Today we remember Pentecost and the Queen’s Jubilee. At church this morning we remembered the Queen’s service for seventy years and how she has served God and people and has shown in her life the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (New International Version) says, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
There are nine fruits and I will decorate stones and leave them along the annual walk this year. First I need to gather the stones.
I still have the cassette but not the T Shirt or stickers. This is another song from Come Together. Its easier to play on youtube than try to splice the broken cassette tape and find a cassette player that won’t chew up the tape. I enjoy the progressions of this one, the words Precious Jesus, the invocation to fill our hearts anew. One evening at the manse after a service at SNFC people laid on hands for us to be filled. It has never happened quite like that, but there have been times when a well of love and praise has welled up from inside. Not at my (our, your) choosing but in God’s good loving time.
I first attended a Quaker meeting in Reigate. I have been back to other Quaker meetings many time. Although Quakers do not sing during worship, but wait in the stillness for the moving of the spirit, I think of this as the Quaker hymn. It is all about finding God in the stillness after all the strivings cease.
… speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!
For 5 years I worked in Bedford where John Bunyan lived and was imprisoned. There was a statue to him, and a museum, and a Bunyan Trail. I found the place where he was baptised and visited Elstow, the site of Vanity Fair and the wicket gate. I read both Pilgrims Progress, 1 and 2, and Grace Abounding. He thought himself the greatest sinner for thoughts he had. His life was a pilgrimage which he made into a book.
Life is like a pilgrimage. Each is on their own way. And sometimes there are companions for a while to journey on the way, which is why I remember South Nutfield so well, and my friends there. We have lost contact. I missed them a lot when I returned to faith in 2002. I still pray for them.
I attend a different church in a different town and have different friends. But I do this website and blog for old time. It may be backward looking, but I find in the past and my youth inspiration for the future.
One of the best known hymns, taken from the hundredth psalm.
(Once sung at the Free Church with a smaller congregation. Enthusiasm and not harmony was our style. Whenever we joined Christchurch for the Christmas Mass I remember the looks we got from the choir. But we were young then.)
Here are two songs written by John Bell. The first is ‘Take this moment’. It has the last verse: Take my talents, take my skills,
Take what’s yet to be;
Let my life be yours, and yet
Let it still be me.
The sheep were welcomed with ‘ for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.‘ The servant given one talent feared his master and so buried the money for safe keeping. The others worked used the master’s money and multiplied it.
What point Jesus was trying to get across. Which of those servants do you most identify with? The servant who hid the money was driven by fear. That fear stopped him taking any risk at all. Could the talents equate to gifts God has given us? It appears that all the servants wanted to please their master but one feared and did not use his gifts. Taken together these two parables might be saying: don’t fear, use the gifts God has given you for his Kingdom.
The second song was ‘Heaven Shall not wait’, also by John Bell, where Christians are called to live the values of the Kingdom now – heaven shall not wait. There is an imperative to use the gifts God has given you and me.
In 1974 we went to a church in Streatham or Brixton where there was singing like this and it felt as close to heaven as you can get with singing. The organ pipes glowed with glory in my eyes, and we hugged people we didn’t know.
“He will cover you with His feathers; under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4