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
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.
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.
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".
Revd. Terry Hinks reflects on an Easter day like no other during this pandemic but still, in many ways the same
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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."'