“… A porous faith that steps in and out of this special place carrying the love of God to others.”
Jim Hodgkinson took his theme from the Old Testament story of Naaman which he told with gusto and grace to an enthralled gathering of youngsters and with sound effects added by us all.
Commander of the army in Aram, Naaman was a man of attitude, suffering from leprosy and angry with everyone. The kindness and connections of his servant girl and his wife brought him to the prophet Elisha via the King of Israel. Elisha’s servant boy gave instructions for a daily act of cleansing in the river Jordan that Naaman’s sergeant (‘Wilson’ in Jim’s version!) encouraged him to follow. Naaman was thus healed and believing that God only existed in that place he took earth from the ground so he could pray to the Lord on it when he returned home. Of course as Jim reminded us in his prayers there is no place in all the world without God’s presence. We sang appropriately Father I place into your hands the things I cannot do (519) as we brought our offerings to the Lord.
Glen Atkinson led our shared reading from Psalm 111 and the story of the healing of the lepers and the unexpected thank you from Luke 17 11:19. Brian’s prayers of intercession focussed our hearts and minds on the suffering of our world and particularly countries affected by Hurricane Matthew and the devastation it has wreaked in Haiti; he prayed for John and Sharon Harbottle the missionary partners from our own Circuit who have sent news of the current situation there. We continued with the hymn Jesus Christ is waiting (251).
Jim expanded on the context and background of those ‘people with feelings’ from Naaman’s story in 800BC, all too familiar in Christ’s teachings much later as he communicated with them in the vernacular of his own day. Jim asked us to think of the people we know and their different personalities and traits, giving us examples of those who have influenced his own life. Edna who ‘operated under the radar’ caring for newcomers at church, Mr Fix-it who solved the practical problems and those who volunteer in so many places, helping in quiet ways. Jim asks - what part do we play and who do we listen to? Transformation is often the result of listening and humility, as Naaman found through the insight of his own healing.
Jim hopes that we live in a special place at The Triangle, one with ‘porous walls’ where God comes and goes and where our ‘porous faith steps in and out carrying the love of God to others’. We hope so too. Our service ended with the most fitting of hymns - Let us build a house where love can dwell (409).
Kindly written by Steph Shipley.