Message from our Lay worker for the coming week

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I've been reflecting a bit this week on Steve Clay's sermon last Sunday about things that distract us from God. I'm sure it is appropriate to be asked to evaluate how much time and energy I spend on things which ultimately will not forward the purposes of the Kingdom of God. But I guess for me it is not clear cut. I was thinking about the subjects that we as a congregation offered for prayer; peace, politicians, equality, and communication to name but a few (I was never very good at the memory games!) Surely to be agitated about these issues is part of our calling?
Co-incidentally a friend emailed me a copy of a speech made by Rachel Lampard who is vice-president of the Methodist conference this year. Since 2008 she has been the Team Leader of the Joint Public Issues Team, an ecumenical collaboration, enabling the denominations to campaign and speak out on social issues. She made the speech at the annual Methodist Parliamentary Covenant Service at Westminster. She has spent much effort in encouraging Christians to take politics seriously as a part of their calling. She writes "For we are a people who worship a God of justice, an incarnate God whose Spirit offers transformation. So how can we say that religion and politics don't mix?" She goes on to talk about her feeling of powerlessness to effect change at a time when she says; "I voted to remain. I think President Trump is a terrifying prospect and I'm a member of a political party which some would say is in the doldrums." I think some of us would empathise!
When we feel powerless to effect change how do we react? Returning to Steve's sermon, perhaps my sitting and shouting at the television is not best use of time and energy!
Rachel's speech helpfully reminded me that a covenant is not the same as a contract. "A contract sets out how the future will work; a covenant involves setting off together into an unknown future but promising to walk together whatever comes." As we bring to God our political and social concerns God promises to walk with us and guide us in our response.
Lord give us wisdom to see things as you do; help us to pray for, and make a helpful response to, current issues of social justice that Your Kingdom may come and Your will be done. Amen

A copy of Rachel Lampard's address to the annual Methodist Parliamentary Covenant Service — 17th January 2017 can be found on our church website.
STF 662 — Jacqueline G. Jones
Will you watch the news with the eyes of faith
and believe it could be different?
Will you share your views using words of grace?
Will you leave a thoughtful imprint?

Lord we pray for wisdom and guidance for politicians and civil servants at local, national and international level.
We ask for your light to shine;
for your love and compassion to rule,
for integrity and moral purpose to triumph over self-interest and convenience.
We pray for peace and justice for all;
Lord we want to believe it could be different; help our unbelief.
In Jesus name. Amen

Pray for the families and friends of those recently bereaved:
Shirley Boulton, Mabs Taylor, Eve Bulll, Sarah Downie, Dennis Williams

Also pray for:
Thelma, June, Kath,

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