Wednesday worship – 16th June led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

June 30th, 2021

Tuesday Bible study 15th June led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

June 14th, 2021

BIBLE STUDY- GOD REIGNS

I remember reading about a man named Charlie Wilson who woke up one morning with a crushing headache. It turned out that he was having a massive stroke which left him blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and paralysed on one side. However, the worst element was memory loss. He didn’t know who he was or what anything was called. He had re-learn the words for things. When other patients were looking forward to going home, Charlie had no idea of what home looked like or meant. He couldn’t see past the present reality.

It is on a different scale but perhaps during the pandemic we could no longer imagine an end. We could not see past the present reality. That sense of being stuck without having a forward direction can happen at any time, in any season, for any reason.

  1. Can you identify with ‘not being able to see past the present reality’?

Zechariah was a prophet after the exile. It is twenty years since the first wave returned from Babylon. Some of those who came back had been born in Babylon and had no-idea what their ‘home country’ looked like. Some had spent decades longing for home. Psalm 137 is full of homesickness. When they did finally return the land was in a mess. It was far from being the end of their struggles. Disappointment kicked in.

  1. When has the end not really been the end for you?

Read Zechariah 14: 3-5.

It sounds strange but God, through the prophet Zechariah, pushes the perfect day of culmination further down the track. It is not the day of return but something far bigger. In this part of Zechariah ‘On that day’ is said seven times. Seven times should ring bells because it links the prophecy to the creation story. Zechariah is painting a picture of a new creation, a time when the reign of God is fully realised. In verse 9 it states that ‘the Lord will be King over the whole earth’.

  1. What does ‘the Lord is King’ mean to you? Does the language still work in a time when we don’t have kings?
  2. Does having a bigger hope help when we’re disappointed- how?

Zechariah has some images connected to ‘on that day’- glimpses of what it might be like. It is all heightened poetry. I don’t think we are meant to take it too literally.

Read Zechariah 14: 6-7What Bible passages/verses do you associate with light?

On the one hand the language reminds us of Genesis 1 but on the other, the newly created order will be very different from what we know. Somehow there will be no day or night but ‘at evening time it will still be light’. It is full of contradictions and our usual categories collapse. This will be a day when even what a day is will change. There will still be light because God is light.

Read Revelation 21: 22-24

We will no longer need the sun or moon to navigate by and our sense of time will be based on something else. God will be our guiding light. One day we will not worry about the future as we do now but walk in the light of the Lord.

Read Zechariah 14: 8

  1. What Bible passages/verses do you associate with flowing water?

These life-giving waters flow throughout the boundaries of the promised land and they never run dry. How compelling this would be to the original audience when drought was part of life and death. Access to clean, flowing water is still a problem in many parts of the world. Living water doesn’t just refer a physical river but spiritual refreshment. God will provide for us. God’s supply will not run out.

Read Zechariah 14: 20-21

I quite like this image. As our categories collapse- the secular becomes sacred. Ordinary cooking pots become special vessels and everything is filled with the glory of God. There is an odd reference to traders/or Canaanites in the temple. Maybe that’s about the end of commerce and consumerism where some people win and some people lose. Perhaps the Temple has become open to foreigners or if the correct translation is ‘Canaanite’ then maybe our human categories also disappear. There is no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, Protestant and Catholic, Owl or Blade etc. However, this generous interpretation sits uneasily with the all-out victory language of Zechariah 14:12-19.

  1. How do we handle the exclusivism of Zechariah 14:12-19?
  2. When has the secular become sacred for you? (Somehow ordinary things/people have shown the glory of God)

Three visions of hope for people who feel stuck in a present reality or for whom the promised day has lacked promise. However, we all want them now not in some distant future. Zechariah’s vision has begun in Jesus it is just not fully completed. We can be guided, refreshed and challenged to see the sacred in everything and everyone through the Holy Spirit. We work and serve to make those things possible for others. We look forward in certain hope to that glad day when God will reign over all. The Lord will be King over the whole earth.

  1. Which of these three images speaks the most to you? What does the world need most right now?

Prayer

Lord you are King, Reign over us, the places we inhabit and the people we meet. Help us see by Your light, Help us drink Your living water and be refreshed, Help us see the sacred in the ordinary- even ordinary people. Help us hold out those things to others. We praise You for Your Kingship that is about service rather than power for its own sake. You are a God of goodness. Amen.

Sunday service led by Suzanne Nockels 12th June

June 14th, 2021

Wednesday Worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 9th June

June 14th, 2021

Wednesday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels – 2nd June

June 14th, 2021

Wednesday worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels 26th May

June 14th, 2021

Trinity Sunday Communion 30th May

May 23rd, 2021

30th May 21

25th May Bible Study

May 23rd, 2021

BIBLE- PROPHECY AND COMFORT

In worship last week we talked a little about the reality of Zoom meetings. I do think they are real, but someone did mention that it was easy to not ‘fully turn up’. For example, you can put a jacket on but still wear your jogging bottoms or, as someone I know did with an Area Meeting, put the picture on mute and dust the living room at the same time.

  1. Have you ever been ‘outed’ as not fully present somewhere?

Read Zechariah 1:1-7

Background

Life was difficult for God’s people. They had returned from exile in Babylon, but it wasn’t the end of their troubles. Work was hard, the Temple was only partially rebuilt, and their identity was in tatters. Would God keep His promises? Would it be better to look for security elsewhere? They were physically in Jerusalem, but their hearts were elsewhere and away from God. Whether we are worshipping back in our Church buildings or watching the Youtube videos it is still easy not to be fully present to God. Understandably, our minds can be on our daily to-do lists, our concerns or our lunch (is that just me?). Life can be lived not fully present. We can be in our relationships but still feel lonely. We can show up to work but wonder if it all matters.

  1. What helps us be fully present to God and each other?

Zechariah 1:2 talks of God’s anger. It is not a comforting picture of God at all! We don’t tend to talk of God’s anger very much. God’s anger towards sin is righteous, not petty or irrational like much of our human anger. Also, God’s anger does not sever God’s heart from His people. Previous generations didn’t listen to God and ended up in ruins. We know that deep hurts can reverberate down the generations. I wonder what you make of Prince Harry’s comments about parenting? What about the injustice that society has passed down to us? I remember being really cross as a teenager with the idea that ‘we were the future’ as if we had to fix what the previous generation had messed up with impunity. However, despite the fact we don’t listen, God doesn’t give up on us.

  1. What differences are there between God’s anger and human anger?
  2. Are we doomed to carry the hurts or perpetuate the mistakes of previous generations? How do we stop that? What comfort can we take from Zechariah 1?

Zechariah is prophesying 18 years after the exiles return home and they still have lots of questions. Will a new power overtake them when they are so vulnerable? We have returned to school, work, theatres etc. but we still have questions too about the pandemic, job security, self-worth.

Read Zechariah 1:7-17

Darius was generous towards the Jews but he’s still in control. At first glance, the vision of horsemen who ride across the earth and report back that ‘the whole world is at rest and at peace’ sounds like a positive image, except that this is a picture of the Persian communication system. Interestingly, Scripture often uses the phrase ‘the whole world’ to criticise Empire and a fake peace. The peace is not true. Jerusalem is still suffering, and the angel pleads for it. God offers ‘kind and comforting words’?

  1. Are they kind and comforting words (verses 14-16)?

We are not left in ruins. We are not left with worries about generational sins and an incomplete future. God says ‘return’ to Him and then the promise of rebuilding can begin. If we return then we really need to show up, fully come to ourselves and repent. The prodigal son didn’t just return to the home/place he had left but fully returned/repented before his father and his heavenly Father.

  1. As we return where do we need to fully return to God and each other?

Prayer

As many aspects of normal life return, help us fully return to each other and You. We worry about the mistakes of the past and we have an incomplete picture of what the post-pandemic world will look like. We worry that so many things are ruined. But you speak “Return” instead of “Ruined” and that is our comfort. Help us repent fully and trust in Your promises. We praise You Father that there is always an ‘again’.

Amen.

23rd May 21- Whitsuntide worship led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

May 23rd, 2021

Repeat of Wednesday worship (19th May) but with the opportunity to sing Whit Hymns outside the church

Wednesday worship 19th May 2021

May 23rd, 2021

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels