Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 32

The cartoon is based on words from Psalm 50, in which the people of God are reminded to truly worship God and not to simply go through the motions. To not presume that God is dependent on their sacrifices and ignore God’s way for their lives.

Psalm 50 v.7-15 (Good News Version)

7“Listen, my people, and I will speak;
    I will testify against you, Israel.
    I am God, your God.
I do not reprimand you because of your sacrifices
    and the burnt offerings you always bring me.
And yet I do not need bulls from your farms
    or goats from your flocks;
10 all the animals in the forest are mine
    and the cattle on thousands of hills.
11 All the wild birds are mine
    and all living things in the fields.

12 “If I were hungry, I would not ask you for food,
    for the world and everything in it is mine.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
    or drink the blood of goats?
14 Let the giving of thanks be your sacrifice to God,
    and give the Almighty all that you promised.
15 Call to me when trouble comes;
    I will save you, and you will praise me.”

We have a generous God who deserves worship and a sacrifice of praise every day of the week wherever we are. As we are reminded in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians,

Ephesians 3 v.20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


Bible Study

On Wednesday 28th October at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start,
Land animals

Genesis 1 v.24-31

  1. We share this world with the most incredible and wonderful mix of strange, colourful, funny, scary, cuddly, scaly, odd, tiny, huge creatures that we could ever possibly imagine! Pause for a moment to think about animals. Are there any that you find amusing? How many live near you? Give thanks to God for His amazing creation.

  2. What animals are there in the Bible?

  3. Many of us know the pleasure of seeing a deer leap across a field, a hedgehog scurry under a hedge or perhaps the warmth of being welcomed home by a much-loved dog. What notable encounters have you had with animals?

  4. Encounters like these are precious as they underline the connection between us humans and the wider animal world. In her 2016 Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book, “I Am with You”, Episcopal priest Kathryn Greene-McCreight said: ‘There is no true humanity without other creatures of God.’ Do you agree? Why?

  5. Biblical scholar Richard Bauckham talks of ‘the community of creation’. Pope Francis calls this world ‘our common home’ but says that the relationship between humanity and nature is broken; how far do you agree?


Reflection

From Laura Genesis 1 v.24-31
“Let the land produce living creatures and let us make humankind in our image”

We are part of a vibrant community of creation of all different shapes and sizes. Humans were created on the same day as animals and given a role. Belonging to creation means that any damage we do impacts humans as well as the rest of creation. Sadly the words in our translation of Genesis 1 v.26 have given people the excuse to dominate creation instead of cherishing it, a reason to use it for their own ends and ignore the responsibility for caring for all that God created. A better reading would be “Let us make human beings in our own image and likeness, so that they may look after the rest of creation” (Ruth Valero author of the study “saying yes to life”). Thus, being in God’s image means we have been given a job to do.

The Bible teaches that every man and woman is created out of love and made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1 v.26). Being made in the image of God means that every human has incredible value because they are in some way like God, the created reflecting the creator. This value is not something we earn and is not a capacity we can lose. It is bestowed on the rich and on the poor, on the healthy and on the sick. It is a gift. Each person is not just something, but someone. Rowan Williams writes of how we are each of value before God:

“This means that whenever I face another human being, I face a mystery. There is a level of their life, their existence, where I cannot go and which I cannot control, because it exists in relation to God alone. The reverence I owe to every human person is connected with the reverence I owe to God, who brings them into being and keeps them in being. I stand before holy ground when I encounter another person.”

The Creator can say to each one of us: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1 v.5). God has carefully created you and me, each of us is wanted, each of us is loved and each of us is necessary since we have a part to play in God’s world. This wonderful truth is something to marvel at and be thankful for, something that compelled David to sing:

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.”
Psalm 8 v. 3-5

But just imagine what would happen if your image in a mirror talked back to you and told you that it didn’t need you anymore? You would either laugh and tell it not to be stupid or feel terribly upset, certainly you would try and explain that it is only there because of you. What if the image said it had read books, been on courses and had therapy which proved it could exist without you? If you just stepped sideways so only half of you could be seen, your image would probably panic as it realised that it was disappearing and could do nothing about it. The image was only real as your image, it was not real in the way that it thought it was real.

The German spiritual teacher and author, Eckhart, says, “The image owes no allegiances to anything except that of which it is the image.” There is nothing that has the authority to say what it is except that of which it is the image. And so it is with us, as the image of God we are nothing without God. But God’s image in us has been damaged – physically and spiritually – after sin came into the world. We see its effects all around us, in broken relationships and broken bodies. This brokenness brings us to the core of the Christian faith - God loved us so much that he sent Jesus into the world. He lived without sin amongst us, died on the cross in our place and rose again to bring us back into a true relationship with God as His image-bearers. Let us “say yes to life” in living as bearers of God’s image, not trying to do things on our own in our own way. Let us reflect God’s image to all His creation in the way we live.

Next week we are finishing the series on Creation “Saying Yes to Life”, with the theme
“The seventh day” Genesis 2 v.1-3


Prayers

A prayer based on Psalms 102: 25 (NIV) (from BMS)

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” 
Loving God,
thank you for the gift of creation.
As we experience each day,
as we take every step on our life’s pilgrimage,
may we take time to wonder and give you thanks.
From each sunrise to every sunset,
in all the seasons
and with every breath,
may we celebrate our home in creation,
and the gift of life.

As our climate is changing,
give us the compassion to care deeply
that people are suffering now,
from spoiled harvest and violent storms,
from drought and flood.
Give us the imagination to see
that future generations are in peril
and may not know the beauty we see.

May our actions reflect a love for your world
our prayers be shaped by a longing for justice for all,
and our imaginations inspired to hope for
a world free from poverty.
Amen.

We are asked to pray for Kingsthorpe Baptist Church, Northampton

Please remember our “Mission of the month” BMS Harvest appeal “Operation Chad”


Information

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

Tearfund Big Quiz Night Saturday 14th November,

this is going ahead and will be through Zoom,

Rotas – Wendy is thinking about rotas for next year for when we again need stewards and people to serve coffee. Please let her know if you want to join the rota or would prefer to come off it.

Next Church Meeting is on 29th November after the service. It will be in 2 parts, a normal meeting to elect deacons and a special meeting to consider the new constitution. Nominations for the diaconate need to be into Wendy by 8th November and forms for this will be available from 25th October onwards. The new constitution will be circulated in the last week of October.


Songs for Sunday

1. All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voice and with us sing:
hallelujah, hallelujah!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

2. Thou rushing wind that art so strong,
ye clouds that sail in heaven along,
O praise him, hallelujah!
Thou rising morn, in praise rejoice,
ye lights of evening, find a voice;
O praise him, O praise him,
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah...

3. Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
make music for thy Lord to hear,
hallelujah, hallelujah!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
that givest man both warmth and light,
O praise him, O praise him,
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah…

4. Let all things their Creator bless,
and worship him in humbleness;
O praise him, hallelujah!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
and praise the Spirit, Three-in-One;
O praise him, O praise him,
hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah...

St Francis of Assissi (1182 - 1226),
CCLI #5638

1. Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

2. We are pilgrims on a journey
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

4. I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I'll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow
till we've seen this journey through.

5. When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we've known together
of Christ's love and agony.

6. Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

Richard Gillard (b 1953)
© 1977 Scripture in Song / CopyCare Ltd
CCLI #5638


A reminder about listening to recordings of our services

At our reduced Sunday morning services in our building, there is regularly around two dozen of us as well as those who follow the chapter and pray for us at home. Now for those of you who remain at home you can listen to a recording of the service.

If you have internet, then go to our website (RRBC.org.uk) where you will find a recording.

If you are not on Internet, we have now paid to have a “Dial-a-Service” facility. If you ring 01536 909787 you will be able to listen to a recording of the service on your telephone.
The cost, around 30p a call, is charged to the church.

And finally - don’t forget the clocks

Summer Time ends on Saturday night. Clocks go BACK 1 hour.
Don’t be too early on Sunday morning!