Shorter shift tonight, 11-midnight. Still special. Found myself meditating on “Blessed are the peacemakers”. I admire all those who can bring various parties together and find peace; the Northern Ireland situation; South African truth courts and so on. As I thought about it tonight I considered how it takes courage and vision to even begin to set about the task of reconciliation. However, the more I thought about it the more I considered the courage and vision of the parties concerned also in desiring reconciliation. It takes a brave person to step out and declare forgiveness of the other so that harmony may be restored. obviously the Lord was right when he spoke of peacemakers, but over the years as I have thought only of the intermediaries, perhaps I should have also considered that the peacemakers are also those more directly involved; i.e. the parties in dispute.
Lord, help me to be a peacemaker, but help me also to find peace in those situations where I need to forgive others and recieve their forgiveness.
Completed my first shift in the prayer room at Ripley Methodist Church tonight. Began at 11.00 p.m. (Sunday) and finished at 1.00 a.m. (Monday).
Actually shift is too strong a word as it implies hard work, and this was anything but. Peaceful, calming, just listening to some quiet reflective music gave me time to pray for the people of Romania who I shall see later this year, the young people of the Methodist circuit, and for the new Chapel in Ripley. Every year I value this 24/7 prayer initiative more and more. Can`t wait until tomorrow night to go back.
However it also makes me reflect on prayer at other times and in other places. If I can make time for prayer in the prayer room, why does it seem so hard to simply sit in my study for an hour and pray ? Maybe its because I am more focused in the prayer room and there are no distractions; maybe its because I’ve journeyed there deliberately to pray, rather than simply meandered downstairs to my study. I don’t really know the answer, but what I do know is the need to pray more !
Please hold Ripley Methodist Church in prayer this week, as we hold our annual prayer week. It began immediately after the morning worship today (Palm Sunday) and will continue right through to the beginning of worship on Easter Sunday.
Please pray for protection over the prayer warriors, especially during the night hours and please pray that the remaining slots will be filled as the week progresses.
I intend to keep a nightly blog of my thoughts, prayers and what I feel God is saying to me during this week, so keep looking out for it.
Had the privilege of sharing in worship tonight in a hotel near junction 24 of the M1, on the edge of Loughborough/Kegworth. A new venture begun by the area churches it is a brave attempt to get church out into the community.
Led by a worship group of four, and by Rev. Manville Wiles we sang some of the current cutting edge material from the likes of Matt Redman and co. I was then invited to preach for half-an-hour, before we sang some more and closed with tea/coffee.
A congregation of 25+ were in attendance.
Whether or not it attracts new people we wait and see but certainly full marks to the area churches for taking a step of faith and hiring the hotel room every Sunday. There are lessons to be learnt from this, but in amongst all that we continue to pray for the success of the venture. Please pray for them.
Why is it that a Church member can say whatever they like to me, tell me what they think of me and accuse me of not working hard enough because I didn’t attend their particular church function, yet if I challenge them about not attending a circuit event I`m made out to be the worst minister they`ve ever known.
That same person told me that she couldn’t attend Church events on an evening because she`d been at work all day, but when I said that I had been at work all day as well informed me that mine doesn`t count, and anyway I`m employed to attend every church event, no matter how many hours it involves in a day.
And despite working from 8.00 a.m. until often midnight I don`t work hard enough, simply because I didn’t get to her Church function (even though I was attending another Church elsewhere).
There are times when I simply feel like saying “I give up” because no matter what I do I can`t get it right. Sometimes it just feels that there is so much pettiness and triviality that I despair.
And yet, by contrast, I attended Codnor Chapel coffee morning this morning, ordered a cup of coffee and toasted tea cake and my money was refused. Why ? “Because you`re our Minister and we look after you !” Every now and then in amongst all the tripe that’s thrown at Ministers, there is the glimpse of real people; people who have taken the Christian challenge seriously, to love and care. I praise God for such people and ask for his help with all the pettiness, tripe and triviality that no doubt I throw at others too.
Lord, help me today.