Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) - - - paul.collings@methodist.org.uk - - - 01392 206229 - - - 07941 880768

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We are a community of faith seeking to discover the face of Jesus Christ in our Church, in our Community and in our Commitment.

Sunday 31 May 2020

Spirit of Pentecost

Come down, O Love divine!
seek out this soul of mine
and visit it with your own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, your holy flame bestowing.

There let it freely burn
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
and let your glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and make my pathway clear, by your illuming.

Let holy charity
my outward vesture be,
and lowliness become my inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart
which takes the humbler part,
and for its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong
with which the soul will long
shall far surpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace
till we become the place
in which the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.

 Branco da Siena (d. 1434) tr. R F Littledale (1833-1890)

Acts 2: 1-4 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

Deep in my longing soul I cry,
When comes the promised holy fire,
When will the holy breathe come down
And fill my being, my life crown,
With living tongues of sacred flame
That I might preach your glorious name.

Lord set my heart at one accord
And fill my house, I here implore.
Fill my whole being, let me raise 
A hymn for thankfulness and praise.
O Holy Pentecostal gift
Come to me now and my soul lift .


Saturday 30 May 2020

Day 5 Fruit of the Spirit - KINDNESS



Colossians 3: 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Is it by some strange pure chance
That we are named as humankind?
Or is it your intention Lord, 
That through your way of life we find,
A shared existence, and there see 
Each other’s needs, love’s ties to bind?

And is it in your chosen plan, 
 That we should meet and herein stay;
Receive your loving fruit, kindness.
Modelled in your  Spirit’s way;
The fruit so freely offered here 
 And hence through grace, some fear allay.

How deep is your compassion, Lord,
So dearly loved; that here we stand,
Attired, clothed as your people,
As loving will had always planned.
Oh holy fruitful Spirit come
In me, your  Chesed* love expand.

* Chesed is a Hebrew word. In its positive sense, the word is used of kindness or love between people, of piety of people towards God as well as of love or mercy of God towards humanity. 


The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?" But the good Samaritan reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Friday 29 May 2020

Day 4 Fruit of the Spirit - Patience


Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

How long, O Lord, the people cry,
How long to wait, until I die?
How long must my impatient soul
Wait and ponder, achieve it’s goal?

Across the centuries of strife
Impatience panicked many a life,
To remember some far off distance aim
Nothing achieved but selfish gain.

Lord, why can’t I just rest remain,
And weary not, reap harvest grain?
Teach me to wait your holy hour,
The Spirit fruit, that inner power.

Though trial and test, my soul impact,
Help me to stay, to keep intact 
The patient fruit by spirit blest 
Come Holy One, in you to rest. 

“There is no love of God without patience, and no patience without lowlines and sweetness of spirit.” John Wesley.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Faith in Time if Crisis 7 by J B Hunter

“My Light and My Salvation” 
by Rev’d Paul Collings

Psalm of David  27:1-4 
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
Meditation
This Psalm is about finding confidence in times of difficulties. The first 3 verses open on a note of trust even under heavy pressure. Where does this trust come from? It comes from one activity: being a seeker. Seeking to dwell in the house of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. This does not mean literally trying to take up residence inside a church or temple building even if they are closed. It means we can and should seek a constant relationship with God. That is seeking “that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us”.
Prayer
O Lord, you are my light and my salvation. Why should I fear my enemies? With you as my rock, why should I ever feel afraid? 
But in times of human weakness and trouble, Lord be merciful to me. For I seek you with all my heart. I seek a constant relationship with you. Teach me your way O Lord. Grant me confidence to live through difficulties, my Lord and Saviour. Amen.                          
                     Jonathan Aitken, 2004, adapted.
Singing the Faith 682, verse 3
Lo, the hosts of evil round us
scorn your Christ, assail his ways!
Fears and doubts too long have bound us;
free our hearts to work and praise.
Grant us wisdom,
grant us courage,
for the living of these days.
                                                                                                                     Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969).

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Day 3 Fruit of the Spirit - Peace


Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Within the throne of my poor heart,
Sits dangers that pull peace apart.
Competing despots of desire 
Who vie to rule. my will acquire.

Yet too,  I find Christ’s biding peace
That lovingly makes war’s to cease
And shares the body building fruit,
With those at one, who share his route.

The way of God’s pure peace that binds
The oneness  of all humankind.
Assured of Christ’s own lasting  peace
With thanks, our praise to give increase.

Lord of the shattered bow and spear,
Who makes the plough shear to appear, 
That through the common calm enjoyed
Your gracious peace comes, fills our void.

“In the midst of the awesomeness, a touch comes, and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. You know it is not the hand of restraint, correction, nor chastisement, but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. Whenever His hand is laid upon you, it gives inexpressible peace and comfort, and the sense that "underneath are the everlasting arms," (Deuteronomy 33:27) full of support, provision, comfort and strength.”
- Oswald Chambers

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Day 2 Fruit of the Spirit - Love


1 John 4:16-18 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Where is the love, where is that fruit,
We  strangely crave yet rarely root
Into the weariness of days
Where hearts pull hard in other ways.

Such fruit is rarely realised
Or stored, or shared or even prized
Beyond the treasures of the earth,
No wonder hope lacks heaven’s new birth.

Yet though we fear, and even dread,
Your holy fruit of love instead
Lives in our lives, for God is love,
And there his loving grace behove.

O Spirit Love, come drive out fear,
And in my life love’s fruit appear,
So that in loving boldness find
New confidence of live’s entwined.


“Human things must be known to be loved; but Divine things must be loved to be known.” - Blaise Pascal

Monday 25 May 2020

Mediation on the Fruit of the Spirit. Part 1 Joy


Artwork and Verse by the Rev’d Paul Collings

Romans 5:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How Lord, on earth, can it just be, 
That ripening fruit you bear in me 
Is seeded from your Spirt heart
That I might play a fuller part
In your creative holiness,
And share your joyful gift to bless.

You fill the darkness of my days
With joyful peace, an inner blaze.
Not of a raw, destructive fire
But still and gentle that inspires
A trust in your unfailing power
That overflows each day and hour.

O Joyous Spirit, Joy Divine
I claim your presence as a sign
Of deeper joy, of lasting grace,
The constant help I need to trace. 
Lord through each tempest and each storm
With rainbow Joy, come now transform.

“The very nature of Joy makes nonsense 
of our common distinction between having and wanting.” - C.S. Lewis



Sunday 24 May 2020

Day 6 Spirit of joy

Gladden Thou this heart of mine;
In the desert ways I sing,
“Spring, O Well, forever spring.

Samuel Longfellow 1864

1 Thessalonians 1:6 "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit."

In a world of shifting values
Where distress and darkness looms.
Where the anxiousness of living 
Saps, and stifles and entombs.
Burdened by this selfish culture,
Domineered by me and mine
Where, O where is freedom’s tonic,
Where the joy of the Divine.

Spirit of eternal gladness,
Joyous gift I now would crave
That from depths that would astound me 
Come with joy my heart engrave.  
Word of joyful life becoming
Raise the passion of my soul
And reflect your Divine elation,
Joy of joys, that makes me whole.


Saturday 23 May 2020

Day 5 Spirit of Peace


Holy Spirit, Peace divine,
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in Thy tranquility.
Samuel Longfellow 1864

Romans 14:7 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

I need a warming of my heart
Where love and peace will never part.
Where struggles and frustrations cease,
Where faith and lasting trust increase.

I need your stillness in my life,
An end to inner wars and strife.
Were storms are stilled and tempest calmed,
And peace retained, nor fear alarm.

O Holy Peace of calm, tranquil, 
You bring accord, by humble will.
And with your lasting righteous joy,
My spirit lift your balm deploy.

In thankfulness I bring  my praise,
With gratitude my heart I raise
Through your good will, my life is stilled;
O Holy One  in you fulfilled.

Friday 22 May 2020

Day 4 Spirit of Right

Holy Spirit Reflections
Artwork and Verse by the Rev’d Paul Collings

Holy Spirit, Right divine,
King within my conscience reign;
Be my Lord, and I shall be
Firmly bound, forever free.
Samuel Longfellow 1864

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Righteous Spirit, Holy One
Your rule of love in me begun,
I need the cleansing of my heart 
Creator God, remake, restart.

My fitful ways, my unsure days
My purpose and my selfish gaze
Disrupt your Spirit’s Holy will,
I need your architectural skill.

Renewing Spirit, gentle guest
Work now in love, ease my unrest.
Help me to hear that voice small, still,
And hearing  do you holy will.

Holy Spirit, hear my prayer,
And In my heart your reign declare.
Thus to mirror your own ways.
And live for you now and always.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Faith in Time of Crisis 6






THE ASCENSION - BY PAUL COLLINGS
Ascension Day Reflection available here.

Today’s Meditation by Dr J P Hunter

Psalm 121:1-4
A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

Meditation

The pilgrims of ancient Israel sang these words over two thousand years ago while walking on their way to Jerusalem. They did not literally expect to be preserved from every single pitfall and danger on their journey. Likewise, should we not expect to travel through life free from fear, trouble or pain. What we can count on is God’s watchful presence alongside us all along our journey, day and night. Each of us is protected, not by anything created, but by the Creator of the universe himself. God watches over us day and night.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, when I look at the perils and dangers that surround me, help me to know that it is only you my Lord and creator who will watch over me and keep me from slipping into harm’s way, now and for evermore. Amen.

Singing the Faith 736, verse 2
Wherever He may guide me,
no want shall turn me back;
my Shepherd is beside me,
and nothing can I lack;
His wisdom ever waketh,
His sight is never dim;
He knows the way he taketh,
And I will walk with Him.

Anna Laetitia Waring (1823-1910)







Wednesday 20 May 2020

Day 3 Spirit of Power

Holy Spirit Reflections
Artwork and Verse by the Rev’d Paul Collings


Holy Spirit, Pow’r divine,
Fill and nerve this will of mine;
Grant that I may strongly live,
Bravely bear, and nobly strive
Samuel Longfellow 1864

Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.

Acts 10:38 You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

Spirit of power, in weakness I cry,
Strengthen my will, come me energise,
Praying I’m seeking  your mighty  release
Gifted life-presence reviving my peace.
Goodness you will me, your healing impart
Wholeness bequeath me, new life, a new start.

Power you offer to those who observe,
Witness emboldened your purpose to serve
Regions of earth the remotest of lands
Chosen to tell of  love’s gracious demands.
Lord in my weakness, my frailty, fear 
Fill with empowerment your word to make clear.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Day 2 Spirit of Love

Holy Spirit Reflections
Artwork and Verse by the Rev’d Paul Collings 

Spirit of Love

Holy Spirit, Love divine,
Glow within this heart of mine;
Kindle every high desire;
Perish self in Thy pure fire.
Samuel Longfellow 1864

2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Spirit of love, pure essence of grace,
Come now to me and heal with your balm,
Protect I pray, as each trial I face
Bring me your peace and your calm.

Kindle my heart with life-giving fire,
Purify  thoughts and desires.
Set now my mind on your perfect will
Love’s glowing deep light instil. 

Blessing so holy, come fill me today,
Malleable make me I pray.
May I reflect your purpose and see,
 Love’s spirit now living in me.