy, then it wouldn’t point out – let alone highlight – their errors and weaknesses.  I can think of Abraham telling lies to Pharaoh because of Sarah his wife;  Moses killing an Egyptian guard; Samson with his unguarded passion for Delilah;  King David – Israel’s super-king – but also an adulterer and murderer;  God works amazing miracles through Elijah who then runs away to hide in fear
Dove rightJesus’ disciples were a pretty motley crew as well.  ‘Speak first and think later’ would seem to be Peter’s motto.  Thomas is known for his doubting.  Matthew was a tax collector, a collaborator with the hated Romans.  Simon the Zealot was a member of a revolutionary terrorist organisation.  Three of the Twelve Disciples are so obscure that all we know are their names
Yet this group became founders of the Christian faith, which has spread throughout all the world – because God can use anybody who comes to him, regardless of background or skills.  All we have to do is turn to him and offer to work for him

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