Hello everyone! This morning our minister led worship and I saw him briefly before the service and he told me that David Hunt had visited May again and she had been in good form! I seem to see her at the times she feels she has had a setback, but I am glad she is better when some people see her.
The service was based on John 3 v1-17, when Nicodemus came at night to see Jesus and find out about him. We began the act of worship with the Lenten liturgy, where another candle was extinguished for the pain and suffering in the world. Then we sang the rousing hymn ‘To God be the Glory, great things he has done’ which led into the opening prayers. His talk for the children was very active and memorable. He asked them if they had ever heard of Martin the monk and they had not. He told them that he was training as a young man to be a monk and was asked by the abbot to preach at the next Sunday service. He did not feel ready and when he was in his cell he paced round the cell both ways, and Trevor acted that pacing out. The next Sunday morning he went up into the pulpit and asked the monks whether he knew what he was going to preach about and when they said they did not, he said neither did he, he turned tail and fled from the pulpit! The abbot asked to see him the next day and told him that was not good enough and told him to preach the next Sunday. Once again he paced in his cell until he had to return to the pulpit. This time the monks had decided that they would say that they knew what he was going to preach about, so they did and this time Martin said that there was no need to tell them and left the pulpit in a hurry. Again he was challenged to try again the next Sunday by the abbot and this time half the monks decided to say that they did not know what he would preach about whereas the other half decided to say that they knew what he would preach about. Martin then told those who knew to tell those who did not know! This time the abbot told him that his short sermon was the most profound one he had heard! Trevor told us that those of us who knew must tell those who did not know and gradually more would come to worship with us, if we really did that. We felt totally involved in the children’s address as Trevor acted it out, pacing around , going up into the pulpit and back down again; I am sure the children will always remember it and I hope they remember the message too.
We sang one of our songs for worship, a favourite of mine by Bernadette Farrell, ‘Christ be our light! The verse which I found most profound was this:
‘Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.
Christ be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.
Only as we come close to Christ can we be changed to serve as he did and bring hope to our world. Before the sermon we had the reading from John’s gospel and Trevor talked about a tradesman who had married at the beginning of the last century; his wife became pregnant and they were thrilled to find she was expecting twins; however tragedy struck and his wife died in childbirth and the twins died shortly after birth. The tradesman was devastated and hid himself away until feeling in need of the companionship of a wife, he married again. His wife became pregnant and had a difficult birth but both she and her son survived and was told not to risk another pregnancy. However she wanted a child and her husband was angry to find she had risked another pregnancy. Once again she had a difficult birth but she was fortunate and both she and the son survived and Trevor said he was that second son!! Consequently he was brought up realising that being born was hazardous and was shocked by this story where Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to be born again. He did not want to go through that again! However Jesus was really saying that he needed to be prepared to make a new start in his faith, by being born again in Spirit and in truth. He had to be ready to follow Jesus in his way, which was not the easy way.
The next song was ‘Meekness and Majesty’ by Graham Kendrick which revealed the love Jesus came to bring. The final verse sums it up I think;
‘Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible,
Love indestructible, in frailty appears.
Lord of infinity, stooping so tenderly,
Lifts our humanity to the heights of his throne.
O what a mystery, meekness and majesty…. Bow down and worship… for this is your God….this is your God..’
Jesus came to share our life and our experience and struggles in obedience even to death, and that was the way his followers were called to follow.
We as followers of Jesus are called to tell those who don’t know about Jesus’ sacrificial accepting love; he is waiting for all to come to him; we must not keep his love to ourselves. Everyone is welcome. May we make all feel welcome so they want to know more of Jesus’ unconditional and accepting love? This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.