Todays’ service was led by Chris Hulse from the Chorley circuit and featured readings from Mathew chapter 17, verses 1-9 and 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 16-21 and songs/hymns ‘The splendour of the King’, ‘Come on and celebrate’, ‘Come Holy Ghost our hearts inspire, ‘Wind of God dynamic Spirit’ and ‘Oh Jesus I have promised’.
There is a donation from this church to aid the famine in East Africa but if anyone wishes to donate themselves there is information in the foyer about where to donate.
The service opened with the song ‘The splendour of the King’ by Chris Tomlin followed by Chris showing images of firstly a hen and secondly a cow and asked the congregation what the link was between the two which eventually became pancakes! The explanation about Shrove Tuesday initially being Shrive Tuesday which was ‘Eat-up Tuesday’ (right up my street!) and the day after being Shrove Wednesday when people fasted before Lent began on the Thursday.
Chris then asked the young people how they liked their pancakes, hands went straight up with youngsters saying things like Chocolate, Honey, lemon and sugar even ice-cream yum yum. There was then a description of Lent in as much as most people nowadays don’t give up anything but instead ‘do’ something. (As a church, we are hoping to ‘prayer walk’ Johnsons Fold estate, there is a sheet in the foyer to arrange the time and days people can help with this).
Chris then asked the young people to distribute yellow cards, like book marks, to the congregation with a heart at the top and a butterfly at the bottom which represent trust in God and resurrection. These could be taken home and put somewhere where it is visible to remind us of Lent and to so we can be inspired or it could be used to remind us of the power of reflection during Lent. We were then asking to remember that Easter ‘God is with us’.
The opening prayer was then said followed by the Lords’ Prayer that was spoken the offering was then taken for this church and the circuit. We then song ‘Come on and celebrate’ by Patricia Morgan after which the 1st reading was said, this was Mathew 17:1-9 and was read by Janet Davies and related to the ‘Transfiguration of the Lord’. We then had the hymn ‘Come Holy Ghost our hearts to inspire’ by Charles Wesley.
The 2nd reading was said, this was 2nd Peter 1:16-21 and was read by Margaret Thompson and related to prophecy where Peter heard God saying that ‘Jesus was His son and He was glad’. Following this the congregation was asked if they had any subjects for prayers during the service which included the turbulent world we live in, the famine in Sudan, proper distribution of world wealth, countries devastated by war and British people in crisis, having to sleep in night shelters and use food banks.
We then offered these to God in prayer also including prayers for all of us at the triangle, for healing in all its forms, Hillary and Led as our church leaders and for the Gospel being taken into Johnson Fold.
We then sang ‘Wind of God dynamic spirit’ by Michael Saward followed by the address. The address began with an exploration of ‘silence’ and used as examples the quietness that can be found at the top of a mountain, we thought about Peter as he climbed the mountain with Jesus and has friends, being out of breath and maybe stopping to get their breath back, talking and laughing then watching the transfiguration of Jesus. The quietness they experienced would have been powerful as they prayed with Jesus who had taken himself away from the group to pray alone, the silence during their prayer would have been a silence you could almost touch, then they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus.
They realised there was two other people with them, Moses and Elijah, the provenance of this would have been the witnessing of them by more than one person, in face they all witnessed them saw they were there, it wasn’t a dream of figment of imagination. Peter then spoke and asked if he was to build a shelter for two extra people, but as soon as he spoke a cloud came down and was a glorious cloud, a ‘Shekinah’, the Glory of God, this was prophesied in the Old Testament.
And then Gods voice was heard saying ‘Her is my son, of whom I am pleased’ reaffirming the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, and then God left the scene followed by Jesus knowing that it was time to go back down the mountain. Why did this happen, well it happened to remind us that we are preparing for the celebration of Easter and to read about this scene will inspire us to reflect on what Easter means. It also challenged the disciples to be brave about what they would have to do and for Jesus to prepare himself for what was to come.
Chris then spoke about her retreats she takes annually and her experiences of silence and quietness, but reminded us that we don’t all don’t feel or hear God during a retreat but we will experience God in our own personal way. God said to Jesus that ‘we will both feel the future together’. We all need to experience God in our lives, in our own way, so Lent is important for us, finding silence, a ‘quiet’ mind, to allow us to feel God. ‘Experience God and to be challenged to take our faith down the mountain and into everyday life’.
Jesus went back down the mountain to face Easter, are we willing to ‘walk with God’ and to live our life as He did, knowing that whatever we face will he will be with us’.
The service ended with the hymn ‘Oh Jesus I have promised’ by John E Bode, and the Grace concluded the time of fellowship together with plenty to think about during the week.
May God, bless you in all you do this week.
This review was kindly provided by Denis Kirkham.