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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Sunday 13th January 2019

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From a realisation that we are redeemed and known by name, formed and made to glorify God, we find strength. There is much to fear, from the randomness of events to the malice of the systems and  powers we find around us. If we focus on these and fail to lift our eyes to see the good and open our ears to hear the voice of God, we quickly sink.

Insecurity and shame dog our steps if we do not stop to contemplate that we are precious. From the God of blessing we receive reassurance and know love. We can see that the One Who Is, is the source of order and peace in the midst of the turmoil; the chaos causes us to be still and call out, “Glory!”

We are like grains of wheat on the threshing floor. At the right time, the thresher separates the wheat from its chaff. Both are thrown in the air. The wind blows away the chaff, the wheat falls to the floor. The chaff is gathered and burned leaving the wheat seed.

Each of us in this picture, is a grain of wheat; we are created precious. As we are made and formed, the chaff has protected us, but it is the seed that brings life. When the time of harvesting comes, at the right time, the seed is a source of nourishment, of new life.

God looks for this new life and through his grace and mercy, in the circumstances of our real life the thresher, the voice of Christ, separates the seed from its protective layer.

God calls out life and we find that all that is not there to nourish life, falls away. The breath of the Spirit blows it away, gathers it and burns. This is an experience of all enveloping breath and fire. This is not the judgement of separating people from people, as a grain of wheat is both seed and chaff. This is not the judgement of eternal fires of torment of some but of the fire of destruction of death; the chaff is not the living part of the grain of wheat. ( Was John the Baptist right about Jesus and judgement?).

The baptism of Jesus blows away all our pretensions and hypocrisy, all that protects us, and redeems the part that brings life.

BAPTISM OF THE LORD

Year C, Revised Common Lectionary

Isaiah 43:1-7 

…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine…

Psalm 29

…The voice of the LORD is over the waters…

Acts 8:14-17

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22  

…He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

…”You are my Son, the Beloved;

with you I am well pleased.”

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

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Sunday 6th January 2019 (Epiphany)

gareth-harper-175342-unsplashJustice is at the heart of the message of Jesus; justice for all. This light shines in the message and is good news for all who believe. Faith in Jesus releaseS abundance in our lives, to seek justice, show mercy and serve the poor. Truly virtue grows as we act on our faith, bring hope and become founts of love.

Together, gathered under the rule of God, Jesus, the one who reveals the Father, all life is redeemed, all life is affirmed, and all are provided for. The principalities and powers can only fear and stand in awe at the power of the people of God. Their rule is brought to nothing.

We expect to see wisdom and rich variety as God works among us and the power of faith is released. Each day we are empowered to make the loving choice, see good done to all and wellbeing increase. To some is given the task to speak prophetically to power, to some to teach the way of truth and others to gather, care for and ensure all are provided for. Others will be gifted in reaching out and drawing people in to the community of faith. Together we act justly.

Surely there is overwhelming need around us. Our times are characterised by division, the poor wage war on the rich through terror and ideologies rage against each other. Our voices are lifted up to see justice done as we make it plain that we expect that our rulers will not only ensure all are provided for but act in the knowledge that all life is precious.

As we gather, it should be plain that we are the hands and feet of Christ, bringing the rule of God in our daily choices and using what material possessions we have, to ensure that the charge of oppression and violence is not laid at our door. Precious gifts to present to our king!

Isaiah 60:1-6

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you…They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son…

For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper.

He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.

From oppression and violence he redeems their life;

and precious is their blood in his sight.

 

Ephesians 3:1-12

…. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring … the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places…

Matthew 2:1-12

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem…When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him…

 

Together we might investigate the work of:

www.lendwithcare.org

and

www.commonchange.uk

Photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash

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From the old year into the new.

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Moving from the season of darkness into the promise of the returning spring, the lengthening days, gives us a prod to consider the old and contemplate the new, enriching the present. In our small, chapel meeting we contemplated what we had been doing and what we might do.

via From the old year into the new.

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Sunday 25th November 2018

Psalm 93

The LORD is king, he is robed in majesty;

the LORD is robed, he is girded with strength.

He has established the world;

it shall never be moved;

your throne is established from of old;

you are from everlasting.….

Revelation 1:4b-8  

… “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,

who is and who was and who is to come,

the Almighty.

John 18:33-37  

… Jesus answered,

“… Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

 

From the beginning, the wisdom of Christianity tells us, God the creator is the One who makes atonement; who redeems and reconciles. Atonement was from the beginning in creation and this wisdom is ingrained in us. As we witness this truth, we are driven to embody it. Jesus draws people to this truth, to himself, and teaches us to forgive so that we know forgiveness. This light shines in the hearts of all people from the beginning. To deny it is sin, as it denies the character of God as Creator and Redeemer. If we are to be holy as God is holy, we love our enemies as we are loved. If we are to be righteous as God is righteous, we listen for his voice and obey.

God is the One who would make all things new and enters the churning waters of chaos, walks with us in our mess, and washes us clean, leading us to freedom from sin. We are free as we come to know Jesus as our Lord. Through our obedience, the earth comes to the fullness of the knowledge of the Lord.

The single act of Creation and Redemption, from the beginning, secures all who call on the name of the Lord, who belong to truth, and listen to the voice of Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and has been from the beginning and always will be. In his person we come to know the Father. Jesus reveals this mystery, true from the beginning: the life death and resurrection of Christ is the completion of Creation.

All our answers are in Jesus. We are saved in Christ. He is the fullness of God to all people, leading us to the revelation of God as Father. In Christ we are found, as we seek the knowledge of the Lord, he shows himself- the Son. His sheep know his voice and they trust him to lead them on the way.

God speaks through our emotions and feelings, our experience and our meditations on scripture, but he doesn’t own them: they aren’t the answer. He will not abandon us though, he will seek us out in the mess of our striving. We are often lost but we are always loved.

God takes us on from where we are and gently draws us back to that place of reconciliation with the truth. In his finding of us, we must be freed and carried home; a lost sheep returned to the fold. The experience of being found, the reassurance of being released, is not the whole story. We need to be brought home. There may still be troubles and dangers on the journey and the way may be narrow and through dark places, but he is with us.

The wide road leads to destruction.

Jesus teaches we are to turn the other cheek, carry the extra load, give what we have without question and we are to love our enemies. Jesus teaches, we are to abide in him and ask for what we need.

The narrow way is the way of trust in God, the wide way is the way of violence.

The wide way is the way of those who deny the knowledge of the Lord. We are to be humble and modest, knowing what is helpful on the journey, denying ourselves so we are free to follow Jesus. The Lord is the giver of peace, the author of the true freedom that brings us to the abundant life we were created to live. The truth and way to life are there from the beginning, Jesus the alpha and the omega; the first and the last.

________________________________________

 

We meet at the chapel on a

Wednesday evening at 8pm until 8-40pm

for a period of prayer including 20 minutes silent prayer.

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Sunday 4th November 2018

Psalm 146…

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God,

who made heaven and earth,
the sea,
and all that is in them;

who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.

The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the LORD!

Hebrews 9:11-14    

But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, … he entered once for all into the Holy Place…with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.

…how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

Mark 12:28-34

… When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him,

“You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

 

We have been pleased in the last couple of weeks to welcome visitors to our meeting. What a wealth of wisdom we have shared!

The psalm is a deep pool of blessing for our prayer life. It offers a framework for approaching God; it points to the beyondness, yet nearness of the God we trust.

Zion, through the blood of Christ has become all humanity. This is the good news; as he is the Light all are called to not only bear the light but become the light. We are the light as he is the light.

One spoke of how we are like a planting of God in a garden; we are given space to grow and our purpose is being in that place. We are the presence of God where we are placed.

It is not us, but it is the Lord, creator of all that there is, seen and unseen who transforms and redeems. It is towards the earth and individuals that his care is turned and the “way” of the wicked is brought to ruin. In our understanding we are not far from the kingdom of God, but it is in becoming the message, followers of Jesus found in Christ, who by his life blood are saved, we enter it. As the new Zion, the place of God’s dwelling not made with human hands, we stand with our consciences purified and bring the presence of the rule and judgement of God to the whole Earth.

The earth and the sea are the Lords, all that has life. The oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners and those bowed down by injustice, the stranger and the dispossessed are his. This our hope; in Christ all are redeemed.

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

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