Hello everyone! Last Sunday morning was our Guild Anniversary Sunday and our former retired Deacon Keith came with his wife, Margaret to lead our service together. Margaret led the opening prayers and they led the prayers of intercession together. The theme of the worship was unity. His children’s address told the story of a boy who was chronically bullied in primary school to such an extent that he withdrew into himself and just stayed on his own in the corner of the playground. When he was 11 he went to visit the secondary school he was to attend and as usual he stayed on his own in the corner of the playground until another child came up to him and asked him his name and introduced himself and took him to meet his friends; that boy never looked back and started secondary school with a group of friends. Keith and his brother did not succeed at school, but the church group they were a part of encouraged them to take a lead and helped them build on their strengths. Eventually they were able to gain qualifications and Keith was able to train as a Deacon, thanks to the church’s encouragement. Keith was saying how important it is to have fellowship with others. We sang the Song of Fellowship ‘Bind us together with love.’ I found singing it an uplifting experience, especially as I had not sung it for so long.
He talked about Jesus giving his disciples a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them. He told them that if they had love for one another then people would know they were his disciples. How were we to do that? We are called to show a united heart of love through our actions in the community. Only as we show the love of Jesus through our interactions can we spread harmony and unity to others. We read Psalm 133 together and its imagery is very evocative, I find. It compares brothers living together in unity with oil running down the beard and collar, and dew which waters the dry ground of Zion; an abundance of blessing comes from living harmoniously with each other. God is interested in the whole person, body and soul, not just our spiritual growth.
The early church shared property and possessions with those in need. It was a radical life style led by the Holy Spirit, who prompted them to love unconditionally those they shared fellowship with, thus making them alive to the needs of the Christian community. They dedicated themselves to follow Jesus so that they and their property were at His disposal. Keith likened the fellowship which the Guild provides to its members as cultivating harmony and unity in the church community, as they sought to work to improve the lot of those in greater need. The Methodist Guild supports Health care in Nigeria. I support the Edawu project which works to support those with mental health problems; providing a sanctuary, medication and education of the families. When we are united in fellowship and supportive to each other, we can reach out to those in need. Also most importantly we will begin to attract others to join our fellowship and we will know the fullness of life in Christ and lead all to know that fullness of life.
This hymn written by Kate Barclay Wilkinson, which we sang in the service sums up our need of our Lord Jesus for us to love as Jesus did.
May the mind of Christ my Saviour
Live in me from day to day,
By his love and power controlling
All I do or say.
May the word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through his power.
May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me,
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing-
This is victory.
May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go. Amen