Reflection – 02 August 2020

Here is Martin Frost’s reflection for Sunday 02 August.

If you would like to join our online service, which starts at 11.00 WET/BST then send an email for joining instructions to newarkcongregational@virginmedia.com

This week’s service will include Holy Communion.

Mark Taylor

This is My Body…

Call to Worship:

Here, in this place,

God welcomes all the dreamers, as well as the doubters:
here, the worriers and wanderers can call on God by name.
Here, in this time, we can remember all the ways God has graced us:
here, in these moments, we are reminded that God is with us, always!
Here are gathered those daring enough to step out of comfort into the unknown:
here, in this faith space, we will find the courage to cry out, ‘God, save us!’

in every situation.

Prayer

Abba, Father, Mother, Creator–we call You by many names, but the names we choose show our relationship with You. We desire to draw closer to You, O God. We desire to hear Your voice above the chatter of the world, to know Your ways and to walk in them.

Spirit of Life, wind and breath among us, we feel You move through us, guiding us on our journey, inspiring us to share Your love with others.

Jesus, the Christ, the Saviour of us all, our Brother and Friend, we desire to walk in Your ways and to love one another as You have first loved us.

Triune God, we desire to relate to You and to each other more fully, so that we might draw into the depths of Your love, first glimpsed at creation, when Your voice called us and the earth forth out of darkness into Your light. Continue to call us, guide us and lead us into this world and beyond. Amen.

Let us say together the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Reading: Isaiah 60:1-5

Arise, Jerusalem, and shine like the sun;
The glory of the Lord is shining on you!


Other nations will be covered by darkness,
But on you the light of the Lord will shine;
The brightness of his presence will be with you.


Nations will be drawn to your light,
And kings to the dawning of your new day.

Look around you and see what is happening:
Your people are gathering to come home!
Your sons will come from far away;
Your daughters will be carried like children.


You will see this and be filled with joy;
You will tremble with excitement.
The wealth of the nations will be brought to you;
From across the sea their riches will come

Hymn: King of my Heart

Let the King of my heart
Be the mountain where I run
The fountain I drink from
Oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the shadow where I hide
The ransom for my life
Oh, He is my song

‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good                                   repeat

And let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh oh, He is my song
Let the King of my heart
Be the fire inside my veins
The echo of my days
Oh oh, He is my song                     repeat

‘Cause You are good
You are good, oh oh
You are good                                   repeat

You’re never gonna let
You’re never gonna let me down    repeat

Reflection:

We had hoped to be in Church this morning, but other factors have not allowed. It has allowed me to reflect on the communion service but also where we are as a fellowship before we go back into the building to worship.

I suppose this reflection is very much my own perception of things, but I would like to share them. I’d like you to have the bread for the communion service in front of you.

Jesus was sharing a meal with his disciples when he changed things.  Something was about to happen which made them think of what they had done in the meal differently again. Something has happened to us which has done a similar thing. Jesus told his disciples to see the bread, representing God’s provision for salvation now as being his body.  This time on zoom has made me consider us, as the body of Christ, as a means of showing salvation in a new way. Not necessarily something new, but with greater significance.

I suppose the first thing is that we as the body are broken and imperfect. Recognising a need for God’s grace, our own shortcomings means that we value to blessing we are to each other and encourages us to celebrate the giftings that other people bring. We are there, offered, for one another.

We have been gathered, connected, we haven’t attended a place at a time, but have been a group of people. You are all my brothers and sisters, from different traditions. We have had conversations about our previous walks with God and the journeys we have been on. Our journeys may again diverge as churches open up, but we have made blood ties with one another and these have been important to me and, I know, to many of us.

Reading:1 Corinthians 12:13-14, 26-27

In the same way, all of us, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, have been baptized into the one body by the same Spirit, and we have all been given the one Spirit to drink.

For the body itself is not made up of only one part, but of many parts. 

If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

All of you are Christ’s body, and each one is a part of it. 

If we take the bread and eat together, remembering that we are one body.

If you can now have the wine in front of you.

It’s been very clear to me, in speaking with Mark, that we have different skills, but we share something which we both hold quite passionately. Jesus, when he spoke of the new covenant was speaking of a covenant not just for the select but for all. I think both Mark and I (and I know some of you) have had experiences of a church that has put up walls to keep people out; has taken a lofty place and stood in judgement of others. Has basically seen God’s love for them but sure not for some in society.

Both Mark and I have a vision for this fellowship that says no one is beyond the love of God. As Mark said last week, neither height nor depth, spiritual or secular authorities, neither our past or where we find ourselves now can separate us from the love of God. This, this is the new covenant that Jesus spoke of and the one we have to declare. That is not to say that we are not to call people, and ourselves, to daily repentance. But we are not to see our need as a reason to shut the door to people.

How comfortable with this idea of Galatians 3 are we? In Christ there is neither traveller nor asylum seeker, ex-offender or drug addict, homosexual or transgender – for we are all one in Christ. I have faith for a Church that is willing to walk with anyone in their journey with God. I will have to repent of my judgements when I resort back to my safe place of being holier than those – I am not perfect. But I am reminded of God’s grace for me and cannot believe that God loves anyone any more or less than me. The way everyone has helped with setting things in place for church reopening has reminded me that we will need to draw on the experience of others, outside the fellowship, for their skills in helping people who we don’t have the experience with.

But I want us to be a fellowship that has an open door, that is willing to allow God to send whoever He wants to us, that is willing to accept people where they are and try to love them unconditionally just as God loves us.

Let us take the cup…

This is the new covenant in the blood of Jesus, take and drink remembering what Jesus has done for you and for all those who repent and call on his name for forgiveness.

Intercessions

The words of this hymn are our message for the lost, the lonely, the hopeless and the rejoicing alike:

Hymn: Come to Me

I am the Lord your God,
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
And though you feel I’m far away
I’m closer than your breath
I am with you
More than you know

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
And oh, let your faith arise
And lift up your weary head
I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves
And I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid
Though your heart and flesh may fail you
I’m your faithful strength
And I am with you
Wherever you go

Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything
Come to me, I’m all you need
Come to me, I’m your everything

Don’t look to the right or to the left, keep your eyes on me
You will not be shaken, you will not be moved, oh

I am the hand to hold, I am the truth, I am the way, hey
Just come to me, come to me cause I’m all that you need

Blessing.

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