BALDERTON METHODIST CHURCH NEWSLETTER
24th March 2020
At this difficult time, when we are limited by what we can do, we want to keep in touch with all our friends and make sure that people are cared for even though we cannot be with you in person. So, we have decided to produce a Newsletter to keep everyone up to date with what is happening at church. We also want to provide some spiritual stimulation while we cannot share in worship at church. The Methodist Church has now issued guidelines that we cannot use our premises except for funerals, and these will be very restricted. Churches that run Food Banks and homeless Centre’s can also use their premises. There will continue to be the weekly Thursday slot at 7pm which is a 5 – 10-minute message and prayer. We hope to have a short service on the internet starting at 10.30am on Sunday 29th March, and continuing while ever the situation remains the same. We have set up a network of contacts mainly through Pastoral Visitors who will keep in touch with you all, and if there are any problems please contact me (Peter Bates) on 01636 706264. I need to inform you that I have received a text message from the government to indicate that I must stay in for 12 weeks due to having asthma.
Here we set out a service which you can follow if you have a ‘Singing the Faith’ (StF) or ‘Hymns and Psalms’ (HP) hymn book and a Bible.
Opening Hymn StF 51 HP66 Great is thy faithfulness – God is faithful at all times
Lord, in these terrible times that we face, help us to know that you are God. When all the certainties that we have relied on are gradually being taken away from us, help us to know deep in our hearts that you are the Rock that we can always depend on. We worship you today because you are God Almighty. Even though we cannot be in your house physically we worship you where we are in our hearts and with our lives. You know our situation and the circumstances that we face but we know you are bigger than this, that you will help us to overcome trusting not in our own strength but in you. Help us to focus our minds and our hearts on you. Amen
The Lord’s Prayer
Reading John ch 9 v 1 – 12
Hymn StF 736 HP 678 In heavenly love abiding – we can abide in God’s love
Offering – think about what you can give to God in these circumstances eg prayer, support to others in need, a phone call to encourages someone
Reading John ch 9 v 24 – 34
Hymn StF 707 HP 776 Make me a channel of your peace – in these difficult times we need to be a channel for God’s love for our community
We come across this searching question by the disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” It is a question that we face today when we consider suffering, especially in the light of the Coronavirus. We know that God does not create diseases to make us suffer. We believe in a God of love who cares about us more than we will ever know. Somehow the Coronavirus has come into our world and at the moment we do not know how. The attention of the scientists is to try and find a vaccination to stop it spreading further. Although for most people it is a mild illness for others it can be fatal. We believe that God is working through the health staff and the scientists to alleviate the effects of this terrible disease. We also believe that God is with those families whose loves ones are suffering from the virus and comforting the families who have lost loved ones.
In the situation we read of in John’s gospel, there is a man who has been blind from birth. He is in a hopeless place, there is no possibility of him recovering his sight, he is faced with the prospect of begging for the rest of his life, being dependent on others for his very basic needs. And then Jesus comes along. He is intent on healing the man to bring glory to God his Father. Out of this hopeless situation Jesus gives the man the gift of sight. It is one of those miracles where the man hasn’t requested healing but this is the desire of his heart. Jesus first of all makes a paste from the dust and puts it on the man’s eyes – a very practical and physical way of showing the man that he is about to be healed. But then Jesus asks the man to be obedient to him, to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, the man obeys the instructions and he realizes that he can see. He knows it’s a miracle, he is living testimony of the miracle.
Other people are curious about what has happened, even his neighbours cannot agree as to whether it is the same man who used to beg. It is amazing how God can transform our lives so much that some people do not even recognize us. The Pharisees on the other hand are skeptical. They have no time for Jesu, they think he is a fraud and so they want undeniable proof. The man standing before them is the proof that the miracle took place and yet they refuse to believe the man’s testimony because it does not fit in to their way of thinking.
Jesus later finds the man who has been vilified by the Pharisees and talks to him about his ordeal. Jesus wants to reassure the man that even though the religious authorities have discarded him he is still loved and valued by God. Jesus didn’t have to meet with the man, after all, he had given him his sight back, but Jesus wanted to lead the man into a stronger, personal faith. One day Jesus would be crucified and then he would rise again, the man needed to know that it was the Son of God who healed him. God shows us the same care today, he wants us to grow in our faith even in these difficult times.
Hymn StF 11 HP 7 Holy, Holy, Holy – we focus on God’s holiness
We bring our nation before you. We ask that you will give our government wisdom and guidance over the next few months to help us through this terrible time. Give them the resources they need to combat the Coronavirus and the effects it is having on people. We pray for the hospital staff who are on the front line. We thank you that they are putting their lives at risk to do the job they have been asked to do. We pray that they will have the right equipment to protect themselves from catching the disease. We pray for those who have the Coronavirus that they will be healed and restored to full health. We pray for those who have lost loved ones through this virus, that you will comfort them and hold them in your love. We pray for ourselves that we may be aware of the guidelines that we must live by for now and also, we pray that you will help us to be aware of others needs. In Jesus name we ask this. Amen
Hymn StF 94 HP 463 To God be the glory – we give God the glory
Blessing May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, for evermore, Amen.
God Bless Peter Bates