July / August 2019: Yesterday

Dandelion clockA thousand years to you are like one day;
they are like yesterday, already gone,
like a short hour in the night.
Psalm 90: 4

This summer sees the release of a new feel-good movie called ‘Yesterday’ which considers a world where the Beatles have been forgotten by everyone except one person and the rediscovery of their music causes a stir.

It’s hard to imagine a world where the Beatles will be forgotten.

I recently went back home to take the bicentenary service celebrating 200 years of Methodism in Meltham and I certainly was remembered as many turned up from various churches because I was taking the service. In some ways it was as if it was ‘yesterday’ and very little had changed. There were some very emotional people after the service as they not only remembered me, but my parents and husband who are no longer with us, but had been a big part of their lives. It reminded them of the good old days and how things have changed. And maybe it also reminded them of their own mortality and what the future might hold. It is said that one of the things that makes people afraid about dying is that they will be forgotten.

It’s hard to imagine a world without us here.

Yet I also was blessed by a few of the people who it appeared had not aged or changed over the last nine years and had that same spark as they had all those years ago. They definitely were like a feel-good movie and made me feel inspired about what is going on there, and encouraged for my own future.

Maybe the question for us all as we face our yesterdays and tomorrows is ‘Are we the type of person who does remember God and cause a stir as we share his love and justice in the world?’
Then we will be a gift to our world today, in the present, and make a difference.

And we can all be assured that whatever our yesterdays, what we have done in the past, or whatever we face in the future, God remembers us. We are not forgotten.

The Lord has mercy on those who respect him, as a father has mercy on his children.
He knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.

Human life is like grass; we grow like a flower in the field.
After the wind blows, the flower is gone, and there is no sign of where it was.
But the Lord’s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren.

Psalm 103: 13-17

At the end of the service we thought about the reported last words of John Wesley and sang

Best of all is God is with us,
life goes on and needs are met,
God is strongest in our weakness.
Love renews, will not forget.
– Andrew Pratt (610 in Singing the Faith)

Blessings

Rev Dee

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Quiz Night!

Question markThe next Wesley Hall Quiz Evening is on Saturday 29 June – come along to exercise your brain, or just to have a laugh!

  • Time: 7.00 for a 7.30pm start
  • Teams: Maximum 6 people
  • Tickets: £7 per person
  • Supper, tea and coffee provided during the evening
  • Please bring your own nibbles
  • There will be a raffle
  • All proceeds go towards church funds

Contact us for more info and to book your team’s place. See you there!

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June 2019: Bootprints or footprints

 

Oh let me see thy footmarks
and in them plant mine own;
my hope to follow duly
is in thy strength alone.
– ‘O Jesus, I have promised‘ – John Bode

To mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and to remember those who gave their lives we have seen bootprints appear across our country. Make sure you look out for them or you can even buy a sticker bootprint online in order to support the veterans.

It’s interesting that the image we most relate to as Christians is often depicted as a bare footprint not a booted one. Of course, Jesus would not have worn boots, but he would have worn sandals, so why a bare footprint?

There is the understanding that to walk barefoot is to be grounded, to connect with the earth and ultimately with God. I do like to walk around barefoot at home and in the garden and I am often told I will hurt myself or pick up some infection. Wearing shoes or boots is about protecting our feet. I definitely get my feet very dirty. Maybe that is what the image of a bare footprint depicting following Christ is about, being vulnerable and willing to get dirty as we walk the path of Christ. But is that not also what the booted footprint is about? Depicting those who have been willing to fight against destruction and for their country and have brought the freedom we enjoy today?

We do seem to have lost our battle image of Christianity today, the idea of the Christian life being about fighting evil and the need to rally the troops and be prepared for war. When is the last time you heard or sang ‘Onward Christian Soldiers?’

This is not necessarily a bad thing as lots of damage was done by Christianity in history through our crusades and domination of others. And in a world today of extreme religions it may not be helpful to be using fighting talk. Yet we do need to realise that following Christ does mean, like he did, challenging the injustices and things that are denying life in our world today.

We are in a battle with issues like poverty, racism, knife crime, homelessness, plastic pollution, loneliness, stress, inequality, disillusionment… the list is endless.

Maybe we need to have a boot on one foot and be barefoot on the other as we walk in this world and seek to touch God and others today. I like to depict my ministry as having one foot in the church and one in the real world and like the angel in Revelation 10:2 had one foot on the land and one in the sea (depicting God intervening in all places), we need to follow and be God’s presence and power in every place we find ourselves.

So, enjoy some barefoot time this month and feel the earth and God near, but also put on some heavy boots and let that remind you of the battles we still fight. May we know God’s protection and help as we continue our journey through this world.

The ‘footprints in the sand’ dream reminds us of God carrying us through difficult times in life, but a modern version of it goes on past the one set of footprints where God carries us, to a multitude of messy footprints all over the place. When asked what this meant, God said, “that’s when you walked with others and learned to carry each other”.

God Bless

Rev Dee

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Dates for your diary

The Wesley Hall Sunday Service details for June to August 2019 have now been added to the online calendar.

calendarThe calendar also includes other events, both for Wesley Hall and circuit-wide, such as the Summer Fair in June. Do come along to any and all events!

Take a look at the calendar and if there’s something you expect to see but don’t, or if there’s anything you’d like to find out more about, do leave a reply and we’ll get back to you.

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Christian Aid Week Coffee Morning, 25 May 2019

Coffee Morning

for Christian Aid Week 2019

Saturday 25 May
10.30am – 12.30pm

There will be tea, coffee, soft drinks and cakes for sale.

Help us to raise funds for Christian Aid and awareness of this year’s Christian Aid Week campaign. You can find out more about what Christian Aid is doing and why by visiting the Christian Aid Week website and reading Jebbeh’s Story.

We look forward to seeing you at the coffee morning!

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Christian Aid Week 2019

This week is Christian Aid Week.
This year’s focus is on the needless deaths of mums and babies in Sierra Leone. Women like Fatmata and Jebbeh. Read Jebbeh’s Story.

 

Donation envelopes will be distributed at Church during Christian Aid Week. If you don’t receive one, or can’t be at a Sunday service to return it, you can donate online at www.christianaid.org.uk/christian-aid-week.

‘This Christian Aid Week, together, we can make childbirth safe for mums and babies. Through our gifts and prayers, we can help give the world’s poorest mums a chance to live.’

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May 2019: Godoscopy

microscopeAnyone who has to drink milk is still a child, without any experience in the matter of right and wrong. Solid food, on the other hand, is for adults, who through practice are able to distinguish between good and evil.
Hebrews 5: 13 – 14 (GNT)

I recently had a colonoscopy and gastroscopy and whilst it was not pleasant, I have to say that it was interesting to watch the images of the inside of my body. The human body is amazing, even the bits that perform necessary but unsociable functions relating to waste, that we prefer to hide and not talk about. We are told in Psalm 139 how wonderfully made we are and how God sees everything. Maybe the image of a Godoscopy might be helpful to us, to remember that God sees everything, even the bits we don’t like or try to hide.

At Bible Study we have been continuing our study of the book of Hebrews, an interesting book that is classed with all the letters but doesn’t start like the other letters do. It is thought it might be an adapted sermon. What we do know if that it was written to a group of Jewish Christians who had known the faith for some time yet were not mature in their faith, instead of being on solid food they still needed baby milk. It’s like they had a gastroscopy and the diagnosis was that they were not able to digest solid food.

I wonder how your spiritual diet is and how much you are able to digest the things of God. Are you reading your Bible, books about faith, articles about belief, trying to get your head around issues of faith in our world today? There is a wealth of material, particularly online. Have you tried looking at the website of the Methodist Church or faith based charities like Christian Aid? In May we have Christian Aid Week, where we think about those in physical poverty in our world, but may we also consider our spiritual poverty too.

The problem with the Christians Hebrews is addressed to, was not that they did not have enough information about faith but that they did not put it into practise, did not digest it or use it to help them grow. It is like they had a colonoscopy and the diagnosis was that they were unable to absorb the goodness from their faith and so were not growing. I wonder how much we put into practice what we read and learn about our faith, practice what we hear preached, test what we believe. In this time after Easter we hear the stories of the first disciples as they put into practice what Jesus had shown them and start to grow in their faith and witness to God being alive in the world.

May we each take a look at ourselves through a Godoscopy this month and let God show us what we need to do to grow in our faith and put it into practice in our lives.

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life.
Psalm 139:23-24 (The Message)

And if you want to join us at bible study we will be continuing our study of Hebrews at 2.30pm at Forest Hill Methodist Church, on Thursday 23 May, Thursday 4 July and Thursday 25 July. All welcome. If not, maybe you could start a house group or further bible study for those who need it at a different time.

God bless you,

Rev Dee

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