Be ye transformed even in the 21st century
Many Christians, no matter where they are on their spiritual journey, will often read Romans 12:1-2 to remind themselves of how God wants them to live.
In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote: ‘Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:1-2).
This Scripture is applicable to all Christians – no matter their age, or the culture/society they live in.
Christians are called to always be counter-cultural, but the age we currently live in offers unique challenges to our faith – many of them coming via the Media.
The 20th century was the age of mass media. Technology-enabled the quick dissemination of images and ideas – some of which are in total opposition to the Christian ethos and lifestyle – via cinema, radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. The advent of social media this century has made it even worse.
With mass media, power was concentrated in the hands of gatekeepers; social media is available to all and has made it possible for individuals – irrespective of their opinions and lifestyle – to share their voice to anyone who will listen, and potentially build a mass audience. Sometimes that audience includes believers.
The Media is one of the most influential forces on this earth, and Christians are not immune to its influence, especially in these challenging times. Therefore, it’s crucial for Christians to always remember they serve the Lord God Almighty – and to constantly remind themselves they are called to influence the world, not the other way around.
The Apostle Paul makes it clear we must be totally devoted to God, and we must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our thoughts and our hearts, so we can become more Christlike in our behaviour and thinking. Doing so will enable us to build the resistance needed to withstand worldly pressures and temptations that seek to draw us away from Christ.
There is much in this world that seeks to distract us from pursuing God’s purposes, but if our constant prayer is for God to renew our minds, it’s a prayer He’ll always be sure to answer.
Sunday school is an important tradition to continue
It’s noticeable that as the descendants of the Windrush Generation have become more assimilated into British society, they are dropping some important cultural traditions. Sending their children to Sunday school is one of them.
Whether they were Christian or not, the Windrush Generation sent their children to Sunday school. Most had attended Sunday school themselves in the Caribbean, and recognised the value of their children doing so, and in my view it’s a tradition that should continue.
Through attending Sunday school, children learn about Bible stories; get taught the difference between right and wrong; make new friends, and get the opportunity to learn new skills, like speaking and performing in public.
When I was a young child, I attended the Sunday school at the United Reformed Church down the road from my house. I used to love dressing up in my Sunday best clothing, and attending the lessons. I still remember my Sunday school teacher. She was an English lady called Mrs Phillips, who was a wheelchair user. Whatever disability she had did not stop her faith shining through, however, and it was obvious she loved teaching children about the Lord. I particularly loved the fact that every year we would receive prizes based on our Sunday school attendance – usually a faith-based book, which was almost always a good read.
I believe parents do a disservice to their children by not sending them to Sunday school. Faith is taught, not caught – the same with having good positive values. Sunday school will help your child in both areas as well as continue an important cultural tradition.
Walking to wellness
During the lockdown I made sure that walked daily to maintain my sanity and my weight. Walking alone is good, but I have found that walking with others is much more fun – especially after joining We Walk Wednesdays. It’s an initiative started
by comedian Angie Le Mar in May this year, to provide a place where people could gather outdoors to meet, enjoy laughter therapy, walk together and end with a Candy Dance (aka ‘Electric Slide’) to music.
As a result of it being posted on social media, people have been inspired to set up their own walks, and it now takes place in four parks across London and also in Sheffield.
The sense of shared camaraderie has been fun, and some celebrities who’ve joined the park walks include newsreader Charlene White, Diane Abbott MP, and journalist Brenda Emmanus.
I hope to continue the walks during the autumn season, as my focus is now on optimising my health and fitness, and what better way to do so than walking and talking with others?
Written by: Marcia Dixon