Hello everyone! I have just been chopping down some spent brambles and other bits of tidying up in the garden. I found it very therapeutic for about an hour and a half, but now I am enjoying relaxing with my beloved in the back room. I just had to do some gardening as the sun was shining and calling me into the garden and it was a good way to work off the delicious lunch Malcolm prepared for me with his special roast potatoes followed by some stewed blackberry and apple from our garden. Yesterday I made an apple fruit cake and some millionaire shortbreads in anticipation of the visit of my late husband Stephen’s brother Robert, his wife Sue and their 3 adult daughters, Rebecca, Sarah and Ellie; we also met Sarah’s fiancé Matt which was lovely. We will be receiving an invitation for Sarah and Matt’s wedding in June near St Albans. They were only dropping in on their way to see a former Methodist Minister from Harrogate Tom Teasdale who has been like a father to Robert and cared for all the family. Beth came over to see them too, although she had been working from 5am as a baker at Sainsbury’s. I had a few gluten free goodies for her to keep her going, whilst her cousins were there. They stayed about 2 hours, then Malcolm, Beth and I went out to Café Culture for lunch; Beth was then able to go home to sleep for a few hours.
I had a busy week at work, especially as I did some letters for the doctors, as the secretary was on annual leave, as it was half term and she likes to spend time with her boys, as she calls them, the younger one in year 11 and the elder one in his 2nd year at university; they were going up to stay near him in Newcastle for a break.
On Wednesday we saw Cathy for about a couple of hours as she had been poorly in her first week’s leave and just had to rest. Fortunately she felt better by Saturday, but then had everything to fit into a week!! She spent the morning with Luke and Joseph and had lunch with them, as it is important for her to be with her godson, her closest link to her late best friend Kate, his mum! She then travelled up to St Andrew’s with her partner Ken for a weekend with friends, before she flies back to Switzerland for her next shift on Tuesday. She has promised to spend longer with us on her return in November provided she keeps well.
It was lovely to relax on Friday as I had a break from the Acorn Centre and I needed the time to complete a service for this morning. In fact I liaised with one of the worship leaders, Fred, who led the opening prayers and the first section of the service. I then did the children’s address and Fred and I did a dramatised reading based on Matthew 23v1-12. The theme of the service was focussed on those who cared more for what people thought of them than their faith. Micah condemned the prophets who prophesied for reward, the rulers who received bribes for ‘justice’ and the priests who interpreted the law for money!! Paul on the other hand was as usual justifying himself in the face of criticism that he profited from the gospel, reminding the Thessalonians that he had not been a burden on their hospitality, but supported himself and the others with him as he shared the gospel. It was not just what he said but also the way he lived amongst them that drew them to the faith. Jesus criticised the Pharisees about how ostentatious they were in the practice of their faith; wearing little leather boxes on their foreheads and wrists with scrolls of scripture to show how well they were obedient to the law. They also wore prayer shawls with long tassels the longer they were the better they kept the commandments. They were more concerned about their position, the best seats in the synagogue, and places of honour at meals than loving and serving others as Jesus did.
What about us? Whenever I preach I am aware that I am preaching as much to myself as I am to the congregation. It feels good when people praise or acknowledge your service even if it is just the lovely hymns when I am called to share Jesus and his love with others, not allowing myself to get in the way. Only as our lives reflect Jesus’ unconditional love towards others in the way we live our lives and interact with others, will others be drawn to meet our Lord Jesus and receive his love. This is the day that the Lord has made and I rejoice and am glad in it.