Reflection – 07 March 2021

Here is Martin’s reflection for today

Reflection for Sunday 7th March 2021 London Road Congregational Church.

You cannot put God in a box

Call to worship:

We gather together this morning to proclaim
the ways in which God is working within our midst.
We have been blessed by God!
We gather together to give thanks
for the ways in which God is working within our midst.
We are being blessed by God!
We gather together to open our eyes
to the ways God is using us to work within our midst.
We will continue to be blessed by God!
God has given us so much
and is very much alive, at work and still speaking among us.
We are called to give back.
We are called to be good stewards;
good stewards of our time, of our resources and of our money.
Let us give thanks to our God of blessings
and affirm our commitment
to the ministry God is calling us into.
Let us give thanks to God!
Let us proclaim our faith in God!
Let us worship God!

Reading: Psalm 100

Sing to the Lord, all the world!
Worship the Lord with joy;
    come before him with happy songs!

Acknowledge that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him;
    we are his people, we are his flock.

Enter the Temple gates with thanksgiving;
    go into its courts with praise.
    Give thanks to him and praise him.

The Lord is good;
    his love is eternal
    and his faithfulness lasts forever

Song: What a wonderful world – Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green
Red roses too
I see them bloom
For me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people going by
I see friends shaking hands
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying
“I love you”

I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more
Than I’ll never know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Oh yeah

Prayer and Lord’s Prayer.

Readings:    
Lamentations 3:22-26
The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue,
Fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.
The Lord is all I have, and so in him I put my hope.
The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him,
So it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us
                      
Ephesians 1:3-14
 
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.
Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, which he gave to us in such large measure!
In all his wisdom and insight God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.
All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God’s glory!
And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
Hymn:            Kiss from a Rose – Seal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMD2TwRvuoU

Ba-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-da, ba-da-da
Ba-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-da, ba-da-da

There used to be a graying tower alone on the sea
You became the light on the dark side of me
Love remained a drug that’s the high and not the pill
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
And now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the gray

Ba-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-da, ba-da-da

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain, baby
To me you’re like a growing addiction that I can’t deny
Won’t you tell me, is that healthy, baby?
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the gray

I’ve been kissed by a rose on the gray
I’ve been kissed by a rose on the gray
I’ve been kissed by a rose on the gray
(And if I should fall, would it all go away?)
I’ve been kissed by a rose on the gray

There is so much a man can tell you, so much he can say
You remain my power, my pleasure, my pain
To me you’re like a growing addiction that I can’t deny
Now won’t you tell me, is that healthy, baby?
But did you know that when it snows
My eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?

Baby, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the gray

Yes, I compare you to a kiss from a rose on the gray
Ooh, the more I get of you, the stranger it feels, yeah
Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the gray

Ba-da-da, ba-da-da-da-da-da, ba-da-da

Now that your rose is in bloom
A light hits the gloom on the gray        

Reflection

I’ve had this message rumbling about for a while. If I am honest this past week, getting ready to go back, being given further new jobs to do as we continue to move forward and not just stand still, has been busier than ever. I have had to make decisions about my time and what I can manage to do. I have been reminded that I do something, I do not know whether it is a male thing or just something I do and I am male. I compartmentalise my life. School time, home time, church time, relaxation time. It’s an illusion, I have one life, there is one clock that governs time. Is some time spent more important than another?

This next season in our messages will focus on stewardship. As my starting venture into this I want to challenge us – and me – to sort one thing out first. We believe in one God, who created one world and one people. He created one world as a resource, so all things are from him. If that’s the case then there is, as Madeleine L’Engle said, “Nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred.”  The Incarnation is our reminder of that. God took on human form and redeemed out fallen humanity. I don’t go to church, I am the church. I don’t have church friends and other friends, I have friends who I may know in different circles. If I am one person in one environment but another is a separate one – why? How? I still have different activities, but why would I not include God or recognise his role in all of them.

I appreciate that you are more virtuous than I, I often feel a great affinity with Ekhart’s worm. But I am who I am, and where God wants me to be so I forgive myself for needing reminding often of things. As we consider the Church’s impact on the environment, let’s not forget out homes. As we think about how we support financially the work we feel God wants us to do, let’s not forget the money we retain and whether we steward it wisely and in the service of God. As I manage my time, let me learn how to use it more wisely but also more fruitfully.

Song: Aurora Hans Zimmer

Please listen to this as we draw near to communion and allow it to still your heart to hear God’s whisper.  Ask God if there are areas of your life where you exclude Him, and invite Him in.

Holy Communion

We do not worship a God who is far off and remote, but one who got His hands dirty and bloody. We do not worship an unmoved mover, we worship a God who wept with compassion.

On the night he was betrayed Jesus took the elements of the Passover meal and shared them with his disciples. He took the bread and blessed it, as he would normally have done, but then he explained that from that time onwards, rather than sacrifice there would be grace through his death. Rather than the letter of the law, the would-be mercy and love. His death would fulfil the requirements of the law and be sufficient for all time, from then until he comes again.

Jesus said, this is my body which will be broken for you, eat this in memory of me…

In the same way, he took the cup and blessed it. He pointed out to his disciples and us that it is symbolic of the new covenant that God had established between Him and us. Not based on the law but on his blood.

Jesus said, the is a sign of the covenant between you and God, drink this and remember God’s love and mercy towards you….

Father thank you for entering into our world so that we can enter into your kingdom. Thank you for taking our place on the cross and putting yourself there for us. Let this meal be a sign of hope and expectation that we will receive your grace and help in the coming month until we share it again. Amen.

Blessing.

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