Welcome

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives
May you never give up praying.
When you pray, may you keep alert and be thankful.
Pray that together we may make the message of the mystery of Christ as clear as possible.
Amen
(Based on Colossians 3 and 4)

Readings for Sunday: Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Reflections for the week: Lyfe Devotionals

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Let us Pray

https://memlynhumphries.me.uk/2019/04/12/let-us-pray/

Through our faith in the redeeming work of the cross; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, do we have authority in creation, together with the Father, Son and Spirit? Is this the mystery of prayer: from the beginning, not only did we have dominion through technology and culture, we had dominion in the spiritual realm? Is our prayer of faith an exercise of the original authority given to us at creation? Is our prayer preparation for heavenly authority in the age to come? Is the outworking of God’s loving kindness that he only works through prayer? Are all prayers answered by God through the glorification of love and the defeat of principalities and powers through the way of love?

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Hen?

Sunday 17th March 2019                               

SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT

The past two weeks have seen us focusing on prayer and our experience of prayer.

The challenge was, what does it mean to pray without ceasing and to ask. There were beautiful testimonies to seasons of prayer, especially with children and how the innocence of their prayer is a memory that calls us back to a childlike heart.

Seeking the face of God, we find our hearts stirred to a vision, an expectation of the way we hope for things to be. Faith arises, and we pray out words; we ask. It is a relationship and our vision is that we are engaging with our heavenly father. We believe that we ask from where we are at, not where we reason we should be; it’s a conversation.

John Wesley taught that: God does nothing but in answer to prayer…

God’s purpose is that we through prayer are prepared as the bride of Christ, our lamps are filled and we have what we need. Through prayer we act as ambassadors and have authority in the heavenlies to resist evil and bring life.

In the Psalm we saw a rhythm of resting in God and allowing God to lift us up to see the bigger picture, secure in him.

John Wesley wrote:

God’s command to “pray without ceasing” is founded on the necessity we have of his grace to preserve the life of God in the soul, which can no more subsist one moment without it, than the body can without air.

Whether we think of; or speak to, God, whether we act or suffer for him, all is prayer, when we have no other object than his love, and the desire of pleasing him.

All that a Christian does, even in eating and sleeping, is prayer, when it is done in simplicity, according to the order of God, without either adding to or diminishing from it by his own choice.

Prayer continues in the desire of the heart, though the understanding be employed on outward things.

In souls filled with love, the desire to please God is a continual prayer.

As the furious hate which the devil bears us is termed the roaring of a lion, so our vehement love may be termed crying after God.

God only requires of his adult children, that their hearts be truly purified, and that they offer him continually the wishes and vows that naturally spring from perfect love. For these desires, being the genuine fruits of love, are the most perfect prayers that can spring from it.

From A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as believed and taught by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, from the year 1725, to the year 1777.

Psalm 27 

…Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me!

“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”

Your face, LORD, do I seek.

…I believe that I shall see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the LORD!

Philippians 3:17-4:1  

…But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 13:31-35 

…Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you…

We meet at the chapel on a Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40 pm for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer during school term time.

Photo by Meg Kannan on Unsplash

This resource is an offering from The Vanderbilt Divinity Library at: http://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu. New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission.

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Wicked and crooked?

Sunday 3rd March 2019

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY

So, we can see in the story of the transfiguration that it was the disciples who were transfigured and that it was part of Jesus’ revelation to them of his mission. They remained awake and received the revelation and heard the voice of God

( https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/the-transfiguration-in-luke/).

In 2 Corinthians we also learn how in Christ we are transfigured by the gospel of Jesus, moved from glory to glory. In Jesus we find the righteousness revealed in the psalm and are enabled to see its true meaning found in Christ.

This however was not the focus this morning. We were directed to how we reacted to the story of the healing of the demon afflicted boy. Where did we position ourselves in the story? For most of us we were afraid that we were the wicked and twisted generation who lacked faith. Many commentators would agree and berate their readers for their lack of faith.

But if we look at the earlier commentaries we find something different. They reflect on how rude the father was and how critical he was of the disciples, calling them out in front of the crowd. A closer reading reveals that Jesus appears to be addressing the father, the one who represented the wicked and perverse generation.

If you search the phrase in the scriptures you find that, as in Philippians 2:15, the wicked and perverse generation are those who grumble and argue! Soon you realise that the phrase is a trigger phrase that recalls the lack of gratitude of the people of Israel, including their apostasy at the base of the mountain. Yes, we may be in that group, but Jesus is not having a go at the disciples or us, he is calling out the father I think.

But even if we feel the rebuke sticks, Jesus will stick with us and bear with us. It has to be so that a grumbling and argumentative heart is poisonous. And note how it veils our minds to the truth of the good news in Christ.

Psalm 99  
… Holy is he!
Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established equity;
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob…

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2  
… But their minds were hardened… whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.
…And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Luke 9:28-36, (37-43)  
..Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” …

We meet at the chapel on a Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40pm for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer during school term time.

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

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Sunday 24th February 2019

kyle-loftus-1334807-unsplashJesus tells us that the spirit of God is like the wind; we don’t know where it comes from and where it goes. He tells us not to fret and he proclaims blessings for the poor and woes for the rich. The whole world is seemingly at his feet as he works miracles and wondrous works. But his kingdom is not of this world.

Jesus teaches his disciples to pray, lead us not into temptation. We can understand this, in light of the blessings that God brings and the troubles of the day, as an appeal to God to save us from our selves.

We need to pray in all things. History has brought us to a place, good and bad, but we must not go on without first waiting on God. Without peace on our journey we fret and sin crouches at our door.

Control, power and success are intoxicating and can lead us to follow our own ways and trust our own understanding. We begin to believe God is blessing us because of what we are doing and how we are achieving it. We fear God is not blessing us because we are not loved. It’s dangerous and each day we need to pray that God does not lead us in to temptation, that he saves us from having ungrateful hearts.

As a community living with abundance, we need to stop and consider, if all we had were lost, what treasure would remain. Jesus sets out what the treasure is, a people that knows radical forgiveness and practices it.

In Jesus’ teaching we have a mirror to hold ourselves up to, which gives us a vision for how we are meant to be. Coming to Jesus honestly, knowing his teaching, we have the hope of transformation. Jesus’ words are like a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through to the daily issues of life and death. If we take them to heart we will be empowered to resist evil.

Each of us is first physical and is raised up spiritual. There is first a death that begins with a death to unforgiving ways. If we wrestle with Jesus’ teaching and come to him, we will know rest and fruitfulness.

 

Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40

… Be still before the LORD, and wait patiently for him;
do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
over those who carry out evil devices.

Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.

Do not fret–it leads only to evil…

1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50  

…If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body…But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual…What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Luke 6:27-38

.. “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

We meet at the chapel on a Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40pm for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer during school term time.

Photo by Kyle Loftus on Unsplash

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GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL

“I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee;

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow…”

This is the opening of a poem by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939). I think the desire to leave the big city and reconnect with the natural world, the longing for peace and solitude, for simplicity, for useful manual activity, is something we can readily identify with.

And just think, Yeats wrote this long before the advent of consumerism, before the invention of television, computers, the internet and mobile phones, before the noise and stress of the M25, Facebook and twitter.

True, Yeats was a public figure and involved in Irish politics, so there was plenty of stress in his life too, but he expresses a general human need for a place of peace where we are in contact with what is really important.

It is difficult for us to simplify our outward lives, caught up as we are in “the system” and complicit with it. All the more important then that we cultivate an inner place of detachment, a solid centre, a place to stand, a place where we get in touch with ourselves and from which we see things in a truer light, if only so we can laugh at the sheer absurdity of much human activity.

This is one of the most important functions of prayer, meditation, sitting in silence, making ourselves open to God, call it what you will.

You can listen to a recording of Yeats reading the whole poem at: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/lake-isle-innisfree

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