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Sunday Worship - Sunday 24th January

Good Morning! Welcome to this morning's service.

Worship today is led by Rev Christine Fox.

Click below on the red play button to start the video. You can also find the service on YouTube here if it isn’t working on the blog.

God Bless x

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Rev Christine Fox:

Children's and Family worker - Jessica Bullett:

Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.

Message - Rev Christine Fox

With all the flooding and having the story of Jonah as one of this week’s set readings no doubt some preachers will be inspired to speak of rescue from the water – but I see Jonah doing something different to inspire a change of heart – just as did Jesus as he began his ministry. Today is the third week of Epiphany – which is the revealing of God to the world though Jesus – Jesus appeared in Galilee speaking the Word of God – a message of turning back to God – just as Jonah had finally appeared in Nineveh and spoken God’s word calling the Ninevites to repent. And in both cases people did respond and both of them were agents of salvation. And today we have Greta Thunberg who appeared outside the Swedish parliament on strike from school for the climate – again doing something different, challenging people to think again, literally to re-pent and inspiring many to change. Before I looked at the readings for today I had been thinking that we need someone like Greta to be the one who will do something different for Christianity.

And who will it be? It may be you, listening today – do you hear God calling you to do something different to draw attention perhaps to the apathy towards faith in Jesus? Most people of course when first called to do something different by God react much like Jonah and try to run away. But God has plans for each of us and eventually he makes sure we get the message and in taking the first steps discover that actually God has prepared the way.

Even for Jesus, God called John to prepare the way – and Greta started doing her different thing after years of calls across the world for action on climate change. But it was time for response to go up a gear – a quantum leap – and I wonder what is that leap for Christianity? What might an individual do differently that ultimately has a huge impact? Nineveh was said to be the largest city in the world between 700 and 600 BC, its peak perhaps 50 years after Jonah went to it. The name of Jesus is known to every nation, and yet so many do not know that he is their hope.

In the midst of angst about the destruction wreaked by the coronavirus, are we able to do what Paul called the Corinthians to – those who mourn to act as if they did not – those who are happy to act as if they were not..? To respond differently – perhaps to see some of the new ways of sharing the love of God as better than the old ways – at the same time stopping being happy with situations that maintain injustice and harm – both to people and our planet?

Neither Jonah, Greta or Jesus set out on their own plan – it was God’s call on them that led them to a place of doing things differently to what most people would see as the ‘proper’ thing to do – ignoring expectations to be like everyone else – and so we can take courage from their example – as did Simon Andrew James and John – courage to step out of comfort zones when God calls, because he will have prepared the way for you to do your ‘something different’.

What might that different thing look like? Are you falling into getting stressed, like so many, over when you might get your shot of the vaccine? Do something different – trust God, who knows your need. Are you shocked at how much packaging you are putting into your recycling bin? Do something different – refuse to buy more stuff or send the packing back! Are your longings so great for worship in the church building that it stops you connecting with God in other ways? Do something different – live in the moment and maybe ring a friend and pray over the phone together? These are just examples –for you it may be none of these so ask God and listen to the still small voice that keeps coming back to that ‘different’ way, and take the first step.

So here is the good news – that we not only have a God who has a plan for creation, but that God prepares the way for even you and me to play our part in the plan, one step at a time. Jesus asks - will you come and follow me?

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