The Second Rocky Road Epistle - Chapter 2

Sunday 15th November 2020

I have just done a funeral for a resident from Southleigh, a beautiful tribute paid to him was that he wanted to make people smile however they felt and that he warmed everyone’s heart.  He had an impact on those he met.  Our actions (or lack of them) have an impact on those around and beyond, as shown in this lovely poem by the late Spike Milligan

Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner
and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realised
I'd passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile,
then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,
don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick,
and get the world infected!

Or put another way by Patrick Hutchinson (who rescued a white counter-protestor in the Black Lives Matter protests in June) “Let’s treat people with respect and you might get some back.”  Certainly the pep talk in this cartoon would not have that effect.

The impact of the Covid virus has been incredible, from one city it has spread to all corners of the world.  The gospel started in one small country and spread around the world, so let us be people of the gospel, rather of a “bad virus”, spreading good around the world, treating others with respect because they are made in God’s image and are loved by God.  Plus don’t foget to smile, a simple action with a big impact – even with a face mask on!  As another saying has it “Let your smile change the world, never let the world change your smile.”


Reflection

From Phillip: “Re-creation” 2 Corinthians 5 v. 16-21 and John 3 v. 1-16

In our studies in Genesis we saw that at each stage of creation God confirmed that what he had made was good.  The creation narrative is not a detailed description of how everything took place, but we do know that everything that came into existence was formed by the “Word of God”.  We also know that the fall of humankind in Genesis chapter 2, put a wide chasm between God and people.  A division which is only brought back together through re­-creation, again by the “Word of God”; for a careful reading of the beginning of John’s gospel makes it clear that the Word, who was with God in the beginning, is the same Word who came and lived among us as Jesus. 

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1 v. 14)

We also saw from our earlier studies that God’s word is not a once and for all command, but God keeps on speaking into his creation.  Similarly, God’s nature is to continually reach out to his fallen people in acts of reconciliation.  The passage from 2 Corinthians is, in the New International Version, titled – “The Ministry of Reconciliation” a wonderful phrase and the word “Reconciliation” appears several times in the short reading.  This “Ministry of Reconciliation” comes about through Christ Jesus who died for our sins on the cross.  Verse 14 tells us that by Christ’s love he died for all and therefore we who now live should not live for self, but for him who died for us. 

If anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. (v.17).

This re-creation is sometimes referred to as a rebirth - to be born into a new relationship with God and in John’s gospel chapter 3 we hear Jesus explaining to Nicodemus what this re-creation means.  It came about when Nicodemus, who had been impressed by the “signs” he saw, came to Jesus under the cover of night and basically asked what it was all about?  In reply Jesus said to him “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” and that sounded so incredible and impossible to Nicodemus that he enquired, "How can a man be born when (like me) he is old?"  I think Nicodemus probably did realise that what Jesus was saying, and his fear was that he was just too old to change his ways.  How could he break away from all the great tradition that he as a Pharisee had inherited, and was now ingrained into his conduct, his thoughts, his speech, indeed his very being.  “I can't do that” he protested, physical rebirth is impossible, but is spiritual change any more feasible; surely it is as hard as it would be to, literally, return to a mother’s womb and have a rebirth.  In response Jesus repeated what he had said that there needed to be a new birth, and then he expanded on it with reference to water and the Spirit and we need look no further than John the Baptist to work out what Jesus was saying.  John had been around just before Jesus; he had been baptising with water to signify repentance and in his preaching, he had proclaimed the coming messenger of God who would endow humans with the Holy Spirit.  The new birth comes about through repentance and confession of the individual, that’s the water, and then there is the transformation of life by the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Reconciliation is about barriers being broken down and relationships being re-created.  Reconciliation between humans and their creator is what God desires and the re-creation is brought about through what Jesus has done for us.  For as Jesus went on to explain to Nicodemus,

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3 v.16). 

It is through Jesus and his death on the cross that the two sides; God and humanity, which were divided at the fall, are brought back together again.  The seventh day wonder of a perfect creation is restored in true re-creation.

Next week’s theme is “Ministering on the margins” Luke 4 v.14-30.


Songs for Sunday

I am a new creation,
No more in condemnation,
Here in the grace of God I stand.

My heart is over-flowing,
My love just keeps on growing,
Here in the grace of God I stand.

And I will praise You, Lord,
Yes I will praise You, Lord,
And I will sing of all that You have done.

A joy that knows no limit,
A lightness in my spirit -
Here in the grace of God I stand.

Dave Bilborough
© 1983 Thankyou Music CCLI #5638

  1. Before the throne of God above
    I have a strong, a perfect plea –
    A great High Priest whose name is Love,
    Who ever lives and pleads for me.
                My name is graven on His hands
                My name is written on His heart
                I know that while in heaven He stands
                No tongue can bid me thence depart,
                No tongue can bid me thence depart.
  2. When Satan tempts me to despair
    And tells me of the guilt within,
    Upward I look and see Him there
    Who made an end to all my sin.
                Because the sinless Saviour died
                My sinful soul is counted free,
                For God the Just is satisfied
                To look on Him and pardon me,
                To look on Him and pardon me.
  3. Behold Him there the risen Lamb
    My perfect, spotless, righteousness
    The great unchangeable ‘I AM’
    The King of glory and of grace.
                One with Himself, I cannot die
                My soul is purchased by His blood
                My life is hid with Christ on high
                With Christ my Saviour and my God!
                With Christ my Saviour and my God!


Charitie Bancroft © 1997 CopyCare, CCLI #5638


Prayers

Prayer from Craig

Dear God, please bring us peace from Covid and put a stop to it.  None of us have seen our loved πŸ’– ones properly for ages or been able to embrace 😘 them.  We pray and hope that this Christmas 🎁 will still be a happy 😊 one whether we’re at home 🏠 for it or not.  Amen πŸ™πŸΌ

Please pray for Rushden, Highfield and their minister Rev Steve Pearman

They write “God is good!
At the time of writing (end of July), we are opening for Sunday services, and most are returning to worship. Due to Covid-19 many of the groups using the premises have not returned, which has impact on community life and our finances. Please pray about this.
Also to safely restart Messy Church, which has become our main ministry to families around the immediate area”

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


Information

Listening to a recording of an audio 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. 

Christmas Shoeboxes

These can still be dropped off at church.  The church will be open 9.30am to 12 noon on Monday 16th November and due to Covid there will be a couple of extra days early December for dropping off boxes.

Lastly a question for you, presuming we are back holding services in our building over Christmas, our carol service (possibly outside so we can sing) is on 20th December, then a short Christmas Day service (25th!).  Shall we have a service on Sunday 27th December – will you come?

The Evangelical Alliance and Anglican Archbishops have called for a National Day of Prayer for our communities on Friday 13th November.  On the Evangelical Alliance website it says, "we hear the call again to unite and seek God together in this time of trouble...to come together, in one Spirit, to call on the One who saves – to bring light in dark places, to be the hope to the nations, to bring healing to our lands."

They suggest weaving listening and sharing into the daily routine of life for the day.

Lord, today direct my thoughts, inhabit the stillness, give power to my words. In Jesus’ name, Amen

They have produced the following schedule for the day.  You might like to dip into it, or even pause at each point of the day and pray for the topic suggested

Proposed schedule

Breakfast

  • Pray for those in the caring and emergency services, often tired, discouraged and weary.
  • Those in hospital, and those in intensive care.

Mid-morning

  • Pray for the bereaved, anxious and fearful.

Midday

Pray the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, 
but deliver us from the evil one.

In Jesus’ name, amen

Matthew 6:9 – 13, NIV

Lunchtime

  • If possible, go out and move around and pray for your community, streets and local businesses.
  • Those shielding or in isolation. 

Early afternoon

  • Pray for the church in the UK, that we would carry the gospel, be salt and light.

Mid-afternoon

  • Pray for the poor, unemployed, homeless.
  • Those with addictions.
  • Those struggling with mental health issues. 

Late afternoon

  • Pray for the vulnerable, children, those with disability and their carers.
  • Those who are lonely.
  • Those who are fearful in their home situation.

Evening

  • Pray for those in positions of power and leadership and decision makers.

Night-time

Lord of grace,
may your goodness fall in our nations.
Father of love,
pour out your love on, in and through us.
Spirit of fellowship,
build and strengthen communities across the UK.
Have mercy, heal our land,
extend your kingdom in our day.
In Jesus’ name,   Amen


Bible Study

On Wednesday 18th November at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start,
“New Heart”  Ezekiel 36 v.22-38

  1. Why do people need heart surgery –
    have you ever had any?
  2. Why does God do heart surgery?
  3. Looking up, in and out. 
    What does the passage tell us about:
    a) God?   b) Ourselves?   c) Others
  4. Any other verses on a similar topic in the Bible?