Sunday 26th March 2017

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Prayer together

Our scriptures for today

  • Psalm 119:141-144
  • Mark 9:30-41
  • James 1:22-2:12

Hospitality: welcoming people into this place so that they come to know, peace, love and justice. Today, do we love our neighbour as ourselves whilst disguising our motives, favouring those who might bring us value? How might we cultivate an atmosphere of grace and put aside judgement?

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Weekly Study

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)

 

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Sunday 19th March 2017

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Prayer together

Our scriptures for today

  • Psalm 93
  • Mark 7:1-23
  • James 1:16-25

Ritual and tradition: spiritual practices – what brings us life and what is a burden? What does doing what God says look like?

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Weekly Study

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)

 

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Sunday 12th March 2017

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Prayer together

Our scriptures for today

  • Psalm 67
  • Mark 5:21-40
  • James 1:2-12

In the upside down Kingdom of God, do we look at trouble and see it as an opportunity to strengthen our resolve?

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Weekly Study

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)

 

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Sunday 5th March 2017

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Prayer together

Our scriptures for today

  • Psalm 28:1-4
  • Genesis 45:1-15
  • Mark 2:13-22

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Weekly Study

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Sunday 26th February 2017

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Prayer together

Our scriptures for today

  • Psalm 119:169-176
  • Genesis 41:46-47
  • Hebrews 12:1-11

 

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Weekly Study

We discussed the idea of giving silence: listening to others before leaping in with our answer, and receiving silence: listening to God. How often do we use words to manage our own image and divide us, the “holy”, from others, the unholy?

If Jesus were here today what would he say?  Tony Campolo answers this question quite well.  He says, “Jesus never said, love the sinner, but hate his sin… He said, love the sinner and hate your own sin.”

We saw this as a beginning and discussed discipline and suffering in the light of the scriptures.

 

 

 

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Sunday 19th February 2017

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Prayer together

  • Psalm 95
  • Genesis 37:1-11
  • Hebrews 10:1-10

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Weekly Study

Oh, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

(George Eliot, Leadership, Vol. 9, no. 1)

Lord, when we are tempted to use the differences of our friends or neighbours as excuses for prejudice, convict us of our error. Keep us from turning difference into discrimination.

Amen.

 

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Community

img_0639-editedScripture this week:

Psalm 66:1-9, Genesis 29:20-35 and John 17:1-11

We have been looking at community and thinking through some of the wisdom in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together.

We first considered:

‘Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.’

‘…the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.’

‘Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our community is in Jesus Christ alone, the more calmly we will learn to think about our community and pray and hope for it.’

‘Self-centred love loves the other for the sake of itself; spiritual love loves the other for the sake of Christ.’

How might an experience of disillusionment with the Christian community actually be an important and needed crisis?

Seeing yourself as the voice of God for others rather than the one receiving the word was considered by Bonhoeffer as one of the worst sins committed when reading scripture together as a community.

What would you identify as the worst sin one can commit while reading Scripture together?

Moving on we looked at how our meeting together might develop; we are reading scripture together, listening to one another and praying for one another. What more might we be?

“All singing together that is right must serve to widen our spiritual horizon, make us see our little company as a member of the great Christian Church on earth, and help us willingly and gladly to join our singing, be it feeble or good, to the song of the Church.” 

Our wisdom was that just as we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, that singing also gives us an opportunity to listen and learn from the Spirit. If we do not want to speak might we want to sing?

 ‘…eternal bread before temporal bread’.

Bonhoeffer identifies in Scripture three kinds of table fellowship: daily fellowship at meals, the table fellowship of the Lords Supper and final table fellowship of the Kingdom of God. Meals become as important as prayer, we see them as the blessing of God.

We are beginning to explore table fellowship, as well as singing, and this week sing:

Our discussion will be around this quote:

“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.”

And the question?

Comments from our recent meetings have included

Today we read some passages from The Psalms, from the Old Testament and from the New Testament. We had a lively discussion as we sought to understand how these ancient scriptures are relevant to our lives today. We saw how God’s cares about and for people that society rejects or counts as nothing. We realise that God’s Community is based on His acceptance of us and His love for us – it’s what makes us special.

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01e9bb82402f92540110c91b833390afa297cdb9b1Epiphany

Psalm 46,

Matthew 3,

Ephesians 2

 

 

To Israel God is all grace, John the cousin of Jesus says

“9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the axe of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.

11 “I baptize with[d] water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[e] 12 He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”

(Matthew 3:9-12)

Being God’s people, they were saved from slavery and exile, and taught to thank God for their inner grace- his image within. The law and its keeping, especially the Sabbath, was an agreement made by God (Covenant) that enabled them to atone and return to the Way (T’shuva: https://theshalomcenter.org/content/path-always-present-tshuvah-habit-and-idea-direction) and remain on the Way.

In Jesus’ death and resurrection- his blood and broken body shared for all humanity, a new covenant is revealed. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God. We, who are not of Israel, come to know God in this relationship, this Way- the revelation of the image within, where the Father and the Son abide. The presence of the Spirit in our lives confirms this in acts of righteousness and compassion in our lives.

We are called to pray, giving thanks for the deep inner purity of our souls, acknowledging God, and by grace we walk free in the world. It is not the troubles of the day that refine us. It is the refining work of the unquenchable fire of the Holy Spirit which works to burn up the chaff and the kernel of wheat remains, our original blessing. This never ending fire of grace is God’s gift to us in Christ who lays an axe to the unfruitful branch in us so that we may walk free. We, by Jesus’ broken body and blood are made free to be fruitful.

In the trials of life and the wrath we feel within and without, we come to know that despite our transgressions, Christ is there and in Christ we come into the inheritance of Israel. We too can repent and return to the ever present Way. We are baptised in water and by fire – cleansed and refined, not by the trials but by the Holy Spirit.

In Jesus the faith of Israel is made available to all of us, so that we no longer walk around in darkness, off the path. We are no longer formed by the wrath, becoming bitter, angry and vengeful. In our troubles and disappointments love may win. The refining fire of God burns what holds us in the darkness and brings us into the light- the light of hope. In Christ this has always been so and nobody is excluded.

Paul teaches;

4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

(Ephesians 2:4-7)

We are all called to the Lord’s table. We share in the remembrance of Jesus’ death. By breaking bread together, we remember Jesus’ broken body on the Cross, and by sharing a cup we remember Jesus’ blood – his humanity poured out for us, so that we who were outside are brought in. No longer is the way a way of God given regulations, but the way is revealed as Jesus the Christ.

The table is the place of forgiveness and sustenance. We are set back on the way, strengthened and restored, body and soul. Jesus is present and none are excluded; it is an occasion of welcome where all are fed and needs are met, as we become present to one another.

 

 

 

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Meetings resume on 8th January 2017

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We have had an inspirational Advent.

There will be no meetings until  Sunday 8th January when we will also have a Church Meeting to discuss business. This will start after the morning meeting.

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Sunday 30th October 2016

We look at immersing ourselves in the word, using Psalm 119: 97-112 as a reflection.

Our discussion revolved around the cry of the Psalmist for God to speak to him. He had immersed himself in the Instructions and Commands but needed God to fill his meditations

Psalm 119:97-112
(ESVUK)

Mem

97 Oh how I love your law!…
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
    for your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,[a]
    for I keep your precepts.
101…

Nun

105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
    and a light to my path….
107 I am severely afflicted;
    give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
    and teach me your rules…

There will be a meeting of members on 13th November 2016 after the morning gathering to resolve what was discussed in the Church meeting and to report on the outcomes of what was decided.

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