from the Ipswich Christadelphians

October 2019



Funny old year we've had so far – nothing to do with Brexit, Trump, Johnson, Corbyn or Farage – but with the seasons of the year.

The expected repeat of the Beast from the East in 2018 never materialised. Winter was benign – hardly a flake of snow fell in our region. Spring couldn't make up its mind – then came the heatwave in July when records were broken, with the temperature in thermometerCambridge University Botanic Gardens reaching 38.7C, followed in quick order by huge areas of low pressure in August, floods, high winds and disruption, the jet-stream refusing to assume its expected northerly sweep to bring in settled summer-holiday weather.

The natural world

The natural world has seemed out of sorts too. Take the house martins which arrive without fail within a window of a few days in April every year. This year, though, it was May before they arrived to nest on our north-facing gables. Now we feel bereft and sad because they've left for warmer climes – less than 20% make it back each year. Will they come again?

swallowWhatever the weather you'll struggle to find a farmer who'll say he's having a good year. But, more often than not, one thing balances with another: the harvest is gathered in, the fields are ploughed and being prepared for the next crop. Ultimately, the natural world rights itself, as God promised Noah after the flood:

'While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.' (Genesis 8:22 ESV)

The Bible talks about other kinds of season – the seasons of our lives, assuring the Godly man or woman that just as God is in control of the universe, our world and our weather, so He orders our lives:

'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.' (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 KJV)


Turn! Turn! Turn!


Those of us of a certain age may remember the 1965 release by The Byrds of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” – a protest song composed by Pete Seeger, using the verses above from the book of Ecclesiastes. The Viet Nam war was at its height and Seeger brought his song of protest to a close with an impassioned appeal:

            ‘A time to gain, a time to lose, a time to rend, a time to sew, a time for love a time for hate, a time for peace, I swear it’s not too late…’


Life is the time…

the Earth_filled_with_the_Glory_of_GodEcclesiastes was written by King Solomon. The message is that human opportunity is limited by time – there is a beginning and an end to every human enterprise. Solomon says there ARE times for hate, for tearing down, times to destroy, to pluck up, for war. For King Solomon, absolute ruler of an empire, these were practical measures, to preserve a Kingdom that had been promised to him by God.


But there are practical imperatives for the Godly man and woman too – this life is the time to serve God, in anticipation of eternal life in the everlasting Kingdom Jesus will establish when he returns to the earth. There IS a time to destroy, to hate, to pluck out, to discard: these are times when the darker side of our sinful human nature gets in the way of our understanding of God’s grace. But there IS also a time to embrace, to build up, to speak out, above all, a time to love – to love God and the Lord Jesus, to love our neighbours as ourselves.


It’s not too late…


Certainly it’s not too late: there WILL be peace on earth, despite the turmoil and unrest that besets us at every turn. The book of Psalms anticipates the time when Jesus will return to the earth to establish God’s Kingdom: ‘In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more! (Psalm 72:7 ESV).


Our Bible Hour is on Sundays at 10am at Castle Hill Community Centre, Highfield Road, Ipswich, IP1 6DG.

Here’s our programme for October to December, God willing:

6 October        Bible Basics: Bible teaching about the return of Jesus

13 October      The seven signs of John’s Gospel and their significance     


20 October      Pilate said: “What is truth…” – what did he mean?


27 October      Where do wars come from and what is the solution?


3 November    Bible Basics: Bible teaching about the Kingdom of God on earth


10 November  God’s Kingdom manifesto


17 November  Will there be peace in the Middle East?


24 November  Queen Esther delivers God’s people


1 December    Bible Basics: what must I do to be saved?


8 December    Job, man of integrity – setting the scene, discussion with his three “friends”


15 December  Job, man of integrity – his suffering, challenge to God and God’s answer

22 December  Bethlehem – “Out of you shall come the one to be ruler in Israel” (Micah 5:2)


29 December  The birth of Jesus – hope for the world NOW!


We welcome comments, feedback and questions. Contact us via our website:, or write to: Ipswich Christadelphians, FREEPOST RTJU-SYAE-LZTA, 28 Westland, IPSWICH, IP5 3SU, or phone 07419 837115