30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #59 – 16th May 2021
From the Minister, We Are NOT a Democratic Church
The Conservatives have taken control of Northumberland [County Council] after they won one seat by drawing lots because two candidates had exactly the same number of votes.’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-57013790
‘So they proposed two … Justus and Matthias … and they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to the eleven apostles.’ (Acts 1:22, 26)
Congratulations to all those recently elected in England, Scotland, and Wales. Vox populi, vox Dei, as the saying goes, and when the voice of the people, which is regarded as the voice of God in democratic elections, is tongue-tied, then it’s time to toss a coin or draw lots.
I’ve heard it said, incorrectly, that the URC is a democratic Church. It is not, and a glance at the election of Matthias to replace Judas as one of the Twelve shows why. First, they chose as candidates only those who everyone agreed were qualified – there was no election campaign. Then, they wanted to know who God (not an electorate) had chosen and decided on drawing lots as the way of finding out.
In our church elections, we opt for votes, not drawing of lots, but the question asked is not, ‘who do we voters prefer?’ It’s, ‘who do we think God has chosen?’
O God, open our hearts and minds to discover your will, not ours.
Give wisdom and integrity to all those who are appointed to lead,
Whether in our nations or in your Church. Amen.
Worship Services in the Building
SUNDAY May 16th May
St Columba’s United Reformed Church 10.30 A.M. SERVICE
Led by Trevor Jamison
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
The head that once was crowned with thorns
You need to book your seat for a service in the building. To do so, please contact Alison Drew between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon.on the Friday immediately prior to that service.
We have one 30-minute service at 10.30 a.m. Physical distancing and wearing of face coverings are observed, but those from the same household should be able to sit together.
Seats will be filled from the front of the church to the back, and you must take the seat allocated to you by the stewards.
Should it be necessary, we will consider holding two services each Sunday morning
Other options for worshipping at home on Sunday
Other options for worshiping at home on Sunday
Online URC audio service https://devotions.urc.org.uk/ 10.00 a.m.
Radio Radio 4 Sunday Worship 8.10 a.m.
Television BBC 1 Songs of Praise 13.15 p.m.
DISCLAIMER: tv and radio schedules can change, so check the timings are correct!
Bible readings for This Week
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26 Finding a replacement for Judas
Psalm 1 Delighting in God’s law
1 John 5:9-13 ‘God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’
John 17:6-19 What Jesus wants for his followers You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/
Reflection on the readings
What principles guide you in the way you lead your life, and from where do you derive them? If you never think about that then the chances are you get them from whatever’s the majority view at the time, and as views change, so will yours. You will be like chaff blown about in the wind of fashion. In Psalm 1 the writer extols ‘the law of the LORD’ (1:2a) as the basis for living the good life. We tend to think of ‘law’ in terms of rules, but it has a wider meaning here. God’s law is not just a set of rules to be kept (though there are some of those included in it) but a body of wisdom to be meditated upon (1:2b). Reading what’s written in Scripture, and meditating upon what that means for today can sustain us in life, just like water sustains a tree which is fruitful. (1:3) It’s God gift for life; a way in which God watches over us. (1:6)