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26 September 2021 – Harvest
This Sunday we celebrated Harvest. On Saturday many of you brought your gifts of food for the Padley Centre and tools, sewing machines etc for Tools with a Mission, and enjoyed a cup of tea, coffee and a chat. The display of food as well as tools was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who contributed to both of these charities.
The songs in our church service were:
- Come, You Thankful People Come
- Great is Thy Faithfulness
- Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
- O Lord of Heaven and Earth and Sea
- We Plough the Fields and Scatter
Reading: Deuteronomy 26: 1 – 11
During our Sunday service we looked at the passage from Deuteronomy 26: 1 – 11 which is a liturgy for the Israelites to help them remember their story of how God has provided for them and how God rescued them and brought them out of Egypt. We can split this service into three parts, the first part is called Harvest Hands, when the Israelites brought their first fruits to the priest to place at the altar. We can see a mixture of both worship and celebration in this act. During our own harvest service we can see these two elements also, as we brought our produce to be displayed. This was an act of worship to God as we offer the things he has provided back to him, and as we celebrate with thanksgiving as we recognise what God has provided for us. As we have brought our offerings, which symbolises some the first fruit of our work before God, celebrating his goodness and his provision for us. The second part is called, Remembering our story. As we come back to the passage we see in verses 5 – 10, God asks the Israelites to remember their story, the story that tells of God’s saving work in bringing them out of Egypt. God leads then through the wilderness for many years bringing them into the promised land flowing with milk and honey. The danger was, once they had settled into this new land that is good and plentiful, the Israelites may forget their story, they may forget how God rescued them, they might forget how they had to rely on God in the wilderness. This harvest liturgy is designed to remind them of who they are, what their story has been, and to keep on track following the ways of God. And then our third part is called A Harvest of Hope. The New Testament uses the language of Harvest about times when God will draw his people together. If we look at 2 Thessalonians 2: 13, this verse tells us that we are chosen by God we are his first fruits from what Jesus has done on the cross for us, we have done nothing to be saved on our own merits. God gives the gift of salvation freely to us. If we turn to Revelation 7: 13 – 14 these verses would encourage the first century Christians as they where discouraged and oppressed. What is God saying to the readers at this time and to ourselves today? Particularly if things are tough for us today, God is saying, ‘hang on, don’t give up, you have a story’ like the Israelites in Deuteronomy they could recall a story of struggle, discouragement and oppression calling out to God to save them. Harvest means the joyful celebration of God completing his work on earth which is yet to come and if you read on in Revelation 7 you will see the words of what it will be like when God’s harvest of the world is complete. It says, ‘never again will they hunger, never again will they thirst, for the lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ This is our hope; one day there will be a time when God will put everything right. God will ultimately receive you with the delight of a farmer completing his harvest. Whether you are rejoicing in the prosperity God has blessed you with or whether you are struggling, let me encourage you to remember the story of salvation, as the Israelite remembered their story we need to remember our story, the story that is full of hope and a future which is secure in Christ Jesus.
19 September 2021
I wanted to bring news to you all this week about a new venture we are trying out at LBC. If you can remember a few months ago, I spoke about the idea of running a renew cafe. Some of us have visited two of the cafes which are running locally and have found these both different and inspiring. During our church meeting last Wednesday it was decided and agreed that we would step out and start the process of running our own Renew Cafe as a trial, so we will keep reviewing this. So our next step is to bring some training, of which the materials are provided by the Renew and Wellbeing Charity. If you are interested in doing this training please ask me about this so I can have a approx idea of numbers. As I said on Wednesday, the most important thing anyone can do as we reach out to those in need in our community through the renew cafe is for you to pray. So please can I ask you to pray for those who are involved, whether they are part of LBC, or from other organisations in our community who are willing to link with us.
The songs in our church service were:
- Come let us sing: praise to our King
- From heaven you came (Servant King)
- Open our eyes Lord
- Tell out my soul
Reading: Colossians 3: 15 – 24
Our Service this Sunday was our third week of Frontline Sundays and our theme this week was, ‘Whatever we do’. Our passage was taken from Colossians 3: 15 – 24. We learn from Pauls words that whatever we do, however small or insignificant it may seem to us, does matter to God. Most of the original listeners of this letter from Paul would most likely be slaves. These people had no control over their lives. It would have been easy and understandable for them to feel that what they did was insignificant. But Paul, in his letter in verse 22 – 24, wants these people to look at their daily tasks with new eyes. He asked them to step away from whatever they do “doesn’t matter” to whatever they do “does matter”. It matters because whatever they do they do it in the name of Jesus. When we go about our everyday lives in the name of Jesus this means that we bring honour to Jesus in every aspect and activity we find ourselves doing.
Paul tells us in verse 15 to let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Paul talks about peace in Philippians 4:9 he says, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” When we listen to the word of God and we learn and bring these things onto our frontlines, putting them into practice, letting Jesus rule over our hearts, this will make all the difference, even when we think what we do is just so insignificant. He will bring a peace upon our hearts. Our passage finishes with these words, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not for men”. It is the Lord Christ you are servicing.
Here is a prayer to finish with: Lord, as we scatter to our frontlines, we thank you for the many opportunities to do good things in the world. Whatever the tasks of our week, wherever we are, we pray that you will work through them and they will bear fruit for your kingdom. May we do all things, attentive to your presence and with a heart set on working at them for you, first and foremost. Amen.