30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #114 26th June 2022
From the Minister Praying for An Assassination
In a sermon I heard recently, the minister told us that as she was leaving the post office a few days previously, a man who was entering it saw her clerical collar, and commented, ‘don’t forget to ask God to kill Boris Johnson.’ Is it acceptable to arrange for an assassination via prayer? God makes the rules, including the one against killing, so I suppose God could unmake that rule in order to meet a prayer request. All the same, it doesn’t sound right to ask God to do something that we would not do ourselves, either out of moral conviction or because of our fear of the legal consequences. If this was how prayer worked in general there would be chaos. No political party could govern because its opponents would bring it down through prayer. competitive sport would cease to exist as players on both teams were be felled by the prayers of opposing fans. Prayer works when we tell God (and ourselves) about what is on our hearts and minds, and what we yearn for in the world. Thankfully, though, God does not simply grant all our requests, concerning ourselves or other people. Nor does God necessarily grant the prayer requests that others make about us. And for that we should all be grateful.
Gracious God, thank you for listening to my prayers. Grant those wishes that are good for me and for others. Save me and others from the prayers we should not make. Amen.
WORSHIP SERVICES AT ST COLUMBA’S
WORSHIP SERVICES THIS SUNDAY – Sunday 26th June
10.30 am Service at church – A service led by Trevor Jamison, and including hearing from a representative about the work of Tyneside Young Carers A Church Meeting (see below for agenda, reports, and minutes of the previous meeting) will follow this service, so no Traidcraft stall in the hall this week, but it will return on July 3rd.
6.30 p.m. service at church A service led by Dan Morrell
NEXT WEEK – Sunday 3rd July
10.30 a.m. service at church A service led by Trevor Jamison
Bible readings for this week
1 Kings 19:15-16, 19-21 Elisha becomes the follower of Elijah
Psalm 16 Finding security with God
Galatians 5:1, 13-25 We’re set free, but in order to do good
Luke 9:51-62 Prioritising following Jesus
Reflection on the Readings “You were called to freedom …”
You’ve got to wonder what life was like in the Christian churches in Galatia if the Apostle Paul feels he has to warn them, as he has warned them before (5:21), against ‘fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.’ (5:19-21) Usually, that’s not we mean when we say it would be good for us to be more like the Church as it was in biblical times, at least I hope it’s not. As Christians, we believe that our faith is not defined by following a set of rules or laws. We put our faith in God’s love for us, not in regulations designed to make us be like God. As Paul puts it, we ‘live by the Spirit.’ (5:16) Does that lead to moral anarchy? No! As Paul also points out, evidence that we are living by the Spirit is demonstrated by our ‘love, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.’ (5:22-23) Such things cannot be enforced through regulation, but they are the things to which we should aspire, and which we should practice.
The Spirit Lives to Set Us Free – To Listen Click Here
News and Notices
Church Meeting – Sunday 26th June, following the morning service
The papers are included with the email version of the Weekly Update.
United Reformed Church General Assembly, 2022
The General Assembly, with representatives from our churches across England, Wales and Scotland, meets annually to celebrate, discuss, worship and make decisions about the life and work of the URC. It is four years since the last in-person meeting. This year the meeting takes place at the Hayes Conference centre in Derbyshire, from the 8th to the 12th of July. Please remember Assembly representatives in your prayers. You can read this years Book of Reports, which forms the basis for discussions, at https://urc.org.uk/general-assembly-assembly-executive-assembly-committees/general-assembly/general-assembly-papers/ Image: The United Reformed Church
Next Week’s Update
Next week’s Update will be edited by Trevor Jamison. To get your information in both the online and printed editions, please have it with him by Tuesday.
Keeping in Touch
You can contact your Elder, the Minister, or Church Secretary.