On Sunday October 27th Rev Tim Hurren from St Peter’s Church led worship at Wesley Chapel. I found it a bit of a challenge to park as I had to drop off 4 heavy bags at the chapel and then park the car. I know we gained an hour but I was tired so I did not get up at the normal time, but gained no extra time! I managed to park and got to church just in time, as the town seemed to have extra traffic all looking for car spaces.
Tim’s opening prayers were based on the Bible Society and then we sang the hymn ‘This is the day that the Lord has made.’ He then talked with the children about the birth of the Bible Society. Mary Jones lived in a village but did not have a school to attend, so she could not learn to read. She and her family went to church each Sunday and she loved to listen to the Bible being read and would have loved to be able to read. One Sunday the vicar said that there was going to be a school led by a preacher from Bala. She went to the local chapel with her Methodist parents. At last Mary could learn to read and one Sunday she even read from the Bible in church. She longed to be able to have a Bible to read at home. There was nowhere to buy a Bible there and as she was only 9 years old she had no money; she started to do odd jobs for people over the years and finally 6 years later at the age 16 she had saved enough money to buy her Bible. She would have to walk from her village Gwynedd, North Wales to Bala, which she took her 6 hours to walk the 25 miles to buy the Welsh Bible and she was able to buy the last one in the shop! Her efforts and struggles to get a Bible inspired the founding of the Bible Society which continues today to be translated into more than 500 different languages a year; all inspired by one girl who wanted her own Bible.
We then sang the hymn, ‘To the name of our salvation’ before the young people left for their groups. I then read Psalm 119v89-112 and another member of the congregation read 2 Timothy3v10-4v5. We then sang ‘Break thou the bread of life’ before the sermon.
The theme of the sermon was ‘Why bother with the Bible?’ Tim asked us if we listened to Desert Island Discs as a couple of weeks ago he was interested by the interview of Chris Packham, the naturalist. Chris has a partner and a stepdaughter and when he was asked if he wanted his own child, he said he did not like himself so he would not want to have a child like himself, which was honest and surprising. He chose to take with him a pair of binoculars with Scot Fitzgerald; the Bible and Shakespeare he would burn on the fire! I am sure if he realised how much God loves him as he is, he would realise he is lovable. Tim used 2 Timothy16/17 as a starting point ‘All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. Tom Wright summed up the scriptures into 4 acts plus 1; (a) creation, the fall, chosen people; (b) the promised land, exile and return; (c) the kingdom of God and the cross of Christ; (d) resurrection and the church and the final act in Revelation. We write the last stage in the spread and growth of the church before the final act ourselves as we carry on Jesus’ mission in the world. Tim also described an evangelist in New York who put his hat on the ground and danced around it, saying it is alive, it is alive! Then he would lift the hat and under the hat was the Bible, which he would show was alive. Tim gave another illustration of how the scripture was alive when he talked about a psychotherapist Lascelles who got involved in drugs and excessive alcohol and the occult. One day he picked up a John’s gospel and read it and was so moved by it that he started to go to church; after attending for 3 weeks he gave his life to the Lord. Then he got rid of all his occult books, stopped drinking and drugs all at once. His health deteriorated and he developed M.E. and at times he could only listen to tapes; he could not read, but he felt supported by the prayers of the church and he was eventually healed from M.E.
It is an illness which can have periods of remission but rarely is completely healed in my beloved’s experience; also there is always the payback if he does too much; on better days it can be tempting to do too much but he then has to rest at least the following day. It can be very frustrating as he used to be so active, fell walking, walking to and from town for work, then after work going to socialise or listen to jazz. He would go to art exhibitions and had a lot of artist friends, and friends who loved the same music. He had open house in his flat and many just came to chat with him about problems; he retained his interest in his jazz too. Therefore he feels frustrated now he can’t cope with too many people and he misses socialising and cannot manage travelling as that too exhausts him and exacerbates his diverticular disease. He can cope at home; his lifeline is the computer and he enjoys the birds and wildlife in our garden. He has greatly enriched my life with his love, knowledge and humour at home where he can relax; he is my soul mate and he loves and accepts me as I am, as I love and accept him for who he is too.
Another person Tim also told us was John Tyson, who suggested that we ask What’s wrong?; what’s good?; what’s confusing?; what’s right?; whenever we consider anything in relation to our understanding of scripture. Tim explained with his thoughts and illustrations that we should bother with the Bible. We sang ‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour’ before Tim led the intercessions which were written and extempore prayers for the church and the world. The service concluded with the final hymn, ‘Thou whose almighty word.’