Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings service.
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Below the video you will find a message from our Minister Rev Christine Fox.
God Bless x
Message - Rev Christine Fox
What a sad beginning to the book of Ruth! but also sadly mirrored in our world today. The conditions in Bethlehem of famine, so bad that Ruth’s father in law had to take his wife Naomi and sons off to Moab, remind us of refugees the world over, still on the road trying to find food for their families. And it gets worse – first Naomi’s husband dies and then her two sons die. The grief and despair of this woman expressed in her lack of hope and bitterness are also mirrored on our screens today in the huge numbers of people who are bereaved because their loved ones lost their battle with Covid19.
Naomi feels utterly hopeless, but she doesn’t want her daughters-in-law to suffer too – she tells them to go home, saying ‘may the Lord show you kindness as you showed kindness to your dead husbands and to me’. The love shown between the members of this family is clear. Naomi says she has no hope of grandchildren to look after her in her old age, but out of their relationship of love, the seeds of hope are planted. Her daughter-in-law Ruth commits herself to her. Where Naomi goes she will go. She will never leave her. I won’t spoil the ending of the story for you except to say that it’s a happy ending! In just 4 short chapters the book of Ruth becomes a story of hope through a committed loving relationship.
So how does our seeing God as Trinity also reveal hope to us today? Recently I was asked by someone interested in Christianity ‘What is the Trinity?’ simply we could say – its God the Father, God the Son- that’s Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit; one God in three persons. But how does having God as three persons make a difference to the understanding of God?
I see it as all about loving relationship. We believe that the essence of God is love – and if you think about it – love is only a dynamic living thing when it is given and shared and received. Love only exists in relationship. So God is loving committed relationship.
Trinity is a notoriously difficult concept to put into words so for some people images are helpful –on the front of a book I have is Denise Wheeler’s painting with three persons in a kind of dance, with love swirling and flowing around and between the three dancers. But the power of that love is such that it cannot be contained and so goes out from Trinity-God to all creation. Jesus came to earth in the power of that love, the Holy Spirit being poured out on all creation also through the outflowing love from within that relationship of love which is Trinity–God.
Jesus’ last words in Matthew’s gospel are sending his disciples out on that stream of love – Go, in the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit – let the love that flows among Trinity-God and you take you from the old to the new – from despair to hope. And let it take others along with you.
When we look at church at this time we might feel despair – when will we ever meet again like we used to? What will church look like when we have to sit 2 metres apart and not sing? But what can turn this despair into hope? How might you think differently if the dynamic love of Trinity-God catches you up into the dance of new creative possibilities? And think - what is church really about?
Have you seen how the church has been opened up and the message of love spread wide, as website services are viewed by twice as many as come into church buildings on a Sunday? Television and radio have put worship services back on prime time. Lockdown cannot stop the spread of hope through the loving relationship that is the Christian community.
The hidden gifts of lots of our own members have come to the fore in delivering worship in new ways – and it’s easier now than ever for you too to follow Jesus’ command to get the message of love and hope to more of those people who are in despair. Ask God to prompt you - who you could pass on a copy of the service sheet to, or tell where to find it on our website? Tell them how great it is that we can connect to the love of God that sustains us still in these new ways. If you are inspired by the infectious love that fills people who are committed to loving relationship with others then you know that the Holy Spirit is alive and well.
Jesus’ last words assure those who follow him that he will be with them always – like Ruth who committed herself to stay with Naomi, hope for our world, the church and ourselves is through loving committed relationship. Amen
 The Weaver the Word and Wisdom by Michaela Youngson