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Minister Prayers

Joseph’s Empire: for 16 August 2020

We have been making plans for the autumn. They are all a bit vague filled with “maybe,” “perhaps”, and “if”. But we are also beginning to imagine a situation where we can meet at Ansty Road and continue to use zoom for those who can’t manage it to Ansty Road.

So here are some potential dates for diaries. Church members at St. Columba’s should already have 10:30am Tuesday 8th September, a Church Meeting at which we will confirm the future of the church. We will meet at church or on Zoom. At church we will use the sanctuary with one pew per household and a one way system for entry and exit. At the same time we will use the usual Sunday link  to allow anyone who can not come to the building to connect via zoom and still participate in the discussion. 

At Ansty Road we are going to explore holding an afternoon tea on the front lawn on Saturday 12 September 2pm-4pm. We will ensure there is the correct social distancing but we also hope to be able to show people into the building so that you can see how the work is progressing. This of course will be arranged with the builders and will have measures to keep the building Covid secure. On Monday 14 September at 7pm, we will hold a Church Meeting via zoom. We then hope to be able to use some weekends to clean and  re-arrange the church ready for worship to re-start from Sunday 18th October. If we have managed to get broadband installed by then we will then devise a service that can be accessed in person or via zoom. 

Craig will be on holiday for a couple of weeks including 23rd and 30th August. On those days Kirsty will be leading worship and will send you a different link in next weeks letter. 

Prayers & Reflection for 16 August 2020

Prayer

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, running down over the collar of his robes.

It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.

For there the Lord ordained blessing, life for evermore.

Psalm 133

Hymn

All my hope in God is founded

he doth still my trust renew

Me through change and chance he guideth

only good and only true.

God unknown

he alone,

calls my heart to be his own.

Bible Genesis 45: 1-15 

Reflection And so we reach the emotional reunion, when these brothers are reconciled to one another and Joseph’s dreams have come true. He is lording it over the whole of Egypt and his brothers are in his power. Joseph now controls where his brothers can live, the land, their flocks, their children and grandchildren will live by his gift, and he weeps tears of joy. Only then are his brothers given space to talk. Joseph’s whole rise to power has been the classic tactics of Empire – control the land and means of production, monopolise trade and gather power into the hands of a few; restrict who has access to power and which voices are heard. 

Am I being too harsh on Joseph? Isn’t this all part of God’s plan? Well that is what Joseph wants you to believe, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.” In all of these chapters God is only mentioned when Joseph is grasping power and justifying his actions. Just like the brothers, God does not get to speak other than in Joseph’s voice, it is another classic example of Empire – In God We Trust, so long as God endorses the actions of the elite. Otherwise, keep religion out of politics!

Israel and his children will become beneficiaries of empire for a couple of generations, just as many of us still benefit from the fruits of the British Empire. But in time those benefits will fade and God’s voice will be heard amongst those oppressed by Empire, will our ears be attuned to hear? Writing many centuries later, Paul, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, reminds us that, “At the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” (Rom 11:5) As the beneficiaries of God’s grace, may we know the difference between those who claim God’s blessing to endorse their own power and those who speak with God’s blessing. 

Prayer

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.     Selah

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.

May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Psalm 67

Hymn

Still from earth to God eternal

sacrifice of praise be done,

high above all praises praising

for the Gift of Christ his Son.

Christ doth call

one and all;

ye who follow shall not fall.

Robert Bridges (1844-1930) based on Joachim Neander (1650-80)

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