P. R. A. Y. – R = Rejoice and reflect
Holy Trinity Church Huddersfield, Sunday, 12th July 2002
This was the week I found out how old my music recording equipment is, and how rusty my recording technique is. The last time I did this was using a desktop computer, which I haven’t used for about 15 years. My recording interface does not have drivers for Windows 10, and my recording software is on compact disc—none of my laptops have CD or DVD drives.
I am ahead of myself here. I was down to add a guitar track for this week’s service, the song “I’m no longer a slave to fear,” in the end a lot of time was spent making things work together and learning how to use new software. The recording itself was the easy bit. At least with no Tour de France to distract me I had time.
Today’s service and sermon were the second in the P. R. A. Y. series, this one was on the R of pray, which was Rejoice and Reflect, though the sermon was mostly on rejoice.
Wayne, out youth leader, led the service, Bev, a licensed lay minister gave the sermon and prayers were said for Mike our vicar on extended sick leave until at least late August. Wayne at the beginning of the service mentioned a word used in Hebrew about prayer, shema which has two different meanings rather like the two sides of a coin: One meaning is listen and the other is do. In prayer we hear God and respond to what we hear.
We said goodbye to three of our graduating students. One is taking a year with UCCF, which helps in university Christian Unions and will be working in Northumbria University, where I studied back when it was called Newcastle Polytechnic and where I became a Christian, through the work of the Christian Union back in the 1970s.
The reading was the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6:9 – 13 .
Bev started by recalling visits to her gran; being told to wipe feel on the doormat and wash her hands. But the harsh tone of voice did not matter because of the love shown by her gran and interest shown in all that Bev, as her grandchild, was up to.
We were reminded of last week’s sermon and the importance of pausing before God. This week was about moving on from the stillness and looklng into his God’s face.
There is a why, what and how of rejoicing.
We cant grow without taking time with our God. Our father the mighty one. We start praying like in the Lord’s Prayer with Our Father,hallowed be your name. We are incapable of comprehending God’s greatness. God knows better than me. God is frightening yet familiar.
Rejoicing is defined as showing great joy and delight. God’s action draws joy from us, we show up he gives the means. “I will give thanks,” says Psalm 9 verse 1: It comes from the love of God. Rejoicing is with our whole heart, said Charles Spurgeon. It should not be half-hearted. Every bit of me rejoiced, said the Psalmist. We are called to tell of what God has done, we rejoice by telling. “I will be filled with joy because of you,” says Psalm 9 verse 2, remember his love, power, splendour and holiness. We hallow God—declare him to be holy—because he is most high, we praise because.he is most high. Singing is meant to move us into praise. Bev said she had a vision of us taking to Greenhead Park, socially distanced of course, singing How great thou art. Interestingly I have had the same idea, though the song was unspecified. I wonder if we can make it happen.
How do we rejoice when we don’t feel like it? We can wake up our soul, Awake my soul, says several of the psalms, Awake my soul and sing. Use music. Worshipping with others helps too, as does using liturgy. Above all be YOU, worship in your own weirdness says Roger Foster in the book Celebration of Discipline. Rejoice in the Lord always.
Back to Wayne after the service and back to the two sides of shema, listen and do. Have a moment of quiet to listen to and have a word with God this week..
This blog post included a fantastic typo in its first draft: We rejoice in God’s great mess instead of We rejoice in God’s greatness. There is probably a whole sermon in there.