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Telephone: 01472 453029
19 March 2020
The two statements that keep coming through are:
‘We are in strange times’, and ‘stay safe’.
For us, as churches in this area, we are experiencing separation as the doors of our buildings are shut as most of us need to be in self isolation. So, how can we continue to be a church family without face to face contact? Well, we have telephones and some have email so we can communicate in these ways.
One thing that is important at this time is that we keep communicating with God. I ask every one of us to remember each other in prayer. If you have access to the internet you could try Pray As You Go which is a web page that gives a short contemplation on a Bible passage. The Scripture reading usually follows the daily lectionary and will help us to focus our mind on God. John and I do this every day after breakfast. If you choose to do this 9.00am or 7.00pm would be a good time for us to be praying together.
I will try and send a note out each week to give you the collect for the week and the readings, just as you would have them on the pew news, and I will offer a comment or two which you might like to reflect on as the week continues. In this way we can stand together in our prayers.
Finally, if you have an email address, would you please email so I can send electronically rather than by post. Thank you.
Collect for the week
Merciful Lord, absolve your people from their offences, that through your
bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the chains of those sins
which by our frailty we have committed; grant this, heavenly Father, for
Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour, who is alive and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect for Mothering Sunday
God of compassion, whose Son Jesus Christ, the child of Mary, shared the
life of a home in Nazareth, and on the cross drew the whole human family
to himself: strengthen us in our daily living that in joy and in sorrow we
may know the power of your presence to bind together and to heal;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
1 Samuel 16: 1-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5: 8-14; John 9
There are many mysteries in life, and I think we are going through one of those now, a change of lifestyle that we could not foresee happening to us. People often wonder why God seems to allow us to suffer. Does he deliberately cause these things to happen? I’m sure that we’ll never fully understand this.
We can know from Jesus’ life where God stands on the issue. We know that Jesus didn’t like it when people died; he wept when Lazarus died and he raised him to life. We know that Jesus didn’t like it when people were ill; part of his ministry was in healing. These show us that death and illness are not part of God’s plan; God would not use them to punish us.
While our physical health is of concern for God, more so is our spiritual health. At this time our physical health is under threat because of the virus and our spiritual health is under threat because of our separation from our church family.
God is there to keep us focused on the truth and wants us to keep our eyes of faith focused on him. John Newton, who wrote the hymn, Amazing Grace, tells of his blindness and God’s healing which he received. You’ll remember that John Newton was the captain of an African slave ship, but he found new faith in God and became an ordained priest in the Church of England. He felt he had been a spiritual wretch, but through God’s grace he saw the truth and followed God’s calling for his life.
As human beings we will suffer and die in this troubled life we live. However, we can draw comfort from the fact that it’s not God’s doing nor is it by his approval. God wants us close to him spiritually and the closer we come to him, the closer we will feel him by our side. Like the blind man in John 9 we can know the assurance of his forgiveness and his healing touch. Amen.
Prayer for those affected by the corona virus
Keep us safe, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy. Sustain and support the anxious, be with those who care for the sick, and lift up all who are brought low; that we might find comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thought for March, 2020.
I was reading an article in the newspaper the other day and there are some people who want to get rid of money, i.e. what we call change. A cashless society, no doubt this will happen sooner or later. This led me to start thinking about the changes that have occurred in my lifetime. Since I was born aircraft were driven by internal combustion engines, and in less than a century we have come to a time when rockets and spacecraft are investigating other planets. Some are even going outside our solar system, way out into the universe. The world is always changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
The way we speak changes dramatically over decades and some of the words I hear on television, I’m convinced they are made up but everyone seems to accept them. Words that I thought I knew and understood now mean something entirely different, for instance I always thought that wicked and bad were just that but today they mean good. How does that happen? The world is always changing, again, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
When I was young I’m convinced that the sun shone in the summer and it snowed in the winter. But now, thanks to climate change (that we are responsible for) the weather patterns throughout the world have changed dramatically, and none of that is for the better.
As changes to our environment and our way of life continue, and affect all our lives, bringing confusion, worry and danger, etc. where and who do we turn to for the security of our future? We live in a time of change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
As a Christian I turn to the Bible, not as a crutch to help me through life but as a guide that gives me confidence to know that whatever happens “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is an unchanging God in whom we should put our love and trust, not just for today but for all eternity.