Rocky Road Epistles Chapter 9

Rocky Road Epistle for Sunday 17th May 2020

Chapter 9

Welcome to the ninth part of the “Rocky Road Epistle”, another collection of bits and pieces from your minister to our community of RRBC and friends.  From the latest Government advice, it will be July before we can come together as a fellowship in our building.  However, we are still together as a fellowship through prayer and contacting each other.  Let us be a fellowship of prayer and people of encouragement to all those we meet.  As the restrictions are slowly eased, I pray that society will not lose what we have gained - the improved sense of community, the better working together and the deepened appreciation of others.  The world’s approach of “look out for yourself” has been challenged in the last few months.  All life is interconnected, not just human life, but all creation.  It is interesting to see how much benefit there has been for nature through these days of lockdown. 

From Ascension Day (Thursday 20th May) to Pentecost (Sunday 31st May) there is a global call to pray under the phrase, in the Lord’s prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come”.  It comes with the challenge of praying for 5 friends who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.  Why not start to think about who you want to pray for?  Then when 20th May comes you will have your list of 5 ready. 

Some more cartoons from Pam.

Scriptures for your encouragement

From Annie Psalm 46 (try the Good News version)

Reminders

  • On a Sunday morning, around 10.45am, take time to pray, read the week’s passage & reflection and even sing the hymn. Around 11am say the Lord’s Prayer
  • On a weekday morning around 10am pause to pray for a few minutes, use the prayer diary or the directory to pray for a few people from our fellowship as well those you are concerned for. Again, finish that session with the Lord’s prayer

Passage for next week’s reflection is Acts 1 v.1-11


Reflection from Phillip

Based on the passage for this week 1 Corinthians 15 v.1-11

Why the Resurrection?

Over the past few weeks, we have been looking at the resurrection stories in the gospels and this week I want to ask the question, why is the resurrection so important to our faith?

It is one thing to believe that Jesus died.  He was crucified, dead and buried.  Publicly killed at the hands of Roman executioners, Jesus’ death was no accident but planned by God from the beginning of time and is the atonement, the at-one-ment, by which God and humans come together.  Through the cross we are restored to God - for Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.

But “why the resurrection?”  why do we need to believe in it?  Is it not just enough to believe that Jesus died, even died for me, do we really have to believe this seeming impossibility that Jesus, a dead man, returned to life?  To that question Saint Paul wrote an answer to the Corinthian church and described it as of first importance that Christ died for our sins, that he was buried and that he rose again on the third day (v3&4). 

Jesus’ death shows us the extent of God's love for us, but it is only by the resurrection that we can know we are forgiven.  As Paul says in his first letter to the Corinthians, if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (v14).  It is only through the resurrection that we can be sure our sins are forgiven.

Paul wanted his readers to be in no doubt that Jesus had risen from the dead and he gave a list of people (v5-8) who could say they had seen the risen Lord.  Paul wrote Corinthians about twenty years after the resurrection and many of the people in the list would still have been alive and known to the Church.  If so many, it is well over five hundred, could say that they had seen the risen Lord, then surely it must have been true.  Paul was not calling up witnesses from their history books but simply looking back twenty years to people they knew and trusted.  Twenty years is a short time span and if somebody tells you something from twenty years ago you tend to believe them, impossible though it might seem. 

Let me give you an example; a little while ago I was driving around Corby with my son and daughter and I told them that when I first knew the area Corby had enormous steel works and if you drove near the town at night there was always a glow in the sky.  My children are not that old and although they found it hard to believe neither of them doubted my word. 

Similarly, there are many things in life we can take or leave.  We spend time surrounded by modern technology yet do not know how it works, nor does it matter, as others have done the thinking, the programming, for us.  But with the resurrection you must take it on board, because only if Jesus was resurrected can you know that he, burdened with your sin, conquered death, and you are forgiven.

We live in a pick and mix society, but you cannot pick and mix with the Christian faith.  It is not a faith born of human minds, but a faith given by God.  In an Anglican church, part of a service involves saying together the creed; "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again".  The language is modern, but the gist of it goes back hundreds of years, well before the 1662 prayer book, to the creeds of the early church, for they knew that these things, "Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again" were the fundamentals of the Christian faith. 

Think about the people we have considered in these reflections over the past few weeks; the women at the tomb, Simon-Peter, the companions on the road to Emmaus, doubting Thomas.  Easter changed them and in the same way we need to live as Easter people - in the faith that Christ died and rose again.  As Paul says, by this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you (v2).   Jesus died for our sins and rose again that we might know those sins forgiven.  He lives now and one day the promise is there that we will be resurrected and go to be where he is for evermore.  Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (v20). 


Prayers from the Methodist Church

God of all hope we call on you today. 
We pray for those who are living in fear:  fear of illness, fear for loved ones,
fear of other’s reactions to them.  May your Spirit give us a sense of calmness and peace.

We pray for your church in this time of uncertainty. 
For those people who are worried about attending worship. 
For those needing to make decisions in order to care for others.  
For those who will feel more isolated by not being able to attend.  Grant us your wisdom.

Holy God, we remember that you have promised that nothing will separate us from your love – demonstrated to us in Jesus Christ.  Help us turn our eyes, hearts and minds to you.    Amen

Loving God, if we are ill, strengthen us.  If we are tired, fortify our spirits. 
If we are anxious, help us to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Help us not to stockpile treasures from supermarkets in the barns of our larders. 
Do not let fear cause us to overlook the needs of others more vulnerable than ourselves. 
Fix our eyes on your story and our hearts on your grace.

Help us always to hold fast to the good,
See the good in others, and remember there is just one world, one hope,
one everlasting love, with baskets of bread for everyone.

In Jesus we make our prayer, the one who suffered, died and was raised to new life,
in whom we trust these days and all days.     Amen.

An intercessory prayer

You call us to speak to you in prayer – even when the places we would usually go to are not available.  Help us to know you Spirit’s presence wherever we pray. 
Today we especially pray for those who are living in fear – give them your strength. 
For those who have not yet realised the urgency of the situation –
protect them, and all of us from harm. 
Today I especially want to pray for ……. 
In the name of Jesus.  Amen


Songs for Sunday

1.  How good is the God we adore!
Our faithful unchangeable Friend:
His love is as great as His power
and knows neither measure nor end!

2.  For Christ is the First and the Last;
His Spirit shall Guide us safe home:
we’ll praise Him for all that is past
and trust Him for all that’s to come.

Joseph Hart © CCLI #5638

1.  Christ is risen! hallelujah!
risen our victorious Head;
sing His praises; hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.
Gratefully our hearts adore Him,
as His light once more appears;
bowing down in joy before Him,
rising up from grief and tears,

Christ is risen! hallelujah!
risen our victorious Head;
sing His praises; hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.

2.  Christ is risen! all the sadness
of His earthly life is o’er,
through the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more.
Death and hell before Him bending,
He doth rise the victor now,
angels on His steps attending,
glory round His wounded brow.

3.  Christ is risen! henceforth never
death or hell shall us enthrall;
we are Christ’s, in Him forever
we have triumphed over all;
all the doubting and dejection
of our trembling hearts have ceased.
’Tis His day of resurrection;
let us rise and keep the feast.

John Samuel Bewley Monsell © CCLI #5638


Wednesday Bible Study

There will be no Bible Study on Wednesday 20th May, instead we will have a Communion Service for Ascension Day at 7.30pm on the evening of Thursday 21st May. 

I invite you to take a piece of bread (or even a biscuit or wafer) and a drink (water or juice) and then

either say the service on the enclosed sheet. 

or join others over Zoom for the service (different ID number to Bible Study). 

For Zoom we will get-together at 7.15pm to start the service at 7.30pm.

If you have a phone and want to join the service- then you can. 

  • You ring either of these phone numbers, 0203 481 5240 or 0208 080 6591
  • Then you will be asked to enter the meeting ID 862 2726 6023 followed by #
  • Then you will need to enter a passcode, again followed by #

Please let me know beforehand if you want to join in and I will let you have the necessary passcode


Please note

On the RRBC website there is now a short audio service to listen to on a Sunday morning, and join in the songs. 
If you want to listen and do not have internet, then we can do something through Zoom.  You will need to phone in to do this – please speak to Laura if you would like to.