In the UK

There is a saying that 'No man is an island'. Today, particularly, we are becoming aware of our global connections if not our global responsibilites. In the past, of course, England had strong links with the Continent - not always peacefully motivated, it must be admitted. But we were able to speak French and Latin as well as English in the courts here. So the present climate of 'knitting up' together has something of déjà vu about it, even if it is now essential to do so. From the Christian point of view, of course, there should be a realistic internationalism about our way of going about things. We belong to one another in a deeper sense than that espoused by the global market. Christianity stands for the acceptance of all humankind under the single rule of God. 'Your kingdom come' is an often repeated phrase from the Lord's prayer. When first spoken by Jesus he intended it to be understood as the continuation of the kingdom 'for all' which was to be s een in his own selfless and God orientated life - and death. Today, in the struggle of nations to come to a self identity after centuries of oppression and violent struggle, the Christian 'good news' of the kingdom for all, announced and inaugurated by Jesus, seems as far off as ever of realisation. But that would be a very superficial judgement. Through the centuries the Christian church has made disciples for Jesus. Admittedly, the track record of the Christian church throughout the centuries is not without much spot and stain. But, one by one, Christians became the ambassadors of God's kingdom. For many of them this was a heroic task - to show the grace, mercy and lovingkindness of God to all in the name of Jesus Christ. The challenge today is perhaps even greater - to belong to Jesus as a member of the community of Christians which we call Church and to seek to make the truth of the gospel radiate from within the church, first of all by the expression of our faith in worship with Christ and then as he sen ds us out to witness to him and to the Father's kingdom present among us.

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