This weekend is Pentecost and we would normally be thinking about open air services. There are many encouraging signs that more people are sharing in worship in its many forms during the pandemic than there were before it. BBC1 is offering us two services this Sunday morning which I hope is a reflection of how many people are tuning in.
Despite rumours that the churches will be opening soon I think we are still months away from opening for worship but guidelines are starting to be provided if churches need to carry out particular activities, but these are very limited indeed at this stage e.g. property inspections, repairs, maintenance or schools and education.
Meet Ruth over coffee – weekly house groups on Thursday mornings or evenings starting the 4th June, four sessions. Contact Judith or I a.s.a.p. so we can advise you about how to use Zoom, provide study materials and enrol you in a group. Ring or email us – Contact details below the readings.
Readings for the week commencing 31st May: The Gift of the Spirit
|Sunday||John 14: 20:19-23||Psalm 104||*STF 371||Breathe on me, Spirit of Jesus|
|Monday||Luke 1: 39-49||Psalm 113||*STF 186||Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!|
|Tuesday||Romans 5: 1-5||Psalm 18||*STF 390||My God! I know, I feel thee mine|
|Wednesday||Luke 9: 1-6||Psalm 33||*STF 412||See how great a flame aspires|
|Thursday||John 7: 37-39||Psalm 146||*STF 388||Let every Christian pray|
|Friday||Romans 8: 12-17||Psalm 100||*STF 392||O Holy Spirit, Lord of grace|
|Saturday||Romans 8:22-27||Psalm 139||*STF 400||Wind of God, dynamic Spirit|
*Not everyone will have a Singing The Faith hymn book so we have put the first line of the hymn alongside so that you can look it up in another hymn book or google it or play it on You Tube.
If you would like some background on the readings and points to ponder please go to https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/the-bible/a-word-in-time/
I write this on Spring Bank Holiday weekend which takes me back to when I was in my early teens. My older brother and sisters had left home we would go out in the car. I would ask Dad “Where are we going?” Dad would answer,” I don’t know let’s see where the roads take us. It’s a mystery tour!”
This Bank Holiday I have found myself watching Festival at Home and reminiscing about the Cliff College Anniversary as I knew it when I was a student back in 1973-74. No internet or YouTube then! It is fascinating how life gives us different perspectives, how things from the past suddenly enter our minds and help us in the present and in the next chapter of our lives. Going to Cliff College taught me a lot and looking back I can see how that experience gave me direction for my journey in life.
Even today I can so easily draw links to this point in time, my role in the church, my understanding of the Bible, time to think and pray. People with different stories and experiences to mine but time to discuss, discern and discover what God’s Spirit was saying to me and them.
I went to Bible College for a year thinking I would then train to become a vet and work in the country. I left feeling called to work with people in the inner city, Newham East London. I remember writing an article for my home church about what I was doing from ‘the Concrete Jungle’. It was not what I expected but I loved the adventure, the sense of mystery and it continues today.
Life has been very strange these last few weeks. Not what any of us expected as we began a journey to Easter starting with the self-discipline of Lent, then being confined to our homes and unable to proclaim the risen Christ, reading anew the story of the church in the Acts of the Apostles as they begin to make sense of what the church is, the leaving of familiar ways of life, trusting God, relearning what faith and salvation, forgiveness and service is all about becoming church in a new way. Then the Ascension of Christ and waiting for the Spirit to empower and direct the church as lockdown is being eased is a new beginning. Life has changed because we have been reminded how important life and how we live it is important. Wealth, power and status have been seen to be impotent in the face of matters of life and death. Love of our neighbour, care of the vulnerable, self-discipline and recognising how we live impacts on others have grown in significance right across the cultures and nations of the world.
As planes have been grounded, production lines stopped, cars stationary we have seen smog cleared, pollution reduced and heard the birds sing.
Churches may have been closed but God is not silent. We may not know where we are going but we are people of faith, followers of Christ who calls us leave the old and enjoy the new, to promised lands, to let the Spirit flow in us and through us. Where are we going? Come and see was and is Jesus’ invitation. We journey together, never alone.
Peace be with you
The Methodist Conference will meet virtually June 25 – July 2 2020 in order to conduct its essential business. We are particularly mindful of those for whom this is a significant Conference personally (e.g. ordinands and those designated for office) and hope that the Methodist people will keep them and all the representatives in their prayers.
The Conference will be asked to adopt the changes to the stations as usual and at present we are assuming that Ministers moves will go ahead as planned during the summer. Information about farewells and welcome services will be announced nearer the time