Fore Street Topsham, Exeter

Minister : Reverend Paul Collings BTh (Hons) : email : paul.collings@methodist.org.uk : Telephone : 01392 206229 : Mobile : 07941 880768

About Us

St Nicholas Methodist Church has existed on the present site for over 150 years since it opened in 1867.

We are a friendly community of believers where all are welcomed. We help each other to worship God, and strive to live more like Christ in service beyond the walls of our church building.

Part of the
Exeter Coast and Country Circuit of the Methodist Church.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Fear

The famed Methodist Preacher Leslie Weatherhead speaks of a fear that he calls “funk” - a state of deep unhappiness, and despair without hope. He claims that the three great enemies of our personal life are temptation, worry and fear.


We have a number of New Testament verses that help us with our fears. In 1 John we read that perfect love casts out fear and in Luke 14:27 we find Jesus sating, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”


The universal trigger for fear is the threat of harm, real or imagined. This threat can be for our physical, emotional or psychological well-being. While there are certain things that trigger fear in most of us, we can learn to become afraid of nearly anything.


As you come into God’s presence, know that God is already here, waiting for you.  Allow yourself to let go of any tensions you may be carrying in your body, allowing the muscles to relax from your head, neck and face all down your spine and lower body to your feet.  Let the stillness take over and lead you to a space where you can make room for the God of dreams to be with you.


One of the words that stands out as being the opposite of fear is that of Assurance, others speak of force and overcoming. But assurance in the words of Jesus is that the opposite is found in the peace that he brings.


What was it one songwriter penned


O the peace my saviour gives,

Peace I never knew before

And my way has brighter grown

Since I learned to trust Him more.


Friday, 29 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Fasting

Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. . . . —  2 Chronicles 20:3-4


In your discipleship do you ever feel spiritually stuck? Maybe your life seems in a rut, and you have no idea how to grow. What can you do?


God has provided us with many spiritual disciplines to help us get closer to him, such as prayer and fasting. But notice how intrinsically linked the two are.


In the Old Testament we find that God’s people often fasted and prayed in times of repentance and in times of great distress, recognising they needed the deliverance that only God could give.

Jehoshaphat did this when a group of nations threatened to conquer Judah. The opposing army was vast, and only a miracle could keep Judah safe. Jehoshaphat was learning that the nation needed to turn back to God (2 Chronicles 18-19). So the king declared a fast and led the people in prayer, saying, “Lord . . . we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” God then told the nation through a prophet that the battle was the Lord’s and he would fight on their behalf.


As we humble ourselves before the Lord, God fights on our behalf in ways that we cannot even fathom. Powerful enemies self-destruct, and oppressive, unjust forces wither away.


Fasting demonstrates the depth of your desire when praying for something. It shows you that you are serious enough about your prayer request to pay a personal price. God honours deep desire and praying in faith. When we adopt habits of following Christ, through God’s power we can grow, serve, and praise the Lord again.


Prayer

Father, “our eyes are on you.” You rule over all nations and over our hearts. Power and might are in your hands. We cry out to you to rescue and restore us. Amen.


Thursday, 28 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Fruitfulness

We have probably heard a preacher speak of the Fruit of the Spirit, but I must admit I have never heard a sermon on the text, “By their fruits you shall know them!” 


Here is the whole passage,  “Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves. You can tell them by their fruit. Do you pick a bunch of grapes from a thorn-bush or figs from a clump of thistles? Every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree is incapable of producing bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. The tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and burnt. So you may know men by their fruit.”


But the question I want to ask today is what are the false teachings that we generate, indeed germinate within us? What do we allow to seed in the garden of our hearts?


How does this passage touch me? Am I given to judging the book by the cover? Do I sometimes use this image to condemn others, as what would one expect from that family or that society or nation


Might this passage be inviting me to look again at the talents, gifts that I have been given and being grateful for them and asking that I might be able to use them for the good of others?


Remember, Jesus frequently asked the people to judge him on his ‘works’.


Have you notice that Jesus speaks richly in images: wolves, trees, sheep and fruit are brought to mind. If I were to speak to Jesus in images, to what might I compare my life?


A tree does not go bad overnight. Rather, decay begins from within and it takes time to show on the outside. On the other hand, growth in goodness is evident. By my fruits others will know my inner worth.Saint Irenaeus says: ‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive!’ I am meant to become ‘fully alive’ myself, and to help others to become fully alive also. There is the agenda for a lifetime!


As I draw close to Jesus in prayer, I realise that he is the source of truth and meaning. Other leaders may inspire and encourage, but I trust Jesus as the Truth.


PRAYER

Lord, it is your will that we should bear fruit. I want to bear fruit so much that the world will see it in me and that your name may be glorified. Help me Lord to achieve this. Because the world is expecting our manifestation, I will bear fruit that will make me manifest, to your glory alone. Amen.


Wednesday, 27 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Following

I recall as a child hearing a male voice choir singing;


I walked one day along a country road,

And there a stranger journeyed, too,

Bent low beneath the burden of His load:

It was a cross, a cross I knew.


Refrain


"Take up thy cross and follow Me."

I hear the bless├ęd Saviour call;

How can I make a lesser sacrifice,

When Jesus gave His all?


And then there was the song that said,


Follow thou Me, He calls again,
And I will make you fishers of men;
As in the days by Galilee,
Jesus is calling you and me.


What does following mean to you? People follow their favourite football team, the fan their celebrity idol, the internet surfer their ‘influencer’.  But do these people really follow or is there more of a voyeuristic desire than a real desire to emulate the one who leads.


We are all familiar with Jesus Call to the disciples.  Here is how the message puts it, “Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.”


The bit that really puzzles me is that last sentence “The didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” They leave behind all their security and means of livelihood and even their family. They follow Jesus in complete trust, unaware of where he is going or what will happen to them. Following Jesus is a liberating experience.


Yet the story is more symbolic than actual because we know that later they would return to their boats and their fishing and their family. What is most important is not just the external acts but the inner attitude. Can we follow Jesus in all the ordinary things of our day, the simple acts of caring for others, working hard in our jobs etc trusting that his hand is guiding us.


Perhaps we need to ask, What nets do I need to leave in order to follow Jesus wholeheartedly? What obstacles, what material attachments, what comfort zones have wound themselves so tightly around me that I cannot get up and follow him?


In your mind consider your following as you read this hymn by Catherine Baird


When Jesus looked o’er Galilee,
So blue and calm and fair,
Upon her bosom, could He see
A cross reflected there?


When sunrise dyed the lovely deeps
And sparkled in His hair,
O did the light rays seem to say:
A crown of thorns He’ll wear?


When in the hush of eventide
Cool waters touched His feet,
Was it a hymn of Calvary’s road
He heard the waves repeat?


But when the winds triumphantly
Swept from the open plain,
The Master surely heard the song:
The Lord shall live again!


Tuesday, 26 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Forgiveness


There’s are two New Testament passages where Jesus explicitly addresses the subject of forgiveness. Matthew 18: 21-22 "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.'"Matthew 6: 14-15 "For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."


I think that Jesus returns to the need for forgiveness so often because it is so difficult. It is easy to see the need in others; but when I have been deeply and intentionally hurt by somebody close to me, it tears me apart to forgive them. Yet the burden of unforgiven grievance lies heavy on my heart, not on the other's.


I often recall my father’s saying, “Remember, when you point the finger, your have three pointing back at you!” It is at such times when my criticism is unwarranted that I need to pray, “Lord, teach me to recognise my resentments and grievances and then take the first step in shedding them.”


I am also encouraged by Peter who, in a moment when living in the way of the Gospel seemed difficult, brought his question to Jesus. I to pray that I may be able to speak to Jesus about my life, about how it really is.


Disunity and disagreement between Christians are often sources of scandal and confusion. And perhaps we need to pray for tolerance and patience as we try to live as Jesus did and work to cultivate a loving forgiveness.


Peter had an idea that faith might be about counting and calculating but Jesus thinks otherwise. It is easy to be led to give attention to numbers and to measure the wrong things on the wrong scales. Should we ask for God's help as we try to figure out what Jesus' message means to us.


Skeins of geese fly over our gridded and mapped-out cities, using a more ancient navigation than our technology. I wonder how we might trust God’s spirit in us, not being restricted to the usually-trodden and safe paths.


Prayer

Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set free and release them to You. Help me bless those who have hurt me. Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Monday, 25 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Faith 

Someone described Faith as Forsaking All I Take Him; but how would you describe Faith.

Here are a number of quotes from people of faith.


“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  ― C.S. Lewis


Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr.


Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” ― Corrie ten Boom


I think that John Wesley puts into words my thoughts on faith. “When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me."


But look at what Jesus said, “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." - Matthew 17:18-20


In the scene leading up to the disciples question we find three groups of players in the unfolding drama. A distraught, despairing, beseeching father; the suffering epileptic son; the helpless disciples and  the crowd, hoping against hope to see suffering relieved. Put yourself in the scene and as you watch, where is your faith.


The man is nameless, a representative of the many fathers who pray for their children - mothers too, and each of us who prays often for someone we love. All human life is in the gospel of Jesus, the men and women who brought their own ailments or their cares about others to him. We know of their faith and of Jesus' positive response when people have faith. Faith may be small, like the smallest seed we know, or like a drop of water. Joined to the power of Jesus, our faith can work small or great miracles.


The father seemed to have more faith than the disciples. His faith touched Jesus and he noticed the difference between their faith and his. Love of a child or indeed any love can strengthen faith. Faith and love are intimately linked in the Christian experience. We can understand what Jesus is about and believe in him only when we know we are loved by him and can grow in our love of him.


The disciples went back to Jesus with their question. Keep this image in mind as you bring the questions of your life before Jesus.


May you be able to say, as I ask for greater faith, I ask for a greater ability to trust those around me. I pray for a belief in myself that is founded on God's truth.


1.Give me the faith which can remove

And sink the mountain to a plain;

Give me the childlike praying love,

Which longs to build thy house again;

Thy love, let it my heart o'er-power,

And all my simple soul devour.


4.Enlarge, inflame, and fill my heart

With boundless charity divine,

So shall I all my strength exert,

And love them with a zeal like thine,

And lead them to thy open side,

The sheep for whom the Shepherd died.


Charles Wesley


Saturday, 23 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Endurance

As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering. Soldiers on duty don’t work at outside jobs. They try only to please their commanding officer. No one wins an athletic contest without obeying the rules. 2 Timothy 2:3-5


Unlike most competitions however, running the race in spiritual terms is not to try to be first, but to be faithful and finish! The Christian race is not a competitive event to see who comes in first, but an endurance run to see who finishes faithfully.


Hudson Taylor, founder of China Inland Mission, use to hang in his home a plaque with two Hebrew words on it: Ebenezer and JEHOVAH JIREH. The first word means "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." The second word means, "The Lord will see to it or provide." One looked back while the other looked forward. One reminded him of God's faithfulness and the other of God's assurances.


The context of endurance for the Christian is to endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.


It was Isaac Watts, the 17th century nonconformist minister who poses several endurance questions that are worth answering today.


1 Am I a soldier of the cross,

A foll'wer of the Lamb?

And shall I fear to own His cause

Or blush to speak His name?


2 Must I be carried to the skies

On flow'ry beds of ease,

While others fought to win the prize

And sailed through bloody seas?


3 Are there no foes for me to face?

Must I not stem the flood?

Is this vile world a friend to grace,

To help me on to God?


4 Sure I must fight if I would reign:

Increase my courage, Lord;

I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,

Supported by Thy word.


Finally I share the words of Oswald Chambers who said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”


A Prayer 

Mighty God, we count on your promise that you will never leave us nor forsake us during  exhausting times of our lives. Our hearts meditates on your word and know that you can never press us beyond our ability to endure. Your grace guides us through it to the end. You are ourw endurance, Lord. Amen.


Friday, 22 October 2021

An ABC of Faith

 


Enlightenment

In Ephesians 1:18-19 we read “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…”


As we read the writer of Ephesians I wonder if we would pray as generously for our friends. Perhaps it would be to call a friend to mind and read this passage again, praying from my heart for their good. Is this what is meant to have an enlightened heart?


Notice how the writer asks for a spirit of wisdom and revelation. Perhaps we too should look at our lives wisely and recognise God’s gifts. By allowing God to expand our hopes, and realising that God's desire for us is far beyond anything I might ask for ourselves.


We could suggest that this enlightenment is purely a different ways of seeing by means of the Light of Christ. Maybe we should also recall that Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NASB)


In the natural world order, light gives us the capacity to see or to see more clearly. It’s kind of like when I’m trying to retrieve a splinter out of one my kid’s finger and move next to the window so I can get a better look at it.


Remember Jesus also said, “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” (Matthew 6:22–23, NASB)


The passage in Matthew states the importance of seeing clearly and the difference between a good eye and a bad eye. A good eye fills us with light while a bad eye fills us with darkness.


Bernadette Farrell perhaps gives us a sense of being enlightened by Christ.


Longing for light, we wait in darkness

Longing for truth, we turn to You.

Make us Your own, Your holy people

Light for the world to see.

Christ, be our light!

Shine in our hearts.

Shine through the darkness.

Christ, be our light!

Shine in Your church gathered today.



Thursday, 21 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Evangelism 

What feeing do you have when you read the word Evangelism; what picture comes into you mind?


I read an article entitled six attitudes that kill evangelism

  1. “That’s what we pay our minister to do.”
  2. “Our church members are just not evangelistic.”
  3. “Our denomination does not help us.”
  4. “We emphasise evangelism once a year in our church.”
  5. “I don’t know anyone well who is not a Christian.”
  6. “We don’t have the resources.”

The first misconception is that God chooses only certain people to witness.

People who believe this are quick to point to Ephesians 4:11—”It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers.” They believe evangelism is a gift given only to “some.”


They are absolutely correct. God does give “some to be evangelists.” But being an evangelist and being a witness are not necessarily the same thing. We can praise the Lord for those “some” whom God calls as evangelists. But God has called all of us to witness!


In Acts 1:8 we find Jesus saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


There is a somewhat story of someone who prayed, “Dear God, So far today, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped. I haven't lost my temper. I haven't lied or cheated. I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or overindulgent.I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed; and from then on, I'm probably going to need a lot more help.In Jesus' name, Amen.”


But that’s just it, Jesus not only says that we shall be his witnesses to the ends of earth, he also says he will be with us to the earth’s ends.


Prayer

Help us Lord, to demonstrate Your great love and grace to all those that cross our paths today. May we be ready and willing to be faithful witnesses of You and to give an answer for what we believe, so that many may also come to know You and to accept Jesus as their own personal Saviour and friend, because they saw Him in us. 


Help us to edify and uplift other members of Your body and in all things to be Your hands and feet, Your eyes and ears and Your heart of love in all we say and do today. In Jesus' name, 


Amen.


Wednesday, 20 October 2021

An ABC of faith


Evil

Have you ever thought that ‘evil’ could be described as ‘live’ backwards and in a sense this is right. Jesus shows us there is a special way of overcoming evil and violence. If you like it’s a question of shifting from I-centric (live) to O-centric (love). 


His guidance is quite specific:


“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:27-36


This text ranks as one of the most extraordinary ever written! It utterly reverses human thinking about enemies and forgiveness. It spells out the way God goes about things, holding nothing against us despite all our failings. This is how Jesus lived, this is how he died for his executioners. His attitude of heart was blessed by his Father and brought him into eternal life.


Our world can be transformed if we take Jesus seriously. Our task is to collaborate with him and to live on a higher level of loving than we had imagined possible. We are called to go beyond loving our neighbour as ourselves, beyond loving only those who love us, beyond only loving nice people. We are to love our enemies, do good to them, pray for them, wish them well!


If what Jesus asks seems too much for us, we are beginning to understand that our response will depend not on ourselves alone but on a grace that comes from God. Only by receiving the spirit that Jesus promises will we be able to witness to the love, forgiveness and peace to which Jesus calls us.


Perhaps it is not so much that we are asked to imitate God’s compassion as to be a channel for it. We pray that we may be open, transparent and free in letting the image of God in which we are created be seen and experienced.


Prayer


Heavenly and Almighty Father, help me to be strong when others attack. Instead of responding in anger, remind me to pray for my enemies. To pray for your blessing and peace over them, for their hurting hearts to mend. For evil spills out of a hurting heart, a heart that is distant from you, Lord. Keep me close to you, Lord, and help me only say kind words and pray for your blessings over everyone – even those who speak unkindly to me. Help me to never repay evil with evil, but to always turn from evil and do good. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.


Tuesday, 19 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Encouragement

Encouragement is part and parcel of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, for we cannot be a follower of Jesus unless we clearly see our role of being alongside others on the Christian Pathway.


Have you ever considered yourself as a minister of the gospel; for weren’t the first ministers of the church the 12 disciples called by Christ. For me, being a minister is all about being an encourager, after all, the word minister, often translated as presbyter in the New Testament, has also been translated as huperetes meaning an under-rower - one who helps other crew members to row in unison so as to propel the ship. Paul used this to describe himself in Romans 1:1 signifying that ministry is wider than leadership in the traditional sense. 


The writer to the Hebrews in 10:24-25 puts it this way, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."


There is something in this text that is very hard to bring over into English. The word “consider,” (“Let us consider how we…”) is used one other time in the book, namely, Hebrews 3:1, where the writer says, “Consider Jesus.” That is, look at him; think about him, focus on him, study him, let your mind be occupied with him. “Jesus” is the direct object of the verb “consider.” “Consider Jesus.”  Well, in Hebrews 10:24 the grammar is the same: the direct object of the word “consider” is “one another.” Literally, it says, “Consider one another.” And if we link this with the teaching of Jesus where he prays, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me” we begin to perceive our vocation as encouragers.


How will you encourage another today?


All praise to our redeeming Lord,

  Who joins us by His grace,

And bids us, each to each restored,

  Together seek His face,

  Together seek His face.


He bids us build each other up;

  And, gathered into one,

To our high calling’s glorious hope,

  We hand in hand go on,

  We hand in hand go on.


The gift which He on one bestows,

  We all delight to prove;

The grace through every vessel flows,

  In purest streams of love,

  In purest streams of love.


We all partake the joy of one;

  The common peace we feel;

A peace to worldly minds unknown,

  A joy unspeakable,

  A joy unspeakable.


And if our fellowship below

  In Christ yet be so sweet,

What height of rapture shall we know,

  When round His throne we meet,

  When round His throne we meet!


Charles Wesley


Monday, 18 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Eternity

We start our fourth week of examining An ABC of Faith with the word eternity. It even seems that Hymn writers over the years have had problems with the concept of eternity.  Take James Milton Black and the lyrics found in the Hymn “When the Roll is called up yonder.” In one part he speaks of “Time shall be no more….” But in another part we are encouraged to sing “And the morning breaks eternal bright and fare.”


It is almost impossible for us within the time constraints of human life to perceive the concept of the eternal. Fred Buechner, again comes to our rescue with his observation that, “Eternity is not endless time of the opposite of time. It is the essence of time.”  He continues, “If you spin a pinwheel hast enough, then it’s colours blend into a single colour - white - which is the essence of all the colours of the spectre combined.


So what did Jesus mean by eternal life when he said, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30) Eternal here refers to life that operates simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time.


Later in John 17:3 Jesus provides a basic definition of the eternal life to which some were appointed: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Eternal life, then, is not merely endless living, but is the quality of life that comes from having relationships with the Father and the Son. So is it more about quality than quantity?


Major Ian Thomas a Christian evangelical writer, theological teacher and founder of the Torchbearers Bible schools. says, “Eternal life is not a peculiar feeling inside! It is not your ultimate destination, to which you will go when you are dead. If you are born again, eternal life is that quality of life that you possess right now.”


1 Eternal God, our song we raise

In thankful, overflowing praise,

For men of faith whose power was thine,

Whose love no barrier could confine;

They humbly offered Christ their bread,

And lo, the multitudes were fed!


3 O may no longing of our own

Obscure the path by Jesus shown!

We would not thirst for earth’s reward

And lose the blessing of our Lord:

His cup of pain and grief and strife

That yieldeth up the gift of life.


5 Our great redeemer liveth still,

His love sustains us in thy will;

Because he conquered, we shall win,

His cross before, his joy within;

Our cheerful banners are unfurled,

For Christ has overcome the world.


Catherine Baird


Saturday, 16 October 2021

An ABC of Faith


Divinity

What is divinity if it can come

Only in silent shadows and in dreams?

Shall she not find in comforts of the sun,

In pungent fruit and bright, green wings, or else

In any balm or beauty of the earth,

Things to be cherished like the thought of heaven?

Divinity must live within herself:

Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow;

Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued

Elations when the forest blooms; gusty

Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;

All pleasures and all pains, remembering

The bough of summer and the winter branch,

These are the measures destined for her soul.


So wrote Wallace Stevens a businessman-lawyer by day and a poet during his leisure time. You may have noticed that he refers to Divinity with the female pronoun. Interestingly, much in the same way that Wisdom is referred to in Scripture in feminine terms, Sophia.


The root of the word divine is literally "godly,"


Two Bible verses come to mind when I think of the word Divine. Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”


and Philippians 2:7 “but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”


The latter linked with Charles Wesley’s verse, “emptied himself of all but love.” Our task as followers of the Christ of the human road is to see the appearance of the divine in daily life. How? By examining the day-to-day workings of our own lives, as we seek to find God's Divine hand at work, in what we might call "the capacity to see into the heart of every day;" Such discovery reflects on the significance of daily events upon our lives as well and finds that the only limit to the revelation going on all around us is our willingness to turn aside and look.


For our prayer today we use George Herberts hymn that speaks of finding the divine within the mundane of our lives.


Teach me, my God and King, 

in all things thee to see, 

and what I do in anything 

to do it as for thee.


A man that looks on glass, 

on it may stay his eye; 

or if he pleaseth, through it pass, 

and then the heaven espy.


All may of thee partake; 

nothing can be so mean, 

which with this tincture, "for thy sake," 

will not grow bright and clean.


A servant with this clause 

makes drudgery divine: 

who sweeps a room, as for thy laws, 

makes that and the action fine.


This is the famous stone 

that turneth all to gold; 

for that which God doth touch and own 

cannot for less be told.



Community Groups Regularly Usiing the Church


Regrettably, due to the current restrictions, there are no community activities at the church premises.

Watch this space for news of when activities will restart.