From the Sanctuary
I am no twitcher – but I do love watching birds. In spite of my ignorance about them, I am blessed in that where I live I am surrounded by a magnificence of bird life. My cat has a fascination for birds, but my admiration is very different from hers! As I step out of my front door early in the morning, I am greeted with the cacophony of the dawn chorus. It captures my attention for at least five minutes before getting in my car to face the traffic. What composer could replicate such wonder?
If I am lucky to be at home in the evening before dark, I rejoice in the sight from my conservatory of flocks of starlings dancing and pulsating as one black mass across the dusking sky. In spite of the many ‘blessings’ that they leave on my car, I am filled with awe and wonder by them. They truly contain the fingerprint of God. One just has to observe, and take in, the beauty that is about us. We can learn so much about God, and His intention for humankind, from such wonder. I can truly relate to the hymn writer when he says ‘When I in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hand has made…’ It is utterly inspiring.
One of the things that saddens me about our society is its lack of community. I live in a road where I know about five people by their first name, but I know nothing about them – nor do they know anything about me. That is not an uncommon experience. Yet to look at the starlings, and to hear the natural chorus of birdlife in the morning, teaches us about what wonder can be achieved when we exist in community. Our inspiration in the renewed Moravian Church, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, put community right at the centre of Moravian spirituality – building the settlement at Herrnhut on which our settlements in this province are modelled. However, we do not have to live in a Settlement to be a community. I have always been struck by our care and concern for each other at Dukinfield, shown through simple (but nonetheless significant) acts of visiting, and through acts of reaching out. Whilst, thank fully, we have no members in ‘care’ at the moment, those in Care homes, who are no longer able to get to Church, often appreciate the visits that they receive from us. However, we do have one or two folks who can’t get out. May we continue to offer our sense of community and care to each other – which we may have got out of the habit of because of the pandemic; but may we also think about how others can be part of our community, so that we can flock and pulsate like the starlings, and sing like the dawn chorus – offering the awe and wonder of God’s intentions to an otherwise isolating society. That is part of the Good News we have to offer.
Wishing you every blessing,
This is a prior notice about Whit Sunday which, this year, occurs on 5th June— bang in the middle of the celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. At a recent meeting of the Dukinfield churches, it was decided that due to concerns of safety, we will not process to the Town Hall but will make our own way to the meeting point, which could either be the Town Hall or Old Chapel Church. It was considered that numbers will be much reduced because of the extended holiday for the Jubilee. We will still hold our usual Witness service, our banners will be on display and we will sing along to a brass band. We will then disperse. The representatives of your church were not happy to agree to this with the feeling that once the Walk of Witness ceases, it will not re-start. However, this is better than nothing and next year, it will be our turn to decide on the programme for Whit Sunday.
On Sunday 29th May, it will be our pleasure to welcome back the Uniformed Groups for the first time since the start of the Pandemic. We have missed you!
The Pain of Ukraine
By William Mather
Ideas for paintings come in all sorts of ways. The awfulness of the Soviet Aggression in Ukraine has been in all our thoughts and prayers. For me, it was that early image of the block of flats hit by a missile causing death, destruction and a gaping hole. With it came a reminder of Jesus on the cross and a gaping hole in His side from the soldier’s spear. The two came together in my mind and so a painting idea was born. With it came thoughts of the great Spanish artist Goya and his powerful etchings ‘The Disasters of War’ in protest over the French invasion and occupation 1810-1820.
The Christian teaching is that Jesus died on the cross for our sin. None of us is blameless, not least the soldier with the spear or the Russians with the missile. But the poignant promise through the pain – even the pain of Ukraine – is that the message of the cross is more powerful than any tyrant. Through it comes peace in the heart that lasts for ever.
A Prayer for May
Dear Father in Heaven,
As we thank you for May, this most beautiful of months, we are aware that not everything in your world is beautiful; not every attitude or action is beautiful, or kind, or just. There is so much pain and suffering in the world that we can sometimes feel overwhelmed. Help us, Lord to remember that Jesus came to bring all this brokenness together, to bring reconciliation and wholeness. Thank you that by His life, death and resurrection Jesus overcame death for ever. Thank you that He ascended into heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come to live in believers, to give strength and power and resilience, so that Your work goes on.
Thank you that nothing in all creation – no evil attacks, no illness, no human powers, no circumstances at all – can ever separate us from Your love.
We will not be overwhelmed as we keep our eyes on You.
We may not always understand, but we acknowledge You to be the Lord, who reigns over all – and we are thankful.
In Jesus name. Amen.
|FAMILY SERVICE WITH
led by Br Peter
|M.W.A. Meeting in Church
|M.W.A. Retreat in Ireland
led by Br John
|Church Committee on Zoom
led by Br Martin Smith
led by Sr Glenys Marshall
with special guest preacher
Sr Kathy Inglis
|FAMILY SERVICE WITH PARADE
led by Sr Penny Weir