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Worship and mission reinforce and reflect each other. Worship flows out to witness, and witness to others leads to thanksgiving and praise for God's new order – His Kingdom and people (Rev 7:9-10).

At the centre of this story is the cross and our participation in this through the Lord's Supper. Christian mission must point to the cross and seek to celebrate this mercy and grace in acting out the wonder of the story through the Lord's Supper. Out of this flows the mission of God entrusted to us to pass on to others. The 'wow' of the cross ought to lead from confession to 'worship' and then to 'witness'.

This movement in our week counters all other movements that seek to mess with us in terms of our allegiances and our purpose – the worldly liturgies that centre on the self, on instant gratification, on living in the 'now'. How are we to be shaped or reshaped – to be fit for service? Through worship that leads to mission and mission that leads to worship.

Read more: WORSHIP AS MISSION AND MISSION AS WORSHIP

change5LAST YEAR I READ A REVIEW IN THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER OF A NEW BOOK: INVENTING THE
INDIVIDUAL: THE ORIGINS OF WESTERN LIBERALISM. THE FINAL WORDS OF THE REVIEW WERE:

But the book is...not too hard to grasp, and its basic principle – "that the Christian conception of God provided the foundation for what became an unprecedented form of human society" – is, when you think about it, mind-bending. (27/01/2015)

The author is Oxford historian and philosopher Larry Siedentop. He traces the history of what we now call Western Civilisation, from the Roman Empire to the end of the Middle Ages. Little by little, step by step, the outlook of Europeans changed radically. Many of the consequences were unintended. Who would have guessed that the life and teachings of a Jewish rabbi would have produced such outcomes as Western democracy? Siedentop traces how this came about.

Earlier this year I was thinking about how Christianity builds a new form of human society, as I sat in a funeral, in a Fijian village. We were mourning the passing of a deaf Fijian man. Serevi had been a leader in the deaf community, and he had had prominent roles in Fijian special education. There was a big turnout. Vibrant tropical flowers adorned the simple church, skilfully crafted mats and tapa cloth overlaid the coffin, and the beautiful harmonies of the village choir led the event, and followed each speaker. Each speaker's contribution was translated into signlanguage, or, if they were Deaf, the translation was into Fijian and/or into English. The local sign-interpreters were fluent and competent, as were the deaf speakers. And yet the history of sign-language use in Fiji is short. The most significant players in the introduction of deaf communication were Christians motivated by a certain belief about God and about people.

Read more: BRINGING CHANGE

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