Archive for June, 2010

Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and the Holy Spirit: 25 June

June 25, 2010

A vicar friend told me recently about praying with a dying soldier in hospital. A Para, he was sent inexperienced into Northern Ireland just before ‘Bloody Sunday.’ In the chaos and fear he saw what he thought was a gun pointing at him. He fired first. Life went into slow motion as a child fell, slain by his bullet. The lad had been holding a stick.

We recognise that Bloody Sunday was a big mistake for which apology was rightly due. It was against British policy. The army were there to support the police, not to carry the fight to the terrorists. Yes there were guns hidden among the civilian population. But the British army was not to attack.

British policy, British response, to terrorism used to be different from the Israeli. When the Israelis know or even think there are guns and rockets hidden among civilians, or among international blockade breakers, they go in, their guns blazing. The Israeli policy is dangerous and wrong. But it is a policy our own Government has adopted, supported by all political parties. We have gone into Afghanistan and Iraq, guns blazing. More innocent civilians have been killed, injured, bereaved than in Northern Ireland but no-one thinks a report or a re-think is needed. ‘Payments to relatives of Afghan civilians killed in error by British forces have trebled over the past year.’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10410137.stm Our Government has been strangely muted in their response to the Israeli piracy, because they know that they, we, are guilty of the same crime.

A new acquaintance this week said what I have often heard over recent years. ‘Our soldiers shouldn’t be in Afghanistan, but now they’re there, we need to support them ‘ A man in Bilston who organised parcels for troops said the same. ‘Supporting our troops’ is popular. Getting them out as soon as we can much less so. Will the Government carry through it’s commitment to a 25% in the military budget? Not without a change of policy.

I remember when the Afghan campaign had recently started with bombing Taliban / suspected Al Quaeda targets. There was little concern for death and destruction to civilians at or near the targets. John Arnott, the leader of the church in Toronto famous for spearheading a dramatic global move of the Holy Spirit was speaking at a Leaders’ meeting in this country. He said that God, the Father, loves and longs to look down on us and say ‘That’s my boy! That’s my girl!’ He could not say that of the bomber pilots.

John Arnott and others in this Renewal preach consistently on the love of the Father, and on the need to forgive all who have injured us. ‘Give them a gift they don’t deserve – forgiveness,’ repeats John. Even when there has been no confession on their part we still need to offer the gift. The gift may be ignored and the forgiveness incomplete, but that is clearly Jesus’ way. This applies not only between individuals but between nations. (The Law of Love applies across the world.) We need to draw out the political consequences of simply knowing more deeply the love of the Father.

This week I heard John Arnott speak again in Retford, Notts. A great message about ‘honouring the anointing’, honouring the Holy Spirit who is on us as He was on Jesus. John says that the flow of the Holy Spirit has continued since the initial ‘outpouring’ in 1994 – but is now increasing again, in both strength and breadth. Others have said that September last year seemed to have marked a fresh increase in healings, prophecy etc. Hallelujah!

A friend this week gave me dinner and mentioned that he has a ‘sticky-up’ toe, eased but not fixed by physiotherapy. I thought of offering to pray but held back, unsure how he would take the offer. The following morning I regretted my cowardice, depriving a friend of possible benefit. I thought Jesus accepted my apology and said I could now pray with him over the phone instead. Being pointed to praying over the phone was a surprise, and a challenge.

My friend readily agreed to prayer over the phone. He said the damage had been done through years of running and football. I said the Holy Spirit could still bring healing, and his body has natural repair systems which probably needed boosting. We asked for electricity down his back to boost his ability to repair the toe. He said he could feel a gentle tingling pulse. After a while his toe was flat to the ground again for the first time in ages. Hallelujah!

Hurting feet are my symptom of the moment. Last week a woman with gout in her foot reported great easing of pain and more movement after prayer for a stream of cleansing water. I thought her foot looked less purple and swollen. Hallelujah indeed! The Holy Spirit is flowing today!

Roger Harper

Advertisements

Israel, helping victims, and JCB: 14 June

June 14, 2010

Still aghast at the Israeli attack on the blockade-breaking ships. What will become of the poor Israeli people when the response to their government’s phobic and arrogant militarism fully kicks in?

Many Jews were just as aghast:

Rabbi Michael Lerner, in the US, with others issued a statement:

“We regret and deplore the killings which took place as Israeli troops, in defiance of international law, boarded and assaulted, wounded many and killed some  of the participants in a flotilla seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza (itself a morally outrageous policy) to bring humanitarian aid…

… there was no need for any of this to have happened. Israel could have waited for the boats to arrive at shore and then sent military to search what was being brought to Gaza to ensure that it was in fact humanitarian aid. Moreover, as the Israeli peace movement Gush Shalom pointed out today, the core of the issue remains Israel’s attempt to starve and punish the entire population of Gaza for the activities of Hamas…

… We continue to support the State of Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and for Palestine to exist as a homeland for the Palestinian people. The violence must stop.”

For more see www.tikkun.org

Or see the UK organisation Jews for Justice for Palestinians: www.jfjfp.com

Then Derek Bird killed and injured neighbours in Cumbria. Derek’s full background needs somehow to come out. What led up to him having no sense of any boundaries of decent conduct? What happened on his holidays in Thailand? What else did he do with his spare time? People don’t suddenly leap from ordinary to psychotic behaviour without some stepping stones.

It’s good to hear a fund for the victims has been set up. See http://www.cumbriafoundation.org/ At first the families were saying that they wanted all donations to go to the Great North Air Ambulance. Such a generous attitude, but I prefer to give directly to them. It’s part of us saying ‘We’re all affected. We’re in this together.’ ‘If one part of the body hurts, the others send resources for healing.’

12 youngsters from land contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear accident are now spending a month in and around Ashbourne and Uttoxeter. This month will add two years to their lives. They’re a great bunch. A couple of girls on their way from a tour of the JCB factory near Utttoxeter to a picnic were saying to each other how beautiful the countryside is. On the way back home they were talking about which boys ‘liked’ which girls. They charged delightedly into the playground at Carsington Water shouting ‘Class!’ – the Russian equivalent of ‘Cool!’

Locals putting on these events for the Chernobyl children have been great too.

At JCB I asked the man taking us round why the firm has survived and done well, when so many other British companies have folded. ‘It’s the ownership,’ he said straight away. Mr John C Bamford set up the company after the war, inventing the digger as we know it. His family still own the whole company and his son runs it. They have nothing to do with the stock market – hence their ongoing global success.

Roger Harper