On Sunday September 3rd our minister Rev. Christine Gillespie led the communion service at our chapel. Our opening hymn was ‘Sing for God’s glory that colours the dawn of creation’ before Christine led the prayers of thanksgiving, praise, confession and the Lord’s Prayer. We then sang, ‘Through all the changing scenes of life,’ before 1 Peter 4.12-19 was read describing suffering as a Christian. Matthew 16.21-28 was read where Jesus foretold his death and resurrection. We sang, ‘Deep in the darkness a starlight is gleaming’, before Christine preached.
Christine reminded us that there had been a welcome service for Ben, our new superintendant minister, and a young probationary minister called Grace supported by a supernumerary Gillian Ann. The new chairman of the district was Lesley Newton, who had also just been appointed to the York and Humber District, of which our Nidd Valley Circuit is now a part. Formerly we were part of the Leeds District. Christine knew there would have been times when they had questioned their calling. Where was the church calling them to go? What happened when Jesus called the first disciples on the Lakeside, when they just left their nets and followed him? Former disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus where he was staying and Jesus told them to come and see. Levi a tax man was asked to leave and follow Jesus and he did. Later on there was another call to the disciples to deny themselves and take up their cross if they were to follow him. This is different, not just a simple call, but the disciples were now asked to take something up. Jesus began to talk about his coming suffering and death. Peter blurted out that Jesus must not suffer, having previously recognised Jesus as the Messiah and was rebuked by Jesus. The call to the disciples was deeper and more challenging; Jesus was coming to the end of his earthly ministry, so the disciples would need to grow in their faith to take over his ministry. We all expect children to grow and parents are called to meetings if a child is not progressing as expected. The Salvation Army shared testimonies of how God had led them each week; it was not a one off conversion but a faith which grew. Paul wrote to the Corinthians to encourage them to grow in the faith; he told them that they were infants in Christ still living on milk, not solid food. He rejoiced when they were newborn Christians, but they had to mature because of who Jesus was, and act and be prepared to deny themselves. Parents deny themselves for their children. The disciples knew what a cruel form of torture the cross was and found it difficult to contemplate that happening to Jesus. It would be difficult for the disciples to accept such a call. When Christine had the call to preach, she felt she had no strength to preach, but accepted the call and the strength came. We don’t know what we will be called to do as believers but we know what Jesus did for us, even going to die on the cross. Would my love and faith be enough or would yours? Jesus took up his cross and went resolutely to Jerusalem.
Christine then led the prayers of intercession before we sang, ‘God of Bethel by whose hand thy people still are fed.’ Christine then led the communion service and worship closed when we sang, ‘Lord for the years.’