On Friday the computer classes started again so it was good to see my friends again. On Saturday I enjoyed the luxury of a massage at Skin Sanctuary. I enjoyed relaxing with my beloved for the rest of the day.
On Sunday May 3rd our minister Rev Christine Gillespie led our communion service. Worship began when Christine prayed and then we sang ‘With gladness we worship’ before Christine led the prayers of praise, confession and the Lord’s Prayer. We sang ‘There is no moment of my life’ before Christine introduced a ‘This is your life’ for Timothy. Timothy first met Paul when Paul was nearly stoned to death and he spoke up for him; a church elder who had grown to respect him spoke about him too. Paul reminded the Corinthians that he had told them about Jesus and they had believed in him and have now become a church. Paul was one of a chain of witnesses to the good news. He talked of those who had met the risen Lord, him being the least worthy of the title of apostle, having persecuted the church, and only later met our Lord on the road to Damascus. Those who had met the risen Lord talked to others about their experiences. The chain of witnesses did not end with Paul and he had written 20 to 30 years after the resurrection. The Christian church is only one generation away from extinction; each generation is called to be one of the chains of witnesses.
Christine asked us to think about the chain of witnesses who had influenced us. It made me think about the influence of my parents, my friend Phyllis, my university friend June who always had time to listen to my problems and many others over the years and many still are witnesses and encouragers to me in my Christian walk. She reminded us of how important ordinary Christians are as they share what they know and showed Jesus’ love in their lives. We need to reflect that we too are part of that chain of witnesses. Timothy was a part of that chain, although he was young and might consider his elders more important. His mother was a Jew, but his father was a Gentile and he became a Christian. Timothy also was not a fit person and suffered from periods of ill health. Was he therefore a suitable person to be a missionary? He was suitable as he persevered and supported his call to serve as a missionary. Paul praised Timothy in his letter to the Philippians. God had called them to serve. Paul’s vision on the road to Damascus had turned his life around with a very public conversion. Paul had responded to the voice of God and changed as Ananias came to minister to him. Ananias had great courage to go and pray for Paul the persecutor and then introduce him to the church.
It is not what anyone of us could do in our own strength but only through the grace of God which enables us. We have received the spirit of ‘sonship’ and can call God, Abba Father who came to save us from slavery. But has slavery come to an end? No there is still human trafficking and the slavery of zero hours contracts, the blame culture towards the poor, the disabled and the unemployed. Jesus has however released us from slavery to fear, guilt, but he does not take us out of a world of sin. However he changes our relationship with him so we are not so enslaved by things like fear and guilt. We have to be ourselves as witnesses and not try to be someone else. We need to pass on what we have experienced to others. If we struggle, which we all do when we have dry and difficult times, we can be encouraged by each other. John Wesley was told to preach faith till he had it which he did. God wants to have a relationship with us, so he can change us and make us into witnesses to our risen Lord Jesus.
Christine led the intercessionary prayers before we sang the communion hymn, ‘Here Lord we take the broken bread.’ After we had received the bread and wine our worship concluded when we sang, ‘We have a gospel to proclaim.’