Hello everyone! This morning was a service shared by members of our congregation led by the local preacher Tim Simms and was a refreshing change. It was good that more of the church members played a role in the service than just doing readings. Our opening hymn was chosen by a steward, Les, who chose ‘Shine Jesus shine’, a hymn which took him back to youth weekends he led. We all sang it with more fervour.
Tim then led the opening prayers and the children’s address, which was very good. He showed them a spiky wooden ball or star as the children described it, which he was holding carefully, as though as one child said it was precious, but he soon showed us why, when he let go of it and it collapsed onto the table. The children were encouraged to come and put it back together, but the two girls soon found it too difficult, and even the two boys invited to help got nowhere. Tim then offered them the instructions, which they read but did not understand. Then he showed them how to fit three of the pieces together, but had to show them how to add the other three pieces to complete the puzzle. The point of the story is of course that we have instructions of how to live in the Bible, but we need help to understand them; Jesus came to show us how to live and it is easier to learn from him. Lucy, a child introduced the children’s hymn, ‘Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising’.
Our senior steward Judith chose the reading on time from Ecclesiastes, which she felt reflected life. Christine our newly qualified worship leader led the prayers of intercession. The reading from the New Testament was chosen by Rosemary a local preacher and was I Corinthian 13, the hymn to love. It is one of her favourite passages on love the central message of the gospel. Another member Christine chose the hymn ‘Take my life and let it be’, which had always meant a lot to her. Another steward Jenny chose her favourite hymn ‘Brother, let me be your servant’, chosen as it shows how we are called to serve and be there for those who need support; her husband who is very involved with the Samaritans organisation sees that hymn as the Samaritan anthem. The final hymn was chosen by another church member, Molly, and it was ‘O Jesus I have promised’ as it reminded her of her youth in the youth fellowship, although she became a Christian after she had sung the hymn, ‘Brother, let me be your servant’. She chose ‘O Jesus I have promised’ as it was the hymn of the commitment to follow Jesus and now as a retired lady she is still following him. Tim before that hymn drew together all the testimonies shared with us all; he felt enriched as we all did by all that was shared today. With so many different voices it made it easier to remember what was shared; it is an important lesson for me; it is good to have more involvement from the congregation. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.