Welcome to this morning's Worship service.
Worship today is led by Betty Grimley (not available via Zoom this week)
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God Bless x
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Rev Christine Fox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.
Below you can find this weeks Message. Click here to find the whole worship sheet.
How have our relationships with God changed because of the Pandemic? Ever since human beings learned to talk I think they must have started to share their ideas and asked questions, not just like “What shall I go out and hunt for dinner?” but ones about things they didn’t understand like “Who made us?” and “Why are we here?” “Why does the ground sometimes shake?”. The answers didn’t come easily so people tried to make sense of the world and who was in charge. Their ideas were first expressed in pictures and with the advent of literacy in words as well. Throughout history they all reflect the age and culture of their times. So the portrayal of God by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel is very different from Graham Sutherlands’s tapestry in Coventry Cathedral. What we have learned about God has changed through the ages.
We have been living through times of great and sudden change because of the covid pandemic. It has had devastating effects on the lives of many people. We hope we are now beginning to come out of the worst. Trinity Sunday is the day we think about God as three persons in one which is not an easy concept and I don’t propose to tackle it. Instead I would like us to reflect on how the pandemic has changed the picture we have of God, as each of those persons. I’ve chosen hymns and prayers to help us think first about God as Creator, then about Jesus as servant and finally the Holy Spirit as inspirer and comforter. I hope these thoughts may help us to reflect on what has changed, disturbed or encouraged us.
We begin with God the creator
Our first hymn was one of praise and thanksgiving to God the creator of our living world. When the noise of the traffic stopped and we heard the birds so clearly; and when the air sparkled with clarity as the smog of pollution dissipated, we began to discover that a walk in the garden or the park brought joy to the soul and healing to minds made sick by anxiety, fear of the virus and loneliness. When we consider the beauty of springtime, the amazing diversity of our world’s ecosystem and also the infinity of space and its wonders, we must surely join with Isaiah and the angels in his vision and say “Holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory”. But like Isaiah we too may be feeling guilty when faced by that glory. Our guilt may have arisen because of the damage the world has suffered through human activity. Many people, including at Grangewood and Kingswood, have become more aware of the urgent need to reduce their carbon footprints and have responded to God’s call to action. Will we be able to accept God’s forgiveness and respond to his call as Isaiah did?
Now Jesus the servant
If there are two words which sum up our behaviour and concerns during the pandemic they are Care and Faith. Our gospel reading reflects Jesus the ultimate carer and healer who gave himself for us all. We heard of Jesus supporting a distraught father with a dying daughter and a woman untouchable in her society because of her continuous bleeding. Both have faith in Jesus. Both receive his loving care. The pandemic has brought great distress to so many; the sick, the bereaved, the isolated from friends or family, those who feel excluded from society. I don’t need to list the many ways in which in which care has been given both by people doing their jobs superbly well and by the many volunteers who filled the gaps. Many have turned to the online worship and prayer provided by churches. Others I suspect may have felt abandoned by God as well as human carers. Jesus brought healing and love to those who felt unloved, excluded and abandoned. His love is still available for all but we are the agents who must bring it to those in need.
Finally the Holy Spirit
I began this talk by thinking about how people have changed the way they visualise God. Last Sunday we celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit and the transformation of the disciples into charismatic leaders. What a change that was. Inspiring is surely the word most appropriate for this time when so many have been infected with a disease that literally takes away our ability to breathe. The spirit brings comfort to wounded hearts and minds helping those who feel unsure of the future or of their faith. She gives us courage to try new ventures and can boost our wavering self belief. I’d like to finish with a verse from our next hymn which brings together what I have been trying to say:May the Spirit fill our praise, guide our thoughts and change our ways. God in Christ has come to stay. Live tomorrow’s life today.