On Wednesday June 7th we enjoyed lunch with Graham and Janet and in the evening I was at the Local Preacher’s meeting. On Thursday my beloved saw the orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Mitchell, and was discharged as he was walking better, mostly without a stick. On Friday I was at the Acorn Centre helping with the computers which I enjoyed. On Saturday Beth came round for a chat and took Piper on a long walk with her dog Chase. Cathy was still working away looking after the children based in Switzerland. I always enjoy the times I spent with my daughters.
On Sunday June 11th it was our Guild Anniversary Service at Wesley Chapel led by a supernumerary minister Rev Michael Wearing. Worship began when we sang, ‘All praise to our redeeming Lord’ before Michael led the prayers. He then gave an introduction based on the anniversary of the Guild. He remembered the band of hope which met in the Guild Band room, where they had youth socials. The Guild Coat of Arms, one heart one way, made reference to Jeremiah the prophet in 32: they shall be my people and I will be their God. We sang the Guild hymn; God in Jesus Christ who calls us’ before the call of Samuel was read from 1 Samuel 3.1-10. We sang ‘I the Lord of sea and sky’ before we heard the reading from 1John4.7-21. We sang ‘Love divine’ before Michael preached.
He reminded us of how some radicalised people who do acts of terror believe that they are being obedient to God. At one time an organist arrived at the last minute for a service Michael was leading and claimed that they were not singing the minister’s hymn choices, as they were to sing the hymns God had given him or her. Michael however said that God had given him the hymns the previous week and he was not changing them at the last minute. The Yorkshire ripper had murdered 13 women and attacked a further 12 before he was found guilty. The ripper pleaded diminished responsibility for his actions, because the ‘Voice of God had told him to kill prostitutes.
When we say this is the word of the Lord; do we believe it is? Such a statement needs to be measured against scripture, in fellowship and in prayer to see if it really is the word of the Lord. God does speak. He spoke to Samuel the boy in the Temple, but Samuel thought Eli was calling him. Eli the priest realised when Samuel came the third time that it was the voice of God and told him to respond and say he was listening. Jeremiah had a successful prophetic ministry, but suffered, when Jezebel reacted against him and got him imprisoned. Zedekiah still had a sneaking regard for the prophet and met him quietly under cover to find out if there was a word from the Lord. Michael believes that a word from the Lord needs to be tested by scriptures, fellowship and the Holy Spirit.
In the Church we need fellowship, comradeship, friendship, togetherness in the Holy Spirit. The church is not just a building; it is a fellowship and community. When we come to receive the body and blood of Jesus we have fellowship, Christ meets us at the Communion table and we eat and drink with all the company of heaven, the Communion of saints. We share with another in groups in fellowship.
We now have bitterness and bloodshed in our country; Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and the Manchester Arena bloodshed brought such suffering and senseless destruction. Is there a word for our suffering world? Yes, love is the word. At Old Trafford 60,000 people showed how love conquered fear and terror, as the concert was beamed worldwide. 14 million viewers saw how love won in Manchester. Love led by the younger generation was heard again and again. Justin Beaver sang his song with tears in his eyes that God is good in the midst of evil and darkness, He loves us. The whole New Testament was witness of God’s love for the world as revealed through Jesus. Jesus showed how far God’s love was prepared to go when he died on the cross and we love him because he first loved us.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ brings the free gift of teaching and forgiveness. Grace was revealed through Jesus’ life, a life lived for others. That gift is of God when he gave his son who died for all and was raised to life by his father. His amazing grace is given to the perplexed, discouraged and disappointed people. By faith we are saved through grace. The grace of the Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all for evermore on this Trinity Sunday. We sang ‘Come thou’ to conclude worship.
We all shared a meal at Ascot House to celebrate the Guild Anniversary.