The United Reformed Church Chesham

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June/July 2015 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I always find it good to experience going to services at other churches, whether URC ones or another denomination. A bit like going away, it is interesting and often fun to try something different but you usually appreciate being back in your own home after a week or two! We can learn from these experiences and be inspired to maybe try a different way of doing things. I have the opportunity of not just being part of a different congregation, but also leading worship at other churches. It is surprising how many different ways things may be done.

Just to think about the preparation before the service Ė in this church three of us meet in the Vestry and the duty elder leads prayers with the person leading the service and the other elder. In some churches all the elders meet before the service to exchange news and pray. When I was in the large main church in Botswana, this meant about thirty people squeezing into a not very large vestry! At the other extreme in some churches the minister is left quietly to pray on their own before the start of the service. It is not a case of one way being right and one wrong, but it is what is the tradition or suits the people involved. The preparation time before a service is important and most ministers or worship leaders like to have time to be quiet and pray even if it is only a few minutes. It is a time to pause, to listen to God and focus on the worship ahead while leaving day-to-day concerns to one side. In a similar way there is a pause before our services begin so people can spend a moment in quiet thought to prepare for the worship to come or to collect their own thoughts. Some people do not feel the need for this quiet time as they may have come from quiet at home, but there is a need to respect those who seek quiet. One Sunday a lady came in before the service started and just wanted to sit quietly and pray. After about 5 minutes she left feeling more peaceful than when she came and leaving a request for prayer.

On one occasion when I led worship at another URC, a blind gentleman led the prayers of intercession. It just needed a hand to guide him to the lectern and then he spoke with confidence and conviction. He included all that was needed and even added reference to the theme of my sermon. He was not blind to knowing God and letting the Spirit guide his words. Remember how Jesus pointed out that those who could see were spiritually blind because they were not prepared to believe what he taught them. ĎFor this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.í Matthew 13:15

Letís enjoy the differences we meet and see God at work in the variety and richness as we encounter new things. Why not try something new. Those of us who went on Safari with the Pilots were delighted by the sight of white tigers and lions and many of us had not seen these previously. Those who share in discussion groups will often be surprised by the new thoughts and ideas that come from sharing together. Try something new and donít forget to tell others how you found it Ė thatís part of the fun!

With love,

Recognising the Spirit:

As we reflected on Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Spirit can be seen in many ways:
As breath to give life or as a strong wind to spread and scatter
As fire to give warmth and light or to cleanse and destroy.
As a dove comforting and soothing or as a wild goose free to fly wherever Godís message needs to go.
There is gentle support and strong leading.
Encouragement and given boldness.
Speech is inspired and actions guided.
The Holy Spirit prays for us in groans when we cannot find words.
Advocate, comforter, source of wisdom and Spirit of Truth.
Thank you, Lord, for your Spirit freely available by Godís grace for us today.