Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 33

Happy “All Saints Day”!

Or perhaps I should start off like Saint Paul at the start of his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 1.
Laura, minister by the grace of God, to the saints at Rockingham Road Baptist Church, the faithful in Christ Jesus.  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

How do you feel about being a saint?

Perhaps this lovely little poem prayer sums it up?

I’m far too small a saint than I would want to be. 
I’ve been too big a sinner once again. 
So use this little saint – it’s all that I can be – 
in place of me the sinner, please! Amen

By Tom Gordon, 'Used with permission' from his book “New Journeys Now Begin”, www.ionabooks.com


Bible Study

On Wednesday 4th November at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start,
“The Seventh Day” Genesis 2 v.1-3

  1. What does Sunday mean to you?  Has its importance changed over your life?
  2. During lockdown we have all had times of enforced rest, what has that been like for you?

Read Genesis 2 v.1-3

  1. Why did God rest?
  2. Notice the three blessings God gives in the creation narrative, chapter 1 v.22, v.28 and chapter 2 v.3, what does this say to us about the Sabbath.

Read Exodus 16 v.11-30

  1. What should the Israelites be doing on the Sabbath?
  2. What motivates the people of Israel to gather more manna than they need?
  3. What do you think of the slogan “Keep Sunday Special”?  How should we approach Sundays? 

Audio Services

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 covered by the church. 

Next week is Remembrance Sunday and we will reflect on Remembrance.


Reflection

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

I hope you have enjoyed our series of reflections on Creation.  I’ve appreciated taking it slowly and not rushing through the whole story in one go.

As we have looked at creation, we’ve seen that the of spaces were made first, then water and light followed by the creatures to inhabit the earth including the creation of humans.  God then stopped and rested.  Or to put it another way, in Exodus 31 v.17, “he rested and was refreshed”; literally, ‘he rested and took breath’.  There is a sense of enormous fulfilment, of having completed something wonderfully good and breathing a sigh of satisfaction.  Seven-day patterns were not unique to the Israelites and are seen also in Assyrian and Babylonian writings, but in the Genesis text, that pattern is rooted firmly in the God who has created the heavens and the earth as his temple, and now takes up residence through his people.

But what are we to make of the seventh day?  If we think of creation as taking six days, then the Sabbath is just spare, written in to make seven - the perfect number.  However, the Bible regards creation and the Sabbath as belonging together - as being a seven-day project.  God did not spend the seventh day in exhaustion, but in serenity and peace.  What God had created was good and therefore he was at peace with the world and at ease with all that he had made.  The Sabbath in Genesis chapter 2 is about the rest of God.  But because we are made in the image of God, this rest of God is a promised rest for humankind, as Jesus said in Mark 2 v.27, “The Sabbath was made for man”.  So with that in mind, Sabbath rest is not a rest borne out of exhaustion or a sleep that allows escape from where we are, but rather Sabbath rest (God’s rest) is a rest characterised by peace and contentment. 

There is also an important difference with the description of the seventh day in Genesis chapter 2 from the previous six days in chapter 1.  Whereas the earlier days were divided up with the formula that, “there was evening, and there was morning”, the seventh day does not have that phrase, which suggests that it does not finish but continues on.  Tragically, however, in the very next chapter of Genesis, we see humanity fall from our intended state of peace to a place of discord and hostility on all levels; with God, with one another, and with the wider created order.  The Sabbath peace is shattered and the remainder of the Bible is the story of how God works to bring restoration; to put back what has gone wrong and bring about the Sabbath rest that has been promised.

As followers of the risen Messiah, we live in the “overlapping of the ages”.  We have the first fruits of the Spirit, like a seal or deposit that guarantees our future inheritance (Rom. 8 v.23; Eph. 1 v.13–14), but we are still awaiting that final time.  For all its beauty and wonder, we know we inhabit a world of terrible sadness and suffering, and we will not escape that while we live in these “in-between times”.  This is a world of wounds and it can be all too easy to bury our heads in the sand, focus on our own lives and refuse to engage in the issues we have touched on in this series on creation, particularly where they require us to make changes, personally and in our churches and broader society.  There is a tension between where we are now and where we look forward to being.  The Catholic theologian, Peter Hocken writes, “the Spirit has been given both as the first fruits and the hope of full liberation, and we are stretched between the two.”  I am sure we all feel that stretch at times and it can be painful and difficult.

But we know that, as followers of the risen Jesus, we are called to navigate that tension and live lives that speak of His hope for creation.  We do that symbolically as we meet each week to pray, worship and break bread together – the Sabbath now not held on the last day of the week, but on the first day of the new week, the resurrection day.  We also do that by refusing to give up, remembering that no act of ours is in vain even if we can feel overwhelmed by the tragedies around us.


Information

Christmas Shoeboxes

Please can these be back in church by Sunday 8th November.  However, the church is a drop off-point for the area so the church will be open 9.30am to 12 noon on Monday 9th, Wednesday 11th, Thursday 12th and Monday 16th for dropping off boxes.  If you can spare an hour on any of these days to help receive the boxes - please speak to Laura.  There are arrangements in place to ensure Covid restrictions are adhered to.

Tearfund Big Quiz Night Saturday 14th November at 7.30pm,

We are holding Tearfund’s Big Quiz again this year to fundraise for the charity’s work in some of the world’s poorest countries.

It will be using "Zoom" and should last around 45 minutes.  Tearfund’s ready-made quiz includes questions suitable for all ages and teams, large or small.

We suggest a donation of £3 per person to take part and these can be made through a just giving page specially set up.  All money will go straight to Tearfund.

The link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rockingham-Road-Baptist-Church
To take part in Rockingham Road Baptist Church’s Tearfund’s Big Quiz Night please send an e-mail to me, Laura.  I will e-mail the details for joining a short while before the quiz is due to start, if you have friends or family who want to take part just ask them to e-mail too.

It should be possible to play in teams of 2 or 3 households if you want, please can you let me know in advance who you want to be in a team with, otherwise it could be a random selection for every team!

Church Secretary/Administrator,
Wendy has decided it is time for her to step down from being our secretary and from being a deacon.  I am very grateful for all she has done and we will say a proper thanks in due course.  She will step down either in January or at the March AGM when we have a replacement.  But is happy to continue with any little jobs she can do.  Please pray as we now need a new Church Secretary, though some things could be done by others.

Next Church Meeting Sunday 29th November after the service. 
It will be in two parts, a normal meeting to elect deacons and a special meeting to consider the new constitution.  Nomination forms for the diaconate are now available and need to be given to Wendy by Sunday 8th November.  The new constitution will be circulated soon.


Songs for Sunday

1. O when the saints go marching in,
O when the saints go marching in,
O Lord, I want to be among the number,
When the saints go marching in!

2. O when they crown Him Lord of all,
O when they crown Him Lord of all,
O Lord, I want to be among the number,
when they crown Him Lord of all.

3. O when all knees bow at His name,
O when all knees bow at His name,
O Lord, I want to be among the number,
when all knees bow at His name.

4. O when they sing the Saviour’s praise,
O when they sing the Saviour’s praise,
O Lord, I want to be among the number,
when they sing the Saviour’s praise.

5. O when the saints go marching in,
O when the saints go marching in,
O Lord, I want to be among the number,
When the saints go marching in!

Traditional
CCLI #5638

1. Dear Lord and Father of mankind
Forgive our foolish ways;
Re-clothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives Thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise,
In deeper reverence, praise.

2. In simple trust like theirs who heard,
Beside the Syrian sea,
The gracious calling of the Lord,
Let us, like them, without a word
Rise up and follow thee,
Rise up and follow thee.

3. With that deep hush subduing all
our words and works that drown
the tender whisper of Thy call,
as noiseless let Thy blessing fall
as fell Thy manna down,
as fell Thy manna down.

4. O Sabbath rest by Galilee!
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with thee
The silence of eternity,
Interpreted by love,
Interpreted by love!

5. Drop thy still dews of quietness,
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace,
The beauty of thy peace.

6. Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind and fire
O still small voice of calm,
O still small voice of calm.

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-92)  CCLI #5638


Prayers

A prayer of praise

In bright light and dull darkness
In the energy of each day and the rest that comes with night

We remember the goodness of God

In the heavens high above our heads
In waters that run deep around the world

We remember the goodness of God

In solid land and flowing seas
In vivid flowers and fruit-laden trees

We remember the goodness of God

In the rising and setting of the sun
and the cycles of the seasons
In the patterns of the shining stars

We remember the goodness of God

In oceans teaming with fish
In skies filled with birds

We remember the goodness of God

In a world filled with animal life
And in ourselves as human beings

We remember the goodness of God

In rest and reflection, in wonder and worship

We remember the goodness of God

The world around you is full of beauty

We praise your name O God

For the gift of life on earth

We praise your name O God

Open our eyes to your artistry

Your image is in all that you have made

Where our praise is short or silent

All creation sings out with joy

Here we join creation’s song

We praise your name O God

Amen.

source hftf.org.uk

We are asked to pray for Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Northampton,
minister Rev Paul Lavender 

Please remember our “Mission of the month” - Tearfund,