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All set for the carol service... ... See MoreSee Less

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We're part of the Bristol Churches Winter Night Shelter for the homeless again this year. Here's a video including some footage at Hope from last year.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZfQHYM-bNE&feature=youtu.be
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Bluebells & Bicycles: An Introduction

words by Alice Bond

The first of a six part series by Alice Bond.

Some people love the vulnerable offering of the snow drop, whilst others love the bright audacity of the daffodil as harbingers of Spring.

For me, my joy, my relief, my comfort and assurance that winter is passed and Spring is here is in the bluebell, or rather in bluebells; in the shimmering carpets of purples, blues, greens and dark browns that appear in woods all over England in the Spring.

For me the snow drops and daffodils speak of Spring coming, but bluebells speak of Spring already here. And whatever is going on around the world – wars, famines, secret broken heartedness, there is something so deeply comforting about their beautiful, gentle, humble, annual emerging.

Bluebells speak to me of God – of His faithfulness, His love, His beauty, His kindness, His generosity, His mystery and His presence. They remind me that there is always hope, because in Him, Spring has come to us.

Through bluebells I feel His invitation into joy, and connectedness, and wholeness. But I am aware that just as woods which facilitate bluebells need to be stewarded, so I am designed to steward my response to His invitation.

And this is where bicycles come in. One inspiring pastor once spoke of riding a bicycle as a helpful image for navigating the mystery of God’s grace and our response, between His sovereignty and our free will.

He described this tension not as train tracks which never meet, but rather as like riding a bicycle, where balance is found through endlessly connecting with the two alternatives. If we either solely simply ‘rely’ on God’s grace or on our own effort we will go round in circles and eventually fall off. But if we use both pedals in rhythm we will find ourselves enjoying the ride.

So one minute I put my foot on the pedal of resting in God’s grace, His goodness, His choice to be connected with me, His pursuit of me. The next minute I put my pedal on my response, my hunger for Him, my desire for connectedness, the re-orientation of my whole being and life in response to who He is and His vision for the world.

Bluebells and bicycles: the beautiful, dynamic, living, fruitful partnership between us and Him.

‘His divine power has given us everything we need for life… Therefore my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election’. Peter 65AD