Sunday, May 03, 2020

Sunday Worship May 3

Join us for worship today. The links are below for you to access whenever you want to.

Evensong Podcast                    Evensong Service sheet                    Evensong hymn Words

For those who can't use the internet, there is now a "dial a podcast" service, giving access by phone to the reading, talk and prayer from each Sunday morning's service. Please pass on the phone number to them - 01732 928061. Calls cost the normal rate for dialing an 01732 (Sevenoaks) number.

There will be a Zoffee - a Zoom Coffee meeting - at 11 am this morning. Drop in and say hello!
email for the link and password.

Kevin's sermon this week acknowledges how much has changed in our lives over recent months, and how hard that can feel. At the beginning of lockdown, one of the pieces of advice I saw repeated often, and it seemed like wise advice, was that it would be important for people to establish routines if they were to cope with this rather formless time. For many, the normal markers of the day and the week were swept away; the journey to work or school, the rhythms imposed by regular commitments to activities, groups etc. so it mattered to establish some new routines, even if you were someone who wasn't normally very ordered in your approach to life.

I've always worked from home, and dealt with very unpredictable weeks, with quite a lot of working alone, so it wasn't too different for me, but even then, I missed the fixed points in my week like Children's Choir, Adult Choir, and, of course Sunday worship (Sundays have felt VERY peculiar), as well as some of the less frequent events - Good Book Club, Home Communions, school assemblies etc. There is still plenty to be done - I've been busier than ever, like many people who are still working - but all the usual landmarks of the week have vanished, which can be very disconcerting.
I'm not the only person, I'm sure, who has to think carefully some mornings "now, what day IS it today?"  It's been especially important to recognise and protect the things which I know help me to cope with all of this, the life-giving, rest-giving things which bolster my spirits. As well as discovering the new rhythms of the day and week, those things have included continuing to pray and reflect on the Bible (I use the daily lectionary of the Church of England which sets out psalms and readings for each day ); regular, if not daily, walks to enjoy the lovely spring scenery might include a walk; time spent in the garden - my veg and flower seedlings are coming on nicely this year,  I think because I am paying more attention to them -and craft activities Some downtime at the end of the day in front of the television matters, and early nights when I feel the need, and contact with others whether that is phone calls or the Friday Group or after church Zoom gatherings. All these things matter at any time, but they particularly matter when the other landmarks have been swept away. 

Kevin explores the reading below from Acts in his talk today, as well as Psalm 84 which is a hymn which may have been sung as pilgrims made their way to the Temple in Jerusalem, the place where they felt they could draw closest to God.  As Kevin reminds us, the early church learned that it wasn't just in a building that they could meet God, but wherever they were -even in his greenhouse - and in one another, as they lived out their Christian lives. 

This is how the author of Acts describes what that early church was like:

The disciples devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.     Acts 2.42-27

These early followers of the Christian movement were making it up as they went along together, just as we might feel we are at the moment, but there were some things they did that seemed particularly important. The Bible Reading Fellowship has an interesting and helpful project based around those things, called Holy Habits. You can find out more here.  They  have developed material to help people ponder the ten things referred to in the reading which the early disciples were doing. 
Biblical Teaching, Fellowship, Breaking Bread, Prayer, Sharing resources, Serving, Eating together, Gladness and generosity, Worship &  Making more disciples (though I suspect the the last one was simply a result of them living out all the others!) These are the things which equipped and strengthened them to live life well. 

It's a bit like the trees we see around us at the moment. We may be most aware of their acid green new leaves  like these, which I photographed a week or so ago on a walk on Seal Chart, but the reality is that those leaves couldn't exist without the roots, most of which are completely hidden. 
The roots stabilise the tree, so it isn't knocked down by storms, and they also draw up food and water from the soil. In the same way, the Holy Habits feed and water us, and give us stability in times of trouble, so that we can flourish and thrive. 

Some questions to ponder: 
  • Draw a tree, or print out and use the one on the right. Write on it the things you do to help you cope with this difficult time. If you share your household with others, ask what helps them. What are your Holy Habits, the things that enable you to flourish and bear good fruit, not just for yourself but for others too?
  • What do you think about the Bible Reading Fellowship's list of Holy Habits (above) , drawn from Acts 2.42-47? Which of them have a place in your life? Which might it be good to develop or explore further?
All Age Ideas

  • Could you grow something, whether or not you have a garden? I am growing things on the windowsill, as well as outside, including this rather odd plant, which looks like a little green pagoda to me, but which I grew from the bottom (root end) of a leek I was cooking with . I just chopped the bottom couple of centimetres off and stood it, root end down, in a saucer of water, until roots grew. Then I potted it up in some compost (garden soil would do) and lo and behold it has sprouted and is growing a new leek from the base! It may not be spectacular, but it is amazing that it works at all - eventually I will have a whole new leek from it! Other veg you can sprout include carrot and parsnip tops, and spring onion bases. If you are growing something, talk about how important the roots are, even though we don't usually see them. God wants us to sink our roots down into his love.
  • Draw a tree with some leaves and some roots, like the one above. Take it in turns to write around the roots some of the things that you are each finding helpful at this time. Write on the leaves why those things make a difference to you and what others might see as a result? Are you surprised by the things other people in your household have said if you are doing this together?
  • Today's Psalm (Psalm 84) tells us that everyone is welcome to come into God's presence, even the sparrows and the swallows can find a home with God, and make a nest there. The people who wrote the Psalm were thinking about the Temple in Jerusalem when they wrote these words, but we can come into God's presence anywhere, because God is with us wherever we are. There are some bird craft ideas on this Pinterest Board
  • What birds are making a home around you? Can you spot and identify some of them? Do you know where they are nesting? (Don't go poking around in the bushes, or you will disturb them, but watch to see where they are coming and going to.) You can find out more about our birds from the RSPB here.  Sunday May 3 is Dawn Chorus Day - what birds have you heard singing in the morning recently? 

No comments:

Post a Comment