Sunday, 23rd May 2021 - Part 2 - A long time since I've been in London, Battersea power station repurposed, being re-energised by the Spirit, remembering George Floyd - 25th May 2020
Short Address It's a long time since I've been into London For lots of us, trips into London haven't happened in the past year Sights of London we haven't seen - Battersea Power Station Listed and empty for a long time now coming to life as shops and accommodation, the great powerhouse being transformed into something new Power from the ground in the past, now a revolution to transform our energy sourcing How do you picture the Church? Is the image of the power station an image of the Church when it goes wrong and forgets Pentecost? Is it a picture of the Church trying to produce its own energy? Is it a picture of the church becoming derelict? Could it be a picture of the Church transformed, finding a new way of communicating, refreshing and renewing Can we be re-energised by the spirit? We are all in this together - God with us, including all. Remembering the murder of George Floyd in America on 25th May 2020, lighting a candle for racial justice Prayer – like stone creating a ripple Sending out Prayer: Holy Spirit, send us out. Spirit of gentleness, calm our fears. Spirit of truth, give us new vision and hope. Spirit of strength, help us in our weaknesses. Spirit of love, show us the way. Holy Spirit, Spirit of Jesus, send us out in your power and peace Amen.
May 26, 2022
Sunday, 23rd May 2021 - Part 1 - Power for everyone, Receiving the Holy Spirit, the crowd and Peter
Opening Prayers and Lord’s Prayer Introducing reading: The Holy Spirit comes with POWER Reading: Acts 2:1-21 NIVUK - The Disciples receive the Spirit's power Pause for reflection: FILLED Reading continued - The crowd’s reaction Pause for reflection: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Reading continued - Peter speaks to the crowd Pause for reflection: THIS IS FOR EVERYONE
May 23, 2022
Sunday, 16th May 2021 - Part 2 - Praying the kingdom, thinking of Jerusalem today, the suffering of people in Israel and Palestine
Short Address – Praying the kingdom We gather in our place of worship and homes just as the disciples did to pray together and praise the Lord. A disparate group of people, just Jews at the start then a growing group of Jews and Gentiles Thinking of Jerusalem today, the suffering of the people in Israel and Palestine Reading: John 17.15 – 19 (the Message) Prayer
May 19, 2022
Sunday, 16th May 2021 - Part 1 - "Unconfined, set free", struggling with what the ascension of Jesus means, Jesus working in our lives
Opening Prayers Introduction: ‘Unconfined, set free’ Last Thursday was Ascension day where we celebrate Jesus as Lord, risen and ascended, free from the bounds of flesh and blood What does "confined" mean to you? A lot of us have felt confined over the past year, imprisoned even? What does "unconfined" mean to you, where do you experience feeling unconfined? Reading: Luke 24.44-53 NIVUK Prayer: ‘Jesus unconfined’ Struggling with what the ascension of Jesus means Pictures of Jesus with his feet dangling out of a cloud Thinking of unconfined Jesus in the world today in Jerusalem, the middle east and India especially Sharing communion allows Jesus to be unconfined, working in our lives When the disciples returned to Jerusalem, they returned with joy knowing Jesus was with them Acts 1.12-13a, 14
May 16, 2022
Sunday, 9th May 2021 - Part 2 - Christian Aid Week, work among refugees, leading fruitful lives
Address / videos: The great principles come from centuries ago but are just as relevant today. There is life beyond this life but our lives now still matter What kind of life do we want for ourselves, neighbours, community and the world? Video : WORK AMONG REFUGEES IN EUROPE 75 YEARS AGO Speaking of those very first days of Christian Aid’s work in Europe Theodor Davidovic, Refugee and long-term Christian Aid supporter Reflections on the video: Escaping a crisis The crisis we are still in today with the pandemic The formation of the Disasters Emergency Committee Christian Aid Week film 2021 featuring Florence. Reflections on the video: Let's not allow these crises to dispirit and overwhelm us Jesus prayed his disciples would lead fruitful lives
May 12, 2022
Sunday, 9th May 2021 - Part 1 - Christian Aid Week, Kenya and the effect of climate change
Opening Prayers 1 Introduction: Kenya and the effect of climate change on that nation. Onesmus and his nephew, Michael Jr (planting a tree sapling and watering it every day) Reading Micah 6:1-9 Prayers Reading: John 15:9-17 NIVUK
May 09, 2022
Sunday, 2nd May 2021 - Part 1 - Have you been shopping this week, BOGOF, Bond, Goldfinger, and John's Gospel's Bonus Section.
Introduction: ‘Here’s a bonus!’ Have you been shopping this week? Have you found a bargain? A BOGOF? Bonus extras in films Marvel films with extras after the credits The first post-credit scene seems to have come in the 1963 film From Russia with Love - "...James Bond will return in....Goldfinger" We will look in a brilliant bonus section in John's gospel The gospel was meant to end at chapter 20 Reading: John 21. 1 – 14 NIVUK Reflection 1 – failure, friends and fishing If John's gospel had originally ended at ch 20, those who heard it would have asked "what about Simon Peter?" It paints a pretty bleak picture of Peter up until then - in ch 18, the 3 denials, the cock crowing, but in ch 19 no mention at all Ch21 was written to reset the balance on Peter, clarifying all of the confusion. It starts with a fishing trip Peter is unsure what to do so falls back on the familiar but they can't get back to what they know. They fail at fishing until Jesus appears on the shore and points them in a new direction By the end John is no longer talking about fish but people
May 04, 2022
Sunday, 2nd May 2021 - Part 2 - Forgiveness, faith, and following
Reading: John 21. 15 – 25 NIVUK Reflection 2: forgiveness, faith, and following If we think about Simon Peter, there was work to be done in his heart and Jesus took him aside for that repair work. He asks "do you love me more than these?" prodding three times It all comes back to "follow me" and "care for people". The same for us in all the changes over the past year. Prayers for the church and the world
May 02, 2022
Sunday, 25th April 2021 - Part 2 - Countryfile, a remarkable shepherdess, the good shepherd, and our one leader
Reading: John 10.11-18 NIVUK How many devotees of Countryfile are in the audience? Last Sunday there was an item about a remarkable shepherdess The image of the shepherd knowing their sheep and the sheep knowing their shepherd We don't know what the commitment of the shepherd is and how much tougher it was in the days of Jesus The good shepherd who knows his people As Christians, we only have one leader, one shepherd - Jesus. Seeking his mind is all important even if that is at odds with the majority or the loudest voices in the world today
April 28, 2022
Sunday, 25th April 2021 - Part 1 - Soul restoring, what restores your soul?, communities coming together
Opening Prayers Lord’s Prayer Introduction: ‘Soul restoring’ "What restores your souls?" In this last year, the rhythms of nature has been very restoring People coming together for worship or projects like the Cores End Meadow We now have planning permission to put in a gateway to allow people to visit the meadow Reading: Psalm 23 New King James Version Prayer by the River (written by Camilla Veitch on pilgrimage along St Cuthbert’s Way from the Prayer Handbook)
April 25, 2022
Sunday, 18th April 2021 - Part 2 - Two disciples, all kinds of puzzles, and we have everything upside down
Prayer of approach Short Address - What an extraordinary turnaround in the story. Two disciples have travelled home with Jesus but have not recognised him. Taking heart from the discussion, they feel bereft to find he will be going on without them and encourage him to stay with them. They invite him in and he agrees to stay - no regulations or rule of six at that time! As Jesus the stranger breaks the bread they recognise him and he is gone. All kinds of puzzles - Jesus is there, with them but is not bound by earthly rules. His presence is both real and at the same time, mysterious. Wherever he goes, he brings new life and peace. We have everything upside down - what seems to be an ending is a beginning.
April 20, 2022
Sunday, 18th April 2021 - Part 1 - "Stay with us", meeting up again, and who would you invite to stay?
Opening Prayer Introduction: ‘stay with us’ Have you had a special good week - a trip to the hairdressers, a meal in a pub garden We have been able to do some more things than a week before I was complimented on my puffin socks when I was in the pub garden We all want more conversation at the moment We can't gather socially in church but we can outside in small groups What have you done this week? What might you do in weeks and months ahead ? Who would you invite to stay or come for a cup of tea? Family, friends, a loved one? Hearing the story of the two disciples walking home who meet a stranger and invite him to stay with them Reading: Luke 24.28-48 NIVUK
April 18, 2022
Sunday, 11th April 2021 - Part 2 - Two disciples with heavy hearts, walking with people, sharing a journey, the importance of talking to one another. HRH Prince Philip
Reading: Luke 24.13-27 NIVUK Responsive Prayer from the Iona Community Address. - Two disciples walking home, heavy laden, hearts and heads full of what they have seen. How Jesus does walk alongside us in our journey, often unrecognised but always there Walking with people during the pandemic, sharing companionship The death of Prince Philip, his remarkable life and journey, his legacy, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, 7M young people have benefited from the scheme Sharing a journey with people, pilgrims together Cleopas and his companion travelling home together, feeling despair The importance of talking to each other to break down walls
April 14, 2022
Sunday, 11th April 2021 - Part 1 - Journeys:The cross, the burial, the garden, and the trypraying banner with remembrance ribbons
Introduction: A long journey (Prayer stations) - "Have you come far to church today?" Maybe just moved from the lounge to the study to look at the screen? Wonderful to see those of you in person We are all on a journey Pilgrimage and prayer stations as a tradition within the church Where are the points in your journey where you stop and stare We have all had to curtail some of the journeys we would normally have made At Cores End we have 4 prayer stations - the cross, the burial, the garden, and the trypraying banner with remembrance ribbons Reading - Psalm 133 v1-3 Prayers for the church and the world
April 11, 2022
Easter Sunday, 4th April 2021 - Part 2 - "he is going ahead of you", "because they were afraid", women speaking up
Easter Address: ‘He is going ahead of you’ What an amazing ending to the Gospel reading in Mark - "They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid" We puzzle over that They run trembling and bewildered Scholars have argued about this for centuries The oldest manuscripts end this way Was Mark interrupted, was the final page torn away? Maybe it was Mark's joke, taking a dig at the view that women had to stay silent in church Where would the church be now if they hadn't spoken up? Poem: ‘There Was No’ There was no grave grave enough to ground me to mound me I broke the balm then slit the shroud wound round me that bound me. There was no death dead enough to dull me to cull me I snapped the snake and waned the war to lull me to null me. There was no cross cross enough to nil me to still me I hung as gold that bled, and bloomed a rose that rose and prised the tomb away from Satan’s wilful doom There was no cross, death, grave or room to hold me. © Steward Henderson
April 06, 2022
Easter Sunday, 4th April 2021 - Part 1 - Completing the puzzle, women at the tomb, receiving peace
Introduction: ‘complete the puzzle, find the missing peace’ We are a small, scattered gathering at church but we have to remember there are people watching at home We have missed people for a year Good to be able to meet people in small groups outside again We miss those who we can see no longer but through the mystery of Faith we are connected Women going to the tomb on Easter Sunday, missing the body of their Lord The missing piece of a jigsaw Jesus was their missing piece and yet that Sunday evening they were greeted with the words "Peace be with you" I pray that this Easter Sunday we may receive that peace again Reading: Mark 16. 1 – 11 NIVUK
April 04, 2022
Good Friday, 2nd April 2021 - Part 2
Reading - Luke 23 v44-49 - Richard Goldstraw The prayer of St Richard of Chichester Prayers for the world around us Hymn - When I survey the wondrous cross Blessing
April 02, 2022
Good Friday, 2nd April 2021 - Part 1
Welcome and call to worship - Terry Hinks - Isiah 53 v3-5 Hymn - How deep the Father's love for us - Union Baptist Opening prayer - Richard Goldstraw Reading - Luke 23 v20-31 - Georgina Bondzi Song - Were you there when they crucified my Lord? - Wesley Methodist Church Reading - Luke 23 v32-43 - Georgina Bondzi Song - Jesus remember me Short reflection - Malcolm Hazell Hymn - O sacred head sore wounded
April 02, 2022
Sunday, 28th March 2021 - Part 3 - We all know the name Judas, focus on the woman whose act of sacrifice was a beautiful thing
Reading - Mark 14. 1-11 Reflection on reading - 'Sacrifice or schemes?' We all know the name Judas His name has entered the language as a betrayer There is also the story of the woman anointing Jesus in all 4 gospels The disciples were outraged by the extravagance of the act They are blind to the moment of huge need on Jesus's part "What she has done will also be told in memory of her" Judas played his part but focus on the woman whose act of sacrifice was a beautiful thing
March 30, 2022
Sunday, 28th March 2021 - Part 2 - Needs must, "Go to the village ahead of you"
Reading - Mark 11. v1-11 Reflection on reading - 'Needs must' What do we need today, who do we need today The story of the first Palm Sunday involves people and things needed to make it happen; the disciples, the colt, Jesus and the crowd Reflecting on 3 key participants; The Disciples, those who travelled with Jesus, and those in Jerusalem who had contact with them "Go to the village ahead of you" "Untie it and bring it here" Jesus needs the donkey to pay its part
March 30, 2022
Sunday, 28th March 2021 - Part 1 - Psalm 118, entering Jerusalem, let's be caught up in the excitement
Opening prayer based on Psalm 118 Introduction - Entering Jerusalem and making the cross Entering this church building nowadays involves new procedures - ticking our name off, sanitising hands, taking care when moving around For most of the past year many of us have not been in one another's homes Entering church today involves care Centuries ago Jesus entered Jerusalem in a carefully planned act Doing so through the eastern gate, riding a colt claiming to be the messiah but a different kind of messiah Let's be caught up in the excitement of Jesus's coming
March 28, 2022
Sunday, 14th March 2021 - Part 2 - John 3:16 again (too good to miss out), 3 great truths, the cross and a deadly snake
Reading: John 3:14-21 NIVUK John 3:16 has been named by many as the most famous verse in the Bible Used on posters, t-shirts, videos across the world "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" It speaks of the 3 great truths: God's Love, The invitation to believe in Jesus and the promise of eternal life That summary is immensely powerful as we are faced with our own mortality When written, the authors would have been very aware of the power of death in their lives The reading starts strangely with the image of a snake, a golden snake The cross is like a dreaded snake, deadly but transformed through the Love of Jesus demonstrated on the cross We need to trust the love we see in Jesus so that the promise of God can be realised.
March 16, 2022
Sunday, 14th March 2021 - Part 1 - Mothering Sunday, flowers, hurting, Euphorbia Milii
Opening Prayers Introduction: flowers and thorns Mother’s Day / Mothering Sunday greetings We are not all mothers on this Mothering Sunday but we are all children As Christians we are all part of a family, brothers and sisters to each other "I am content and at peace" That sense of God's love encompassing us Flowers traditional on Mothering Sunday This special day is also found difficult by many Not everything is picture perfect We need to be sensitive to those who are hurting today Euphorbia Milii - The Crown Of Thorns Introducing the reading - A reading to grapple with but at its heart is God's love Reading: John 3:14-21 NIVUK
March 14, 2022
Sunday, 7th March 2021 - Part 2 - The 5 Ps; Puzzle, pillars, protest, power, and prayer
Introducing the reading Reading: John 2. 13-22 NIVUK Short Address: Reflecting for a short time on the passage from John's gospel John places the story very early on in his account of Jesus Hold onto 5 words all beginning with P: Puzzle, pillars, protest, power, and prayer
March 10, 2022
Sunday, 7th March 2021 - Part 1 - Pillars or protest, Iona, Galilee, and a den of robbers
Reading: Psalm 19. 12-13 Let us seek God’s guidance and help here and now Introduction: Pillars or protest? A special place Pillars in the temple The abbey in Iona The hills of Galilee "A house of prayer for all nations - turned into a den of robbers" What would you protest against today?
March 07, 2022
Sunday, 28th February 2021 - Part 2 - Tough talking, suffering, service, rage, and bananas
Reasing: Mark 8. 31-39 Good News Translation Short Address: Today's gospel reading is not for the faint hearted, it's tough talking on Jesus' part and his disciples don't like what they are hearing about suffering and service. Suffering, rejection and death is not the message that Peter wants to hear, it's not what he thinks the Messiah is about Peter rebukes Jesus and tells him to get back in line with the positive message that the Messiah will make everything great In turn Jesus then rebukes Peter in the harshest of terms - "Get behind me Satan" Have you ever experienced the rage of someone? Greta Thunberg in front of the United Nations berating the world leaders Lent symbol – bananas! Prayers for ourselves, the church and the world
March 02, 2022
Sunday, 28th February 2021 - Part 1 - Fairtrade Fortnight, choices, and challenges
Fairtrade Fortnight What choices will you make this week? We can all make better choices - what we buy, what we spend time on Fairtrade Fortnight challenges us to think about the type of world we want to live in and the choices we make Fairtrade Fortnight reminds us that those who produce the things we enjoy also need our support Introducing the reading Reading: Psalm 22.23-31
February 28, 2022
Sunday, 21st February 2021 - Part 2 - Lent, Jesus, Psalms, Test and Trace
Introducing the second reading : Psalm 25. 1 – 10 Short Address/reflection Jesus' time of testing in the wilderness Our car park is currently partially cordoned off by Test and Trace in the battle against COVID Jesus is testing what God wants of him and tracing his roots, he is God's beloved Son. Psalms were immensely important to Jesus According to Luke and Matthew, Satan used words from Psalm 91 to test Jesus and tempt him away from God Jesus could have succumbed, walked away from his God but ultimately didn't May we share the message and actions during this season of Lent as we test and trace our roots in God
February 23, 2022
Sunday, 21st February 2021 - Part 1 - Lent has begun, 40 days
Prayer of adoration and confession Introduction: ‘into the wilderness’ The 40 days of Lent have begun Remember Sundays don't count Why 40 days? 40 occurs several times in the bible In the new Testament, Jesus spends 40 days and nights in the wilderness resisting temptation Mark describes all of this in two short verses Reading: Mark 1. 9 -15 The Message The affirmation, the testing, the Good News message How can we be our best, as God’s much-loved sons and daughters?
February 21, 2022
Sunday, 14th February 2021 - Part 3 - Eddi Boon - Transfigured
Reading Genesis 9 v 8-17 Confession - https://writtentospeak.com Reading - Mark 9 v 2-9 Talk - Eddi Boon - Transfigured Looking at the transfiguration of Jesus How are things for your discipleship every day? It might be hard if you are having to take each day as it comes. We can still have hope in Christ It has been exhausting to move recently in the middle of the pandemic Providing daily evidence of who Jesus really is Do we misconstrue what is happening around us Knowing Jesus as our friend and saviour What keeps you going - what's the basis of your discipleship? Holding fast to Jesus in tough times.
February 16, 2022
Sunday, 14th February 2021 - Part 2 - Eddie Boon, Thames North Synod Discipleship Enabler
Introducing Eddie Boon, Thames North Synod Discipleship Leader Where were you before moving to this area? What do you do? What is a synod discipleship enabler? What can we pray for Eddie at the current time?
February 15, 2022
Sunday, 14th February 2021 - Part 1 - Being told what to do plus "find a heart"
Talk - Being told what to do and what not to do What rules to follow "Stop that", "be careful" - we all hear that at times It can feel at times that all you are told is what to do and what not to do. It can feel like that in the bible as well - what rules to follow - the commandments, the parables, being grateful Today we want to focus on you - you are a gift God so loved the world he gave his only son - for you "Unless you are like these children, you will never see God" Focus on us all being loved. Craft activity alternative - find a heart
February 14, 2022
Sunday, 7th February 2021 - Part 2 - "M" Words - Movement, mends, ministry, and mourning
Reading: Mark 1.29-39 Address - "M" words Focussing on the first 10 verses from the reading The key words begin with "M" First - Movement - Mark moving at a rapid pace from home to synagogue to country to city Following Jesus is to join a movement Challenges for URC to move beyond decline and closing churches How might God be moving you today? Second: "Mends" - Jesus mends broken spirits and lives Some things can't be mended and need restoring in eternity Third - "Ministry" - that act of kindness and compassion in the reading How are you called to minister today? Finally - "Mourning" - the moment apart for Jesus was key in determining the next steps in his mission
February 10, 2022
Sunday, 7th February 2021 - Part 1 - On wings like eagles
Prayer of adoration and confession Introduction - "on wings like eagles" Thanks for the photos being sent in over the past months, almost a year now, helping us get through what has been a challenging year Lots of photos of birds Birds are fascinating, easy to just watch and photograph on a bird-table What must it be like to just flap your wings and take to the air This year has challenged us to be a church in new ways Reading: Isaiah 40.21-31
February 07, 2022
Sunday, 31st January 2021 - Part 2 - Gambling, showing love, and having humility
Reading John 1 25-28 Address I remember listening to a debate on Radio 4 on gambling Reducing the limit on fixed odds betting terminals It was interesting how young the people were when they started gambling We don't exist alone, that brings benefits and responsibilities Christ showing his love by driving out an evil spirit Having the humility to ask for help when we slip below high standards
February 02, 2022
Sunday, 31st January 2021 - Part 1 - Eating sacrificed meat, guess the Influencer
Reading: 1 Corinthians Should we eat meat sacrificed up to idols? Thoughts on the reading: Jesus is telling us not to do something to cause someone else to break their rules Influencers - can you guess their names?
January 31, 2022
Sunday, 24th January 2021 - Part 2 - All change here, It's going to be OK, No Magic wand
Short Address: ‘All change here’ Can I invite you to take a deep breath and say to yourselves "it's going to be OK" - that's what the Psalm is telling us. "God is my rock and salvation" - Hold on to those truths This last week has been an emotional one. A new president and vice president in America There is no magic wand though - those who promise something for nothing are probably charlatans God values each one of us and values the good we can do in this world Sometimes God calls us to do new things Jesus challenges everyone to turn around and repent
January 26, 2022
Sunday, 24th January 2021 - Part 1 - Be strong and courageous
Opening Prayers Introduction: United ‘be strong and courageous’ talk by Jo Thompson, part of the Week of prayer for Christian Unity. Together we seek to be more effective servants of our One Lord "Be strong and courageous" - we need that at the moment Introduction to the readings Reading: Psalm 62. 5-12 Reading: Mark 1.14-20 NIVUK
January 24, 2022
Sunday, 17th January 2021 - Part 2 - Be still, Postman Pat, Nazareth and its "strange northern ways"
Address, "Come, see, hear" Devotees of Postman Pat may remember the episode when Pat goes to visit Mrs Goggins who is hard of hearing and keeps saying "Speak up Pat" It's not just hearing but also about listening, that involves using our hearts and minds as well Is there too much going on in our lives today to hear what we need, how to quieten our lives to come into God's presence "Be still and know that I am God" says the Lord There are many conflicting messages being pushed to us by mainstream and social media Phillip followed Jesus as he heard the call and recognised it as being the true message. He tells Nathaniel who is less sure about anything good coming from Nazareth, the northern town with its strange ways.
January 18, 2022
Sunday, 17th January 2021 - Part 1 - Listening, birdsong, silent reflection
Introduction - Listening Listening is not always easy Distracting noises can get in the way and our minds can be elsewhere Lots of other stuff going on in our minds can block out what we should be listening to Cores End garden birdsong Silent slideshow - listen to the sounds around you Reading - 1 Samuel 3, 1-20 A reflection by Ian Fosten from the Prayer Handbook Reading - John 1, 43-51
January 17, 2022
Sunday, 10th January 2021 - Part 2 - Jigsaws, bad news, a new hope
Meditation: Some of you will have been doing jigsaws over the Christmas period A meditation on a jigsaw puzzle to reflect on our own lives and how the jumble of pieces is brought together Prayer The picture of Christ knowing he is loved by God and pleasing to him Reading - Mark 1, 1-11 Talk: The news this week has been increasingly grim: Spiralling COVID numbers, schools closed a day after opening, a new lockdown, events in America. We won't want to see another week like that any time soon There may be hope behind the headlines - the vaccination programme increasing, education continuing, American democracy has survived Our reading is all about new beginnings In just 11 verses, Mark takes to the declaration of Jesus as the son of God. Nothing about the birth, his focus is the baptism where Jesus begins his ministry and "goes public" Three aspects of that baptism: Jesus was baptised alongside the crowd of ordinary people, Jesus was baptised by John, that great prophet of the old testament, and Jesus was baptised by the spirit.
January 11, 2022
Sunday, 10th January 2021 - Part 1 - New beginnings, Christmas to Epiphany
Talk - What does beginning mean to you What new beginnings have you made? Life is not easy at the moment Not easy for children finally being back in school Not easy for people with medical needs delayed Life is for new beginnings Are you beginning anything new at the moment - a new book, puzzle or TV series Beginnings in the world of nature - snowdrops and daffodils Last week in the Church calendar we move from Christmas to epiphany. Today we focus on the baptism of Jesus Reading Genesis Ch1 vv1-5
January 10, 2022
Sunday, 3rd January 2021 - Part 2 - 2020 is dead and burried but.....
Reading: Matthew 2: 1 – 12 Short prayer Address: 2020 is dead and buried and some of us are thankful for that but its effect will remain with us for years to come 4 stories from the Church Times that define the past year: Covid-19 Black Lives Matter Climate Change Safeguarding Matthew, the most Jewish of the gospels starts focusing on Gentiles 4 highlights from the story in Matthew
January 04, 2022
Sunday, 3rd January 2021 - Part 1 - Rise and Shine
Introduction: Rise and shine! Have you taken down your Christmas decorations? Christmas is not just a one day feast Our knitted nativity scene is missing the shepherds but does have 3 strangers - the wise men Matthew's story of the wise men is what we will be looking at today Reminders of the stars made in the Junior Church service just before Christmas, the star guiding the Wise Men to find Jesus, a sign of hope in dark times Introduction to the readings Readings: Isaiah 60.1-6 NIVUK
January 03, 2022
Sunday, 27th December 2020 - Part 4 - Carols from The Parish Church, RGS choir and brass ensemble
Carols from the RGS Carol Concert - Choir and Brass Ensemble from All Saints Church, recorded on 14th December 2020. https://www.rgshw.com/news/?pid=3&nid=1&storyid=228 with grateful thanks Once in Royal David’s City Hark! The Herald Angels Sing O Come, All Ye Faithful O Little Town of Bethlehem Unto us is Born a Son
December 30, 2021
Sunday, 27th December 2020 - Part 3 - Origins of carols as poems, In the Bleak Mid-winter
Origins of carols as poems Introduction to In the Bleak Midwinter Written by the 19th Century poet Christina Rosetti Set by Gustav Holst to music it soon became a favourite It reminds us of Narnia where it is always winter The harshness of the winter is contrasted with the warmth of a mother's milk What can we give Christ today? Carol - In the Bleak Midwinter - © Geraldine Latty and Carrey Luce. Video by engageworship Reading - John 1, 15-18 Blessing
December 29, 2021
Sunday, 27th December 2020 - Part 2 - Three is the magic number and Silent Night
Thought - The gift we receive on the third day of Christmas. Decoding the Christian code of 3 French hens and other items from the song. Three is a special number in the Christian faith, believed to symbolise the three gifts the wise men gave Jesus or maybe the three great virtues that Paul speaks about - faith, hope and love. We all need those gifts in these challenging times 2 turtle-doves representing the old and new testaments and then the partridge representing Jesus himself Thought - The theme of peace in carols We can't help but think about the trenches in WW1 when we sing Silent Night The madness of war ceasing temporarily as enemies came together Reading - It Came Upon a Midnight Clear The Lord's Prayer Carol - Silent Night - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pIu93Vme5k
December 28, 2021
Sunday, 27th December 2020 - Part 1 - Joy to the world
O Holy night We are not able to meet in person today Holy Night is regularly voted as the nation's favourite carol Carols are seen as the songs of the people Singing in groups has not been possible over the past months which is a loss Reading - Luke 1, 46-55 Introduction to the first carol, Joy to the World Our 1st carol is by Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 - Joy to the World It begins "Sing a new song to the Lord who has done wonderful things" Carol - Joy to the World - © Sam, Sara and Theo Hargreaves for engageworship Prayer
December 27, 2021
Christmas morning - 25th December 2020 - Joy to the world!
Service start and opening prayers Carol Oh come all ye faithful - engage worship and lighting the advent candle ring Advent candle song Reading Luke 2 Carol O little town of Bethlehem - engage worship Short message and prayers Words from the carol We've had many hopes and fears this year In all the messiness of life, Jesus comes to join us today, to share in it all with us The story of a child placed in a manger God's love made visible in human form Bringing comfort and joy this day and hope for the years ahead Carol Infant Holy - engage worship Final blessing
December 25, 2021
Carols by Candlelight - 20th December 2020
The full Carols by Candlelight service from 2020 00:00 Service Welcome, Carol Silent Night - Sung by TCE singers 00:04:40 Lighting Advent Candles & Prayer 00:06:08 Reading Isaiah 9.2 John 14,5 John 8.12, Luke 1.78 - Church Members on Zoom 00:07:00 Reading Luke 2 1-7 - Wendy 00:08:13 Reading Luke 2 8-10 - Matthew 00:09:48 Carol Hallelujah - Lyrics Cloverton, Music from Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah 00:14:06 Reflection Safety of the World - Rev Terry Hinks. 00:15:56 Music The Trumpet shall sound from Messiah - Derek & Dylan 00:19:37 Reading Matthew 2 1-12 - Robert and Elaine 00:21:50 Carol Ding Dong Merrily on High - Love Wycombe choir. 00:24:08 Reading of Carol In the Bleak Midwinter - Ian and Lesley 00:25:34 Reflection - What can we give him - Rev Terry Hinks 00:27:34 Message from One Can Trust - Jo 00:29:03 Message from Disraeli School Hardship Fund & Reading "A work in progress" - Julia. 00:30:33 Christian Aid Christmas appeal film 00:34:07 Prayers and the Lords Prayer Rev Terry Hinks 00:37:51 Carol Hark the Herald Angels sing - Love Wycombe Choir 00:43:03 - 44:33 - Blessing
December 20, 2021
Sunday, 13th December 2020 - Part 3 - Musical interlude, carols from past services
Joy to the World O Come All Ye Faithful Once In Royal David's City Angels from the Realms of Glory In the Bleak Midwinter Junior Church - Come and Join the Celebration
December 15, 2021
Sunday, 13th December 2020 - Part 2 - Who do you say you are, being ourselves, and Hyacinth Bucket
Revd John Mackerness - Reflection - Who do you say you are? Roots suggests playing a clip from a BBC comedy from a show "Keeping Up Appearances" Hyacinth Bucket trying to live the dream but constantly coming a cropper How we constantly try to put on a front and "over egg the pudding" to make our lives seem a bit more exciting Sometimes the hardest place to be ourselves is at church. People have expectations about how we should act and what we should believe In a church community it can be hard for people to be open about the real issues in their lives Wherever people find God it will be as part of a community that lives out its faith with integrity Prayers for the world
December 14, 2021
Sunday, 13th December 2020 - Part 1 - Who do we say we are? How would you describe yourself?
Revd John Mackerness - Who do we say we are? If I met you for the first time, how would you describe yourself? "I'm a minister" might be a conversation stopper but "I'm an airport chaplain" might get you a bit further How we describe ourselves depends on where we are and who we are with retirement or unemployment can be difficult as we don't have a good way of describing ourselves We will hear later about John the Baptist and what he said when people asked who he was. At the end of the day, only God knows who we really are and we can't hide ourselves from him
December 13, 2021
Sunday, 6th December 2020 - Part 1 - Prepare for what?
Reading Isaiah 40. 1-11 NIVUK Reading Mark 1. 1 – 8 NIVUK Short talk: ‘prepare for what?’ A key word in advent is "Prepare" What are we preparing for? Buy a huge turkey or a small chicken? Preparing is important but what happens if we have no clue what to prepare for What can businesses do to prepare for what how the pandemic will evolve? The Government says "be ready" with regards to Brexit, but be ready for what? "Make sure you are ready" could be a great slogan for advent Today's readings ask us to prepare for the Lord Wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you have done, here is your God, prepare to receive him
December 06, 2021
Sunday, 29th November 2020 - Part 2 - Hope and fears
Reading - Mark 13, v24-37 Prayer, Talk - hope and fears So the countdown begins to whatever Christmas will be this year Will you travel or stay at home? The government says Christmas has been saved Is the plan enough to save it from the excess and poverty, the stresses and strains, the mental pressures? Advent helps us refocus on that first great mystery, God in a child who became part of a refugee family Rather than us saving Christmas, Christmas can save us Meeting God through the cries of help in our hurting world Our charity and pastoral work at this time of year is especially potent Meeting with Christ in the hungry and needy "Whatever you did for the least of these" Christ says, "you did for me" Prayers that the Government will change the plans to claw back part of the overseas aid budget
November 30, 2021
Sunday, 29th November 2020 - Part 1 - Have you put up the Christmas lights yet?
Talk - Have you put up the Christmas lights yet? Light shining in the darkness Remember Blue Peter Advent crown? Walking the Way Focusing on key words as we light the advent candles - today it is "hope" Reading - Psalm 80, v1-7 Lighting of the first Advent candle, Advent prayer and Advent song
November 29, 2021
Sunday, 22nd November 2020 - Part 2 - From Lyme Regis to the Leprosy Mission
Reading John Talk from Chris Stratta of The Leprosy Mission Remembering carrying water up the hills in Lyme Regis to raise money for clean water in leprosy communities overseas Feeling God prompting to go overseas at age 18 God showing how we can make a difference to one or two people is still worth doing In life we make our mark and however small it is, it's still our mark Saying thanks for helping the leprosy mission and the impact that has Have you ever felt defined in a negative way by something about yourself? Something you are, have done or regret? Being treated differently because of this. Sympathising with Naaman, an important man in the King's army but treated differently. Unable to join in normal life until cured. People still face stigma and are defined by their leprosy today Video from the leprosy mission showing how they are helping people Small choices having a huge impact Giving the equivalent of a cup of coffee and cake once a month for a year will help cure 3 people so please consider donating - https://www.leprosymission.org.uk/donate
November 23, 2021
Sunday, 22nd November 2020 - Part 1 - "Surely no-one today has leprosy anymore?"
What do you think of when you hear the word leprosy? "Surely no-one today has leprosy?" Every 2 minutes someone is told they have leprosy Activity to show how leprosy affects us by interfering with how the brain feels and reacts to pain Pray for people who have leprosy who can't feel pain Introduction to the bible reading Bible Reading: 2 Kings 5. 1-15a
November 22, 2021
Sunday, 15th November 2020 - Part 2 - Jonah, being kind, and moving towards advent
Readings: 'A Simple Guide for Behaviour' Talk: Jesus and Jonah The more we look at the story of Jonah, the more we realise how much Jesus was influenced by it Jesus, the great story teller How different translations treat the humour in the reading from Matthew looking at how we treat others Can we find new ways of being kind amongst all the restrictions of life in the 21st Century We have learnt that stories are powerful Turning from the story of Jonah to the story of Jesus, 2 weeks until Advent Sunday when we will hear the beginning of the story of the birth of Jesus Reading: "What if Jesus"
November 16, 2021
Sunday, 15th November 2020 - Part 1 - Jonah, the plant, the wind, and the worm: what do we care about?
Recap on Jonah story We have been looking a the story of Jonah throughout Autumn and bring it to a close today Jonah has a message and challenge, an inspiration and warning Thanks to Janet (Tollington) and John (Campbell) for their help on this in our Tuesday reflections Let's remember again where it all started with God calling Jonah to go to Nineveh There's a (long) journey, a storm, a reversal and Jonah becoming an unlikely servant of God Reading Jonah 4 Talk: The plant, the wind and the worm: what do we care about? For a moment, Jonah is happy as the plant provides him with shade and he becomes attached to the vine But then the worm comes along... There is something wonderful watching plants grow We become attached to things in nature Jonah learnt the lesson that he wasn't in control of the natural world, one we have to learn as well If Jonah felt that pleasure in the plant and the sadness in the plant being destroyed, how much more should God feel over Nineneh?
November 15, 2021
Sunday, 8th November, 2020 - Part 2 - Remembrance, US elections, and reaching out
Reading - Matthew 5. 1 – 9 (NIVUK) Short Address and act of remembrance This year our remembrance has been overshadowed by the COVID pandemic with a smaller number able to gather at the cenotaph The uncertainty over the US elections now beginning to clear but a divided nation needing our prayers Our divided nation and world This is a good moment for everyone from all faiths to keep a moment of silence and to listed for that still small voice of peace - "be still and know that I am God" Joe Biden reaching out the olive branch to those who didn't vote for him - "let's give each other a chance, this is a time to heal in America and to listen" Did the former guy ever mention the word "heal"? We need to commit ourselves to the way of peace and stop the rhetoric of "us" and "them" Last Post, 2 minutes silence, reveille Prayers for the world
November 09, 2021
Sunday, 8th November, 2020 - Part 1 - Time flying by
Talk - Time flying by We are conscious of time flying by, especially today with the two minutes' silence Time can also stand still, in those 2 minutes, so much thinking goes on Most of us today were born after the second world war We can still remember the effect of war and make sure that such terrible events don't happen again Poppy decorations from the Guides and Brownies We remember the cost of the past actions and the hope that God gives us Reading - Psalm 46.
November 08, 2021
Sunday, 1st November, 2020 - Part 2 - A cloud of witnesses urging you on ⛅
Reading - Hebrews 11.39 – 12.3 Short Address: The cloud of witnesses pictured in the reading - like a full stadium urging us to keep going "Yes, you can do this, don't give up on God or love" Then the picture draws to something more personal - keep your eyes on Jesus and focus on what God wants us each to do Picture him leading us in this great race Fix your eyes on him so that you will not grow weary and lose heart Feeling weary of the first lockdown, the relaxation and then the new one to come. Will life return to what was "normal"? We need that encouragement of Jesus who endured so much yet has conquered death itself and is alive with us now.
November 02, 2021
Sunday, 1st November, 2020 - Part 1 - Link to Hope shoeboxes
Reading - Jonah 2. 5 -7 Talk - Link to Hope shoebox appeal - who we are and what we do
November 01, 2021
Sunday, 25th October, 2020 - Part 2 - Commands and complications. Moving from not racist to anti-racist
Commands and complications The collision of One World Week and Black History Month Genius is making complex things simple, not vice versa 1300BC when Moses came down with the Ten Commandments - nice, clear and simple but by the time Jesus came on the scene, just one commandment had evolved into 600 specific banns The meaning of neighbour today and Levi's time Who was the only white European mentioned in the bible? The URC moving from being not racist to anti-racist
October 25, 2021
Sunday, 25th October, 2020 - Part 1 - How much rice? What if we were nice to two people each?
Activity - How much rice? Messy maths time Grains of rice on a chess board How would the world be if everyone was generous to two other people Reading - Leviticus 19, 1,2 and 15-18
October 24, 2021
Sunday, 18th October, 2020 - Part 2 - Dreams
Reading: Genesis ch37 vv2-11 Talk - Dreams We all have dreams for our life God has a dream for your life today and for you Joseph was 17 years old when God gave him a life changing dream, that one day he would have power and be influential I want to challenge you today to have a big dream from God Dream big - God has more for you There are times when your circumstances will be inconsistent with your dreams but persevere through these moments. You can reduce your life to your present circumstances or believe through God that your life will catch up with your dream if you don't give up Joseph had his dream at age 17 but didn't achieve his dream until he was 30 Compassion brings you dreams from children from all over the world Children can achieve those dreams but need your help to do that The fight against poverty goes on despite COVID Prayers
October 18, 2021
Sunday, 18th October, 2020 - Part 1 - Compassion and Christian, the child we support
Our involvement with Compassion In April 2013 when we went to Spring Harvest and heard a speaker talking about Compassion There we found Enoch who we have exchanged letters with and he is now 16 Our second child we link to, Khanzi now has a family goat, purchased with the money we have sent Inspired by our experience, we asked the church to sponsor a child as well. Which is how we got involved with Christian
October 17, 2021
Sunday, 11th October 2020 - Part 2 - We all love a good story
Reading - Psalm 139. 1, 5-12 Reading - Luke 15.11 - 32 Short reflection on readings - We all love a good story and the stories of Jonah and the Father with two sons are some of the best We always think of the first, younger son in the story, but I want us to spend some time with the other one. In some ways he was lost as well - never having left home, never disobeyed his father but huge resentment within him As we look out to the world around us, have we caught hold of the compassion in the stories or do we see our service of God as some kind of grudging act? Are we grumpy servants of the Lord or are we beloved children of God
October 11, 2021
Sunday, 11th October 2020 - Part 1 - Who's for a boat ride?
I know some of the congregation were intending to go on cruises this year that have had to be postponed This autumn we are thinking about the story of Jonah, an anti-hero that does all of the wrong things but somehow manages to bring Nineveh to God Originally told by God to go to Nineveh, a 550 mile trek, he instead opts for a 2,500 mile trip to Tarshish instead It's a great comic story but it challenges us to think about what direction we are going with God. Are we heading in the right direction? Is God calling us to do something, to go somewhere or to reach out to someone? Reading - Jonah 1, vv 1-10
October 10, 2021
Sunday, 4th October 2020 - Part 2 - Are you sleeping OK?
Can you rest, are you sleeping okay at the moment or are you having weird dreams We live in a restless world We're restless about the impact that we are having on our world; the climate emergency the pollution of the seas and air Easy to think it's someone else's problem but it's all of ours. Words of a carpenter, a journalist and an artist: A carpenter - Jesus - "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest" A Journalist - The economics editor for the times Philip Aldrich - "The UK is now a world leader in wind" An artist - David Hockney - "I'm living here [Normandy] he wrote in a little seven dwarfs house in the middle of a four acre field and I'm perfectly happy"
October 04, 2021
Sunday, 4th October 2020 - Part 1 - A glorious and varied and creation
This is the end of the season of creation This season of creation ends on the 4th October, St. Francis' day It's almost 800 years since he died yet he still impacts the whole church and world with his example Turning away from material things to a life with Christ Wanting to live out the gospel in its fullest extent Many stories talk of his great love for animals and the environment; He wrote a beautiful song of praise called the Canticle of the Sun The theme of this year's season of creation has been "Sabbath" the day of rest We need times to stop and pause Reading: Psalm 148:7-14 NIVUK read by Clare Downing, General Assembly Moderator 2nd Reading: Matthew 11:25-30 NIVUK read by Peter Pay, General Assembly Lay Moderator
October 03, 2021
Sunday, 27th September, 2020 - Part 2 - Ending our journey with Paul
Reading: Romans 16. 1 – 7 NIVUK read by David Reynolds Final reflections on our journey with Paul. Paul wanted to get to Spain, he saw it as an area ripe for mission but he never got there He was arrested in the temple in Jerusalem, beaten and put on trial for being a Christian Even at the moments of danger and imprisonment, Paul wants to share the love of God he has discovered When on trial, Paul reminded the court he was a Roman citizen and so was sent by ship to Rome where his wish to see friends was fulfilled but only as a prisoner For Paul in Christ, there was no male or female, all those barriers are broken down and we are as one No-one would think of Paul as a feminist though, he was a man of his time Music for reflection Prayers of intercession (using words of Paul) First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. I remember you always in my prayers. (Romans 1.8,9) May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15.) 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15.13) The God of peace be with you all. (Romans 15.33) To God be glory for ever through Jesus Christ! Amen. (Romans16.27)
September 27, 2021
Sunday, 27th September, 2020 - Part 1 - Travel plans!
Introduction: Travel Plans! Did you have any travel plans this year? Have you got away after all those weeks of confinement? If you were really brave, have you got into a plane or train? Paul wanted to visit Rome but his plans were disrupted again and again Reading: Romans 15. 22 – 29 Our journey with Paul and some of the highlights: Geoff Cronin, Kate Yates and David Reynolds share verses that are important to them
September 26, 2021
Sunday, 20th September, 2020 - Part 3 - An update on the work of OneCan
Talk: an update on the work of One Can What is a food procurement manager? How we look after our clients, what we give them Crucial to provide a balanced diet Help from Wycombe Wanderers Thanks to our Street Heroes Pre-COVID numbers per week 225, in May 2020 it was up to 623 Annual running costs of £200,000 Many thanks for any donations Prayers of thanksgiving with response - "God our Creator, hear our prayer."
September 20, 2021
Sunday, 20th September, 2020 - Part 2 - Ruth, one of the unsung heroines of the bible
Reading; Ruth 1.22 – 2.12 Short reflection on the reading - Ruth is one of the unsung heroines of the bible A woman who changed the course of history A crucial link in the bible with King David and Jesus A Moabite woman giving one of the greatest statements of loyalty and faith - "where you go, I will go, where you stay, I will stay; your people will be my people and your God, my God." Ruth's story is almost a typical romance story, not quite Mills and Boon but not far off; falling in love, intrigue, manipulation and a happy ending. Reading; Matthew 14. 13 – 21
September 20, 2021
Sunday, 20th September, 2020 - Part 1 - "Thanksgiving" and welcome of Jo Belshaw from One Can
Successes and failures growing things during lockdown Progress on the chilli plants The meaning of gleaning Any wine makers in the congregation?
September 19, 2021
Sunday, 13th September 2020 - Part 2 - Farewell to Paul and learning to accept each other
The end of our series on Paul's letter to the Romans Happy or sad to see the end of it? There is one more week of it next week in our harvest service We started on the 12th July 2020, 8 weeks ago What words or passages have spoken most to you? Reading - Romans 14:1-12 Reflective hymn - Help us accept each other Short Talk - Acceptance, accepting each other as Christ accepted us. Every so often I wonder what it might be like to escape to a cave on a deserted island; untroubled by the 24 hour news cycle, technical difficulties, COVID-19 and the rest of our 21st century world Days filled with nothing in particular Would it last long before feeling desperate for company? We need each other, humanity can't manage alone That means getting along with people who are different to us True in society and the church family Paul had never visited the church in Rome but he was aware of the mix of people who had come into the community, each binging a new perspective into the church Paul tackles 2 issues - the type of food to eat and seasons - how to celebrate and why We have to learn to accept each other Paul talks about the strong and weak in faith to illustrate our differences
September 13, 2021
Sunday, 13th September 2020 - Part 1 - Sky high love
Opening Prayers Introduction: ‘Sky high love’ What comes to mind when I say "sky high"? Prices, balloons, space travel? The Psalm talks about God's love being as high as the sky is above the earth Some older translations have it "as high as the heavens" So often our lives and thoughts get caught up in the day to day minutiae and we should take a moment to stretch our thoughts wider. Reading - Psalm 103. 8-13
September 12, 2021
Sunday, 6th September 2020 - Part 2 - The national debt
1st Reading - Psalm 119 2nd reading - Romans 13 v8-14 Time of reflection with "Come down O Love Divine" Talk - The national debt For 100s of years our government has been borrowing money to fund its activities That amount has steadily increased until 10 years ago, the amount hit 1 trillion pounds With the effect of the pandemic, the amount is now 2 trillion ponds. How do we get out of this - borrow more, bring in austerity, tax more? £40,000 per adult if we wanted to cancel it now 😊 Paul certainly wanted debts cleared He talked though about a debt we can never clear, the debt of love. In Ch8 he speaks of the love of Christ Jesus that holds us in life and death Paul doesn't talk about loving God, but moves straight to loving neighbours. Why does he leave out love for God? Maybe Paul is making the point that loving god is easy but the invisible, annoying neighbour is more of a challenge.
September 06, 2021
Sunday, 6th September 2020 - Part 1 - What's in the box?
"It's that time of year again" - What's in the Box? Has anyone bought any shoes recently? Shoe boxes as a container of gifts for our neighbours in Eastern Europe What does this box contain? Reminders of the previous months - facemasks, seeds, a greeting card, a prayer ribbon Shoe Box appeal details - Link to Hope
September 05, 2021
Sunday, 30th August 2020 - Showing Christian love in our lives today
Reading Romans Reflection and Sermon Revd Bridget Powell The passage from Romans is about what we should do to show Christian love in our lives today Many of the words are found in Paul's writings and Jesus' teaching Roman rule was hard and many people were self-indulgent The disabled or ill were left on the outskirts of society This still happens today, can we help make this better We are living in challenging times and are beginning to realise things won't go back to exactly how they were All change contains an element of risk Thinking about first stepping into a prison Teaching in prison
August 29, 2021
Sunday, 23rd August, 2020 - Part 2 - "What does worship really mean?"
Introduction to the readings Psalm 138 Romans 12 v1-8 00:31:53 Our service this morning began as usual with the call to worship - an invitation to worship the living God. But what does worship really mean Months of lockdown and restrictions have challenged us to think again Some of us are here, many at home It has been difficult to share communion. We also aren't having tea and coffee after worship For many religions in the past it was about offering a sacrifice to a God who held life in the balance Paul knows all about the this tradition but he turns the vision upside down showing how God has made the sacrifice. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Paul's list of gifts - Live life generously, diligently & cheerfully, plus a tribute to Harry Bates who did that constantly
August 23, 2021
Sunday, 23rd August, 2020 - Part 1 - All change
Do you recognise this stuff? Has anyone used cash recently? Ice cream, car park machine? We are not using cash in the way we did. Sometimes we find change difficult to deal with What have been the biggest changes in your life recently? Family, work, friendship groups, church, worship? If things didn't change there would be no life. Be transformed then you will be able to see what is God's will
August 22, 2021
Sunday, 16th August 2020 - Part 2 - Paul reflects on the mercy of God, cleanliness and Godliness
Chapter 11 in Romans where Paul grapples with the place of the people of Israel in God's plan God has not rejected his people, his mercy extends to Jew and Gentile alike. Reading: Romans 11.1-2a,29-32 (NIVUK) Reading: Matthew 15:10-20 (Good News Translation) Short Talk They say that cleanliness is next to Godliness. Given the amount of hand sanitiser we've used recently, are we getting closer to God? 20 seconds for a proper scrub. Singing Happy Birthday or the Lord's Prayer Jesus says it's not about your hands though - of course he's not talking about viruses or basic hygiene but something on a totally different level. We can have any amount of hand washing and still remain spiritually unclean Cleanliness as a metaphor for coming into the presence of God , this is common across a lot of religions with varying degrees of intricacy Who is truly clean?
August 16, 2021
Sunday, 16th August 2020 - Part 1 - Praying for peace – a prayer ribbon
Yesterday was VJ day, commemorating the end of warfare with Japan in the Far East and the effective end of the 2nd World War A solemn day of remembering and a day to pray for Peace Describing the Woburn to Bourne End walk to remember the many who died or were injured in war NHS in flowers on the hillside to thank those who have worked through the coronavirus pandemic Prayer ribbons for you to tie to the church gates and think of people who need peace, justice and the compassion of God We pray peace may flow through our lives today and in the weeks and months ahead
August 15, 2021
Sunday, August 9th 2020 - Part 2 - Carrying good news
Short prayer We have been hearing a lot about the R number recently A simple but crucial number guiding governments around the world to determine how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic Additional precautions to keep R down How does the spread of faith compare to the spread of a virus Richard Dawkins and religion being a virus of the mind Is faith taught or caught? Paul was clear that the Christian faith needed to be passed on Everyone who falls on the name of the Lord will be saved but people need to hear that good news and learn to trust the Living God
August 09, 2021
Sunday, August 9th 2020 - Part 1 - Justice and peace
Introduction: Justice and peace embrace Back in May during lockdown we marked VE day We had big plans to commemorate this VJ is often missed, the marking of the end of the war 15th August, 2020 is the date - 75 years since the end of the 2nd World War Praying for peace Some of the consequences and injustices of that war are still being felt The Burma memorial outside our church - "When you go home Tell them of us and say For your tomorrow We gave our today" Behind the millions of statistics in war, there are individuals Memorials to war associated with our two churches
August 08, 2021
Worship talks - Sunday, 2nd August 2020 - Part 2 - Paul's anguish over Israel
Last week we heard the climax in Paul's letter to the Romans where he sums up that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Next he changes direction and looks at how many of his own people have rejected the message In the next three chapters he struggles with what the place is for his people. He believes there is a place for them and that God has not rejected them. Reading - Romans 9. 1-5 (NIVUK) Paul’s anguish over Israel Reading - Psalm 103. 8-21 (NIVUK) Beginning this reflection by giving thanks for the Jewish community and the great heritage and faith it brings. At its heart, faithful to the living God The positive contribution of the Jewish community to our nation is huge Christianity owes a debt to its Jewish roots The New Testament doesn't replace the old, it renews and moves forward.
August 02, 2021
Worship talks - Sunday, 2nd August 2020 - Part 1 - Found it!
Have you found something recently that you had totally forgotten about? It's a lovely feeling when you find it The stories we'll hear shortly are surprises. People don't find what they are expecting but something amazing! Reading - Matthew 13.44-46 The parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl An amazing, life changing experience finding the pearl
August 01, 2021
Sunday, 26th July, 2020 - Part 2 - Paul, stress, feeling out of control and separated from Christ
Introducing the reading: Paul coming through the fire Reading Romans 8:26-39 Prayer Talk - How are you doing out there? We can get worn down and stressed out by the seemingly endless lockdown Think about those times Paul knew what this was like brought to his knees by his own failures but it wasn't ever a sign of failure Paul writing about a thorn in the side God's grace is sufficient for Paul God isn't a father Christmas figure who looks after our ever whim Paul knew what it meant to be brought to his knees and ask for God's help Perhaps when we think we have everything under control we are heading in the wrong direction? Real courage is the love that faces whatever life throws at it Remember that when we feel separated from the love of Christ that nothing can really separate us What will you offer to the eternal one today? Music and reflection - What will you offer the Eternal One today? Prayer - God whose love holds us now accept the gifts we bring, whatever they may be. Use our prayers and our lives each day in your work of justice, love and peace, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
July 26, 2021
Sunday, 26th July, 2020 - Part 1 - More about growing
Introduction: more stories about growing Update on chilli plant growing Stories about growing, things that are very small having a huge impact - just like the coronavirus The mustard seed Matthew 13:31-32 (NIVUK) The kingdom of God is like the mustard seed The parable of the yeast Matthew 13:33 (NIVUK) The kingdom of heaven is like yeast Talk Has anyone been making bread during lockdown? Sourdough is a favourite Shortages of flour and yeast due to the popularity Imagine the 30kg of flour mentioned in the story - loaves for 100+ people Small things having a huge difference - how will we make a difference in our neighbourhoods?
July 25, 2021
Sunday, 19th July 2020 - Part 2 - The Spirit at work today
Reading - Romans 8 v12-25 Talk - The Spirit at work today So we are here, back in the church after all of these weeks Back in this building after what seems so long since the 15th March. It was a pretty flat act of worship as many were already social distancing and not many people were present The reading we heard on 15th March was the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and the work of the Spirit Jesus said it didn't matter where you worshipped I feel in a way that I have little to offer today; I can't say there'll be coffee after service or lovely biscuits. I can't invite you today to communion I can't give you a hug. I and we can offer this great gift of the Holy Spirit. The spirit that works among us, heals the hurts within us guides us, inspires us brings us new hope Paul discovered this when the Spirit broke into his live and liberated him.
July 19, 2021
Sunday, 19th July 2020 - Part 1 - A mixed bag
The world is a bit of a mixed bag - rubbish and good things, triumph and disaster, joys and heartaches If we think back over the recent months, there have been a lot of things that have been horrible but even during lockdown, some good things Jesus tells us a story about wheat and thistles - good and evil, God will sort it out in his own time Reading - Matthew 13 v24-30 Message from the reading: So the farmer will sort it all out in the end Thank God that the mixed bag will be sorted in time Come the Kingdom, all of the wrong will be resolved Justice and joy, grace and peace, love and life will win out In the meantime, we live in a mixed up world and we need God's spirit and help.
July 18, 2021
Sunday, 12th July 2020 - Part 3 - So have you got into the open this week?
Have you gotten out into the open this week? Escaped the lockdown to get somewhere more exciting rather than just the shops To see family, friends or the hairdresser? It has been great to hear the voices of the children from the nursery school. Some Churches are opening again and Trinity and Cores End hope to do so soon Gathering for worship will be different for a long time Marking a step on the journey out of lockdown Focusing not on "that" lockdown but a more serious one of the human heart and condition - Paul knew all about this disordered mess of struggling humanity Richard Dawkins, "Brights" and dropping that elitist name - Paul would understand If we don't ignore the joyful spirit, God's love is living and breathing, working within us
July 12, 2021
Sunday, 12th July 2020 - part 2 - Introduction to the reading: Over to Paul!
Over the summer months the church lectionary encourages us to look at Paul’s letter to the Romans, a letter in which Paul describes his understanding of the Christian faith to a church he is yet to visit. We are going to take time with Paul, one of the great followers of Jesus who came to know him after the resurrection Paul met Jesus dramatically on the road to Damascus Jesus asked "why are you persecuting me?" Paul came to know the loving God Later in his life he wrote to the church in Rome to introduce himself In chapter 7 he talks openly about the struggles in his life and how God in Jesus rescued him from his life going wrong. Eventually Peter and Paul gave their lives in Rome in the face of huge persecution from Emperor Nero Paul's journey had hard times but he discovered the love of God was stronger than everything else In Romans chapter 8 he talks about how God rescues us through Jesus and the gift of the spirit Reading Romans 8. 1 – 8
July 12, 2021
Sunday, 12th July 2020 - part 1 - Growing things and the parables of Jesus.
Have you grown anything over the months of lockdown? Whatever our situation, we can all grow something Growing is part of life, growing plants, growing as people Planting chilli seeds and growing them How are the seeds we planted back in February going? Over the summer we will hear some of the parables of Jesus, starting with the parable of the sower. Reading - Matthew 13. v1-9
July 11, 2021
Sunday, 5th July 2020 part 3 - Andy Lester of A Rocha
A talk by Andy Lester of A Rocha talks about the environment, bikes, and wagtails in a carwash followed by a challenge from Terry Hinks to ask what will we do differently?
July 05, 2021
Sunday 5th July 2020 part 2 - Foxglove Lane and Mouth Brooding Frogs
Mike Shrubsole, homo sapiens, green apostle for Wessex Synod and convener of the URC Environment Group speaks about Foxgloves and Mouth-brooding Frogs
July 05, 2021
Sunday, 5th July 2020 part 1 - Out in the meadow & Job
Introduction to the readings. Looking at nature with awe and wonder Recognising behind the wonder of creation is a loving God Job's losses and his friends trying to comfort him. Job bringing his complaint to God and realising that God has been with him and can help him through the hard time Reading: Job 38. 1 – 7, 12, 16 , 34 – 41, Job 39. 19, 26- 27
July 04, 2021
Sunday, 28th June 2020 - Love Wycombe 2020 readings, testimony, and thoughts on the reading of Jesus and the leper
John Harbour - Kings Church - introduction to A message of hope People searching for hope We as a church carrying the message of hope to the world Bible reading - Luke 5, 12-15, Jesus heals a man with leprosy John Harbour - Kings Church - response to the bible passage. Jesus reaching out to touch the leper What stands out to you from that story? A miraculous healing of an incurable disease? Jesus telling the man not to tell anyone? There is a shocking element - Jesus reaching out and touching the man Have we missed human touch during the lockdown? What would the feeling have been like to the leper never having been touched for years Two stories, Liz and Steve who have recently encountered Jesus John Harbour - Kings Church - Jesus is still changing lives He says to the man in the story - "be clean" Touching a leper should have made Jesus ceremonially unclean That is how religion works - if one followed a good life, one reached heaven. Touching the leper would have meant Jesus had to be cleansed and he turned things on their head. How could Jesus transform this unclean man? Jesus became an outcast when he hung on the cross, taking all of the dirt from the human race We are all born into the disease called sin Jesus has a cure for the sin of the human heart One touch from him and your life is transformed
June 27, 2021
Sunday, 21st June 2020 part 2 - Reflection on the reading from Matthew 10, v24-33
Talk by David Bailey The whole of Chapter 10 in Matthew's gospel includes Jesus' instructions to his disciples on their great commission to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven When this was written around 85A.D. , the early Christian communities were suffering so much persecution that some were losing their faith so it is not surprising that Matthew records how Jesus tells his followers not to be afraid. Jesus assures them that whilst their persecutors could destroy their body, they would never lose their soul Over the past months all of us have been living through and experiencing a degree of fear In times like this it is easy to despair but a word of encouragement can be the key to helping us to cope. It does not cost a lot but can be the oxygen of the soul. In those difficult moments when we are down, encouragement is what we need to help us think of new ways and help us keep our hopes alive. So it is that 3 times in this short passage, Jesus encourages his disciples to not lose hope
June 21, 2021
Sunday, 21st June 2020 - Part 1 - Faith, water, bags & pencils – Rebecca Hawes (WYC)
This episode works better if you watch it at https://youtu.be/vL0UTv9S3fc - the visual element and potential of soaking Rebecca as she pierces a bag of water suspended over her head with pencils needs to be seen to be believed. When I first read that you could do that with a bag, I thought how is that even possible How do you put pencils through a bag filled with water and not end up with a big mess? As i was thinking about this I was thinking about some of the things that actually we feel that are making holes in our lives that are plodding and poking us around and it's leaving a gap particularly at the moment maybe we're missing being able to go to school, missing seeing our friends and learning together with our teachers. Maybe we're missing seeing lots of the people that we love; we're missing being able to go and to give them a big hug Maybe we're missing being able to visit some of our favourite places we've been able to do lots of exciting and different things during lockdown but maybe there are still other things that we're missing things that we feel have made left a little bit of a hole in our lives So when we find ourselves in that situation when something feels impossible when life feels tough when it hurts that we can't see the people that we love and we miss the things that we enjoy doing what can we do would you know what as Christians? We have the greatest gift ever we have faith in Jesus Christ and that faith means that we can come to God we can come to Jesus We can cry out to god for help and he will answer that doesn't mean that he will take away the tough stuff that we're struggling with it doesn't mean that he will remove those obstacles that we feel are impossible to climb over The bible tells us that God will never leave us or forsake us and sometimes God's answer is it's okay, I'm gonna walk this journey with you I'm gonna be right there beside you every step of the way through these challenges that you are facing
June 20, 2021
Sunday, 14th June 2020 part 2 - Sent
This episode touches on events in America and the UK relating to Donald Trump, BLM, racism, COVID-19 in late May/early June 2020 "Jesus looks out on the crowd and sees desperate need – he sees confusion and anxiety, he sees a lack of meaning and purpose, he sees people struggling with disease and poverty and the prejudice of others. He sees humanity torn and bruised – and his heart is broken too. He is filled with compassion and love for them all. That is where we trace our roots as a Christian community today. Not in the chequered history of the church; not in the heroes or villains of church and society down the years; not in the triumphalism or defeatism of the church over the centuries." ... All too often across the world we’ve seen statues pulled down, but deeper structures and attitudes remaining unchanged. What’s needed is real change not virtue signalling or empty gestures. Wishful thinking and woolly-minded actions will not do. We need to reach deep into hurting humanity bringing that healing grace of Jesus in word and action. As Christians we must keep that innocence of the dove – that integrity and generosity of spirit, but also use our minds – being shrewd like snakes – thinking carefully and deeply about the injustices and hurts in our world and how to truly share in the kingdom work of Jesus today – a kingdom of justice, compassion, healing and peace. May God give us the courage and wisdom to be workers for Christ today – for the sake of all races, all colours, all humanity.
June 14, 2021
Sunday, 14th June 2020 part 1 - Can you help
The phone rings and someone asks "can you help me?". It all depends on what they are asking for. Feeling poorly, a house on fire, an empty plate, a computer that has crashed? It's important to ask for help when we need it The great work the food banks are doing Can you help? We CAN help each other.
June 13, 2021
Sunday, 7th June 2020 part 2 - Sent out in God's name
It was recently announced that Elon Musk and Grimes have named their child X Æ A-12 - a joke on the world with a more normal name to follow? Sometimes children are saddled with what seem like terrible names. My uncle Jack was fine with his first name but not when combined with his surname - Russell Terry was popular in the 60s and 70s, maybe I should go with my second name, much more longstanding - James? Names are amazing things, for some religions the name of God is considered so holy that it shouldn't be spoken. For Christians the name of God is summed up in one word - Trinity For early Christians the Trinitarian name summed up the faith that Jesus had given to them.
June 07, 2021
Sunday, 7th June 2020 part 1 - "Out on the Rye"
Today is Trinity Sunday where we grapple with the question of who God is Some churches take that as the name of their community and the building Trinity URC High Wycombe traces its roots back to 1662 in Crendon Lane A great name to carry Trinity looks onto the Rye, a wonderful green space containing Pann Mill, the river Wye and many activities, saved from development by local citizens, now treasured as a jewel in Wycombe's crown . We can't meet in person but remember that Trinity is a community
June 06, 2021
Sunday, 31st May 2020 part 2 - Pentecost is often missed
Pentecost is often missed 10 weeks after lockdown, we have travelled from Mothering Sunday, Holy Week, Easter and Ascension Day to arrive here at Pentecost and the birth of the Church Difficulty with Pentecost and the blockbuster description of events Experience of God has been dramatic at times but often not like that described in Acts Luke sees this not as a moment of ecstatic praying but communication of the wonder of God and the great news of Jesus We belong to one global community, not little competing religious groupings. The Spirit allows us to speak in the language of everyday like those first disciples of the wonders of God Wonders seen in the greatest of scientific discoveries and a key worker doing their job. Wonders seen in the great sweep of history and the simple story of a carpenter who dies on a cross
May 31, 2021
Sunday, 31st May 2020 part 1 - Celebrating a great birthday
Celebrating a great birthday, that of the Church almost 2000 years ago On a birthday we often have a cake to celebrate Lighting a candle to remember the story from Acts where the spirit descends like tongues of fire A breath to blow out the candle to remind of the breath of Christ, Jesus breathing on the disciples who received the Holy Spirit The power of a mighty wind blowing through the hearts of the first disciples Another connection to wind this week - not the words of our politicians but the repaired organ at Cores End
May 30, 2021
Sunday, 24th May 2020 part 2 - Box Sets and the books of Luke
Are you working through any box sets at the moment? Downton Abbey, the complete plays of William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie? Maybe you need a longer lockdown to finish them? One of the great series in the bible is from Luke, one of only two amazing books by Luke. Imagine if he had been able to carry on the series documenting the amazing work Jesus was doing. How would Luke tell the story of the Church today? We pray for all to know God's Kingdom The delights of the URC - a wide variety Reading: John 17.1-11 Want to see more? Join us in worship on our YouTube channel every Sunday - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGU0Xl7GgEXwutvo2kRLPg Or visit our website - https://www.trinity-urc.org.uk
May 24, 2021
Sunday, 24th May 2020 part 1 - The Next Instalment
Have you managed to finish the projects you set aside during lockdown? There is always more to do, it's good to tick them off Life is work in progress for all of us Jesus - the Son of God - did he finish his work? Was it completed on the cross and following his triumph over death? We are now in the between times Want to see more? Join us in worship on our YouTube channel every Sunday - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGU0Xl7GgEXwutvo2kRLPg Or visit our website - https://www.trinity-urc.org.uk
May 23, 2021
17th May 2020 - 6th Sunday of Easter - Part 3. You are loved
You are loved How many rainbows have you seen this week? Look at any street and you will see any number on the street thanking the NHS God making peace with his world in Genesis Cores End Church cross now has a rainbow with the words - "You are loved" The great command of Jesus - "Show that you are my disciples by loving others as I have loved you" Facing all of the challenges, Jesus still speaks the truth that is deep in his heart - the love of God The theme for the week ahead is kindness Want to see more? Join us in worship on our YouTube channel every Sunday - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGU0Xl7GgEXwutvo2kRLPg Or visit our website - https://www.trinity-urc.org.uk
May 17, 2021
17th May 2020 - 6th Sunday of Easter - Part 2. Resolve - do not be frightened, have confidence in Christ
Reading 1 Peter 3.13-22 followed by a short talk by Derek Holland (from Cores End) 1st verse of the reading - "Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good?" Standing up to a corrupt regime? Resolve - do not be frightened, have confidence in Christ Sometimes strength doesn't come from physical or even mental might A world not wanting to hear the message of love and forgiveness Want to see more? Join us in worship on our YouTube channel every Sunday - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGU0Xl7GgEXwutvo2kRLPg Or visit our website - https://www.trinity-urc.org.uk
May 16, 2021
17th May 2020 - 6th Sunday of Easter - Part 1. Not left deserted
Introduction: ‘not left deserted!’ Have you learnt any new skills recently? Louise and her potatoes, Rosie and her masks Learning new skills can be challenging Taking flight on our own We are now at the point of the story of Jesus where he says "over to you" Want to see more? Join us in worship on our YouTube channel every Sunday - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOGU0Xl7GgEXwutvo2kRLPg Or visit our website - https://www.trinity-urc.org.uk
May 16, 2021
10th May, 2021 - Choices and neighbours helping each other
Part 1 - Choices: Life is full of choices At the moment we seem to have fewer choices than usual, lockdown has made the choices of what we do a little smaller. Choosing one thing normally means rejecting the other, we can't be in two places at once Reading: 1 Peter 2. 9,10 Part 2 - Neighbours: It has been good to see neighbours helping each other, running errands and clapping for the NHS Christian Aid reminds us of the neighbours we leave behind and forget about. Those without enough water or food, those who can't escape the coronavirus pandemic as easily as we can. A pecking order with the UK, US and Europe at the top. We need to challenge this. An affirmation from Chile – They will not rob me of hope
May 09, 2021
3rd May, 2020 - The Good Shepherd, Countryfile, One Man and His Dog
3 short talks: Continuing our Easter journey with one word. A reflection on the reading from Peter. Dealing with persecution and abuse. The Good Shepherd, Countryfile, One Man and His Dog
May 02, 2021
26th April, 2020 - Openings, Cleopas and Emmaus
Introduction by Revd Terry Hinks - "Open the book" Do you like opening things? Have you read a favourite book or started a new one recently Three Men in a Boat - a story of opening things - enjoying the thought of a tin of pineapple but nothing to open it with Address – by Revd Terry Hinks Taking you on a 14mile walk today - 30,000 steps but only in your mind A journey with Cleopas and his unnamed companion - no social distancing required Walking home to Emmaus Feeling helpless and hopeless, grief stricken and angry. Wanting to get home to put all of the madness behind them. Empty hearts Meeting a stranger to whom they can unburden all of their feelings How does this person not know about events? How the storyteller moves us from the pain and hurt to something more wonderful.
April 25, 2021
19th April, 2020 - Low Sunday
Welcome and explanation by Revd. Terry Hinks Reading: 1 Peter 1. 3 – 9 Reading: John 20. 19 – 31 A short address by Alan Yates reflecting on the readings - The reading from Peter. - A 60 second summary of our core Christian beliefs - v8 - a reference to Thomas - The second half of our Gospel reading - the story of Thomas - "I wish I was more like Thomas", but not as a doubter. - The courage Thomas showed through his life - Indecision is not the same as doubt - Doubting is not dithering - Thomas's only mistake - Loneliness and isolation - Remember it's not easy to follow Jesus - 2 Corinthians 4 v8 - "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed".
April 18, 2021
12th April, 2020 - Easter Sunday
Revd. Terry Hinks reflects on an Easter day like no other during this pandemic but still, in many ways the same Part 1: Easter egg hunts may be cancelled but we like finding things, including rhubarb and catkins! What have you found this week in lockdown? A TV series, a walk, a computer game or a book. The first Christians weren't expecting to find anything on that first Easter day. What can we find looking around the church today? Part 2: Let us be happy, let us celebrate - easy to say but can we live these words in our lives today during this global emergency. Words of comfort from Her Majesty the Queen last week - "an immovable matriarch". Holy week and Easter remind us that life involves choices. Human values of tolerance, humour and caring
April 12, 2021
10th April 2020 - Good Friday - Walking with people
In a joint Good Friday service, Malcolm Hazell from Union Baptist Church, High Wycombe shares his thoughts on walking with his dogs during lockdown. Walking with spaniels Meeting people and avoiding them. Mark's Gospel Ch1 v 40-41, Jesus meeting the man with leprosy. Jesus doing the unthinkable. Jesus doesn't need to socially distance himself.
April 11, 2021
5th April, 2020 - How has the week been for you?
Revd. Terry Hinks speaking on Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020. "How has the week been for you?" Connecting with people remotely or in thought. Feeling alone and feeling part of the bigger church family. Hold on to the goodness of God, try and reflect that goodness to others
April 05, 2021
29th March, 2020 - Passion Sunday
Two sections from our service where Revd. Terry Hinks talks about: The meaning of the cross Powerful Psalms and powerful stories from the Gospels - Anguish, peace, isolation and agony to placing trust in God. Personal and powerful words from Jesus, questioning God and holding nothing back to achieve confidence. God is not a distant God. Those who seek the Lord will ultimately offer praise and worship.
March 29, 2021
22nd March 2020 - It starts
Our first episode. Listen as Revd. Terry Hinks talks about how life has changed as the COVID pandemic takes hold. From just before the UK lockdown started in March 2020 'I think the last two weeks have been the longest in my life, with each day bringing change and challenge to the way we live our lives, and the way we work as a church community. But today's worship reminds us that the life and work of the church goes on. The doors may be shut, but the church is not closed. The doors may be shot, but God is open, open to your prayers and to your praises. As one journalist wrote this week, the birds are singing, and it will pass. We may be dispersed and anxious, but in Christ, we are united and renewed. Britain today may be a strange land, but we can still sing the songs of faith. And singing is part of what being human is about. It's an instinct within us all. Whether we are croakers, or wonderful opera singers. We may not be as good at it as the birds. But over 1000s of years, we have learned to sing for our own pleasure to share stories and legends and to sing in worship to the God who made and rescues us. Singing is part of the way our nation comes together. ...Perhaps there is no greater song in the world than the 23rd Psalm. Loved by Jews and Christians alike, and people outside those faith communities. While other song songs speak of many different emotions, fear, anger, despair, thankfulness. this psalm speaks of reassurance and trust. Say it to yourself, and almost inevitably, you will feel calmer and more collected. Even when it moves to the darker places of life, it assures us of God's presence within it. Many of the older generation among you will have learned the Old King James version of this great song with that verse Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Wherever you are today, whatever your circumstances, your hopes or fears, know that God is with you. And let that bring you hope and confidence and peace. This Psalm is immensely personal. The Lord is my shepherd. But shepherds always have a flock. Never just one sheep. Certainly I've not come across a shepherd with only one sheep. The Lord is my shepherd. But the Lord is your Shepherd ...a letter from URC, General Secretary, john Proctor, closed with a prayer: "Lord Jesus in the midst of a storm, you said peace, be still buried our anxious fears subside. sustain your church in faith, hope and love. Bring our nation through this tumult, Grant wisdom to those with heavy responsibilities, and healing and hope to those who are infected. In heart and in prayer, we can stay connected. As Christians and as human beings, we can remember that we are part of one flock Christ's flock, and invite others find that love and peace within the one flock to Jesus said, I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. So let's reach out to each other, touch each other in our hearts this week, by phone calls and acts of kindness, by discipline, prayer, and deepen faith, trusting in the Good Shepherd, the Eternal One who gives us all life and a living hope."'
March 29, 2021