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.

rita-morais-104049-unsplash

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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Sunday 28th October 2018

Psalm 34

I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth…

…Look to him, and be radiant;

so your faces shall never be ashamed.  …

…O taste and see that the LORD is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD rescues them from them all…

Hebrews 7:23-28 

…Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them…

Mark 10:46-52   

They came to Jericho…Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside… “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly,.. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.”

Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

There is a depth to our existence; creation is more what is seen. There is a universe within us, an inner land, and we live and breathe and have our being in God. The visible, what we can see, touch and reason to be so is woven through and through by the spiritual, creating the whole of reality. If we consider the material to be the whole of reality we miss the source of all glory and are blind to the oppression and battle that is being fought for good and for evil within us and around us. In the spiritual realm there is light and there is darkness. God is light and in him there is no darkness. God is love. This is the confidence of the psalmist, this is our place of safety.

God is good, and he is love. We are commanded to choose life. This is a real choice.

There are afflictions and there is much suffering. We may be experiencing a slow death, mentally or physically; we may be the victims of poor health or inequality; we may be the oppressed and the abused but there is a deeper reality. It may all be darkness.

Out of our darkness we cry out to Jesus, son of David. Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, cries out of his darkness. He knows Jesus as his teacher and he cries out for what he needs. Casting off his cloak he runs towards him, asks to see and his faith heals him. What does he have faith in?

Having been immediately healed he follows Jesus, the teacher, along the way.

Sometimes it feels as if our voice echoes in a void of darkness and many stand against us. Faith in God fills that space and we hear the call to come to him. And we ask. With the psalmist we bless, praise, look to and taste God, who redeems us and recues us. Our eyes are opened; we see God. The reality of our affliction is more than our blindness; creation is more than our sufferings. Approaching God through Jesus our faith is made complete and Jesus joins with our cry, interceding for us.

God is good, and he is love. We are commanded to ask. This is a real choice.

Jesus is Lord and he is God. God is love and out of his love he will answer our faith. In Christ we find that our humanity, a humanity we share with Christ, is empowered to choose life and ask. Our prayer brings glory to God and God is glorified in our healing as Jesus adds his voice to ours in the battle for our hearts within and without. Jesus is the Word of creation and the reason for our hope. Do not give up, keep coming to Jesus, to the victory of the cross, and keep asking.

 

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