Conversations Word on the Week 19th June 2021.
The G7 (Group of Seven) is an organisation of the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies. They are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States. Included, by invitation, is the EU. They met, last weekend, in the Carbis Bay Hotel near St Ives in Cornwall in blazing sunshine!
There followed three days of face to face conversations following the guidelines their subordinates had prepared to produce an agreed joint statement on health, vaccines, the economy, the environment and foreign policy.
The elephant in the room – the UK’s non-compliance with the Northern Ireland Protocol which, although only agreed earlier this year, Prime Minister Johnson wished to ditch! The US sent a rebuke to the UK over this matter some two weeks before the G7 meeting. It wisely singled out the discordant matters from the conversation!
Speaking after the G7, Boris Johnson said that there was “complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions and make sure we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement”. This piece of fiction presumably allows Johnson to make a meal of the British sausage which will have to pay a tariff to enter Northern Ireland at the end of this month!
Meeting of leaders is deemed to be important in order to get to know each other, to some extent and see how they react to the various crises. Biden’s meeting with Putin gave each a better understanding of the other. The fact that the meeting terminated earlier than the allotted time probably means that the existing views of each were confirmed!
On an everyday level sometimes a conversation will stick in your mind. John Chapman was a well-known evangelist in Australia who visited this country a number of times. He told the story of the time he brought his vestments to the dry cleaners to be laundered. There was a feisty assistant behind the counter. She asked, “Are you a clergyman”? “You know I am” John replied; “Well why are you not wearing your white neck thing”? “We are out to get you” John said, “there are hundreds of us you know”!
The conversation paused then she asked, “What I want to know is this, can you forgive sin”? “Not in a million years John replied”. “That’s what I thought to” she said – “but I know someone who can” John added. John then introduced the lady to Jesus!
He always carried a Bible and took her to the passage where the Apostle Peter wrote about Jesus, who was God incarnate, bearing our sins when he died on the cross (1 Peter Chapter 2 verse 24).
He explained that another of the Apostles, John, had written that Jesus’s death had the power to purify us from all sin when received with faith by the believer. He went on to encourage the acknowledgement of our sins in prayer to God and to rely on His faithfulness to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John Chapter 1 verses 7 – 9).
Gospel, (that is ‘good news’) conversations can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, bring about lasting change for the better and grant the forgiveness she was looking for. She would also receive the peace of mind that the Apostle Paul speaks about in his letter to the church in Philippi “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians chapter 4 verse 7).
And that peace does not need a protocol it is guaranteed by Christ!