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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Get out!

Sunday 9th  June 2019                                    
DAY OF PENTECOST

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So the church goes to the nations today. Still Jews, but from 17 nations and we know where that leads (153 fish!).

To us who act as if we, our institutions and traditions, are the centre of it all, the mystery of this chapter should shake us up. From there being 17 (17 times 3 times 3 is 153) nations to the two sets of 444 syllables in Luke’s summary of Peter’s outburst (https://www.psephizo.com/biblical-studies/the-many-meanings-of-pentecost/) spelling Jesus in Greek!

For me I see the story as being the fulfilment of the story of the return of the glory to the temple. The temple is now found in the church, Children of God who are lead by the Spirit of God. The fact that we are looking at a day that celebrated the first fruits and the giving of the law, completes the significance for me. And yes, there is Joel’s prophecy and the new creation breath of the Spirit that heals the dividing of the languages at the tower of Babel.

So much to meditate on.

We had visitors today. One who walked in off the street responding to the invitation of the sign outside and two who were flying through from Rwanda.

From Rwanda we learned that the Churches there are thriving. The government imposed a rule that church buildings had to be safe places to be and have appropriate sanitation. As a result, 6000 closed. What to do? Our visitors spoke of Discipleship for Development in  Rwanda (http://www.disciplingfordevelopment.org/) where the moto is to know Christ and make him known. Discipleship for Development answered the question: what do you do to form the church if, in your nation, any gathering might be considered seditious and there are many needs? This is where the Bible gives a blueprint; you find the people of peace amongst the local leaders and you form discipleship groups around community goals for peace and wellbeing to bless the whole community.

Basically, you take seriously the message that in Christ we are to be a blessing and trust that all who call out shall be saved. The wisdom is to seek God’s Kingdom, trusting all we ask will be given to us to fulfil the mission.

In our mission we need to be faithful in our call and trust God who comes to fulfil his promise and form the church with a breath of fire. The church needs the skills and blessings of our communities, but she is not formed by these and we should be careful she does not come to depend on them or worse still become ruled by them. The splendour of the church is the fire of the Spirit not the Health and Safety policy.

Acts 2:1-21

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Now there were devout Jews from every nation … each one heard them speaking in the native language of each…All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” Peter lifted up his voice… ‘I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy…everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.…When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. …Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

Romans 8:14-17

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God…

John  14:8-17, (25-27)

…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

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.

As God leads, let us be constant in our prayer for

·       The Church;

·       Creation, human society, those in authority;

·       The local community;

·       Those who suffer;

·       Our community.

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 Michał Grabolus on Unsplash

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Freedom

Sunday 2nd June 2019

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We are saved from slavery to sin; Jesus has dealt with sin and calls us into a way of freedom. We are freed from the power of oppression, given the power to fight against it and enabled to stand in the time of temptation. We stand knowing we are forgiven and, in turning to Jesus, we are made pure. Each step we take towards God perfects us so that we become holy as he is holy.

Jesus teaches us to pray that his kingdom come and that his will is done on Earth as it is in heaven, and that the way he leads us does not lead us into temptation. He knows that we fall but he has set forgiveness at our hearts so that as we forgive we can know the depths of his forgiveness. His love casts out the fear of punishment and the oppression of guilt, so that we can ask in confidence that we might be saved from ourselves.

All the readings today hammer this home. If we reflect on the story from Acts we are confronted with Paul’s strengths and weaknesses. The events are a challenge to our Christian, scientific and secular assumptions. And church history has changed the simplicity of accepting Jesus as Lord.

We are truly blessed in our times. In the UK we are privileged to live in a time of peace and yet there is much suffering and marginalisation. However, there is the understanding of a better way and hope. Amongst our leaders, there are voices of love. We can make this part of our prayer: imagine the good that is for all and ask God to release blessing. Our prayer is, Come, Lord Jesus. Come! In the habit of praying continually that God’s will is done now as it is in heaven, we are made secure in the revelation that we are one in Christ, as Christ is One in the Father.

Acts 16:16-34

One day, as we were going to the place of prayer… he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

Psalm 97

The LORD is king! …

The heavens proclaim his righteousness;

and all the peoples behold his glory.

… you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;

you are exalted far above all gods.

The LORD loves those who hate evil;

he guards the lives of his faithful;

he rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!

Revelation 22:12-21

“See, I am coming soon… “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

John 17:20-26

“… The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one … I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”.

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

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Fruit and leaves

Sunday 26th May 2019

mark-lv-407149-unsplashRevelation 21 is an exciting commentary on the incident in Acts 16. Paul sees a man calling him to Macedonia responds immediately and God leads him to a wealthy woman by the river who has her whole household baptized. In how many ways have your cultural sensibilities been offended?

The rule of God as described in Revelation is now. A rich woman praying, as was the custom beside the river, listens eagerly, receives the message and has her whole household baptized: baptism is the start not the full-stop of coming to faith and leadership is female. Indeed, the Spirit blows as it will.

Of course, the reading points us to the fact that the good news is the defeat of the principalities and powers and from this victory flows the healing of the nations.

I sometimes wonder if the satan (the accuser) and the devil (the one who divides) rubs his hands together and sits back content as we do his work and try to build a temple to our own way of doing things and then argue about the details. We need to trust that God can work it out and that the tree of life is on both sides of the river and continually renewing itself.

We are sustained by a river not a building, renewed fruit and healing leaves, not a system.

The good news we can share is that the cross has defeated the principalities and powers and forgiveness and healing flow from the throne of the resurrected One seated with God. In Christ we receive peace and God comes and makes his home in us so that we no longer are bound by our attachments and failings. We are the new heavens as it were. We are free to be blessed and bless and the gates never close.

Today’s readings are scandalous.

Acts 16:9-15

During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  …we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us… The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us…

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you. ..Let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5

…I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. …The nations will walk by its light… Its gates will never be shut by day–and there will be no night there…nothing unclean will enter it…the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more.…

John 14:23-29

Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. …Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.

 

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

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Little Children

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Jesus calls us little children. A little child knows its parent and understands that despite all, it is loved and, whatever happens, it is forgiven. It will need to grow up to learn otherwise.

In the grown-up world all is control and tradition. But actually, God is in control of his church, forming it through the Holy Spirit; through Love. Through Jesus we learn we are forgiven and through the cross we learn the depth of his forgiveness. We must become like little children.

Life will bubble up and God is exalted beyond our regulation. The new heaven and the new earth is today!

Oh, for the day when things change because of a voice and a trance! Is this a scary and repugnant idea? Not if it calls us back to the path that leads to life; it is the Spirit that baptises, and we are known by our love!

It is God who prepares the bride and it is God who wipes away the tear. “…To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

Acts 11:1-18  
Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”
Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, …God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”
When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

Psalm 148  
Praise the LORD! …
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike, old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven…

Revelation 21:1-6  
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,


“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them as their God;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”


And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” …To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.


John 13:31-35  
… Little children…. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

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

 

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Let us Pray

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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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