30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #91 January 16th 2022
From the Minister Running Out of Wine
I’ve never been to a wedding reception where the wine ran out. That constitutes a crisis. At last Sunday morning’s communion service we did run out of wine – though only for a minute or two, until extra was provided. Expectations are high for weddings, especially if people expect it to be a ‘perfect day’. Presumably that was true when Jesus attended a wedding where the wine really did run out. Then, he turned loads of water into wine, leading people to believe in him. They believed because he demonstrated his power over nature; his giving people life that is new and extraordinary, from out of the old and the everyday.
Expectations are also high concerning worship. So they should be, but, again, if we expect perfection we’ll encounter disappointment. On different occasions, leading worship, I have forgotten the notices, the Lord’s Prayer, hymns, and the prayers of intercession (which can’t have pleased the person due to lead them). Once, I would even have omitted the offering, had not the church treasurer stood up to remind me. At least I’ve never forgotten to preach the sermon … yet. We’re not expecting Jesus to turn up at church to provide extra wine. We can handle that if it’s required. We’re just hoping and praying that he turns the ordinary of our worship into the extraordinary of meeting with God, in words and song, through eating bread and drinking wine.
p.s. As always, on behalf of the congregation, thank you to those who continue to give their time prepare the bread, the wine and the table for Holy Communion services at Saint Columba’s, and who also clear up and clean up afterwards, especially in these challenging times.
p.p.s. We’ll have more bread and wine on the table on future Sundays. If the numbers attending continue to outstrip increased supply, there are worse problems for a church to face, and we’ll rise to the challenge.
‘Jesus did this, the first of his signs … and his disciples believed in him.’ (John 2:11) They say that “seeing is believing”. If so, then John’s Gospel provides lots of signs towards believing. As well as water being turned into wine in this week’s reading, a child is healed (chapter 4), a paralysed man walks (c.5), thousands are fed and then water is walked upon (c.6), the blind get to see (c.9), and Lazarus lives (c.11). John presents these as seven signs performed by Jesus. They bring joyfulness, healing, sustenance, awe, and life to those who experience and observe them. They also point towards who and what Jesus is – God at work on earth as our joy-bringer, healer, sustainer, and source of life. Thinking about today’s reading, what brings you joy in life? How might you thank God for that joy?
And an imaginative cartoon video presentation of John’s Gospel
Church Meeting – Sunday 23rd January at 11.30 a.m.
Church meeting will take place at St Columba’s on Sunday 23rd January, following on from the morning service. Items we will be discussing will include evening worship at St Columba’s, progress on work on the building’s roof and stonework, and events planned for 2022.
Suggested items of ‘any other business’ must be with the Church Secretary and/or Minister at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
You can find the agenda, and the minutes of the previous meeting on the email version of the Weekly Update.
Learning From Luke – six meetings on Thursdays in January & February
Trevor Jamison will lead six conversations about ‘learning from Luke’ about Jesus. Why does Luke pair the Lord’s prayer with Jesus’s story about a midnight food request? Why would Jesus invite himself to a meal with a “vertically challenged” tax collector? Why is Jesus always quoting the Old Testament? The conversations will take place on Zoom at 7.15 p.m. on Thursday evenings, beginning on January 20th. No previous knowledge or involvement is required in order to take part. Further information is available here.
First conversation – January 20th at 7.15 p.m. Why does Jesus’s preaching get people angry?
To join this and subsequent meetings, click here.
To join by phone: 01314601196 Meeting ID: 878 1032 5730