Palm Sunday worship 28th March led by Mr Darryl Lomas.

March 26th, 2021

Wednesday worship 24th March led by Mr Darryl Lomas.

March 26th, 2021

Bible study 23rd March led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

March 26th, 2021

I thirst” (John 19:28)

Read Psalm 63:1-5

It has made me smile that one of the things that people miss most about the worship isn’t the lack of singing but the fact that we cannot have a cup of tea afterwards. At first, I got a bit irritated because I thought it showed that Church was just a social club but now, I realise that we thirst for human company as much as a good brew. We need things from each other.

At the beginning of his ministry Jesus asks the Samaritan woman at the well for a drink and upon the cross he also thirsts. The Son of God has human needs and asks us to meet those needs. He also thirsts for our love. We tend to think first of our need of Jesus, but Jesus loves, desires and thirsts for us far more than we do for him.

  1. Are you happier being a receiver or a giver (being thirsty or relieving thirst)? Why? What about with Jesus? If this refers to the last para, the thought God is always there for me is very satisfying. Like everyone though it would be great to have definite knowledge our prayers may be answered. I would not think I can give God anything other than service as a disciple.

If on a personal level I’m happy in my own company neither really but contacting people thro covid has been rewarding. Giving them someone different to talk to.

What do we talk about? Conversation can lead to discovery of new things or more about a person

Receiver can say no. Is it a weakness?

Create space fr the listening ear.

Domination can stop growth

Does giving mean otherwise it doesnt get done. Is this an ego thing?

Hymns rarely speak of what we give God

Can we learn to be more thirsty?

  1. What do you think Jesus might thirst for from us?

Loyalty and the great commission. Is it a sign of weakness

Just a presence – is it a two way relationship

We have thirsts too. We might thirst for a bit more money, companionship or acclaim. We should not be embarrassed by our ‘thirsts’ but bring them to Jesus. Meet him by our spiritual wells in prayer. Only them might we find that our deeper thirsts are really about security, purpose and affirmation. Things that can only be satisfied in Jesus. We might even learn to be thirsty for more of God and more of the kingdom. Desire isn’t wrong it often just gets misplaced.

  1. What are you thirsty for more of with God? In line with what Natasha said earlier More two way conversations in prayer. More of a human relationship

Are we seeing the signs – how do we become more aware

It is finished’ (John 19:30)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, It is finished.”With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit”.

A better translation for ‘finished’ is completed or perfected.

  1. What was the last task that you completed? Sorting out my pension and car insurance, & booking the safeguarding training How did you feel? Relief Another job off the list

Often left hanging jobs like sharig gospel or Area work or church work. Worse when one job leads to another.

  1. Is there something you think you perfected? No, jack of all trades master of none.

I think we often dream of completion and perfection, but it rarely happens. We might dream of the perfect Church or the perfect marriage but both are made up of human beings who make mistakes, snore or have other irritating habits. Do we give up? Do we become cynical? Here upon the cross is complete, perfect love.

We may not like some things the person we love does but is that what love is

Wait a minute. The cross is not beautiful or sheer happiness so how on earth is it perfection? Strangely, it is because Jesus does not expect completeness or perfection from us just our true selves. Perfect love does not demand perfection of the other.

Father into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23:46)

Read Luke 23:44-45

44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

  1. Have you ever had to trust your life to someone else? Yes I suppose when I broke my pelvis and had major operation

The last word is addressed to God. It is a supreme act of trust. We are anxious about our health, jobs and future despite living at a time in the West when we have better medicines and social security provision (although it’s still not as good as it could be). We are mistrustful of people in authority and those in positions of care with the result that we try to carry everything in our own hands. We try to control things and of course we can’t….especially not death.

I had a friend who liked to say “Don’t worry. It probably will not happen”. I once challenged him by saying “Mike, I prefer ‘Don’t worry. It probably will happen but it will not be the end of the world’. In some ways the worst for the Christian has already happened; the sun darkened, the holy of holies was ripped open, the tombs erupted- horror movie, apocalyptic stuff that the prophets spoke about. The Son of God died………and then there was Easter Sunday.

In the end, the last word is that we cannot carry and control it all. We have to trust ourselves to God. Can we start now rather than just at the end of our lives? Maybe our trust now is a rehearsal for what will come?

  1. Is there something we need to place into God’s hands? Church issues

Prayer before or after placing in God’s hands

Does a church dying lead to new worship group? Do they move into other congregation?

Are we merely custodian? Have we let our predecessors down. Massive secularisation with a bigger gap between secular and religious life?

Gospel not changed. Language may have. Are we still relevant by not speaking the language?

Should 80 year olds have to struggle with this. Has Covid knocked us off this trajectory.

If we hadnt opened would we have carriwed on as before coivid. Need to think about it

do the communties now want more, have they moved to a religious stance.

Does faith come before church?

Prayer

Lord Jesus,

Thank you that your final words still speak to us from the cross.

In thirsting you show us that there is no shame in desire.

Help us desire you Jesus in the way you desire us.

In completing your mission you show us that perfect love accepts imperfection.

Help us love unselfishly and generously and not demand perfection first.

In placing your Spirit into your Father’s hands, you show how to trust.

Amen.

Wednesday worship 17th March 2021 led by Mr Darryl Lomas

March 17th, 2021

Reading 2 Chronicles: 11-23

Darryl started by telling us about a number of new words that arose during WW II then asked what new words we had learned since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Darryl chose to focus on the term ‘Social distancing’.

In Luke 4:1-15 we read of Jesus in the wilderness facing the temptation of Satan. Certainly socially distanced but he took the opportunity to focus on the important things in life. What the priorities were in his life which was to be time limited.

Our social distancing requirements are not as drastic as those faced by Jesus, few of us have gone 40 days without food.

Covid has given us the time ti think and reflect, even brood on what life holds as we move forward. Who or what is important in our lives? How will we move forward in serving God?

Wednesday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 10th March repeated on Mothering Sunday 14th March 2020

March 14th, 2021

Bible Study 9th March 2021

March 2nd, 2021

BIBLE STUDY: LENT- SEVEN LAST WORDS (PART TWO)

BEHOLD YOUR SON! BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER’

  1. Have you ever ‘set anyone up’? Have you been set up or introduced by someone?

Read John 19:26-27

Good Friday shows a loss of community. The disciples have mostly turned and ran and those that cheered for Jesus are now jeering him. Yet, when humanity is at its most hateful and divided (those being killed and those doing the killing) a new community is being born at the foot of the cross. Before Pentecost you could argue that the Church is actually born here. Jesus absorbs our hostility and cruelty to one another in his loving self-sacrifice so that we all become his family by blood, his blood. Jesus knows what is like to be the ultimate outcast at Golgotha, so no-one is excluded from his family.

We don’t use familial terms for one another very often, although they do turn up in the funeral service, but I quite like them. To call each other family can be a healing, restorative thing.

Read Genesis 45:4

There’s a lovely story about Archbishop Helder Camara of Recife in Brazil who had a real heart for the poor. When he heard that someone had been unjustly arrested, he would turn up at the police station and say, “you have arrested my brother.” The officers would be very apologetic and release the man. When they questioned why the surname was different the Archbishop would explain that everyone was his brother and sister.

  1. What do think John and Mary brought to the relationship and thus the early Church?

3-Does the idea of family really stretch? Are we always going to treat our nearest relatives differently from other people?

4-How can we build a sense of family in our Church? How can we build a sense of family in the community?

MY GOD, MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’

4-When have you felt that God wasn’t there?

Read Mark 15:34 and Psalm 22

5- What similarities do you see between Psalm 22 and the events of Good Friday?

This is more than doubting the existence of God as an intellectual exercise, this is yearning for God but not finding Him. It is the suffering that appears pointless and meaningless. It’s when we cry out “Why? Where is God now?”. Some theologies of the cross have the idea that Jesus has taken on so much sin that God cannot look upon it and therefore His own Son. I prefer to think that Jesus is fully human as well as divine and that means he experiences our sense of being God-forsaken. Love takes him into the hardest place of all. People can bear many things if they think there is a purpose or meaning but to feel forsaken is truly terrible. Brian Kennan who was a hostage in Lebanon felt there was a void. He had been forgotten about by the world and God; ‘I am full with nothing. My prayers rebound on me as if all those words I sent up were poured back upon me like an avalanche tumbling around me.’ To those of us content in our faith these words and Jesus’ words are challenging, however, to the person who feels like this they are hope- somebody knows what this is like and somebody else’s faith survived it.

6- What would you say/do to someone who felt God-forsaken?

PRAYER

Lord sometimes wonderful things form in the hardest of places.

New relationships that have come out of adversity and are the stronger for it.

We thank you for family, friends and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Lord sometimes we need to be honest and say there is nothing wonderful.

We feel bereft even of You.

We try to survive the absence- there’s little else we can so.

Help us as Christian community keep the faith even when a brother or sister cannot hold it for themselves.

Help us hear their hard words without flinching and sit with them in the pain.

It helps that You know Jesus, You know.

Amen.

Wednesday Worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 3rd March 2021

March 2nd, 2021

Wednesday worship led by Mr Darryl Lomas 24th February 2021

March 2nd, 2021

Bible Study Tuesday 23rd February 2021

February 21st, 2021

BIBLE STUDY: LENT- SEVEN LAST WORDS (PART ONE)

  1. What is the most important thing anyone has said to you? What was the context in which they said it?

I wonder if you can remember the last words someone said to you? We tend to scour those words for meaning. We hang on the last words of famous historical figures hoping they might offer us some wisdom. Those facing the gallows are permitted to offer their final words.

Some Christian traditions have a service on Good Friday based on the seven last words, or last sentences, that Jesus spoke from the cross. It is a tradition that goes back to the 12th century. Jesus’ words bear witness that he is the Word of God and despite the coming silence of the grave they ring out bold and true. In these hard times where there is so much suffering, silence, and sadness I hope they can ring out again. We fear that words are meaningless, but these words come from extreme pain- they survive, they still hold meaning on the cross. Therefore, we should listen to them carefully. They might hold meaning for us now.

FATHER FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO

Read Luke 23:24

One of the things that strikes me is that Jesus forgives the onlookers (and by implication us) before they kill them. He forgives them before they even realise what they have done. That is a lot to get our minds around. We tend to view asking for forgiveness and offering forgiveness as something that happens after a wrong has been committed. Maybe, that is how it works on a human level, but Jesus works on a difference level. Perhaps because Jesus is the only totally innocent human being and divine his forgiveness can operate like this.

Forgiveness comes first is the scandal of the gospel. It doesn’t mean that Jesus/God forgets our sins or thinks they are not serious but that because we are already forgiven, we can actually face what we have done. We dare to remember the failures, defeats, hurts caused and lack of love. We dare to remember not to feel miserable about ourselves but to open our lives to transformative power of God.

  1. What difference does it make to know that God has already forgiven you…even for the things that you don’t realise are sinful yet?

Was Jesus just offering forgiveness for his murder as an innocent man or for the violent act of crucifixion itself- the taking of life? Others died with him that day and crucifixion was almost an industry of death. There are countless people who have died as the result of our nation’s actions/inactions. If we trust that forgiveness comes first can we dare open our eyes?

  1. How do react when nations/organisations apologise and ask forgiveness for past mistakes?

TODAY YOU WILL BE WITH ME IN PARADISE”

Read Luke 23:39-43

  1. What is your idea of paradise?

I suspect your idea of paradise is not a cross. How extraordinary that paradise is talked about at Golgotha and one criminal believes what Jesus is saying. We think paradise has to be attained and pursued. That when we have accrued enough stuff and status then we will be in paradise. But these men have nothing, and their lives are ebbing away. It is a sheer gift offered by Jesus. We don’t know if the criminal is a thief, but he is often labelled as ‘the good thief’ and it seems apt. He pulls off an amazing heist. He gets Paradise without paying for it. As we all do. It is another scandal of the gospel. We just need to learn to accept God’s gifts.

5- What small gifts have brought paradise into a situation of loss or pain for you?

The word ‘Paradise’ comes from the Persian and it means ‘a walled garden’. Gardens in the Bible are places of rest, renewal and joy. They are the places where God delights in us and we delight in God. Think of Eden, the resurrection and the Song of Songs. Joy is not incompatible with sorrow. I have laughed beside people on their deathbeds and enjoyed the final day of a romance even though I knew it must end. Sorrow hollows out our hearts so there is a space where God’s happiness can dwell. The opposite of joy and delight is not sadness but being stony-hearted like the other criminal.

6- Why do you think the two criminals react to Jesus so differently?

Prayer

Faced with your cross and in Your presence now,

Don’t let me be stony-hearted Jesus, still scrabbling for a scrap of power,

Make me open-hearted.

Remind me that Your forgiveness comes first and therefore I need not fear condemnation or retribution. I can name my faults and failings honestly and my places of hurt can be transformed by Your love.

Remind me that You offer me paradise even in the hardest of places if I just have the eyes to see it. You offer me Yourself and that is more than enough. You delight in me. Help my heart be open enough to fully delight in You.

Jesus, thank You for Your teachings from the cross.

Amen.

Wednesday worship 17th February

February 14th, 2021