Hello everyone! Last Sunday July 29th our service was led by the Local Preacher Ken Dransfield with the support of young Daniel Sudron and it was a worshipful service. Daniel introduced the service and led the opening prayers and read the gospel set for the day; John’s version of the feeding of the 5000. The service opened with ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty’ offering worship to God. Ken’s first guest soloist was Pamela who sang for us beautifully without musical accompaniment. Before she sang she spoke of her pride in her granddaughter who she had watched in the Olympic volleyball team; her granddaughter had paid tribute to the support of chaplains at the Olympics. I did not know the solo she sang but she sang asking why she should feel discouraged when she knows her Saviour is always watching her. She sang that His eyes are on the sparrows and watching over me totally unaccompanied. Ken knew Pamela as a soloist from a country chapel and she was very welcome. The next soloist had been a pupil of Ken’s when he coached her in maths; she played ‘Ave Maria’ by Franz Schubert on the clarinet beautifully. Ken is very good at involving others in his services and encouraging them.
Ken challenged us in his sermon; ‘Who do we see Jesus as?’ He felt that people like Dawkins challenged people’s faith, questioning the resurrection, which is a matter of faith; but also the truth of the crucifixion. He reiterated how the creed of belief in God was still very important to him. He saw much in the media which challenged belief, especially in his view on Channel 4! He also as a former headmaster saw the fall in the influence of faith in schools. Our belief is questioned constantly Ken acknowledged, which can be true.
(In my opinion however it is a matter of faith and our personal experience and shouldn’t feel threatened by public opinion!)
Why did the disciples believe, he asked? Their call was not as simple as it seemed initially; leaving their livelihoods and family to follow Jesus. Jesus had made such an impact on them that they needed to spend as much time as possible with him and they hardly seemed to consider the implications of leaving all they knew behind. They had recognised the privilege of witnessing all that Jesus said and had to be witnesses after Jesus death, encouraged by his resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus had not been welcomed in his own home town, when he claimed that the Spirit of the Lord had chosen him; how could he say that as Joseph’s son? Jesus preached with authority in a world like ours of no good news, healing those who were ill; showing the way of action. He never stopped attacking those who exploited people. Jesus was prepared to argue with those who could make a difference for others; he was a very human Jesus who spoke out for those with no voice.
Those believers over the centuries since the death and resurrection of Jesus carry on his mission in time, skill and determination as John Wesley did with great results. Others too have worked for the exploited such as William Wilberforce ending slavery and others continue to work for social justice. We now need to carry on the work and speak out for those in need, those with no voice and fight for change as our predecessors did.
I think, as the poor and vulnerable lose the support they need, we need to challenge the government via email or letters to MPs or in the MP’s constituency surgery; if everyone were prepared to take a stand then surely they must listen?