FLOODGATES HAVE OPENED…?
First Sunday back.
It’s always nerve wracking. What do I do? What should I say? Have I briefed everyone? What time do I need to be there?
It happens every year. It’s healthy not to be complacent.
We had the added frisson of a strange last minute request.
An email comes in. “I know it’s a strange request, but my 6 year old wants to preach. I explained to her that it takes a long time to write a talk for church, but no , she insists- “I already know what I want to say. It’s about God building his church”
We have been talking about Christ Church becoming more age-diverse where age is no barrier to blessing others. So, the answer was “yes”. After making the appropriate safeguarding checks, we were good to go. 1130 reflection sorted. “Lisa, you go ahead with a short reflection, but try to reflect what will be shared in this preach. It’s good experience for your curacy!”
A member of the congregation shared a picture of a wheel. Members of church were on the outside and Jesus was in the centre of the wheel. Maybe God was saying “it doesn’t matter where you are on the wheel, I am in the centre. Stay attached and your time will come.”
Everyone can get involved (no matter your age?…) A word to be shared with the church at 1030. It seemed to fit in well.
11.30am came round. Lisa had preached at 10.30am about Jesus’ baptism and talked about the importance of listening to the prophetic voice in the wilderness. This was written before we knew about the 6 year old’s word for the church.
We sang a song or two. In our little preacher we heard a confident, bullish even, reminder of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7 to build our house upon the rock, not the shifting sands. “Read your bible, pray. It’s foolish not to!”
And she is right.
God laid this on her 6 year old heart and she shared it with us.
Lisa responded and led us into ministry. She reflected on the passage of the day in Matthew 3 where we are invoked to listen to the prophetic voice in the wilderness and that we might well have heard a prophetic voice in a surprising way – to us and to her parents.
Where the first century Jews had John the Baptist, we had a year a little girl with a big heart.
Somehow the messages for the morning- listen to the prophetic, all may be part of this, build our house on the rock- all seemed to tie together.
Team meeting gathered. It was the first for our new team member. Lots of jollity and teasing. We go round the team and share then pray. When we came to one team member he shared something from Sunday morning.
“It was a bad day. I walked to church and was singing a song in my head – “Stand upon the rock, stand upon the rock, Stand on the rock of Jesus” It was just a chorus but I sang it with increasing energy. It was a bad day! On the way I met a friend I hadn’t seen for some time. He said that he was glad to see me because he had been praying and he had a word for me. It was “stand upon the rock of Jesus”. That’s amazing, I thought”
“I got to church and I was met at the door by one of the church members. She said “I have a word of encouragement for you. Psalm 27.
For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)
“Wow! I thought. And then I came into the services and it came to 11.30. The word came, “build your house upon the rock”….my mouth fell open…….”
I then closed the meeting with the words from Matthew from that morning’s Morning Prayer:
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Matthew 21:16)
And then we prayed for one another.
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:24-29)
This is how we prayed at the beginning of PCC that evening. That our deliberations would always be based on the rock of Jesus and not on the shifting sands of our own opinions, emotions and feelings. His wisdom not ours.
The Strategic Planning Team met for the first time. We spoke of many things but also got onto the subject of the Sunday morning service and the mini-preach outlined above. Age diversity. Prophetic voice in the wilderness.
All can step into these roles for Jesus, hearing Jesus, telling his words to the church.
“Maybe it was a one off”, one member of the team said.
“Maybe the floodgates have opened”, I said.
What do you think? Pray about this. Are you ready for more?