Categories
Minister Podcasts Prayers

Welcoming Another’s Truth

The fourth in our series of conversations explores our response to John 14 ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you for ever.” 

We explore some issues around mental health, suicide, asylum and violence. So if those are issues you need to stay away from or be warned about before you listen, then please be cautious.

Poem: “Lesson”  © Craig Muir

Music: Gonfalon Royal (And Art thou come with us to dwell) played by Brenda Beauchamp

 

Categories
Minister News

For 17 May 2020

As we come to our 9th Sunday without being able to meet in the churches, I have found myself in a new routine that now works towards having these letters prepared to catch the last post on a Thursday. Sadly, last week I didn’t factor in the bank holiday and so I believe that for many of you the posted version arrived on Monday morning. I hope you still found the reflections useful, if a touch late to be used on Sunday morning.

Life has shifted online, meetings (work and social) using Zoom – a video conferencing platform that has done very well out of this pandemic. Join us for a Bible study 7pm on Tuesday https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4043156568 

My brother and our cousin are spending the time going through old family photographs and posting them on Facebook. We are currently looking at photographs from the mid-1920’s and trying to work out who is who. I must admit it’s sometimes a distraction when I’m supposed to be working, but also a lovely way to remember our grandparents and their cousins & siblings enjoying life as young people. But also that some of these relationships were complicated – who is that man with Aunt Jeanie?

In our Podcast this week, (chat through some ideas on Tuesday, write on a Wednesday, record on Thursday) Kirsty and I are thinking about the Spirit of Truth that Jesus promises to send to advocate for us, and the way truth can appear different from another perspective. That can make life complicated but if we are to welcome people into our lives, then we also need to love them for who they are, and the truth of their life.

As to returning to church, we will be cautious. The government advice suggests that we will not be able to do so until at least the beginning of July. We also have a document from the URC that the Elders will need to work our way through. The big issue is how we keep one another safe, and how we clean up after every use of the building. This will be less complicated at Ansty Road by the commencement of the building works on 25 May, which will mean that the building can not be accessed during the week and so the only thing we need to judge is whether we feel it is safe to return on a Sunday and whether we wish to do so if we still need to maintain social distancing and perhaps not sing. At St. Columba’s, we will need to work out the way each group can return to using the building, and whether we also wish to return on a Sunday morning when so many of the congregation will remain in the vulnerable category. When you speak with Elders it may be something that you wish to discuss to help us in our deliberations. 

But one thing that we can continue to do wherever we are is to pray. Earlier in the year churches across the city began planning to prayer walk every street in the city during the month of June. We did not realise how well timed that would be – but God did. Next week I will be able to share some plans.

 

Sunday 17 May  Fifth Sunday after Easter

Prayer Risen Jesus, through our interactions may we recognise someone else’s truth and learn from them.

Hymn

And art thou come with us to dwell

our prince, our guide, our love, our Lord?

And is thy name Immanuel,

God present with his world restored?

 

The heart is glad for thee, it knows

none now shall bid it err or mourn,

and o’er its desert breaks the rose

in triumph o’er the grieving thorn.

Bible John 14:15-21

Reflection “If you love me …” says Jesus and I wonder how conditional our love is. Must we prove our love by our behaviour or do we only love those who love us? Can we love those who are very different from ourselves or can we only draw close to those with whom we have a connection? 

In looking at old family photographs with my cousins we are looking at the young faces of our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles – we are sharing family stories, but aware that each family will have a slightly different version passed down. Sometimes that story wasn’t told in that family. We are talking about people we love – but we know that sometimes the relationships were difficult. At my Grandpa’s funeral I described him as cantankerous – because most of us had fallen out with him at some point or been at the sharp end of his temper. But my Australian cousins never heard a bad word said about him – he was far enough away to be a friendly letter or photograph. Which was the truth? Well for each of us, something a little bit different because our relationship was different. But, he loved us and we loved him – sometimes that was why his tongue was so sharp! 

Jesus promises to be revealed to those who love him, perhaps it is only when we love one another that the real complexity of a person is known, the public face is put away and we welcome another’s truth.

Prayer Loving God, may we see you in the lives of all who seek to dwell in peace and love. May we see you in the welcome we give to one another. May we see you and know you as you sanctify each precious, holy life.

Hymn

Thy reign eternal will not cease;

thy years are sure and glad, and slow

within thy mighty world of peace

the humblest flower hath leave to blow.

 

The world is glad for thee; the heart

is glad for thee, and all is well

and fixed, and sure, because thou art,

whose name is called Immanuel.

Dora Greenwell (1821-1882)

Categories
Minister Podcasts Prayers Walking the Way

Dwelling with Prejudice

Our third podcast explores John 14 and the ways we dwell with prejudice.

Credits

Lemn Sissay “Colour Blind” in Gold from the Stone

Alison Phipps and Tawone Sitholé “border crossing in Togo (insert place of choice) in The warriors who did not fight

Piano played by Brenda Beauchamp.

Categories
Minister Prayers

For 10th May 2020

 

This coming Sunday we arrive at Christian Aid Week and so the worship material that we have produced comes to us from Christian Aid and will allow us to focus on matters beyond our immediate situation and into the wider world where this virus can not be managed with expensive ventilators, a well funded health service amongst a population who have the means to isolate in small units.

Coronavirus has shown us that our futures are bound more tightly together than ever before. And now it is spreading across the world’s poorest countries, putting people living in poverty at great risk.  These people are already facing a lack of water, food and healthcare. Some are homeless. Some are living with underlying health issues such as HIV. As coronavirus infection rates speed up, they will feel the impacts of the virus deeply. We must respond now. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all.

Together with our local partners, we are working quickly to limit the impact of coronavirus in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

  • We are drawing on our experience from the Ebola crisis and helping communities to prevent and delay infection.
  • We are providing essential soap, water and handwashing training.
  • We are ensuring urgent health messages get through to help keep people safe.
  • We are working through our networks of church partners and faith-based organisations to reach the most vulnerable at this critical time.

Christian Aid is responding to the coronavirus outbreak in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. We’re working together with partners and faith leaders to inform people about the risks, offering hygiene and hand washing sessions, equipping health facilities with supplies and providing training to frontline aid workers.  We’re providing food packages to some of the most marginalised families and ensuring protection for women affected by domestic violence.

To support Christian Aid we have had to change our methods of raising money. We can not do the door to door collection from Ansty Road, or Soup & Roll at St. Columba’s. We each need to take responsibility for making our own donations rather than relying on the church taking collection and submitting it for us. Those who received this electronically should also receive an e-envelope. Please respond as generously as you can. To those who receive this as a letter, please ask someone who can make online donations to do so for you at https://www.christianaid.org.uk. 

Sunday 10 May  Fourth Sunday after Easter

Prayer God of all the earth, be present with us in each of our homes, as we connect together. Build us a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you through Jesus Christ, our risen redeemer and healer. 

Hymn Let us build a house where love can dwell

and all can safely live.

A place where saints and children tell

how hearts learn to forgive.

Built of hopes and dreams and visions,

rock of faith and vault of grace;

here the love of Christ shall end divisions:

all are welcome in this place. 

Bible Psalm 31 & John 14:1-11

Reflection Look at your hands. Have a good look. Our hands really are the most remarkable and useful tools, involved in so much of what we do and how we do things, even in these days of social distancing. The psalmist writes of committing their spirit into God’s hands, and at times of being in God’s hands. They also describes the desire to be delivered from the hands of oppressors and from a hidden invisible net that threatens to entangle them.

Our hands have become even more significant in these days of physical distance. We might long to hold the hand of a person we can no longer touch. We pray for the hands of medics to bring healing and comfort. We are grateful for hands stacking shelves and delivering groceries and post. And we are extra wary of everything our hands touch that comes from outside our own home.

This Christian Aid Week we also think of how our hands can be far from idle. They can still reach out virtually to our neighbours around the world. Neighbours in refugee camps and cramped living conditions, neighbours without adequate hand-washing facilities, neighbours who face the devastating impact of coronavirus with even less of the medical resources we have struggled to access here.

We reach out by clasping our hands together in prayer, and holding our hands open before God as we declare our needs and concerns for all communities.

Prayer God our refuge, we come with open hands, some of us with hearts full of questions, bruised by bereavement, fearful of what the future holds, stunned by the events of this year. Draw close to us in each of our homes as we place our honest questions and hopes into your open, resurrected, scarred hands.

Hymn Let us build a house where all are named,

their songs and visions heard

and loved and treasured, taught and claimed

as words within the Word.

Built of tears and cries and laughter,

prayers of faith and songs of grace.

Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:

all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen © Gregorian Institute of America GIA Publications Inc