Good morning everyone, I hope you are all sitting comfortably.
Chelmesford songsters have kindly agreed to sing our opening song and have invited us to join in. You might want to stand if you fancy a little jig in the chorus.
I dare to live the life of faith,
The life of challenge God has planned:
Of holiness and victory,
For truth and righteousness to stand.
I dare to be different, I dare to believe:
I dare to be different God’s spirit receive.
I dare to be different , my life sacrificed;
I dare to be different by living like Christ.
I dare to ask the spirit come’
To match with power my heart’s desire.
My life to cleanse and energise
With mighty Pentecostal fire.
I dare to want to live like Christ
According to His will and way;
His love to know, compassion share,
And serve Him boldly every day.
Lock Down: Things have certainly been very DIFFERENT during our prolonged lock down.
They will almost certainly be DIFFERENT when we get back into our hall.
In preparation for sitting two yards apart, Ashley has been taping yellow, red and blue squares on the carpet.
He has estimated that we can squeeze 54 people into the body of the hall.
He has also made a zig-zag line in the car park for us to queue outside because we will not be allowed access until 10:23am. June will be on the door making sure that we don’t exceed the limit and that everyone sanitises their hands.
If someone leaves the meeting the next in line will be able to take their place.
We can get 8 persons on the platform, which unfortunately means there is no room for Laurence. He has set up a camera in the band room and will conduct from there.
The trombone section will have to play in the car park. They won’t be able to see Laurence, but Laurence is convinced that they never watch him anyway.
Playing with face masks may prove to be a problem, though Chris has developed a method of triple tonging with his mask fully attached.
The songsters will still be able to sing, though with their backs to the congregation to avoid contamination from random spray.
Peter has designed a Perspex cage which he will use for preaching.
For our prayer time I have chosen ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’.
The words will come up on the video.
Now we go from being a channel of peace to fighting!
If anyone could be accused of being DIFFERENT, it is surely our founder William Booth. Listen to the speech that he made just before he died.
I’ll Fight, inspirational stuff.
He had vision, passion and dedication in bucket loads.
What would his response be to the problems of today?
Would he be watching passively from the side lines?
Even more radical and DIFFERENT was Jesus. Listen to these life challenging words from Luke 6: 27-36.
But I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.
If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic (yes tunic).
Give to anyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.
Do to others what you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.
And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners expecting to be repaid in full.
But love your enemies, do good to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most high, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.
Wow, powerful stuff. No wonder His teaching turned the world upside down.
In Israel revenge was the name of the game (and still is) it must have sounded ludicrous.
Are we not challenged by those instructions? Are we not stirred into a response? How should we respond?
Our world is on its knees at the moment; corona virus, unemployment, food banks, Black Lives Matter, extreme right wing hatred.
Where do we fit into the picture?
Is it our problem?
Our church is located within a multi-racial community.
Our founder urged us to fight against social injustice in whatever form it might take.
Jesus commands us to love our enemies. How much more should we share that love with those in our community who are marginalised, feeling unloved, unable to cope?
How do we communicate that love?
How can we make that essential link?
I realise that we have been musing over this question for many years but the need appears greater than ever. This is our Mission.
We need to be DIFFERENT.
I read through the words that I have written and there is a niggling voice in my left ear saying “, It’s impossible, ridiculous, hopeless, a waste of time, forget it.”
You may be thinking exactly the same thing.
Then comes a DIFFERENT voice in my right ear which says, “Of course you can’t do it in your strength, it is impossible, but it can be done in God’s strength”.
What do you think?
I’ll go in the strength of the lord’
In paths He has marked for my feet.
I’ll follow the light of His word
Nor shrink from the dangers I meet
His presence my steps shall attend,
His fullness my wants shall supply;
On Him till my journey shall end,
My unwavering faith shall supply.
I’ll go. I’ll go in the strength,
I’ll go in the strength of the Lord
I’ll go. I’ll go in the strength
I’LL GO IN THE STRENGTH OF THE LORD.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4 : 8
Thank you for reading
Written by Andy P
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