Christian Comment with Revd. Alisdair Longwill, ‘Connect’ (Bussage) and The West of England Baptist Association.

A RECENT brief look at the BBC News website is a reminder of the realities of the contemporary world we live in.

The tragedy of two brothers killed in a helicopter accident – and the consequent bereavement and grief for their family; political intrigue as the governing party of South Africa ask their President to resign and he does so; tears of disappointment from a speed skater who has now three times failed to realise her ambition; and maybe most familiarly of all, a fractured relationship, with two well known actresses having a very public spat.

It is said that we today live in a secular post-Christian era.

One of the by-products of this is a sense that religious texts such as the Bible, which were previously revered and occasionally observed are now deemed by many to be irrelevant and of no objective value.

A closer look at the Bible, however, shows that it frequently addresses the issues and dilemmas of contemporary life.

In one of the gospels (the biographies of Jesus’ life) we find him saying, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted’ (Matthew 5 v 4).

Jesus himself knew and expressed the pain of losing a loved-one, as he wept at the graveside of his friend Lazarus.

To those who live self-centred lives, abusing the rights and dignity of others, the Bible says, ‘The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.’ (Proverbs 29 v 7).

It would urge us all to, ‘Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows’ (Isaiah 1 v 17).

For those dealing with disappointment and a sense of failure it would say, ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand’ (Philippians 4 v 6).

And for those (actresses and others) struggling to live in harmony, there are wise words, ‘If someone hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you've made a friend. If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won't listen, tell the church (community). If he won't listen to the church (community), you'll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God's forgiving love’ (Matthew 18 v 15-17).

For my money, the following are among the wisest words in the Bible, ‘Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains (Proverbs 3 v 7-8).

That’s not bad for a book that many think of as being irrelevant and of no objective value.

Go on – check out the Bible, give it a try.

[Start with the New Testament (in the gospel of Mark) and see how you get on].