Worship at Home for Sunday 10th May

Living Stones

Welcome to our Worship at Home Service this morning. There is a service sheet to download and print if you wish to follow the words. Although this time I have included the words of the hymns on screen. I’ve also added a page with some (hopefully) useful hints on watching the video.

Click the picture above to watch today’s service

Reflection for Year A Easter 5

Readings for this week: Acts 7:55-60; 1 Peter 2:2-10; John 14: 1-14; Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

The Way, the Truth and the Life

In this period of the church year, as we continue to read the book of Acts, we hear the continuing story of the beginnings of the early church, the acts of the first apostles and the growing community of believers.  We know that the disciples saw the living Jesus ascend into Heaven to be with the Father, and then waited until the Holy Spirit came upon them at the time we know as Pentecost, and that from that moment they went out fired up to proclaim the message of Jesus wherever they went.

Last week’s set passage from Acts 2: 42-47 told us about the growing community of believers and how they developed and practiced the holy habits of the church as they worked out what it meant to be a Christian post resurrection. How they had to think again about how to worship God at the Temple, in the Jewish fashion they had been used to, but also to meet together as fellow Christians: listening to the teaching of the disciples, giving to the needy, breaking bread; sharing together with glad and generous hearts, selling their possessions so that they could distribute the proceeds and holding all things in common. 

But as with the beginning of anything new – they soon ran into trouble. Those who had opposed Jesus had not gone away. Peter and John faced opposition and arrest, Stephen was stoned to death.

Here in the UK as Christians we are not facing persecution of that kind at present, but we are facing our own troubles in what might be described as a ‘wilderness’ moment. We are not able to meet in our church buildings, our spiritual home to worship and learn about God and this may lead to us feeling a little bit lost. We may feel that we are wandering like the Israelites in the book of Exodus led into the desert by Moses.  Or perhaps like Jesus when he was alone in the wilderness facing all kinds of temptation. Except our wandering is confined to our homes – wandering between the kitchen and the bathroom or bedroom!

So here are two images from our readings today that I want to share with you. The first is from the New Testament letter of 1 Peter 2: 4-7.  The writer urges Jesus’ followers to:

Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, andlike living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,…. (Vs 4-5)

We are reminded here that though our church buildings may be built of stone or brick, the stones that are important to God are the living stones that make up his church. Jesus Christ is the living stone who was rejected by people although ‘precious in God’s sight’. He is the corner stone, the foundation stone, the stone which is the reference point for all the other stones, the one on which the entire structure depends.  And we like living stones are built into a spiritual house to be a “Royal Priesthood”. 

It is us, the church, a house built of living stones which belongs to God and is where the Holy Spirit is to be found. In us not in bricks and stones and mortar. Our buildings will still be there and meeting together is important for our Communion together and with Christ and for mutual fellowship, learning and support, but for now the church resides where we are, it’s living stones.

It is the priest who makes the sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. But if we are all to be part of this Royal priesthood then what are the sacrifices through Jesus that we should make? Well it is to live a life of Holy Obedience, following the example of Jesus, doing good in the eyes of God, a life of worship and witness in the service of God.

The second image I want to share briefly is from John;’s gospel 14:1-14. Jesus tells his followers that there is a place, with him, prepared for them. He says that in his Father’s House there are many rooms.  I don’t know about you but it conjures in my mind an image of a hotel with lots of rooms. But this would be no ordinary Travel Lodge. This is a place where heaven and earth meet in God’s new creation as described in Revelation 21.

But how do we get to this Super Premier Inn run by Jesus? Thomas asks that very question “Lord we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” and Jesus replies “I am the way, the truth and the life”.

And this tells us what being a living stone, a member of the “Royal Priesthood” really means. It means to follow the way of Jesus. The ‘Way’, is the Jesus who washed the disciples feet and told them to follow his example. The way is the Jesus who healed, the Jesus who said the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God and to love one another, and even to love our enemies! That is where the sacrifice really comes in! 

So at this time when we are sacrificing our normal life of fellowship and worship in our church buildings for the sake of the health and safety of us all, let us remember to be living stones,  building blocks of Christ’s Church wherever we happen to be.

Andrew Biggs 5th May 2020

Christian Aid Week

This week is Christian Aid week. Normally we have have envelopes in church and door to door collections but this is different for obvious reasons so people are being creative in tasing money for Christian Aid. Mary Hellyer has shaved her head! You can read about why and donate to Christian Aid through her JustGiving page. There is a leaflet giving more information:

Christian Aid Week 2020

Pastoral Letter from the Superintendent

Normally around this time there would be a new Circuit Plan out which would include a Pastoral Letter from Rev John Hellyer, our Superintendent. As the plan is not being printed at this time you can red his letter here:

Published by andrewpbiggs

Methodist minister currently serving the Gloucestershire Circuit. Married to Julie. Enjoy reading and playing the guitar badly.

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