YOUNG PEOPLE TODAY
Good for the young people! Children and young people are campaigning in many countries on behalf of the environment. Several hundred assembled in Manchester at St.Peter’s Square. It was very inspiring to hear school children making speeches . Further Friday events are planned. Worldwide the campaign is headed by the remarkable 16 year old Swedish school girl, Greta Thunberg. She has encouraged young people all over the world to follow her example to save the environment. Very effectively the children are displaying posters declaring ‘We are doing this because we want a future.’ But as the Swedish teenager said it much more needs to be done. The national school curriculum needs to be reformed to make the climate and ecological crisis an educational priority.
But young people have their own problems. They are subject to pressures those of us who are not so young never experienced. Referrals from GPs for mental health problems of under 18 year olds were a third higher last year than in the two years previously. Currently, about 4000,000 under 18 year olds are in contact with the NHS for mental health problems like anxiety , depression and lack of exercise. The number of young people who are self-harming has risen dramatically, up 42 per cent between 2006 and 2015. The number of suicides among 15- to 19 year olds in 2017 was 177 compared with 110 in 2010. Such statistics are extremely distressing.
Why? We can be sure that it’s not due to a single cause. Different things make teenagers psychological health more fragile than in earlier times. Social media undoubtedly plays a part. From the mid-2000’s social media completely changed the way we communicate and has had a tremendous influence on us. But it has risks. Parents and teachers need to warn children of its dangers. People too readily convey information without thinking or knowing the consequences. Some are ‘groomed’ by sexual predators. Others are bullied (cyber-bullied). The universities of Sheffield and Portsmouth are conducting studies on the effect social media has on children and young people.
The Lent courses started at 7pm on Wed 13th March at Didsbury Baptist Church and are running for 5 weeks. There are also similar courses starting at 2pm at The Rectory, Christ Church, Darley Ave, West Didsbury.
The groups will be using the film “The King’s Speech” as the basis for discussion, also Hilary Brand’s book “Finding A Voice“.
The groups are very informal and not heavy-going to do go along to one of them if you are able. If you can’t make all the weeks you are still welcome to attend.
Since this issue of Windows appears before Easter and includes what goes before Easter, that is, Jesus’ suffering and death, I have focussed on Revelation 5. It combines Jesus’ suffering and victory.
Jesus is depicted as the Lamb of God. For us the Lamb usually signifies a cuddly little creature in the arms of the shepherd or skipping about in the fields at this time of year. In John’s gospel the Lamb is a fully grown animal. He is the Lamb that was slain. In other words, the gospel connects Christ with our world in which people suffer and die, the tragic world of knife crime.
The Lamb of God, very importantly, is human as well as a divine being. That is why Christ is described as the Lamb who was slain. Our Easter hope results from the fact that what Christ achieved he achieved as a human being , every bit as much as what he achieved as a divine being. That is why Revelation 5 makes a point of telling us that God does not open the tightly-sealed scroll which he could easily have done but waits till a person is found, one who is able and worthy.
Why is this? It is because God will not paternalise us by solving our problems for us, but he will work with us to till we find the solution. That is what we need constantly reminding of. Because we are beset by seemingly insuperable problems we want God to solve them for us. We forget that our education, that is the education of the human race, depends on our wrestling with our problems until we find the answers. If God were to do it for us – wave a magic wand over the world’s trouble spots – it would not help us. In no time, trouble would start all over again. We have to learn by experience however hard and painful that may prove to be. God will work with us and in us to find the answers.
That is what Revelation 5 means by telling us that God doesn’t open to sealed scroll of history but searches till someone is found who is able to do so.
Jesus is the Lamb that was slain. In other words, Jesus took life on in its own terms and made it yield an answer. This is the good news of the gospel.
That is what we celebrate at Easter. We human beings are not helpless, hapless victims of evil. With God’s help we can overcome.
Details of church events are found in the “Church Diary” and we hope you find the “Pastoral Articles” very interesting and thought-provoking.
The “Activities in Church” page also gives information about the various groups that use our church and details of who to contact if you wish to participate.
The church building is Grade 2 listed having some beautiful stained glass windows so we hope you will come to see them. More information can be found on the page “About us and the Church Building” together with photos of the windows.
Hope you enjoy looking at our website.
We hold a Cuppa Club each Monday morning (except for Bank Holidays) from 10:15am to noon in the church when young children together with parents, grandparents and carers are most welcome. There is the opportunity for the children to let off steam by playing with the various toys available and do colouring or play-dough activities. This allows the adults to chill out and have a chat with a hot drink and cake or biscuits which are available at a small charge but there is no admission cost made for the activities. We hope to see you here. If you would like more information, please ring Lesley on (0161) 442 7983.
Please note that we will be closed on Easter Monday 22nd April.