Sunday 19th April 2020

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Another 3 weeks of lockdown! That’s the minimum, and I’m guessing it will be a lot longer before we can all meet together in our building. Perhaps you are wondering how you are going to get through so many more weeks of your current situation. We often sing in church a song by Don Moen, the lyrics say:

God will make a way where there seems to be no way

He works in ways we cannot see; He will make a way for me

He will be my guide hold me closely to His side

With love and strength for each new day

He will make a way, He will make a way © 1990 Hosanna! Music   

On YouTube listen to: ‘Living Stones Quartet Through it all’

Luke’s gospel gives us more information about that first Easter Sunday. We read about what happens once the two who walked home to Emmaus, get back to Jerusalem. Read Luke 24: 33--49

Jesus’ opening words to his bewildered followers were (v.36): “Peace be with you”

Some of you may be thinking I have too much peace and quiet at the moment, I want to be outside enjoying life, but that would be to forget the meaning of the word which we translate as ‘peace.’ The Hebrew word Jesus is sharing with his followers is ‘shalom.’ This word encompasses such English words as satisfaction, completeness, wholeness and contentment in the face of circumstances which we find challenging or even frightening.

John’s gospel tells us that earlier in Jesus’ life he had declared (John 10:10)

“I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full”

It is one of those phrases where the English language struggles to convey its full meaning – look it up in as many different translations of the bible as you have available – the New Living Translation (NLT) puts it this way:

“My purpose is to give you a rich and satisfying life.”

Is the power and purposes of Jesus limited by the COVID19 restrictions? I’m hoping you quickly answered ‘No!’ So the promises of Jesus still remain true in our altered circumstances. To experience the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise of Shalom we will need to trust that ‘God will make a way where there seems to be no way’ and then be attentive to ways in which he wants to bless us and give us a rich and satisfying life in our own particular situation.

Many of you will remember being blessed by hearing the testimony of Terry Waite as he recounted his time being held in isolation, others of you have read ‘Brother Yun, the heavenly Man’ and were encouraged as he shared how he experienced shalom while being persecuted for his faith. (Look him up on YouTube) and John Bunyan wrote ‘Pilgrims Progress’ while he was in prison for his faith. So we can be confident that God can bring his peace (completeness / wholeness) into our lives no matter what our circumstances are. In fact God wants to do more than that and even as we are restricted in our movements he still wants to make our lives ‘rich and satisfying.’ Ask him! He will not let you down.

On YouTube listen to (sing along with) ‘It is well with my soul T4G’ Before or after also look at YouTube ‘It is well with my Soul: The Story Behind the Hymn’

Horatio Spafford wrote a well-known hymn after experiencing the most difficult of circumstances, his business had been destroyed by fire and then his four daughter drowned in an accident. As he called out to God for help he discovered the truth of the words of Jesus we have been considering, and he wrote:

When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea-billows roll;

Whatever my lot You have taught me to say, ‘It is well; it is well with my soul.’

In Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT) we read:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.       

 Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 

 Then you will experience God’s peace,

  which exceeds anything we can understand.

  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Use this prayer as a starting point for praying more fully for the situations mentioned in it:

Lord, in our world:                   let your peace flow.

Lord, in our government:       let your peace flow.

Lord, in our friendships:         let your peace flow.

Lord, in our families:               let your peace flow.

Lord, among the suffering:    let your peace flow.

Lord, among the bereaved:   let your peace flow.

Lord, in your church:               let your peace flow.

Lord of all peace, help us to know and to receive your peace 
and to share this peace in ways you will make known to us. Amen.

Saxon Court – during the warm sunny days of last week, many of the residents who we know have been sitting outside the main entrance (at a suitable distance from each other). They are well, but bored. Carrie as usual was trying to be positive, saying ‘there’s no point in moaning.’

Havencroft – The manager, Ravi tells me they are coping - many of the residents have not really noticed anything different about their circumstances. Staffing has absences have been difficult to cover, but his main concern is the lack of availability of gloves, aprons and masks.

Have you got the phone number of someone from church who you haven’t spoken to since we stopped meeting together? Phone them up today and discover how they are getting on.

Listen to a song by Matt Redman YouTube: ‘Upon Him lyrics’

I look forward to writing again on Wednesday – Stephen.

Page last updated: 25th April 2020 12:04 PM