Hello everyone! I have had a lovely afternoon digging out ground elder and some dandelions in our garden, while my beloved has been topping up the flower beds with compost and bark, after I removed the worst of the weeds. He also planted some poppies in our wild area, an ornamental poppy in one of the wilder borders and wild wallflowers in our central flower bed. We suddenly realised the time at 6.55pm! Time flies when we are having fun! It has been overcast but just the right temperature to garden. We were also thoroughly entertained by our young neighbours, as they played together mostly happily till the younger three year old girl did not get her way; then all hell broke loose! She could certainly manipulate things so that her brother two years older got into trouble. She was a real drama queen, who reminded me so much of my younger daughter, Cathy, who always manipulated things so her elder sister Beth got into trouble. When the young lass next door was obviously getting tired she got herself into a right ‘Tizwas’ trying to get her bike put away in the shed! Cathy used to want to do things yesterday and always got into a tantrum, if she could not do something!!
We had a treat this morning for our service, as we were joined by members of the Methodist Schools’ Conference and the choir of our local Methodist Independent School, Ashville College. It was lovely to have a full church. We are usually spread out a few to a pew, but this time our pews were full so we all moved to sit together, which is much better. We want to remove the pews to make the church more flexible; maybe then we would sit closer together instead of spread round the church filling back rows before anyone sits nearer the front!! I heard of one church where there was only one row of pews and as it was filled up another row came behind it and so on, so that the church was filled up from the front!! A very good idea, I think!
Anyway back to this morning’s service; we had a good selection of hymns with a good Easter hymn to start with ‘Christ is alive! Let Christians sing;’ including ‘One more step along the world I go’ and ‘Will you come and follow me’ which is one of my favourite Iona Community hymns. I especially love it because it has this verse in it:
‘Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
To reshape the world around,
Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?
That verse really touches me, as it is so true that we often do hide who we are at times, as we feel and know our failings, but God loves all of us, not just the person people see, but the whole person. I now realise that most of the time, especially thanks to the love and encouragement of my beloved. Oh dear I have got side tracked again. The chaplain of Ashville College did an interesting children’s address by asking the whole of the congregation to do the Mexican Wave; at first he threatened to do that, only relieved that he would not have to participate! Then he did ask us to do it starting from the choir then from the right back to front, then the middle, where I and my friend were, finishing on the left from back to front!! Most people participated except my friend, who did not take part; I know my beloved would have joined her sitting it out; he does not like being told to do something!! It was fun, I thought!
We had a wonderful preacher, a former president of conference Baroness the Rev Kathleen Richardson. She spoke about taking the risk of faith, reminding us of the risk God took in giving us Jesus to live with us even unto death, as he loved us so much. The risk that when God raised him from death was would the disciples and people really understand and accept such an amazing and wonderful truth. The disciples expected Jesus then to take control of the world after his resurrection, but he left them to take his message of the love, acceptance and compassion of God to a needy world. She told about a preacher who was sitting in his study looking for inspiration for a sermon, when his eyes fell on a spider spinning a web in the corner of the room; his first thought was of annoyance then he watched entranced as the spider produced a perfect web and he realised the amazing faith that spider had needed to take that first leap across to the opposite wall to begin the web! There was his inspiration! Yes we do have to take leaps of faith at times but we do not leap alone, because Jesus will be leaping along with us; he will be alongside us as we go through tough times, loss, pain, illness, even if we think we are alone. We were not promised a life free of pain or suffering but we are promised that we will never be abandoned by God, who will understand our pain as he has experienced it himself. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.