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  • Writer's pictureRev Claire

2nd May 2021 - Finding Peace in Grief


Welcome to our service today. We continue our series on finding peace as we walk through the roadmap out of lockdown and today Claire reflects on John 11:1-35.


We also have an in person family service at 11am at the church building. This service is particularly aimed at families with children. If you are coming to that, please remember your masks. Normal social distancing measures apply.


We will gather together on zoom coffee and cake after the service at 12.15pm. The link is here .


We have a Church Meeting next Sunday 9th May at 12.15pm on zoom after the online service. This will be a chance for us to share and discuss the opening up plans, to celebrate what is already going on as well as share information about finances and discuss, pray and look ahead together to the future. All members are encouraged to attend if they can and non-members are welcome too. If you cannot get on zoom, information will be shared with you in the usual ways after the meeting.


Coming up:


Sunday 9th May - Online service followed by zoom Church Meeting at 12.15pm

Sunday 16th May - join with our Baptist Family for a streamed YouTube service from Baptist Assembly at 10.30am (note earlier time) followed by zoom communion at 12.15pm. The sermon will start at approximately 10.55am and is brought by Shane Claiborne, Christian activist and author from Philadelphia in the US - he will be very much worth listening to.

Sunday 23rd May - Online service with sermon/in person family service at 11am

Sunday 30th May - In person service at 11am replicated online. This may be outside dependant on weather.


Bible Study:

We will be starting a new Monday evening Bible Study series (5 weeks) on zoom at 8pm on Monday 10th May. "Together for good" - Growing happiness and wellbeing in our community.


Baptist Assembly:


Baptist Assembly Online – 13-16 May 2021

"We are very excited that, being an online event this year, Baptist Assembly 2021 can be made available to all, offering a unique opportunity to bring a large number of people together to join in worship, prayer, Bible study and consideration of current issues. The sessions will be free for anybody to join via our website – but register to join us and we’ll send you all the links you’ll need in advance. See our website for more about the weekend’s programme, including seminar topics, information about our keynote speaker Shane Claiborne, and registration. We hope you and your church family will be able to join us during the weekend"



Worship


Call to worship


Psalm 91, our Psalm of the year, says this:


Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”


Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honour him.

With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.”


As we come to worship today, let us draw near to the Lord. He loves us, he holds us and he walks with us.


Songs for Today


Here is a play list of songs for today. You might want to save a couple for after the prayers and after the sermon.



The Storm will end


The artist Charlie Mackesy, who is also a Christian, has been influential in the last year or so as he has created art that has inspiring, encouraged and kept people going. Here is a video of him describing what he has been doing - it was made just before Christmas last year, hence the Christmas reference!



Look how far we've come, he says.


Take some time to reflect on how God has brought you through the last year. The storms are not yet gone, and some of our storms may be raging more than others, but God has never left us to face them alone, and he promises that the storm will end. Give thanks to God for his constant presence.


Last year we spent a lot of time thinking about rainbows and the hope in that image. If you are feeling creative, maybe you might want to remind yourselves of those images and then create something new to express hope as we step forward through the roadmap, maybe inspired by Charlie Mackesy. Give thanks for the promises of God, which he will fulfil.


Prayer


Vic reflects on grief and leads our prayers today as we think about how we find peace in grief.




In his prayers Vic refers to a book by Richard Littledale. The book can be found in most bookshops - it can be found here


Richard talks, in the book, about how he visits Anthony Gormley's Another Place. You can find out more about that here . He last visited with his wife, Fiona, before she died. He says this:


"There is a path - but it lies ahead, rather than behind. I have not been here long enough to discern it yet, but I know that it is 'over there' in Another Place.


Yesterday I paid a visit to Anthony Gormley's artwork of the same name - a place I had last visited with Fiona. The statues still stand there - stock still and staring out to sea. Sometimes they are hidden, sometimes they stand tall - but always they turn their steely gaze to another place.


I was especially struck by one figure. The waves were lapping at his chest, and all but engulfing him. He is unmoved, though - and he continues to look to Another Place. I am hoping that I can do the same......"


Claire's sermon, below, was inspired by Richard Littledale's writing here, and her own experience of visiting Another Place. Here are some pictures to help you imagine what the view looks like that Richard describes and Claire refers to.





Sermon


Here is Claire with the sermon. She is speaking to us from John 11: 1-35 - read it here.




Blessing


God’s Comfort Blanket


May the arms of God surround you

With the fibres of His warmth

May His comfort blanket enfold you

As you shelter in His wings


May the strength of embrace protect you

As the fleece and wool surround you

May you feel His love, His peace

As you rest in His arms


May you gradually unravel

As the threads ravel round you

May you begin to let it go

And feel release in his grace.


May the arms of God surround you,

Protect you and enrobe you

May His comfort blanket soothe you

As you shelter in His wings



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