BBC local radio service
Sunday 27th December 2020
There was no online service at Holy Trinity, Huddersfield this morning, neither was there a streamed service I could find from my father’s church, Christ the King, Battyeford, where I used to worship over 40 years ago. At least there was the BBC radio service broadcast at 8am.
So it is Christmas without church for the first time since I became a Christian whilst a student in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
It has been a strange Christmas without church. There were services I could have attended both on Christmas Day and today, but the likelihood of being in a building with those who should have been shielding against Covid-19 is too great, even with compulsory mask wearing, I do not wish to take covid in there, I am vulnerable myself, being diabetic, and I pick up a granddaughter from school twice a week as her parents are a nurse and a teacher. I am longing to be social again, I am longing to worship with a congregation around me again, but we are only at the start of the fight against a pandemic which has to be conquered worldwidw, not just in the UK for us to be safe.
I know that the decision to open churches was not an easy one. How do you minister to people who do not have internet access, live alone and have been brought up to believe you must never skip church? My opinion is that even with the restrictions of social distancing, masks and no singing that opening up churches after the March to June lockdown this tear was a mistake as it attracts those who should be shielding.
We spent Christmas day with our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter and are keeping up the family tradition of not saying grace before Christmas dinner but instead singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. It was a good day.
Even if there had been a service at Holy Trinity today, I would probably have commented on this one anyway. The subject of Christianity and science is one I have always followed and I cannot see where the statements that the two are in opposition come from. The BBC service was led by David Wilkinson, a teacher of Theology at Durham and before that employed in astrophysics. Quite a mix.
Dr Wilkinson started by by talking of a train journey where he was asked what he did, and it surprised his fellow passenger that someone could be a Christian and a scientist, which he had assumed were the opposite of each other. I can remember Dr Wilkinson saying this in June last year when he visited Holy Trinity as part of our 200 years celebrations. We have a retired physics teacher in out congregation and a retired university professor on our church leadership team. Dr Wilkinson said that his church in Jesmond, Newcastle also had a number of scientist s and engineers in the congregation, the other people involved in the service were drawn from them or from students studying science at Durham.
There was not a sermon as such, just a short talk so that a service which included six songs or hymns as well as prayers could fit into a 50 minute slot on the radio. But there was a lot of content to the talk:
The reading was Colossians 1:15–23. Please read it before continuing to read this.
Building on things said earlier, that the universe gives praise to God and directly following the song whicdh starts, “the splendour of the king” and has the chorus repeating “How great is our God,” he started by saying that astrophysics can be summed up as, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are,” except that his colleagues would probably then go on to say they were masssive balls of burning hydrogen. He likes it that science asks questions of his faith, bit asks what God is like?
God is powerful, God is powerful enough to have created a universe where are 100 billion stars in a galaxy such as ours and 100 billion galaxies. Jesus is the image of that powerful God.
There is a consistency in the laws of physics that speak of God. Science just assumes that they are consistent but the Bible tells is that God holds everything together. Paul tells us that in everything Jesus is supreme. The maker of billions of galaxies became a man.