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Minister Prayers Sermon

27 June 2021: Celebrating like the Dancing One

22 June 2021

Dear Friends

This Sunday we will celebrate our fifth anniversary as a church. It has felt so natural to be together as one church that I was surprised when I did that maths and only needed one hand to count it up. We did originally have big plans to always have an invited preacher on these occasions, but the uncertain nature of the last year has meant that we haven’t been able to plan that far ahead, so you are going to have make do with me this year. Hopefully we can begin to look further ahead now and you can begin to plan who to invite in forthcoming years. Thinking about pulpit supply matters, Isabel is putting together a worship plan to lead the weeks I will no longer be here and then we have an offer of someone willing to take over. We thank them both, but if you are aware of people who you believe would be good at leading worship at Ansty Road, please let Isabel know and she will add them to the potential invitation list.  

There are many skills we need to keep a church running, another is people who can clean. We are creating a cleaning rota, so as to save us having to employ anyone. At the moment there are 4 volunteers, but another two would mean that the frequency was less often. If that is something you can do please speak to Isabel.

At the last Church Meeting we decided that we wanted to restart our Quiz Nights. So the first of the new season will be Craig’s Last Quiz Night on Friday 16th July, 7pm. Teams of no more than 6, on socially distanced tables answering the usual mix of easy questions. £5 per person, and an indication of who will be coming to Isabel please. 

Hymn

Blessed be Your name

In the land that is plentiful

Where Your streams of abundance flow

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name

When I’m found in the desert place

Though I walk through the wilderness

Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out I’ll

Turn back to praise

When the darkness closes in Lord

Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your name

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Blessed be Your glorious name

Beth Redman | Matt Redman

  • © 2002 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI Licence No. 1280770

Prayer

God of lakes and landfalls

boats and beaches;

we gather around your presence;

intrigued, enthralled, curious.

 

God of named and un-named

led and followed

we fall pleading at your feet;

craving, pressing, hoping.

 

God of parent and child

healthy and ailing;

we seek the life you provide;

flourishing, thriving, savoured.

 

God of patient and physician

seen and hidden;

we press against you in the crowd

silent, noticed, touched.

 

God of powered and disempowered

released and recharged;

we feel your energy within us 

tender, merciful, beautiful

 

God of knowing and unknowing

faithfulness and trust 

we sense your glance upon us

peaceful, transforming, easy.

 

God of receiving and sending

encouragement and forgiveness

we taste your zest for life 

risen, resplendent, wellspring.

 

God of teaching and troubling

hearing and noticing

we fear your assured pace

unwavered, untroubled, certain.

 

God of belief and disbelief

questions and quietening

we scoff with misunderstanding;

opened, taught, gentle.

 

God of dawn and dusk

midnight and midday

you take our hand and raise us to life

restored, rejuvenated, rejoiced.

 

God of kitchen and bedroom

study and nursery

You feed us with goodness

replenish, rework, reseed. 

Craig Muir based on Mark 5:21-43

Commitment 

We come to worship

All that we are will flow into and out of our worship of God

Like Martha, we come to welcome and seek welcome

We commit ourselves to create welcome, hospitality and friendship

Like Hannah, we come to pray and share prayer

We commit ourselves to put prayer at the heart of our presence in this place.

Like Mary Magdalene, we come to witness to God’s good news

We commit ourselves to seek ways in which we witness to Jesus  

Like Mary of Bethany, we come to disciple and be discipled

We commit ourselves to learn and worship at the feet of Jesus

Like Barnabas, we come to encourage one another

We commit ourselves to create moments of reconciliation and peace. 

To find God’s Spirit in one another and care for the most vulnerable

Like the Dancing One, we come to celebrate life’s moments.

We commit ourselves to celebrate a love shared and find reasons to dance.

When we go our separate ways 

We will do so by taking our worship into our daily lives of welcome, prayer, witness, discipleship, encouragement and celebration.

© Ansty Road United Reformed Church

 

 

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame

But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name

Christ alone cornerstone

Weak made strong in the Saviour’s love

Through the storm He is Lord

Lord of all

Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury

© 2011 Hillsong MP Songs (Admin. by Hillsong Music Publishing UK) CCLI Licence No. 1280770

Celebrating like the dancing one: Acts 3:1-10

A man’s life is turned around when he meets the risen Christ through Peter and John. His reaction is to dance with joy and amaze those around him. We need to celebrate life’s moments, celebrate the good news of Christ, celebrate a love shared. 

When we were thinking about the way we wanted to develop the new church Dorry Dear  told us, “These moments are like a comma changing the flow of a sentence.” I loved that image, and the way a well placed comma makes such a difference to the way in which we understand text. There is a story told by Oscar Wilde that he had spent the whole day waiting and when asked what he had done said “I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.” 

However, what language shall we use? We have in the past referred to this encounter as Celebrating like the dancing Cripple. Now cripple is a perfectly correct word  from the Old English crypel, “one who creeps, halts, or limps, one partly or wholly deprived of the use of one or more limbs.” The problem is that like so many of these words it has been abused and it has been abused. Some will use it of themselves, “Crip” is a term used by people who are disabled – but it’s not a term that is regarded as acceptable for those of us who are not particularly disabled to use. So what might we say instead, could we refer to the dancing paraplegic or person of disability? We could and many of those who are disabled in some way prefer that term, yet still I hesitate to describe someone by what can not be done rather than by their achievements.

So for the moment, until someone suggests something better, I’m going to refer to the Dancing One. It is a bit gneric, perhaps too bland bland, yet it puts our focus on the dancing and perhaps we can then associate this moment with others who dance …Miriam, Psalm 30 149, 150 , Jephthah’s daughter, David, Thessalonians – “We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance.”

Sometimes, moments of celebration will be immediate and unexpected.  At other times we need to plan ahead, make the date, form plans, send out invitations, prepare the food, arrange the music, agree the outfit, greet the guests, surprise the one whose achievements we are celebrating and then relax and enjoy the day. It is good to celebrate together. 

This is our 5th church anniversary a time celebrate all that we have done over the last five years. 

  • congregations come together, support one another and become one body. 
  • CRCW post and called Kirsty, 
  • redevelop the building whilst also making plans for Ball Hill. We have met the disappointment of those plans not coming to fruition by reimagining how we can concentrate our work at Ansty Road and I know that you will produce good projects. 
  • We have registered for equal marriage and celebrated a number of weddings. If you want to see the impact that can have read this story https://metro.co.uk/2021/06/15/pride-week-nigerian-man-who-sought-asylum-because-being-gay-is-a-crime-14769294/  Victor was one of the people whose wedding we celebrated in May, growing up in Nigeria, it was beyond his imagination. I’m so pleased that we could be with them in that moment.

In our story at the Beautiful Gates, the begging one  – did not wake up that morning imagining that he would be able to dance into the temple that afternoon. 

He came expecting charity and discovered it was time to walk!

He came into the hour of prayer – with dancing feet.

Sometimes God’s grace is beyond our imagination and when that moment happens we have to take it and dance with it. We have to give thanks for the goodness that we have experienced or witnessed. We need stand with those who celebrate and against those who want to belittle everything or strain the joy out of those dancing feet. It means that some times we need to adapt, be light on our feet and always open to saying “Yes” to the moments God offers. For it may be in such moments that God’s Spirit creates new commas that change the flow of the narrative. 

 

Thanks be to God, whose Church on earth 

Has stood the tests of time and place, 

And everywhere proclaims new birth 

Through Christ whose love reveals God’s face. 

 

Thanks be to God, whose spirit sent 

Apostles out upon his way; 

From east to west the message went; 

On Greek and Roman dawned the day. 

 

Thanks be to God, in whom we share 

Today the mission of his Son: 

May all his Church that time prepare 

When, like the task, the world is one. 

© Caryl Micklem

Loving God,

We live in this waiting time,

Wondering what will happen next.

Asking, questioning, searching.

Will we return to the old normal?

What new things do you have in store for us?

Creator God, grant us hope in the midst of a confused and troubled world.

Redeemer God, pour out your gift of love, that our lives may bear fruit.

Sustainer God, free us from fear about what the future might hold

and give us power to live whole-heartedly for others and all creation.

Amen.

Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch, member of St Andrew’s URC in Ealing

https://urc.org.uk/general/3729-prayers-during-the-pandemic.html

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