Brothers and Sisters,
I thought it might be helpful to keep in touch during these unusual days. As you probably know, we have suspended all meetings of the church except Sunday Services and Prayer meetings. We hope that as many people as are well enough and confident to come out, will continue to do so, whilst we realise that some who have underlying health issues may find it wiser to stay at home. If that is the case with you, please be assured of our continued prayers and a willingness to do all we can to help you, whether that means a phone call, or practical help in getting necessary supplies of food and medicines. Please let me know if we can be of any help, there are members of the church who are ready and willing to do all they can for you.
We met yesterday for our usual services, but it seemed anything but usual: around a third of the congregation were missing both morning and evening. Still, we were able to join in praise and thanks. We sang several hymns that reminded us of our confidence in God, such as “Call Jehovah your salvation” which is based on Psalm 91, and a hymn by Margaret Clarkson that we rarely sing. It is number 776.
I know not where tomorrow’s road
may turn my pilgrim way,
I may not taste its joy or care
nor see beyond today;
but this I know – my Father plan
the path I cannot see;
He knows each turn, each hill, each dale,
and he will walk with me.
The morning reading was 1 Corinthians 13 and the theme of the sermon was “The most excellent way” . The main points were 1. The Necessity of Love: Love is indispensable in the Church v 1 – 3; 2. The Character of Love: Love can be described v4 -7; 3. The Permanence of Love: Love will never cease for the people of God.
The evening reading was 1 John 2 v 7 – 11 and the theme on that service again was love. John’s letter is concerned with encouraging us to do what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13 v 5 – test ourselves to see if we are in the faith, to know that Christ Jesus is in us. He gives several tests, the first is in chapter 1 and the early verses of chapter 2, it is the test of obedience to the commands of God. The second test is the test of love. John says that those who walk in light, in other words who are children of God, will love the brothers and sisters in the church. In what ways is this a new command? 1. It is a new emphasis on love v7; 2. It is a new example of love in Jesus v8; 3. It is a new extent to love ; 4. It is a new experience of love v9 – 11
Two other items that we shared together in the services, things that I personally have found helpful, are1. The Heidelberg Catechism statement on the Providence of God.
Q. What do you understand by the providence of God?
A. God’s providence is his almighty and ever present power,
whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds
heaven and earth and all creatures,
and so governs them that
leaf and blade,
rain and drought,
fruitful and barren years,
food and drink,
health and sickness,
riches and poverty,
indeed, all things,
come to us not by chance
but by His Fatherly hand.
Q. What does it benefit us to know that God has created all things and still upholds them by His providence?
A. We can be patient in adversity,
thankful in prosperity,
and with a view to the future
we can have a firm confidence
in our faithful God and Father
that no creature shall separate us from his love;
for all creatures are so completely in his hand
that without his will
they cannot so much as move.
And, secondly: This article about our response to the Coronavirus.
Please keep in touch, and share anything you would like us all to pray about. I intend to write every Monday.
Yours warmly in the Lord,