Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 27

Welcome to your next chapter and I thought we would start with a puzzle! 

Fill in the missing word.   The answers are at the bottom of the page.

  1. ……………………..  is the best medicine
  2. ……………………..  is the best policy
  3. ……………………..  is the best disinfectant
  4. ……………………..  is the best teacher

One of the joys at RRBC is the amount of laughter that we can share.  The lockdown could not remove it or ration it, we may not have felt like laughing at times, but sometimes it helps us not to take ourselves too seriously.

The lockdown reminded us of what we value in life, the little boy in the cartoon is going to get a shock one day since happiness does not depend on money and popularity.  Some people think that they know what is best for themselves, some of their ideas may be very good but only God knows what is best.

As we seek the way ahead as a church we need to be prepared to change, things cannot go back to how they were.  We are not maintaining a museum but building a living body which God can work in and through.  Let us look for God’s best not just good things, for some may have to stop because there are better things that we should be doing.   


Reflection

From Laura

“Let the Waters be Separated” Genesis 1 v.6-8

What things have been discovered in your lifetime?  Last Monday came the news of the discovery of a trace of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus.  This discovery puzzled the astronomical scientists since they cannot work out where it is from.  Normally it is a gas from a biological origin, or in other words it comes about as a result of life.  It was discovered by

Professor Jane Greaves who wondered if scientists had been wrong in thinking there was no form of life on Venus or in its atmosphere.  Professor Greaves said, “Even though Venus is fifty times drier than the Atacama desert, there’s light available, there’s water available.”.  However, the trace of this gas could just mean there is an unknown chemical reaction waiting to be discovered.   

Scientists look for evidence of light and water for the possibility of life, two things we all need to exist.  We thought about light last week and today we have the topic of water.  The passage describes God bringing control and order to the swirling, chaotic mass of deep waters (v.2).  God divided the waters of the ground and the waters of the sky to create space in-between.  Now there is space to inhabit and air to breathe, water and sky, but as yet no land. 

Although in Kettering we are nearly as far from the sea as anywhere in England, when I get chance, I still love watching the sea ebb and flow on a beach.  Water can be something beautiful, yet as the result of pollution it can become something ugly and destroying to life.  We cannot tame it, we might harness some of its power to give electricity, but water can bring death and suffering in either too much of it (floods and tsunamis) or in a lack of it (wells drying up and famine).  Water is a truly amazing part of our world and enables life to occur.  Although freshwater covers less than one percent of the earth’s surface, we are utterly dependent on it for our survival and it provides the habitat for about ten percent of the world’s known species.  In the 20th Century freshwater fish have had the highest extinction rate worldwide among vertebrates and in the last 50 years eight out of every ten freshwater species has been wiped out!  This should challenge us as Christians, how does this relate to our faith in a God who made this world to be teeming with life?  As a church are there actions we should take?  How can we say “yes to life” in our world?

One writer suggests that there are 722 verses in the Bible that talk about water, if you have nothing to do you might like to see if that is true?  But whatever the accuracy of that figure, water is a powerful symbol throughout the Bible.  It is part of God’s provision for his creation, including his people.  In Matthew 5 v.45 we read that God sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  God provides water for all, though due to the damage we have done to our earth we now live in a wonderful world that is wounded. 

Jewish thinking says that God specifically put his people in a land with no major rivers precisely to help them remember that God was the ultimate provider of water and of all their needs.  With the ease of turning on a tap to get water we are in danger of taking it for granted. 

One story in Bible, in John chapter 4, tells of Jesus speaking with a Samaritan woman at a well.  Jesus explained that he is the one who gives living water,

‘Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’    (John 4:14).  

Living water springing up is not something we can bottle.  For ourselves saying “yes to life” means that spiritual water should be flowing through us bringing life to those around, not stagnating and bringing danger to us spiritually and depriving those we meet.  Water is life and blessings, let us say “yes to life” to live and speak and to let that river flow through us, passing on life.

Next week in our reflection we are continuing the series on Creation “Saying Yes to Life”,
 the theme is “Let the land produce vegetation” Genesis 1 v.9-13


Bible Study

On Wednesday 23rd September at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start,
All are welcome to join in and if you do not have internet you can join us over the phone. 
Please ask Laura for details. 
We are continuing a series looking at creation alongside the reflections. 

The title is “Waters above, waters below” Genesis 1 v.6-8

If you prefer to do this Bible Study at home, then read the passages and consider these points.

Questions for reflection

  1. What different uses of water can you think of?
  2. What Biblical references can you think of to water?
  3. Also consider the references to water in, Psalm 65 v.1-13, Psalm 69 v.15&23,
    Isaiah 55 v.1-2, Ezekiel 36 v.25-27 and Revelation 22 v.1&2. 
    Which Biblical references to water do you find most powerful?
  4. A Rocha is a Christian conservation organisation working towards the protection and restoration of the natural world.  Their Lubigi Wetland project in Uganda encourages people to take care of the natural environment most local to them.  Can you think of examples of local environments close to you which need protecting? What can you do to look after them?
  5. There are around 108 names given to the River Ganges including “a light amid the darkness of ignorance” or “carrying away fear” or “making a noise like a conch-shell and drum”.  Think about a favourite stretch of water and consider what names might help you to acknowledge and pay attention to it.

Songs for Sunday

  1. Seek ye the Lord, all ye people,
    turn to Him while He is near;
    let the wicked forsake his own way,
    and call on Him while He may hear.
     
  2. Ho, everyone who is thirsty,
    come to the waters of life,
    come and drink of the milk and the wine,
    come without money and price.

And there is peace like a river
and glory divine,
if you'll come to the water,
if you'll taste of His wine.
There is love ever flowing
and joy ever full,
and there's life everlasting for us all.

Joan Parsons © 1978
ThankYou MusicCCLI #5638

  1. Here is love vast as the ocean,
    loving kindness as the flood,
    when the Prince of life, our ransom
    shed for us His precious blood.
    Who His love will not remember;
    who can cease to sing His praise?
    He can never be forgotten
    throughout Heaven’s eternal days.
     
  2. On the mount of crucifixion
    fountains opened deep and wide;
    through the floodgates of God’s mercy
    flowed a vast a gracious tide.
    Grace and love, like mighty rivers
    poured incessant from above;
    and Heaven's peace and perfect justice
    kissed a guilty world in love.

William Edwards CCL no.5638


Prayers

A prayer about water from Nigeria

Dear Lord, it is exciting to know that you are the very source of Life including water. 
We praise and adore You for the gift of water that sustains all life and constantly reminds us that You are the fountain of living water. 
Teach us to use it thankfully, to consume it consciously, and to protect its purity. 

Father, forgive us for the times we took it for granted.  We confess our attitudes of greed, dominance, and insensitivity towards your beautiful creation, and particularly towards water. 

Lord, forgive us for the times we have used water selfishly, unwisely, and without regard for how it affects others.  Forgive us for the actions we have taken to harm the different sources of water around us.  Help us to see the effects of our actions not only on our immediate surroundings but also on people living in places plagued by drought.  Help us to be conscious of our daily use of water; help us to be more willing to reflect on its symbolic nature and the lessons it teaches about You and Your sustaining power. 

Please guide us on how to protect the water bodies you made for Your glory.  Amen. 

(Prayer by Fwangmun Oscar Danladi.  Oscar is a youth pastor at the ECWA Good News Church, Jos, and social activist at the Jos Green Centre, a centre for eco-entrepreneurship for young people.)


Dates

Church meeting and discussion

Sunday 27th September, following the service.  There has been much happening in the last 6 months and we need to plan the way forward for RRBC.  Including reviewing how we do the morning service.   

Tearfund Big Quiz Night

Saturday 14th November, this is still going ahead though we are not quite sure what form it will take. 


Prayer Requests

We are asked to pray for Northampton Abbey Centre Church, minister Rev David Warrington 

Our mission of the month of September is for Operation Christmas Child and the Christmas shoeboxes

Shoebox appeal. 

Please note that leaflets are now available at church as are wrapped shoeboxes (thanks to Isobel).  If you can, please pay the costs to send your box online.  If you prefer to just give a donation instead of filling a box, please let John have that (clearly marked).  It is even possible to pay online for a shoebox to be filled. 

Shoeboxes need to be back to church by Sunday 8th November.


Answers

  1. Laughter
  2. Honesty
  3. Sunlight
  4. Experience