Sunday 7th February 2021
Seek the Lord while he may be found: call upon him while he is near. (Isaiah 55:6)
Prayer: Creator God, there are no limits to your wisdom, and human endeavours do not impress you. Yet despite our frailty and weakness, even before the world came into being, you knew us as your children. So today we come to you as we are; knowing that you take pleasure in those who fear and honour you, and asking that you meet us and transform us into the likeness of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Paul and Silas travelled on through Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue. According to his usual habit Paul went to the synagogue. There during three Sabbaths he held discussions with the people, quoting and explaining the Scriptures and proving from them that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from death. “This Jesus whom I announce to you,” Paul said, “Is the Messiah.” Some of them were convinced and joined Paul and Silas; so did many of the leading women and a large group of Greeks who worshipped God.
But the Jews were jealous and gathered some of the worthless loafers from the streets and formed a mob. They set the whole city in an uproar and attacked the home of a man called Jason, in an attempt to find Paul and Silas and bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city authorities and shouted, “These men have caused trouble everywhere! Now they have come to our city, and Jason has kept them in his house. They are all breaking the laws of the Emperor, saying that there is another king, whose name is Jesus.” With these words they threw the crowd and the city authorities into an uproar. The authorities made Jason and the others pay the required amount of money to be released, and then let them go.
As we heard last week, Paul and Silas were asked to leave Philippi by the authorities once they had been let out of jail. After visiting Lydia and the other believers and giving them encouragement, they do as they are asked however this time it appears that Luke does not accompany them. How do we come to this assumption, well when we began reading this next chapter (17) Luke writes only that Paul and Silas travelled, he didn’t say ‘we travelled’. They travel through Amphipolis and Apollonia and eventually arrive in Thessalonica and because there is a synagogue in the town Paul as he usually does goes there. For the first three times he is allowed to teach and preach the word of God, so he explains that the Messiah was meant to suffer and rise from death and that Jesus is the Messiah. Now we are told that some believed what he was saying (leading women and Greeks) and some didn’t (jealous Jews).
Just for a moment I want us to turn our thoughts back to what we read in chapter 16 when Paul and Silas were in Philippi and I wonder if you noticed that the three people who’s stories we focused upon were Lydia – a woman, the young girl – a slave and the jailer – a Gentile (non-Jew) and these were all folk that the Jews despised and had no time for. And again here in Thessalonica it’s the leading women and Greeks (non Jews) who we find accepting what Paul is telling them and the Jews being the ones causing trouble for Paul and Silas by forming a mob of the town’s low life, as our scripture reading puts it ‘worthless loafers.’
Well this riotous mob go looking for Paul and Silas, one place they think they might be is at Jason’s house, however when they get there, there is no sign of them. They must have been well and truly worked up by then because it seems they just had to have someone to take out their anger on and unfortunately, that someone, was Jason and also some other believers who were probably with him at the time. These men were dragged before the authorities and Jason was accused of allowing Paul and Silas to stay in his home. The accusations then turned to Paul and Silas who they said ‘were causing trouble everywhere, breaking the laws of the emperor and saying that there was another king, whose name was Jesus.’ Well as you can imagine the place was in uproar and the authorities have to be seen to be doing something to placate the crowd, so they fine Jason and the other believers and then let them go.
No beatings this time for Jason and the others like Paul and Silas got, but it must have been a scary time for them all. However the fines, whatever they amounted to, I’m sure brought some hardship on them and their families but we aren’t given any more information. Therefore we don’t know what it actually cost them to be followers of Jesus, but it did cost them financially and probably also socially and emotionally.
So my question is what does it cost each one of us and what are we willing to give, in the service of our Lord. We know that God’s love and grace is free but as we follow Jesus, we have to decide which parts of our lives and the way we live is not His way. And sometimes we might discover that what we have to give up comes at too great a price, just like the rich young man that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 19:16-21, who sadly walked away from Jesus because his love of money and nice things was greater than his love of God. I don’t know about you but this gives me an uncomfortable feeling as I seek to wrestle with my own thoughts about my life, concluding that it is something I must pray about on a continual basis to allow God to be my strength, guide and source of wisdom. My hope is that if there is anything that has to be got rid of then God will help me to action the de-cluttering of my life as painlessly as possible.
Now let’s return to Paul and Silas, we aren’t told where they were when all this was going on but it is apparent that they shouldn’t stay in Thessalonica for their own wellbeing so at nightfall they are sent on their way to Berea and we will find out what happened to them there next week.
Below is the first verse of a hymn written by Judson Van DeVenter (1855-1939) He was an American art teacher and musician, who became an evangelist. This hymn was put to music by Winfield S. Weeden and published in 1896 and it floated into my mind just as I was finishing writing – a God moment maybe?
All to Jesus I surrender
All to Him I freely give
I will ever love and trust Him
In His presence daily live
I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Saviour
I surrender all
CCLI Licence # 1084639
Lord Jesus, go with us into the world this week and help us to remain focused on you. And as we focus on you, help us to make your priorities our priorities in all the places that you send us to. Amen
God bless. Rev Sue
Sunday 14th February 2021
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you so much that through our belief in Jesus as your only Son, we are saved as our sins are washed away by his blood. We thank you for your great love for us and on this Valentine’s Day, when love is very much in our thoughts; we thank you that you gave us the capacity to love as you do. We also thank you that love can conquer all things; that it is capable of repairing and healing all hurts. Help us this day to be more loving towards our family, friends and neighbours and even more so towards our enemies and those who would do us harm; praying for all to turn to you and experience the love and peace that only you can give. We ask this through and in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen
Today is St Valentine’s Day and as it happens for my husband Malcolm and I also our 45th wedding anniversary, but do you know how this tradition started? Well, it is named after one or more early Christian martyrs called Valentine who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II about 270 AD. It was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD when he substituted it for the Lupercalia pagan holiday. It’s traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, chocolates and sending greeting cards. It first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages. Anyway now we know what today is all about let’s move on and see what has been happening to Paul and Silas.
As soon as night came, the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived, they went to the synagogue. The people there were more open-minded than the people in Thessalonica. They listened to the message with great eagerness, and every day they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true. Many of them believed; and many Greek women of high social standing and many Greek men also believed. But when the Jews in Thessalonica heard that Paul had preached the word of God in Berea also, they came there and started exciting and stirring up the mob. At once the believers sent Paul away to the coast; but both Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. The men who were taking Paul went with him as far as Athens and then returned to Berea with instructions from Paul that Silas and Timothy should join him as soon as possible.
As we discovered last week, Paul and Silas escaped from Thessalonica after trouble broke out when some of the Jews formed a mob. Jason, who had been putting Paul and Silas up in his house, took the brunt of the mobs anger, because Paul and Silas couldn’t be found, and he ended up having to pay a fine just for his association with these two men. Knowing that it would be too dangerous for Paul and Silas to stay, they are smuggled out of Thessalonica under cover of darkness and sent on their way to Berea, which was a journey of about fifty miles.
When they arrived in Berea, they went to the synagogue as usual. We are told that the folk there were more open minded than the people in Thessalonica and so they listened eagerly to the message. Then after studying the scriptures over many days, they began to believe what Paul and the others were telling them. In their eagerness to find out for themselves these folk are studying and examining the Scriptures every day with Paul to uncover the truth, unlike the folk in Thessalonica who it seems only came and listened each week in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Now I am sure that each way was appropriate for the folks at that time and I am not knocking the Thessalonians. However this raises in my mind both a question and a challenge for me and all of us as I ask which camp of people I would find myself in – the once a week or the everyday searcher of the truth in the Scriptures. Also how often do I/we pick up our Bibles to read and discover God’s words and truth for ourselves, before going to discuss it with another believer? How often do we ask our friends what they have read in their Bible today? Could/should we be encouraging each other more in this way?
Anyway to move on, as I read this passage we know that some of the new believers are Jews because Paul is preaching in the synagogue and that is the worship place of the Jews. However as we have seen previously there are also non Jews – Greek men and women who believe too. I found it interesting that Luke describes the women believers as ‘of high social standing’ and assume there is a reason for this to be noted otherwise why didn’t he just say Greek women? On consulting a commentary, the writer observes that in Luke’s statement ‘of high social standing’ he is showing the diversity of folk seeking the truth of Paul’s message. It wasn’t only poor people who would listen, engage with and accept it because they had nothing to lose, but folk from all walks of life. He says, ‘They came down from their pedestals as people of high standing or as people of high Jewish heritage and like hungry children in need of food, they sought God’s word.’ And he quotes the words of Jesus from Matthew 18:3-4 ‘I assure you that unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child.’ So it gives me an acceptable answer to my question and allows me to journey forward in my understanding of the ways of God, discovered through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Now I know in Paul’s day and age there was no internet or phone connection however eventually news got to Thessalonica about what Paul and Silas were doing in Berea. So the same folk who stirred up trouble for Paul and Co in Thessalonica, now travel to Berea and get a mob together there too. I assume, because of what had happened before, the believers are taking no chances and quickly hatch a plan for getting Paul away to safety. However only Paul is removed from Berea but Silas and Timothy stay put. Now the last time Timothy was mentioned by name was in Acts chapter 16 verse 1 but obviously he has been part of Paul’s travelling group. This makes me ask other questions which are; why don’t Silas and Timothy escape with Paul? Are they not in as much danger? Did they think the risk to stay was worth it so that they could continue teaching and preaching about the Good News of Jesus? Or was it only Paul who the mob were desperate to deal with as he was seen as the leader and major threat?
One commentary writer seems to partly answer my questions by saying that ‘The first few weeks in the life of a new church are most important, and the new believers need to be provided for. Therefore Silas and Timothy stayed on in Berea with instructions to join Paul as soon as possible.’ Also it may have been that Paul himself didn’t want to cause any further trouble and so decided it was better to move on, leaving Silas and Timothy to carry on the work. Sometimes in our lives I think it’s about knowing when someone is more suitable for the job in hand, maybe because of circumstances but for whatever reason, it’s about not being precious over something and just letting God use the person he chooses, who may not necessarily be ourselves.
Whatever the reasons for Paul going on without them, we know that he is escorted as far as Athens and then his escort returns to Berea with a message from Paul to Silas and Timothy asking them to join him there as soon as possible. Next week we will encounter Paul in Athens before the others get there and we will find out what he gets up to.
Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, we thank you for all that has been written down in the Bible for us to explore, examine, question and believe. We thank you for those who have made an in-depth study of it and therefore can help us in our understanding. However you know how hard it is sometimes for us to just pick it up and start to read, so help us Lord to be motivated into action and joyfully seek enlightenment and life in your word. Amen
God bless. Rev Sue
Sunday 21st February 2021
Calm me O Lord as you stilled the storm. Still me O Lord, keep me from harm. Let all the tumult within me cease, enfold me Lord in your peace.
Prayer: To you, O Lord, we lift up our hearts, offering worship and praise. Show us your path. Teach us to follow. Guide us in your truth. For our hope is in you all day long. Amen
On Wednesday we began our journey through Lent towards Easter. Six weeks to reflect on the journey Jesus took from the time of his baptism until his crucifixion on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Six weeks for us to journey with him and reflect on our own lives and where we stand with God.
While Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy, he was greatly upset when he noticed how full of idols the city was. So he held discussions in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentiles who worshipped God, and also in the public square every day with the people who happened to pass by. Certain Epicurean and Stoic teachers also debated with him. Some of them asked, “What is this ignorant show-off trying to say?” Others answered, “He seems to be talking about foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching about Jesus and the resurrection.
So they took Paul, brought him before the city council, the Areopagus, and said, “We would like to know what this new teaching is that you are talking about. Some of the things we hear you say sound strange to us, and we would like to know what they mean.” (For all the citizens of Athens and the foreigners who lived there liked to spend all their time telling and hearing the latest new thing.)
Paul stood up in front of the city council and said, “I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious. For as I walked through your city and looked at the places where you worship, I found an altar on which is written, ‘To an Unknown God’. That which you worship, then, even though you do not know it, is what I now proclaim to you. God who made the world and everything in it, is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in man-made temples. Nor does he need anything that we can supply by working for him, since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything else to everyone. From one man he created all races of mankind and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live. He did this so that they would look for him, and perhaps find him as they felt about for him. Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; as someone has said, ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ It is as some of your poets have said, ‘We too are his children.’
Since we are God’s children, we should not suppose that his nature is anything like an image of gold or silver or stone shaped by the art and skill of man. God has overlooked the times when people did not know him, but now he commands all of them everywhere to turn away from their evil ways. For he has fixed a day in which he will judge the whole world with justice by means of a man he has chosen. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising that man from death!”
When they heard Paul speak about a raising from death, some of them made fun of him, but others said, “We want to hear you speak about this again.” And so Paul left the meeting. Some men joined him and believed, among whom was Dionysius, a member of the council; there was also a woman named Damaris, and some other people.
As we begin our journey through Lent we continue our journey with Paul who is now safely in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. However as he walks around he is upset by how many idols there are in this city – how many man-made gods are worshipped by the people. So he goes to the synagogue and discusses these things with the Jews who worship there and the Gentiles who have accepted the God of Israel as their own. And he doesn’t stop there, he also speaks in the public square every day to the people who pass by. How amazing it would be if he was doing this today in Saffron Walden town centre, I wonder what sort of reception he would get.
Anyway it seems some of the folk in Athens do listen as Luke tells us that Epicurean and Stoic teachers debated with him. Now the Epicureans were a school of Greek philosophers named after their founder Epicurus. These folk sort to achieve happiness by avoiding pain, and so they rejected Paul’s teaching about the resurrection of Jesus. The Stoics on the other hand came from another school of Greek philosophers their name derives from Stoa Poikile which is ancient Greek and means, so I am led to believe, ‘painted porch’, a colonnade decorated with mythic and historical battle scenes, on the north side of the Agora in Athens, where Zeno (its founder) and his followers gathered to discuss their ideas. They believed that perception was the basis of true knowledge. That the wise man should be free from passion, unmoved by joy or grief, and submissive to natural law – in other words someone who was apparently or professed to be indifferent to pleasure or pain.
I can’t say that I know much about either schools of thought however this is what Paul encountered in Athens as well as those who were not very polite about him, those who asked the question, “What is this ignorant show-off trying to say.” Obviously they didn’t know Paul at all, because if they did, they would have known that he wasn’t in fact an ignorant man but a well learned one. He was a Jewish Pharisee and Roman citizen who became the leading missionary, evangelist, teacher and theologian of the early church. Also he wasn’t a show off, this being born out in his letter of explanation to the Galatians as to why there was no need for non-Jews to be circumcised, also his instruction that they shouldn’t listen to those who said there was because all those folk wanted to do was to be able to show off and boast about external matters, whereas the only thing Paul said he would boast about was the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you want to read this for yourself you can find it in Galatians chapter 6 verse 14.
Some others thought he was talking about foreign gods when he spoke of Jesus and his resurrection. Anyway he got their attention and is taken to the city council, the Areopagus, and they ask to know more about his teaching. You see the Greeks and especially those in Athens had a great love of learning, especially of new things and ideas so instead of, as we have seen before with Paul, him being attacked, he is given a platform to speak and listened to with great interest. And Paul doesn’t waste the opportunity as he cleverly begins his speech saying, “I see that in every way you Athenians are very religious. For as I walked through your city and looked at the places where you worship, I found an altar on which is written, ‘To an Unknown God’” and then says now I’m going to tell you who that God is.
This God is the one who made the world and everything in it, who is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in manmade temples. He also tells them that God doesn’t need anything from them because everything they have and need is given to them by God and that from one man (Adam) God created all races of people and gave them the whole earth to live in. He tells them that this God is never very far away from any of them at any time and as they search for him they might just find him. Also he says in this God, we live and move and exist and quotes from their own poetry saying ‘We too are his children’, again proving that he is a well educated man. As he continues he says, ‘Since we are God’s children, we should not suppose that his nature is anything like an image of gold or silver or stone shaped by the art and skill of man.’
He then tells them that God in the past has overlooked the times when people didn’t know him but now it’s different and he requires everyone to know him and to turn from their evil ways and sin because there is a day of judgement coming, judgement done with justice by means of a man he has chosen (Jesus) and the proof is that he has raised this man from the death. Some laughed at Paul when he spoke of someone being raised from death but others were intrigued and wanted to know more so invited him to speak again. However some couldn’t wait and walked with him continuing the discussion or maybe just listening because it seems that they had already come to the conclusion that he was telling the truth and believed him.
One of those was a man named Dionysius (by his name he was probably Greek) and a woman named Damaris. Again we see a non-Jew and a woman being shown to be followers of Jesus however we are told there were also more but we don’t know anymore about them. Luke seems to want to stress the point that it isn’t only Jews who are acceptable but the normally unacceptable too.
I’m not sure how long Paul stayed in Athens however it appears that it wasn’t until he moved on to Corinth that Silas and Timothy caught up with him and next week we continue our journey with them there.
We thank you faithful Lord for your patience, for your provision and power; for your tenderness and trust, for the security and strength you give us and especially for your compassion, wisdom and love. We thank you Lord, that through your grace and mercy and the blessings of faith and your covenant love, that you equip us, teach us and guide us as we journey in today’s world, going with us so that we are aware of your presence and love. Amen
God bless. Rev Sue
Sunday 28th February 2021
Come if you are hungry because God longs to feed you. Come if you are searching because God longs to find you. Come if you are weary because God longs to give you rest. Just come because he is waiting for you.
Prayer: O Lord we come to you now in this very moment when some of us are full of joy, and some of us are full of sorrow. Some of us are just middling, surviving not thriving but however we are feeling right at this moment, we come into your company just wanting to spend precious moments with you. Wanting you to put your arms around us and wrap us up in your tender love, needling to be close to you, O Lord as we come to you grant us the peace that only you can give. Amen
Another week of Lent and another step on the journey with Paul and the early Christian church is where we find ourselves. This week Paul leaves Athens and arrives in Corinth, a journey of about 50 miles. Today it would probably only take us about an hour in the car but then as most people travelled by foot a 50 mile trip would be at least a two or three day journey, maybe more depending on how fast you walked and what you were carrying with you. Anyway let’s join Paul and see what happens!
After this, Paul left Athens and went on to Corinth. 2 There he met a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, for Emperor Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 and stayed and worked with them, because he earned his living by making tents, just as they did. 4 He held discussions in the synagogue every Sabbath, trying to convince both Jews and Greeks.5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul gave his whole time to preaching the message, testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Messiah. 6 When they opposed him and said evil things about him, he protested by shaking the dust from his clothes and saying to them, “If you are lost, you yourselves must take the blame for it! I am not responsible. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 So he left them and went to live in the house of a Gentile named Titius Justus, who worshiped God; his house was next to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, who was the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with all his family; and many other people in Corinth heard the message, believed, and were baptized.9 One night Paul had a vision in which the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid, but keep on speaking and do not give up, 10 for I am with you. No one will be able to harm you, for many in this city are my people.” 11 So Paul stayed there for a year and a half, teaching the people the word of God.
Paul reaches Corinth and meets Aquila, who came from Pontus (a region in northern Asia Minor on the south shore of the Black Sea) and his wife Priscilla. These two had recently returned from Rome because the Emperor Claudius had expelled the Jews from there, something to do with them causing disturbances in the city. The expulsion of the Jews from Rome isn’t only recorded in the Bible but also by the Roman historian Suetonius. Anyway, Aquila and Priscilla had something in common with Paul and that was their trade, they were tent makers and probably already had an established workshop, so it would have been relatively easy for Paul to join them. This also gave him the opportunity to speak with folk about Jesus as he traded rather than bring attention to himself by standing in middle the street sharing the Good News with the crowds. Apparently the Romans were not too enamoured with folk who did this and that’s probably why Paul didn’t always receive a good response. Remember what happened in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. And of course on a practical level he needed to be able to eat and support himself. As usual when he reached a place he would go to the synagogue on the Sabbath (if there was one) to discuss the scriptures and try to convince everyone that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, promised by God.
We are told that eventually Silas and Timothy turn up from Macedonia and that when they do Paul gave his whole time then to preaching the message. Now I wonder if this means that he stopped working with Aquila and Priscilla or that regardless of what he was doing (working or in the synagogue) he didn’t stop evangelising. Anyway Paul would always begin by trying to convince the Jews of the truth of the message he brought, but very often they were the ones who just couldn’t take it on board and this is when we find him protesting by shaking the dust from his clothes and saying to them “If you are lost, you yourselves must take the blame for it! I am not responsible. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” And yes I can imagine him getting frustrated with them, his own people; however there is more to it than just that. One of the commentary writers (Loveday Alexander) says this, “The action of shaking out the garments is a prophetic action that indicates absolution from a spiritual responsibility. Like Ezekiel, Paul is acutely conscious of his prophetic responsibility to proclaim God’s word to his own people. Only after he is convinced that the Jewish community has rejected his message does he feel free to turn to the Gentiles….. If the prophets failed to preach the word assigned to them, then they must bear the heavy responsibility of failing to warn those to whom they are sent. But if they have delivered their message faithfully, then the responsibility for accepting or rejecting it lies with the listener.” Paul I believe was just making sure they were aware of this by his actions. You know the old saying, ‘You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.’ Paul had done what he could now it was up to the individual, to either accept the Good News or reject it and even today this is the decision everyone has to make for themselves.
At this point he turns his focus to the Gentiles and actually goes off to stay with one – Titius Justus – a man who we are told, worshipped God and lived next door to the synagogue. Now that must have been interesting especially as we are also told that the leader of the synagogue, a man named Crispus, became a believer and he and his family were baptised. I was wondering why Luke after telling us that Paul made a statement by his action of shaking out his clothes is now telling us that a Jew and the leader of the synagogue is now a baptised believer. And again reading material from those who are much more learned than me it seems that he wanted to get across the message that not all Jews rejected what he was saying about Jesus. You know sometimes people can get ‘what’s the expression’ “tarred with the same brush” and the Jews have taken a lot of flake over the crucifixion of Jesus but it wasn’t all Jews but really only the ones that should have known better because they were more knowledgeable of the scriptures.
I’m sure for Paul it must have been hard to accept that a lot of the Jews just didn’t want to know about or accept Jesus as the Messiah and at times he must have questioned himself as to whether focusing on the Gentiles was the right way forward, or if he was in the right place at the right time. Sometimes if things don’t quite go as we had expected we can begin to have doubts about what we are doing and whether it is of God or not. Maybe Paul’s mind was in this place as he slept one night and that’s why he had this vision of the Lord saying to him not to be afraid but to carry on doing what he was doing. Maybe he needed that encouragement as God said, don’t give up because I’m with you and nothing’s going to harm you because already there are others in this city that belong to me. What a confidence builder those words of God were because we know that Paul stayed there in Corinth for eighteen months, teaching and building the church that had been planted. And the thing that amazes me is that God was already working there in that place through other people who aren’t named or written about. It encourages me because we don’t all have to be the well know evangelist to be working as part of God’s army of people. Each one of us has our part to play whether it is recognised by others or not. Our God as we often sang when we could worship in the chapel, Our God is a Great Big God, and He Holds us in His Hands, just as he held Paul, Peter, James, John and all the other disciples over the years – we are safely held in the palm of his hand. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Lord, help us to be strong and to trust in you and to not weaken. Help us to walk in your way, to sit in your presence and to stand against evil. Help us to go in your name and stand firm in our faith. Amen God bless. Rev Sue