The Fourth Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 1

Phil and I have just come back from a few days on a canal boat.  In ideal weather we travelled slowly down the pretty and peaceful Brecon and Monmoth canal in Wales.  Before we set off for the trip we had to plan ahead.  We knew where we were going and what the boat was like.  But packing was not so easy, ensuring we had clothes for every possible weather situation, food for meals, phone chargers etc.  All this alongside making sure that things at home could be paused! 

As we go forward as a church we need to plan ahead.  First we need to find out where we are going, this means discovering God’s direction for RRBC.  We then need to be ready to travel.  In the mean time we will review work taken on to sustain the fellowship in the lockdown. 

This includes these epistles, you will notice this is the first of our fourth epistle and it is slightly different with some things missing or shortened.  At the moment we will keep on with the epistles but I hope that in the next few weeks we will see those of you who are physically able coming back to the services on a Sunday morning.  Services are only just over 30 minutes and held under restrictions (masks, hand gel, no mingling, no singing and no facilities).  It is a very safe enviroment.

Another area to review is the Zoom Bible Study, I am wondering if we move to fortnightly rather than weekly? 

My suggestion is that we have the next Bible Study on 12th May. I would value people’s reaction to this.  It is now possible for a group to meet at church again, with all regulations followed, but people may feel they prefer to remain online for now.

Reflection

From Laura based on Romans 5 v. 6-17
“How much more shall we be saved”

On the news today there is a report of 2 men who jumped into the Thames to save a woman who was crying out for help.  It happened very early last Saturday morning and one of the men Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, known as Jimi, aged 20, sadly died in the attempt.  The other man and the woman were rescued.  Jimi’s concern for others is heart-warming, though we must remember his family in our prayers.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, posted on Twitter that Mr Olubunmi-Adewole was "A true hero of our city who gave his life trying to save another".  Jimi jumped in thinking only of saving the woman, yet surely he did not intend to die in the attempt. 

In the passage Paul wrote “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die” (v.7).  Jesus willingly gave his life; he knew that saving people meant death for him.  God, in his love, took the initiative even though we were powerless to save ourselves v.6, ungodly v.6, undeserving v.7, sinners v.8, and enemies of God v.10.  The simple phrase in verse 8, “Christ died for us” should cause us all to wonder at God’s amazing love.  In this reflection we are looking at another simple phrase - “How much more”.  But first it is worth pausing to look at two words used in the passage, justified and reconciled. 

Justified means we are set free from any fear of being condemned by God (Romans 8 v.1,2).  The theologian Paul Tillich used the word “acceptable” instead of justified.  We are acceptable to God through Christ’s death.  Paul Tillich wrote that faith means “accepting that I am accepted even while continuing to find myself unacceptable”, this is worth thinking about.

Reconciled, reconciled to God, means we are no longer enemies but made friends through Christ’s death on the cross.  The word reconcile literally means to again restore relationship or bring back together.  Christ’s death means that we can know the relationship with God that humans were made for.  

“How much more” occurs four times in the passage in verses 9, 10, 15 and 17.  Each time Paul argues from the lesser to the greater.  The argument is that if God has done this then how much more will this same God do now.  In verse 9, because we have been justified through Christ’s blood, made acceptable through Christ’s death, how much more shall we be saved, how much more will He now save us from God’s judgement.  Verse 10 is similar, if God reconciled us, restored us, to Himself when we were enemies, surely the living Christ will keep on saving us now that we are God’s children.  This should result in joy or even boasting in all that Jesus has done, and is doing, for us (v.11).

In the passage Paul turns to contrast Adam and the impact of his disobedience with the work of Christ.  Through Adam’s sin condemnation and death came into the world, meaning that death reigned over people (v.17).  Christ not only undid all the damage that Adam’s sin caused, but He accomplished “much more” by making us children of God.  In verse 15 Paul argues that the impact of Adam’s sin meant death for many, but how much more will God’s grace and gift of life through Jesus overflow to all.  Similarly in verse 17, Adam had such a powerful, yet destructive, impact causing death to reign.  So then how much more powerfully will Jesus Christ enable us all to reign in life spiritually.    

As Hebrews 9 v.14 in the Message version says

“Think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.”

Let us be people who are all out for God!


Dates

30th April and 1st May, Dick and Margaret Shaw are taking up a challenge put out in early April by Captain Tom Moore's family for people to do 100 'somethings' in his memory around the time of his birthday (April 30th) and to raise money for a charity of their own choice.  Dick and Margaret have decided to make 100 handmade cards and 100 small cakes to sell outside their home (56 Shakespeare Road).with all the money taken going to Cransley Hospice.  The sale will be on Friday 30th from 2-4pm and again on Saturday 1st May from around 12noon throughout the afternoon.  Everyone welcome if you feel able to support them.

9th May Deacons’ meeting after the morning service

23rd May Pentecost Sunday - service outside on the car park.  Possibly with coffee outside after – if there are a few people who would organise this?

13th to 23rd May “Thy Kingdom Come”, between Ascension (13th) and Pentecost (23rd) there is a wave of prayer across the UK and around the world - praying that people will know Jesus.  There will be prayer sessions happening in Kettering, look out for more information.  To help there is a well-produced prayer journal of which I have fifty to give away.  Let me know if you want one or collect one on Sunday.  You could download an electronic one from the website www.thykingdomcome.global which also has other resources.  Also for those of you with children or grandchildren I have fifty activity packs to give away, called “Digital Adventure family prayer adventure map”.  Again let me know, or collect one on Sunday, I will be offering these to other churches in the area as well.


Please pray:-

  • for our Mission of the Month – Christian Aid,
  • for Kettering Woman’s centre, run by C2C, in our back rooms on a Thursday and Friday.  They are opening a “Wellbeing” café from 10.30am to 11.30am in the lounge and would welcome any church folk willing to volunteer (female only) to listen to people who come.