WELCOME TO THE PARISH OF SKETTY
LAST WORD FOR JUNE 14th 2020
ADVERTISING FOR DISCIPLES
In our Gospel reading for today, Jesus says that workers are needed to gather people into God’s Kingdom. (Matthew 9. 35 – 10. 8.)
I wondered what He would be looking for in future disciples and what would be in His advertisement for them.
Then, I thought about possible advertisements the church today might choose for church workers. I think there would be quite a difference!
Below is an example of what might be a comparison with what Jesus wants and what we might want.
WORKERS NEEDED TO LEAD THE CHURCH
The church has vacancies for church workers. Many are needed.
The must have a good basic education and/or be willing to study and gain qualifications.
They must have a legally clear record.
They must be very much involved in their own parishes and socially acceptable to all.
They must be able to relate to people of all ages and be good communicators.
A good singing voice and the ability to relate to a variety of church music and being able to play an instrument would be helpful.
They must have at least 3 references.
An awareness of a calling and vocation should be visible.
There is an age limit.
They should have skills necessary for leadership and evangelism and we are looking for a variety of people with special gifts.
There is an age limit and younger applicant should have some life skills and experiences of work and involvement with voluntary work.
WORKERS NEEDED FOR GOD’S HARVEST.
MUST HAVE THE FOLLOWING QUALIFICATIONS:
They have been called by me.
Above all they must simply say yes to my call and place themselves in my hands.
All other gifts and skills I will give them through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus needs us all, no matter who we are, what we are or where we come from or what age we are. All we need to remember is that Jesus calls us not because of what we are now, but because He sees the potential in us and what we can become if we trust Him and are obedient to His will for us. It is amazing how He can change us and equip us for service through the Holy Spirit. Is He calling you and me today? What will we say?
LAST WORDS FOR SUNDAY 21st. JUNE 2020 TRINITY 2
DO NOT BE AFRAID
All of us are afraid of something.
Sometimes the fear is justified and it can help us to prevent unpleasant things happening before they do.
But we also have the sort of irrational fears we call, ‘ phobias’.
For some, the thought of flying is a very daunting prospect and could even mean that unless the fears are overcome, never again seeing some members of our families who have emigrated.
I must admit that I don’t like flying! But some years ago, I wanted to make a pilgrimage to The Holy Land and it was so important to me that I did this once in my life -
As a child, whenever I had a nightmare or was frightened, my mother would say to me, “Say your prayers and everything will be all right,” and it always was! It was all to do with the unquestioning trust of a child.
I am grateful that now I am an adult this has developed into a faith that continues to trust my Lord and I still turn to Him whenever I am afraid. He has never let me down. It was this alone that allowed me to make my Pilgrimage before I became too ill to do so.
Jesus often said to people, “Do not be afraid.” (Luke 8: 30.) He wanted people to trust Him no matter what was happening to them or to those they loved.
During a bad storm on the Lake of Galilee He rebuked His own disciples for being frightened even though He was Himself, there, with them, in the boat! (Luke 8: 22 – 25.)
Today, We hear in Matthew 10. 24-
He is with us Himself always in the person of The Holy Spirit. But when we are frightened, as we all are from time to time, do we really appreciate this?
Perhaps we need to hear Him say to us too, “Do not be afraid!” When I was ordained Deacon last year, Viv Lewis had made me an Ordination stole and had embroidered upon it me favourite verse from Isaiah. Whenever I am frightened, I recall this verse and find peace.
I'll leave you today with the words fom Isaiah 41:
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you,
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through rivers,
they shall not overwhelm you.
Do not fear, for I am with you,
I am the Holy One, your Saviour.
TRINITY SUNDAY 2020
God is Father Son and Holy Spirit! He is revealed in three different personalities, yet He is only one God!!! This is a bit of Complicated Theology that preachers over many years have tried to explain; and we are still trying!
The truth is that God the Father reveals Himself in many different ways. He revealed Himself to Moses as the great, 'I Am!' The old Testament depicts God in a constant struggle with His people to get them to be obedient to Him and to stay away from idols. Sometimes He had to punish them to make them see the error of their ways but after every punishment, some including exile, eventually He restored His people bringing them back to their own land He had chosen for them and forgiving them.
Throughout the Scriptures God gives His people warnings about their behaviour, punishes them for disobedience but always assures them of His love for them and forgiveness if they repent. Always God is like a loving, sometimes frustrated father, trying to discipline His children whom He loves, in order to make them into the people He wants them to be.
Eventually God the Father, chose to reveal Himself in and through the personality of His Son, Jesus. Jesus was to show people what He was like. He was there to restore the covenant between God and His people and to teach them that that covenant had to be written within them, become part of who they were and based on His love and compassion. Jesus told the people that those who had seen Him, had seen the Father.
Jesus has been described as God Himself being born into a moment in time as one of His own creation in order to restore His relationship with them.
After Jesus death and Resurrection, He ascended back to the Father. This left the disciples totally alone. How could they show God the Father to the world?
The answer is that on their own they could not. Therefore, God the Father had to be with them in another form to empower them. He did this in the form of the Holy Spirit who was God the Father Himself within them and helping them to grow more and more into the likeness of Christ through whom He had revealed Himself.
We all reveal ourselves to others in different ways. One person could be a daughter, a sister, a mother, a wife, a nurse and a Worship Leader. In these various roles, she will behave differently and show different aspects of her personality. But, essentially. she is one loving caring person.
LAST WORD: 28th. JUNE, 2020
I wonder if like me, you are ensuring you have a good supply of face masks
in order to provide some protection from the Corona-
Whatever they look like, whatever fancy material is used, and however strange, they make us look, their primary aim is protection.
Most of us have different spiritual-
When we feel vulnerable, we are careful about how many people we allow to know ‘the real me’.
We put on our public faces and change our expressions as well as our actions so that we allow others to see only that part of us that we want them to see. Most of us hide our real selves from the world because we fear how people will react to us if they saw us as we really are.
We may be able to hide ourselves from one another, but we cannot hide ourselves from God. He loves us as we are and pours His balm of forgiveness upon any failings, He sees in us when we admit them to Him.
We wear masks to protect us from the virus, and we put on our spiritual masks to hide who we really are from those who might ridicule us. Both masks protect us from being hurt in one way or another.
God Our Father loves us. We do not need to be afraid of Him. He revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Who was love personified. He longs for us to grow into His likeness until He is reflected in every part of us. However, once He is visible in us, then we face many dangers that beset Christian around the world today.
Sometimes that might mean we want to wear a mask to disguise God’s image in us to protect us from hostility
to Jesus and His teachings and ourselves from harm.
Those masks we do not need. Jesus is our protection and ultimately, our salvation. However much we are tempted, let us throw those masks away! The viruses of evil surround us but in this case, we want them to see Jesus and not to hide Him from them.
Instead of a mask, we put on the whole armour of God and His love against which nothing
ultimately will prevail! Remember our thoughts from last week? “Do not be afraid!”
LAST WORD JULY 5th. 2020
There was a time when I didn’t like the psalms. I could not see what use they were other than reflecting the historical situation in which they were written and links us with worship then and now.
However, I have changed my mind. Many of the psalms reflect the writers open relationship with his creator. He doesn’t pretend to be good and pious. He often rages at God, expressing his anger at the situation in which he finds himself and quite often wanting revenge on those whom he considers his enemies. Some of his requests are quite gruesome.
If he is not raging about them, he may be raging against God Himself and what he sees as unfair treatment from Him.
Yet, once the anger is expressed the writer seems to calm down and often the psalm will end with praise.
During the ‘Sharing Together Zoom group’ on Wed. we thought about the relationship between David and Saul. David was very, angry at the way Saul was treating him. Psalm 59 helps us understand his feelings. He spilled out all that inner anger to God. The words are uncomfortable and vindictive. He wanted his persecutors punished. He wanted to gloat over them. He would like them to suffer as he had.
As the psalm continues David calmed down. He couldn’t keep up his vindictiveness. It became clear that in spite of everything, David was convinced that God is loving. However great his suffering and frustration David still held on to his faith that God was there and listening.
Psychologist tell us that there is a deep anger in all of us. We have to acknowledge it and deal with it. As with David, God our Father is always there and listening. He understands our harsh words when the distress is real and deep, even when it is directed at Him. It is important to bring it into the open before God. Eddie Askew commented in one of his books that if we don’t, and pretend it is not there, we are living a lie. But he reminds us that God’s love is unqualified, and far from punishing us for our anger, He will help us deal with it.
Many are angry with the situation in which we are with the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to tell our Heavenly, Father how we are feeling. We may find just by expressing the tension within, we will find peace.
An example I once heard was that of a child who having thrown a tantrum, after it was over, climbed on his ever patient, father’s knee, cuddled up to him and said, , “Daddy, I love you!”
In the same way, our loving God waits patiently to embrace us in His love and forgiveness. I remember once praying, “Lord I love You, even though at times, I have very funny ways of showing it!”
LAST WORD SUNDAY 12th. JULY 2020
THOUGHT ON SEA SUNDAY:
THE SEA OF LIFE
We who are Christians are sailing along through the sea of life in the ship named, ‘The Church of God’.
The sea is vast dangerous and unpredictable. Sometimes it is smooth and calm while at other times it is stormy and rough with large waves of difficulties pounding down upon us and around us.
‘The ship’, is sturdy and strong. Much hard work has gone into the building of it and lives lost and saved. Through experiences over many years it continues to alter and grow in various ways. Some things remain the same, others change, the crew come and go, but one thing is constant and that is, The Captain’, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The crew are all of us who call ourselves Christians and we are sustained on our journeys by the Holy Spirit Who is given us by the Captain when we board His ship.
We are asked to be totally obedient to Him and to trust Him at all times seeking His advice and guidance whenever we need it.
In return He gives us all assigned tasks and as members of His crew, He asks us to be reliable and trustworthy and to do the best we can because the welfare of the whole ship depends upon each of us performing our assigned duties to our utmost ability and upon how we work together.
Divisions can put the whole ship in danger and when storms hit we are weakened.
But, where are we going? Where will our journey lead us? What and who will be waiting for us at its end?
The captain has taken us on board to take us ‘Home’. We are strangers and aliens (Ephesians 2: 19) in the secular world and we are called to return home to where a place has been prepared for us. We don’t know what that place will be like but we believe it will be more wonderful than anything we can imagine. Knowing our Captain on the journey means that we already learn to trust Him and that can take away any fears or apprehension we may have.
If you are not already on board the Captain extends an invitation to you to join us. He will expect a lot from you but more than anything else He will ask you, as He asks us all, simply, for our love and trust. Then His words will be forever imprinted on our hearts, “Peace be still!”