From the Sanctuary
It never ceases to amaze me how much God is present in the everyday, and how S/He is to be found in the most unexpected places and situations – if we have eyes to see Him/Her.
A few weeks ago, I took delivery of a Kia e-Niro (an electric car to replace my diesel car – doing my bit for the stewardship of the planet, so I thought). I then made the perhaps unwise decision of doing a long journey the day after delivery. It was unwise because I hadn’t yet ‘learned’, and adjusted to, the differences of the car. I just confidently thought I would pick them up and overcome them as I went along. Whilst the car itself was great, I hadn’t realised just how poor and frustrating the infrastructure was around the country, for recharging electric cars, and, on top of that, I had two ninety-plus year olds with me on the otherwise unplanned journey. The purpose of the journey was to take my father to see my sister in Suffolk, and to collect my aunt, who now lives in Leicester, on the way, and take her for the journey to see my sister too – a 500 mile round trip that would require two battery recharges; one going, and one coming back.
What I discovered (the hard way) was that not all of the charging points, that I found, worked (when we could find them!); they were owned by different firms who each expected me to download their ‘app’ onto my mobile phone and give them my bank details etc., which I refused to do; whereas, I naively thought I could just turn up, swipe my bank card at the ‘pump’ as in a petrol station, and re-charge – not so! Also, the charging ‘nozzles’ aren’t yet standardised. So, I had to find the right ‘fit’ of nozzle alongside a recharging point that would take my bank card. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack! Needless-to-say, it was an incredibly problematic and stressful journey, and a lot of praying, and possibly ‘luck’ (but I’m sure that God’s hand was in it), got us safely home – but that wasn’t guaranteed at some parts of the journey as the battery charge in the car headed uncomfortably close towards ‘nil’. I thought I’d have to be brought home, in the middle of the night, on the back of an AA truck, with two ninety-plus year olds and me asleep in the car. Thank God that didn’t happen, but it was close to happening, and traumatic.
However, when I did find a charging point that worked – and which took my bank card, and the nozzle fitted – what I discovered was a community of people gathered around it whom I would probably never otherwise have engaged with. Because re-charging took quite some time, we chatted about many topics.
The recharging provided an opportunity for us to personally recharge our metaphorical batteries too – to stop, to breathe, to have conversation, to destress, to take in the sunrays of the day, and to commune with God. It really struck me that misfortune and circumstance can provide opportunity to be more in tune with, and connected to, God, and to others, in encounter.
I wish you every blessing,
The Parable of the Sower
This month we are looking at the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20). It’s the story of a farmer who sowed his seed in different type of soils. These represent the different responses of the heart to God’s Word (v15-20):
1) The hard heart: ‘like seed along the path…as soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them.’ (15). Some people, when they hear the message, get distracted e.g. social media, work or relationships. Personal priorities prevent them from hearing God.
2) The shallow heart: ‘like seed sown on rocky places…since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.’ (16,17). These are the people whose heart isn’t open to the message. When things become uncomfortable or discouraging, they are ready to quit.
3) The crowded heart: ‘like seed sown among thorns…but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.’ (18,19). This soil is most relevant for us today. People crave status, comfort, security and personal desires alongside the things of God. It’s a heart that is worried about life getting out of control!
4) The open heart: ‘like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop – some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.’ (20). This represents the open heart that listens and accepts Jesus’s word, and is ready to follow Him however difficult things become.
What kind of soil is our heart? Are we hard, shallow, crowded or open? Do we have a heart of faith to follow Jesus in every aspect of our lives?
The MWA meetings, as you will know, have been held on Zoom since the first lockdown but from September, we are going to revert to the usual timing prior to Covid. Therefore, if the weather is good on 8th September, we will meet in church, socially distanced, at 1.15 pm as we used to. Please bring your own drink and snack if you wish, as we do not intend to serve refreshments. However, if the weather is bad and especially in the winter months, we will again meet on Zoom at 7 pm. We trust this is acceptable for all the MWA members.
We are happy that Br Bob Hopcroft has accepted our invitation to lead our Harvest service on 26th September and hope we can have a good turnout.
|What’s on in September
|Family Service with Holy Communion
led by Br Peter Gubi
|Church Committee on Zoom
|M.W.A. Meeting – see above for info
led by Br John Wilkinson
led by Br Peter Gubi
Service led Br Bob Hopcroft
Dear Lord, September – the month of new beginnings for many, as summer fades and school and college terms start.
After such a strange time of restrictions, hopes of freedom, with warnings to be cautious, it is hard to know what to expect this September.
We can’t know what lies ahead, Lord, but we can trust you to see us through whatever it turns out to be.
Thank you for your promise, I will never leave you or forsake you… (Hebrews 13:5)
Help us to hold fast to that promise, to keep trusting you – and to be thankful for each September day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
By Daphne Kitching
It was our Harvest Festival Sunday. My husband had cut his ear while shaving. We arrived at the church just in time to sing: ‘First the blade and then the ear’.