From the Sanctuary
Harvest, quite rightly, has been a celebration of God’s blessings and goodness to us. It is a time, with gratitude, to take stock of that with which we have been provided; to appreciate, with awe and wonder, the beauty (and chaos) of creation – which helps us to appreciate the ability, and mystery, of the Creator more than perhaps we did before.
God’s fingerprint is on all of creation – even us! Just What/Who is it that can ‘bring about’ such magnificence – yet is able to live in intimate relationship with us, so much so that we matter, and are valued and supported (whether we realise it or not)? It is beyond expression and comprehension – yet S/He isn’t. S/He is able to be ‘felt’, glimpsed, is tangible, and knowable – but not definable and able to be captured totally. Wow!
Harvest, too, is a time to reflect on the fact that growth in Creation is often enabled by offering the right conditions (water, sunlight, temperature, terrain). The same is true for us. If we are offered the right conditions of being loved, respected, being relationally-met and valued, we can grow towards our Divine potential – ‘to become’ who we are meant to be. However, as in nature, our growth is often enhanced when we add a moderate amount of manure! Too much manure kills nature, as it can do us. Often we think of our ‘mistakes’ and ‘regrets’ as things that we wish hadn’t happened (‘If I could turn the clock back…’ ‘If I had my time again…’). Yet, that manure often offers immeasurable quality to our lives, once we can get, and see, beyond the destructiveness. Those damaging experiences motivate some: to help others; to offer a quality of relationship to others that was never given to them; to set up organisations that support; to offer a quality of empathy to fellow ‘strugglers’ – all of which enriches the lives of those that they encounter, enhances their life, and brings about a better quality of existence for humankind. It is the notion of ‘the wounded healer’.
So, at this time of Harvest, may we see life through a lens of appreciation for ALL that we experience, and have experienced. May we put down our burdens of guilt and self-condemnation, and see ourselves – with awe and wonder – as part of God’s creation; and see our experiences as ‘interesting’, as something to learn from, and as the base from which we can be Christ in the world. May we learn to see value in our ‘manure’, and see ourselves as having grown from it towards fulfilling our Divine-potential.
Wishing you every blessing
On behalf of the Food Hamper Project, may I say a very many thanks for the donation of coats during September to help the needy of Dukinfield this winter. Now October is here, the focus shifts to jumpers and cardigans. So please have a search and if you can donate anything, I know that Christine and her team will be more than grateful.
Please don’t forget the Congregation Council Meeting after the service on 16th of the month. As members of the church, it is your opportunity to have your say.
The following Sunday, 23rd, we will be welcoming Br Trevor Green from the Open Doors organisation. This visit has been postponed since before Covid so I’m sure we will all look forward to hearing what Trevor has to say. Below is a taster of what you can expect to hear:
Locked in a shipping container
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Open Doors, the organisation which works with the Persecuted Church, tells of the Christian singer, Helen Berhane, who was arrested for sharing her faith in her home country of Eritrea. She spent almost three years in prison, much of this time in a metal shipping container.
Because she would not deny her faith, she was beaten so severely she could not walk. Instead, during her time in the container, she wrote Christian songs, encouraged the other prisoners, and witnessed to the prison guards.
After Helen’s release, she resettled in Europe and has written her prison memoirs in a small book titled, Song of the Nightingale. Describing her time shut inside the shipping container prison, she wrote:
“Sometimes I cannot believe that this is my life—these four metal walls, all of us corralled like cattle, the pain, the hunger, the fear. All because of my belief in a God who is risen, who charges me to share my faith with those who do not yet know Him. A God who I am forbidden to worship. I think back to a question I have been asked many times over my months in prison: ‘Is your faith worth this, Helen?’ As the guards continue on their rounds, I whisper the answer: ‘Yes.’”
Prayer for the month of October
Loving, Creator God,
Thank you for your wonderful creation. In these days of concern about climate change and the damage caused by modern lifestyles and choices, help us to be more aware. Help us to make good choices. Help us to be good stewards of Your creation.
You are so generous Lord. You provide for us – more than enough to meet the needs of all people. Help us to play our part in making sure there is fair distribution of all Your provision. Help us to reflect Your generosity, Your compassion, Your justice. Help us to care for Your world and Your precious children.
In Jesus name, Amen
(by Daphne Kitching)
|SUNDAY||2nd||Family Service with Holy Communion led by Br Peter||11.00|
|Wednesday||5th||M.W.A. Meeting in Church||13.15|
|Saturday||8th||Lancs. District Conference on Zoom||09.30|
|SUNDAY||9th||Family Service led by Br John||11.00|
|Monday||10th||Church Committee Meeting in Church||19.00|
|SUNDAY||16th||Family Service led by Br Peter, |
Followed by Congregation Council Meeting
|SUNDAY||23rd||Morning Worship with Guest Speaker |
Br Trevor Green talking about the work
of Open Doors
|SUNDAY||30th||Youth Service with Church Parade led by Sr Sue Selby||11 .00|