Another week, another update!
This week’s gospel reading is John 14:1-14, which opens with words that most of us are familiar with from funerals, but I want us to reflect this week upon the words which come later in the passage. In the second part of the chapter, Jesus says that we see God through him – he is the earthly form of God. Jesus goes on to tell us, however, that he was only able to do and say the things he has done, because God was working through him and anyone who believes in him will be able to do the same works which Jesus was enabled to do.
This is another passage which shows Jesus’ humility. He doesn’t claim to be all powerful and have all authority in his own right – he can only do what God enables him to do as he allows God to work though him.
I’ve been reminded several times this week of a hymn by Arthur Campbell Ainger in our old Hymns and Psalms books: “God is working his purpose out as year succeeds to year.” Apart from reflecting on how 2020 fits into God’s purposes for his world, I’ve kept being drawn to one line of that hymn at the beginning of the last verse: “All we can do is nothing worth, unless God blesses the deed”
At the very beginning of lockdown, there seemed to be a mad rush of activity as individuals, charities and churches asked themselves: what can we do to make this easier for people and to help them? When a crisis hits, there can be a mad rush to do something – anything, just so we are doing something and being useful. And maybe this was true for some of us when we first heard we were in lock-down. We wanted to be doing something, helping, making a difference. Even today I keep asking, are we as a church doing enough? And that is when I’m drawn to this line of the hymn. We can rush around doing a hundred things which WE think are the right things and helpful things to do, but are they necessarily the BEST thing for us to be doing, and more importantly, are they what God wants of us?
Jesus says if we believe in him, we will have the ability to do all the things which he was able to do in his earthly ministry – teaching, preaching, healing, leading, listening, praying, comforting and so much more besides. So what does God want you to do at this time? We aren’t all expected to do everything that Jesus did – especially not during lock-down, but what is it that God wants you to do at this time? If Jesus could only do good works if God was at work through him, then maybe we need to spend some time working out what good works God needs us to do and how God can best use us – for only then, when we are doing his will, will we be able to perform miracles for him.
- If you are out and about and pass our church building, you will hopefully see that we have brightened up the bridge over to the Wesley Hall. We now have our “We Love Leyland” banner up and a rainbow made of ribbons. We also have new posters up telling people about our on-line services and on the railings at the very front of church you will also see our “Try Praying” banners with instructions, inviting anyone in the community to come and share a prayer of hope by tying a piece of ribbon or a shoe lace or some wool or material – whatever they have at home, tying it to the railings as a symbol of their prayer in the current situation. So, if it is safe for you to be out and about, why not walk past church when you are doing your daily exercise and add your own prayer for hope at this time? (Pictures attached for those who are self isolating.)
- As some of you will already be aware, Mabel had her operation last Saturday and all seems to have gone well. She is now home recovering and although being very tired, is doing well. Thank you to you all for your prayers.
We have been very grateful over the past year for the work which both Matt and Paul have done maintaining and keeping our church clean and safe. There are still checks being done at church to keep the building in good condition, and also there are a few projects being undertaken while the building is empty. Please can we politely request, therefore, for the safety of Matt and Paul and any other volunteers / work force that you don’t pop into the church building unless it is absolutely urgent (and if so, please can you let Matt know first.) If someone pops in and uses the toilet or kitchen, for example, then this means everywhere needs to be thoroughly cleaned or left for 72 hours to make sure there is no possible spread of the virus. This is not good use of our staff’s time if they are constantly having to clean, just because they know someone has been in and moved something and don’t know if any of the facilities have been used. We need to keep our team safe and use their time wisely, so please, if you need to use the building, will you just let Matt know. Thank you.
Coming up this week:
Tomorrow (Friday 8th) is a special 75th Anniversary of VE Day Celebration Bank Holiday and so 2pm-4pm we are having our very first Zoom Coffee afternoon, with the suggested toast at 3pm in thanks for those who gave so much. There is no set agenda for this time together – it is just an opportunity to see each other, catch up and have a chat. I don’t think the zoom room will be inundated with guests so if you would like to join in, here are the details you need:
Topic: Virtual Coffee Afternoon
Time: May 8, 2020 02:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 4294 8761
Password: Email for password
Just make yourself a cuppa and then click the link and join in!
If you have no idea how to use zoom or just need some help with this, please do get in touch. We have several people who are rapidly becoming zoom experts and it will be no problem to help you out. You don’t have to be there at 2pm prompt – just drop in anytime during the two hour slot.
- Sunday 10.30am we have our usual circuit live worship on Facebook and YouTube (contact me if you want more details) Also attached is a written service if you would like to use that in your own devotions.
- Tuesday 12th will see the launch of our new bible study based on the book of Acts. Sometime on Tuesday, we will put a video on our church’s Facebook page (Leyland Methodist Church) and also on the circuit YouTube page (Chorley and Leyland Methodist Circuit) containing my introduction to the book of Acts. Anyone is welcome to have a look at this and feel free to join in or not, as you wish. The video will finish with a few questions to ponder which you can reflect upon on your own, or if you are viewing on Facebook, you can add your comments for others to read, discuss and add contributions to. I have no idea how this will work out, but let’s give it a go and see how we get on.
Keep safe this week and depending upon the government announcement on Sunday, lock down may look a little different by next week!
Every Blessing to you all,