Our last service of 2017 was a café style service led by Ian and assisted by Amanda and Roy. Judith provided some words to guide us and Esther offered a reflection on some of the work done by Young Church through 2017.
Judith led a less formal, more casual period of reflecting and sharing. We looked not only backwards with thanks for the events of 2017 in the church and in individual lives and families, but also forward to what the new year may have in store for us. Judith posed the question, “Did we have good or bad times?” 1 John 9-10 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. We need to remember that we do not do things in our own strength. Ian had already made that point as part of his own personal testimony and Judith reinforced this. God gives us grace and the original Greek word Charis is a dynamic, proactive verb. It is power, it is strength. God’s promise is that His grace is enough, his presence gets you through. Cath offered the thought that Grace can be remembered as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
God opposes the proud but rewards the humble. We were asked to consider who we are in Christ. We carry his name, his purpose and his Spirit. So what season are we in and what are we facing? Is it difficult? What challenges do we face? We need to consider where our faith is in relation to his Grace. We need to ensure that our confession actually reflects that we can do this in God’s power.
Esther shared the work that the children had done through the year on the giants of the Bible. Between her and Ben and Amy they told us of the work they had done around Joshua. Jonah, Abraham and Noah, all people of amazing faith but all had faced their own doubts and challenges.
Esther also offered her thoughts on the giants of West View Baptist Church who had gone before us. She reflected on the choice of the final hymn for her mother’s funeral, “Turn your Eyes on Jesus” which was also the hymn that closed meetings of the Sisterhood that served across the town for so many years in the different churches that make up our wider family. We closed this reflective part of the service on the thought “What does God want us to do?”
Matty shared some thoughts on the meaning of Christmas and Amanda reflected on the work she had been called to in helping a new friend in her battles with addiction and starting a new life in Christ. She shared a recent example of being behind a well known (sometimes) homeless person in the town and how she’d been prompted to pay for the small amount of groceries he was buying. She made the point that it can be easy to be judgemental about such people but when you hear their life story it can be a real challenge to attitudes. She asked us all to pray for him and his partner in their daily struggles.
Our final worship song was Cornerstone and this was particularly apt for Terry as this was played at his colleague Geoff’s funeral. Yet the contrast from that sad occasion to watching one of our young church members dancing to the same tune, full of joy seemed so right.