10,000 reasons not to be downcast

BBC local radio service
Sunday 17th January 2021
plus some from Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield showing the balcony and west wall.
Holy Trinity Huddersfield seen from the sanctuary

Today, i found out listening to the radio in bed, is Quitter Sunday, which marks the time when 75% of people have already broken their New Years’ resolutions. Congratulations if you are in the 25%.

My sister-in law is working in the south of England giving out Covid-19 vaccines, at rge end of the shift on Wednesday there were a few doses left over, so rather than waste them they offered them to the people who were around. Both she and my brother have received the Pfizer vaccine.

Also this week Dad has been taken into hospital with kidney problems, he was back at the home yesterday but looking gaunt. Please pray.

The PCC announced that the difficult decision had been made to close the Church building due to coronavirus and the Bishop of Huddersfield supporting that. We wish to be meeting together soon. For those wondering how long this will be, Dr Hannah Fry on The Last Leg on Friday said we should be back to normal with no restrictions at all by this time next year. Full worship in churches, I hope, will be back before then, as things will wase over the year as things improve.

My birthday this last Thursday was full of looking after out grandchild after snow closed the school, so the childcare bubble was back in use. Binge watching the Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler films. all of them except The Gruffalo’s Child, was what occupied much of the day.

We finished the last of the mince pies this week, and there is a little Christmas cake left as we keep some back for my birthday, a trich I learned from my mother who kept a Christmas cake well fed for her birthday in March.

In the Holy Trinity YouTube service youth minister Wayne led, showing lockdown beard and hair. Vicar Mike spoke about shutting the church building, saying that we are here to help people encounter God. The church should embody the Good News and take Jesus love with us into the world. Staying open in a pandemic, he said, would not be good news for Huddersfield.

Next a viseo showing some of our kids planting seeds in trays, – I gave a life hack for this, instead of buying planters recle toilet roll inners, cut into halves/thirds/quarters as required, fill with compost and plant in these. Plant the whole thing in the garden when ready and the cardboard will get soggy and the roots come through.

The bible reading was Mark 4:1-20, please read this before continuing to read.

Retired vicar Howard preached on the parable of the sower, in an informal style starting by saying that the bible is about God is saying about himself.

The parable is about 4 types of soil that soil stand for four types of people.

  1. The path: Paths go across fields and the soil is hard so it never germinates and the birds are able to eat it. The seed never lived. On the Engel scale these are right at the very beginning, they have no concept of God at all
  2. Rocky: Rocky soil is shallow. Sme people are put off God by troubles and suffering. Jesus came to be in the world to be with people in suffering. In these first two we are still being asked to sew the word.
  3. Thorns: Thorny things are competing with the planted seeds things for nutrients they are compromised despite accepting Jesus, There are other things getting in the way because we have got it too easy.
  4. Good soil: Good growth happens. And it has results out of proportion to what was sown.

The sower is God, who wants to bring the good news of the kingdom to us we are to pass it on. Our job is to pass it on to all types not to target what we see as the good soil.

-o0o-

Now fot the important bit of the service. The music, On Sunday mornings since the first lockdown on March last year I have listened to Radio Leeds where, like on other BBC local stations, a half hour service is broadcast each week. Time wise it is about half music and half talking, which includes the introductions and the prayers.

This week the radio service was led by song writer and worship leader Matt Redman. I reached out and found a notebook and pen near the bed. which were not usually there but I had a feeling that this is where God would speak to me today. I was Immediately reminded of a previous service where the leader said that we are commended to sing to God in the Bible more times than we are told to read the Bible or even pray. Singing is that important. Here we are ten months into a time without worshipping God together in song, I long for those times to return, but I am not going to be stupid enough to ask for it back too early. I am conflicted.

Today’s radio service started with the song 1000 reasons. Matt Redman said that he had seen how songs affect people like a peaceful healthy balm that can quieten the soul.

The second song was It is well with my soul, written by Horatio Spafford in 1876. Spafford has sent his wife and daughters across the Atlantic from America to England whilst he was detained on business. The ship sank after a collision killing all four of Spafford’s daughters; only his wife survived. It was on his trip over to be with her that he wrote It is well with my soul.

Redman spoke of the psalms, those 3,000 year old hymns of faith in the Christian and Jewish traditions. The 23rd Psalm, the Lord is my Shepherd, even though it is very familiar, thus arrangement brought “he refreshes my soul” to my attention, such a small change to the translation, I have checked it is valid, but it said so much to me . Being with God is refreshment. This is what I needed to hear. Redman went on to quote Isaiah:

Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength. Isaiah 40:30–31

The next song included a quote (sorry the scrawl that is my handwriting failed me here, apologies to the writer, to cast your shame on his shoulder, Following that Redman told of a group of prisoners on death row for drug dealing who had found Christ in prison and their faith was so strong that it affected the other prisoners. Thet stood before the firing squad singing Redman’s 10,000 reasons, “Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul, worship his holy name.” Words taken from Psalm103.

In Psalm 103 the psalmist speaks to God and to himself. There is a lot of self love in the psalms, “do not be downcast my soul,” If has a stabalising effect to bein the hands of an unchanging God. Self talk is essential, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills.

The prayers were addressed to God, the giver of all good gifts:
Our hope is where you are
We acknowledge our need of you
Meet us where we are
Be the hope to those who are downtrodden
Be the good shepherd to those who come to you in faith.

Keep singing songs of praise as you go through the week

After a blessing the final hymn Blessed be your name an older song of Redman’s had a new line in a new recording, “I will find my way to the place of praise.”

-o0o-

Back at Holy T we had music too.

At beginning was “His love endures for ever” reminding us that God is forever faithful, strong and with us.

The kids song was an energetic version of “All creatures of our God and King … praise him, hallelujah”

The final song, Mighty to save said, “Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a saviour,”

-o0o-

As the words of the hymns have spoken to me so much this week I have compiled words from each one into a poem:

Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a saviour
I will find a way to the place of praise
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength
Cast your shame on his shoulder.
He refreshes my soul
It is well with my soul
Praise him, Hallelijah!

One thought on “10,000 reasons not to be downcast

  1. So much to be got from hymns and palms. Even a new poem!
    That is a lot going on with family and church life in the last week.
    I am challenged by the tension between sowing widely and looking for people of peace.

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