Prayer is effective
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 25 November 2016
It was nice to see a djembe being played at the service this morning. Our contemporary worship is getting some interesting instruments played these days. Today the accents played on the guitar were slightly ahead of the beat and percussion accents were laid back behind the beat and somehow it all met in the middle and sounded great.
The low point of the service was a short video advertising New Wine. The style of the video presentation, it had background music and the picture was in a frame with a white border. Nothing wrong with background music, but this kept going from quiet to short louder bits. Then the border of the picture, it was white about half the time, the rest of the time the border showed a colour-faded version of what was in the middle. The text of what was being said was constantly flashed onto the screen. I was disturbed by this, an autistic nightmare. My senses were overwhelmed so I was unable to take the content in, all I know is it was about New Wine.
Then there was a short talk by a couple who help at new wine, trying to make it sound enticing: I was not enticed. Even the description of the breakfast seemed to be all about people milling around and noise. No thanks.
If what I heard today is representative of New Wine then I will strongly recommend autistic people and people with autistic people to avoid it completely. I have already posted about how churches are welcoming to autistic people. New wine sounds unwelcoming in spades.
As for the rest of the service, the flashing film did its job, I was unable to take it in. Others, I suspect the majority no on the autistic spectrum, differed. The sermon provoked a good response, judging by those wishing to be prayed for after the sermon and after the service, there were people being prayed for in the south aisle. A positive response.
The sermon? The letter of James has some strong things to say. Not least to rich people. Coincidently there was news earlier this week that the founder and boss of an online gambling firm has played herself £265 million this last year. The preacher, Vicar Mike, questioned the ethics of that amount from a business that profits from people’s addictions.
The Bible, we were told, has nothing against people being rich, but getting rich at the expense of poor people is going against God’s agenda. Jesus warned about how difficult it is for a rich man to enter heaven, like getting a camel to go through a needle eye. When we ignore this we are disbelieving Jesus. It is not about our having money but about our attitude to money.
Moving to the rest of the sermon:
The passage was written to an oppressed people, James exhorts them to be patient in their trouble.
Confess your sins to one another, this does not mean that we have to unload ourselves to people as we meet them, tell them to the whole church, but in a one-on-one situation, it is good to admit what we have done wrong and find difficult.
Prayer is effective. The prayer of a righteous person has great power, said James in this passage.
Unfortunately, the service was spoiled for me by the short flashy video. It only takes a little to affect me and the effects can stay much longer.