On Sunday April 26th it was the women’s weekend; MWiB (Methodist Women in Britain) at our chapel. A local preacher Mrs Josie Burdon led the worship. She used a verse of ‘Jesus calls us here to meet him’ as the call to worship. We sang ‘Come on and celebrate’ as our opening hymn. She told us that her theme would be including the shepherd and Martha and Mary. Josie led the opening prayers before Psalm 23 and Luke 10v38-42 were read by women from our congregation and from another church. Josie used the Message version of the Bible to read 1John3v16-24. We then sang a favourite hymn of mine, ‘Will you come and follow me,’ before the sermon.
Josie asked us whether we were a Martha or a Mary. I always feel I am more of a Martha than a Mary; however since I retired I am beginning to learn from my husband how to rest more. I am also finding it beneficial to join a prayer meeting 2 mornings a week, as it helps me get up and helps me to sit and rest and meditate on scripture resting in our Lord’s presence. We are all different and God loves each of us individually as we are. Josie sympathises with Martha, rushing and serving Jesus, about the stress involved in serving up a meal and keeping it hot. Martha was probably preparing a more elaborate meal than was essential, and was too busy to join Mary sitting at our Lord’s feet. What does God require of us? The shepherd in the psalm was there to guide and help. It is up to us to be willing to connect our lives to him. We cannot earn God’s love; it is a free gift of love.
Jesus knew what faced him in Jerusalem and he took time to rest in Bethany with his friends. He needed peace and reassurance. The new logo for Methodist Women in Britain is a butterfly. Josie told us of a story of a young woman who saw a chrysalis beginning to crack open and she decided to help the butterfly to emerge; however the butterfly’s wings were not strong enough to fly as the struggle to emerge from a chrysalis strengthened the wings; without a struggle the wings could not develop properly. We learn through perseverance to become stronger.
Cleopas and his companion on the Road to Emmaus failed to recognise the stranger, who joined them on the road, as Jesus until invited by them to stay he broke bread with them. Jesus is ready to meet us here. Nowadays it is more difficult for children who do not live in the country to understand shepherding. Josie’s 8 year old grandson wrote a poem about Jesus being his friend, as he could understand the concept of friendship; he was a young child with great faith in God. Can Jesus make us hear and see the way to go? We need to travel with Jesus looking for him wherever we are, listening and walking with him. We are called to follow Jesus. Will we follow him?
We sang ‘Brother, sister let me serve you’ before Josie led the prayers of intercession. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘It passeth knowledge that dear love of thine.’