Alton Webteam: May 2020
On Thursday evenings many people have been stepping outside of their houses and clapping the staff of the NHS.
Boris was back leading the applause whilst Carrie Symonds said that she had a double reason to thank staff after 'Baby Boris' arrived safely into this world.
Not only have people clapped but they have also waved flags, played instruments and rumour has it that a couple of our church members create a melodious sound using Swiss Cow Bells and a large Hand Bell!
It was reported that after a stormy day some fantastic rainbows appeared in the sky just as people stepped outside to show their appreciation for those working on the front line.
Children and adults have been painting rainbows which have been displayed in homes, shop windows and in churches — as Rev Gina has done already at Cove and Frimley Green.
How about those of you who are even vaguely creative producing some to put in our church windows? You could drop them through the church letter box/email them and together we could make a fantastic display — whilst also reminding people that we care!
The rainbow is not only a wonderful sight it is also a sign of hope.
The rainbow takes our mind back to the story of Noah in the Old Testament where there had been many a dark day. The rains had come down, the waters rose and life within the arc must have seemed interminable! With my farming background I can only imagine (tongue in cheek) the feeding of all those animals, the noise of all those creatures and well.... the 'mucking out'! Imagine the washing Mr & Mrs Noah had to do to keep their family smelling sweet!
After 40 days we read that Noah opened a window and sent out a raven — but his hopes were dashed as it kept flying back and forth to the arc — even though the boat had settled on Mount Ararat, the rain had stopped and 'the peak of the storm' was over they still had to stay safe inside.
Then he sent out a dove to see if the waters had dried up but the dove could find nowhere to perch because the waters were too high. Poor old Noah's hopes were on hold — he took the dove back inside and waited a little longer. You can imagine his family getting very frustrated with the enforced lockdown!
And then finally... at last... after so long cooped up inside Noah lets out the dove and it does not return — there is hope after all! What a wonderful feeling when the door of the arc was finally opened, you could breathe fresh air and stand on dry land.
The first thing Noah did, was to lead his family in an act of worship and God blessed them.
As people see the rainbow as a message of hope today, so Noah and his family also saw the rainbow as a sign of hope — the dark days were over and God was with them!
We hope the worst of the storm is beginning to recede but it is far from over. Like Noah we are encouraged to watch and wait — with patient faith but be assured there will come a day when the door of our 'arc' will open, we will be able to give thanks to God and delight in the rainbow of God's promise to always be with us.
Ways to Worship
Sunday Worship — Hymns, Songs, Readings and Reflections led by Rev Philip Simpkins and friends from Alton Methodist Church — Press the arrow on the video on the home page of this web site. You are very welcome — its lovely to have people from many different places and parts of the country joining us each week!
The Methodist Church have also provided a weekly printed sheet (attached) to help us share in worship whilst at home.
BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship at 8.10am
BBC 1 'Sunday Worship' — from Bangor Cathedral (10.45am — check time)
The BBC also offer 'Songs of Praise' at 1:15pm 'Faith & Farming'
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Rev Philip Simpkins
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