New Reality, Same Mission
Week beginning 14th June 2020
Writing out the Psalms is such a good discipline, but one I have sometimes failed to complete on a daily basis. But as “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ” (Romans 8:1) I do not feel guilty for not writing out a psalm on evening, and have sometimes spread it over 2 evenings. I have sometimes lost out on the input of the Word of God by not writing anything out. It is so beneficial for me to undertake this discipline. And that is the way of being a disciple of Jesus, personal disciplines that are spiritually beneficial for me.
Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God, I earnestly search for you, My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this weary and parched land where there is no water.”
Psalm 63:2-5 “I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy."
Psalm 63:6-8 “I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”
What disciplines have you got in place in your life to continue to be a disciple of the Jesus? Are you sleeping well? If not learn a bible verse, such as a psalm and meditate on it during your wakeful periods. Let God speak to you through His Word. Are you singing for joy despite adversity? Paul calls us to praise the Lord in all circumstances. Are you reading His Word daily? Give it a go,. A little bit, a verse or a chapter a day. Start with something easy and uplifting, have a simple goal, to read regularly, make a routine. You will find it so beneficial. If you haven't got a bible let me know, we have ones we can deliver to you. There are also bible reading apps on the mobile phone, such as the YouVersion one and you can choose which version to read it and there are some helpful reading plans that last as little as a week.
New Reality Same Mission Questions for reflection and discussion: Our Experience • How have you experienced this crisis? • What have you found hardest? • What have you appreciated, and where have you found new joy amidst the crisis? • What have you learned about the world, your neighbourhood and local communities during this time? (Source: adapted from Tearfund, The World Rebooted) What’s happening in our neighbourhoods and local communities? Take some time to think about the neighbourhood where you live and/or your church is part of. • Who lives in it? Who works in it? Who plays in it? Who learns in it? • How have different groups been affected by the pandemic restrictions, or responded to it? • How are local people – of different ages and backgrounds – feeling at the moment? • Who might have been pushed ‘to the margins’ by the crisis? Which people, groups or voices are not being heard? Listening to those most affected by this crisis • What do we now know about the challenges and aspirations in our local neighbourhoods and communities? • What injustices have been raised by your listening and research? Reflection Reflection Considering which part of God’s mission we might be being called to join in with, and what we have to offer What does God ask of us? As with all important questions, there are no quick, easy or set answers about what local churches, groups and individual Christians should do in their neighbourhood and communities in response to the current crisis. But it is abundantly clear that the mission to which God invites us is one which prioritises the needs of those who suffer most, especially in times of particular trial or challenge. The well-known question and answer call to action in Micah 6:8, ‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God’, highlights to us what God truly asks of us. In the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus reminds us of God’s strong feelings about the most vulnerable in society. This is further reinforced in Matthew 25:40 and 45, when Jesus tells his followers that ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’, and ‘whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’. However, mission is not simply a task to be done by the so-called ‘privileged’ to the so-called ‘vulnerable’. All are equal in the sight of God, all are called, and everyone has a contribution to offer. The disciples asked Jesus about when the kingdom he had promised would come. ‘He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere.’ (Acts 1:7-8). In this, we see a God who is, quite literally, with us, not a distant leader, ordering us from above, but a friend, walking with us on the way, already engaged in mission and inviting us to join in with it. When this incarnated God urges us ‘to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28: 20), it is seen that God is calling us to offer a continued presence of love, hope and justice for all people, in all times, in all places, as we seek to live the life of Jesus today. “Churches are called to prophetic witness, to proclaim and live out the vision of Jesus Christ of fullness of life for all creation…The mission context and God’s mandate of fullness of life for all creation demands a holistic understanding of mission.” (Vision statement of the Council for World Mission, of which the URC is a member) Questions for reflection and discussion: • What do we see as our mission in this moment? As individuals, and as a church or group? • Which stories and scriptural passages seem to have particular relevance? • How can we mutually support each other in building God’s kingdom in our own, everyday situations and realities? Action: Pray and discuss together about what your response might look like. Spend some time in prayer and contemplation about these questions and email your thoughts and reflections over the coming few weeks.
Roger and I have completed the painting of the fence, gate and doors with a second top coat. We have now moved on to painting the basement doors around the back of the church. We managed to get some undercoat on before all of this last weeks rain. And we plan on painting the top coat this coming week. We have purchased more materials to work on the porches to the church and hall and paint the walls and gable ends, so that the front aspect of the church will look even more beautiful. So far the costs have been very reasonable. The replaced fence panel cost the most as it was crafted by a carpenter, and the materials we have already purchased cost 50% of the replaced panel. So far Roger and I have worked 70 hours to complete the restoration of the fence, gates and doors. This weeks links: Taize service from Ireland - 45 minutes of beautiful music, reflections and prayers from the Edmund Rice Chapel in Waterford https://www.facebook.com/JourneyingCelt/videos/255949055642065/ Our YouTube playlist is here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHnJn7EgQjAztuLFJjjiCQpMBKVwTPeFf A new film series called The Chosen https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwjoqDa8kUBL_trCMU-TzEFE1Sm7kYuP6 More films available in the series Do keep in touch with us and each other Blessings Jacquey