Well we are all now settled back into our routines of school and work, maybe your children or grandchildren have gone back to school and the house is a bit quieter than it was during the summer. I would like to invite all our church members and readers of this magazine to join us in a ‘year of prayer’. Let me explain where this came from.
As Christians prayer underpins everything we do, we pray for God’s blessing and guidance. This week Delaney and I had a meeting with Mrs Cook at Egglescliffe CE Primary School to plan our work with school for this year. This term the children are going to be studying the Lord’s Prayer and much of the lunchtime activity that Delaney will be involved in will be entered on that theme. We also have plans to study the Lord’s Prayer in our church children’s activities in the new year. So it seemed to me that this was a great opportunity for us to focus on that very special prayer as a church community. So please look our for articles in this magazine and let us unite in prayer for our church, our community and our country.
This also fits nicely into the vision we have for this year as we begin our journey in the Partnership for Missional Church (PMC). The launch event will be in October. We are looking forward to sharing with you the things we learn at the leaders and listeners events and we really hope you will join us and be part of this very exciting development. The main focus of PMC is that we seek ways of serving our community and sharing God’s love within our parish as well as growing in faith ourselves.
September also saw the very exciting launch of our new Sunday children’s ministry ‘SPARKS!’ We have added to our leaders and helpers and plan a fun packed time of worship, reflection and activities for our children and young people in the parish hall. The have started with the theme of ‘God’s Rescue Plan’ and will look at the story of Moses over the next few weeks.
As I mentioned earlier Delaney is now working with us and we have a very exciting programme lined up for the year at school and church. Thank you very much to those who have contacted her to offer hospitality and thank you to everyone who gave her such a warm welcome at our All Age Service last week.
With all these things in mind we have a great year ahead of us and I look forward to sharing more news as the year progresses.
Revd. Sylvia Writes
Are you a disciple?
At Wednesday communion this week we read through Matthew chapter 20 which tells the story of Jesus immediately prior to him entering Jerusalem for the last time before his trial and crucifixion. After the parable of the Vineyard workers which is a story of the grace and generosity of God we see Jesus’ encounter with the mother of James and John followed immediately by two blind beggars shouting to get Jesus’ attention. The disciple’s mother wanted her sons to have a place of glory on Jesus’ left and right. She didn’t understand that the way that Jesus was going to reconcile people with God would involve unthinkable suffering, pain and death. The blind beggars halted Jesus progress along the road, shouting out ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ They demonstrated great faith when Jesus asked them ‘what do you want me to do for you?����������� they replied ‘We want to see!’ He touched their eyes and immediately they could see and they followed him. We don’t know anything else about their story, presumably they followed him all the way into Jerusalem.
This made me reflect on what it is to follow Jesus.�� The newly sighted men did not turn away but rather followed the One who had opened their eyes. It is completely possible to know about Jesus but not be a follower. To be a follower is to be a disciple. The dictionary says that a disciple is ‘a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another’. I would like to suggest that if we take Acts 2 seriously that we are not just pupils and adherents but through faith in Jesus we are empowered people. Empowered by the Holy Spirit If we adhere to the teachings of Jesus and are filled with
his Spirit we should see our lives and minds being transformed as Paul wrote to the Roman church (ch.12:2). When this happens we gradually become aware that we can love those we previously thought unlovable. Our speech becomes filled with grace so that our words are no longer sharp unkind and impatient, but rather full of love. This is because we begin to see others as Jesus sees them, as loved and precious to God.
Is this what we are like or is there room for improvement? I know that I for one need to realise more of Jesus��������� grace and transforming power in my life to become the person he created me to be.
Perhaps as our major Christian festival approaches and we celebrate once again the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ we should look at the new season we are entering at St. John’s with great excitement. This is a wonderful new opportunity to allow the Saviour to open our eyes afresh to perceive the risen Christ and to see ourselves and others through his eyes and with his love so that together we can discover what he is calling us to be and do as disciples in this community of faith?
With love in Jesus Christ