This week I have been reminded of a reflection I shared a year ago about how we can lean on our Gate in prayer to find a new life waiting for us from John 10 verses 1-10….
We have talked about having to knock on doors in recent months, but we also continue to lean on our Gate as we pray about the future! To get to the door we have to go through a gate!
So, it is right that we have been leaning on our Gate praying that we will find the right door to knock on.
The road to Lymington was like a long driveway after a Gate opened and led us to a door on which we have knocked. Now we are standing on the doorstep waiting to see if it opens. We hope our spiritual sat nav has taken us to the right place.
We were given the wrong postcode so when we arrived where we thought we should be we had to telephone for help and our host to be told to type “Everton Road” into the sat nav. I am wise enough to realise that I could not trust the directions when I was told to turn left for LIVERPOOL! I do know someone who was using a sat nav and was directed up the M1 to Leeds instead of to London! We have to be careful and specific about where we want to go with our sat nav in the car, but in our prayer we can say, “Lord, take us where you want us to be!” That can be a scary journey down windy country lanes and busy motorways on which we learn that we can trust God more than our sat nav in the car. I was reminded of that on the way home when we were confronted by a ‘road closed’ sign and as we tried to find a different route we went round in a big circle back to the same ‘road closed’ sign!
I had been driving in prayer as we were worried the car could seize up anywhere at anytime, but now we had to trust God rather than the sat nav. The two worked together — another lesson in teamwork — as we negotiated narrow, windy roads through villages we had never heard of with the nagging worry that if the car broke down we were in the middle of nowhere AND if any other vehicles did come there would be no way past us! Travelling with God isn’t always a comfortable journey, but it is a rewarding pilgrimage of discovery — and we discovered a new way home. Some of you might be following the Armchair Pilgrimage today and from the comfort of your home God will take you on a journey of discovery. You can be led down unexpected roads and only when you look back on the experience will you realise how God led you. The last year has been one such journey of twists and turns with unexpected diversions, but when we lean on our Gate in prayer we reach the door on which we can knock or use our key to open it.
Like our car we will be vulnerable to break down because of stress and God doesn’t pull us or push us to where we need to be because God is IN the car with us so sits with us, worries with us and encourages us with that love that overcomes our fear. God is our wisdom and our strength so lean on that Gate and enter through it and you will find the way to the Door on which to knock…
“Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened….” (Matthew 7: 7)
Having gone through the Gate we can pray the Shepherd will open the door and invite us in — and that is where the story continues in John’s gospel from verse 11.
One of Shirley Caddy’s requests was that people don’t wear black at her funeral service. She liked to celebrate with colour and so if you attend the service on Wednesday please wear a bit of colour!
The service is at 1pm and if you would like to attend please let me know so that I can make a seating plan that follows social distancing guidance.
Nick Stanyon, the Synod Evangelist Enabler, will be our guest preacher on Sunday and I am sure some of what we talk about this evening will require some evangelism if our visions and dreams are to become a reality. Attend both if you can but let me know if you want a seat for Sunday.
Sunday’s service from the United Reformed Church Daily Devotions will be led by the Revd. Cath Atkinson. Cath is minister of three churches in the St Helens area, in our Mersey Synod. She will be looking at the theme of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Hymns include, of course (for a Sunday such as this) Stuart Townend’s The Lord’s My Shepherd, For the beauty of the earth and Thy hand O God has guided.
Pat Wallace has written to say: “Thank you all so much for your donations to the Leprosy Mission. I believe that in these difficult times it is still important to remember charities that we have supported over a number of years. This year we collected £260 which was a great result.”
It has taken a long time, but at last we are advertising for an Outreach Worker so if you know anyone who might be interested please pass on the details:
Risen Lord Jesus,
hear our prayers for all who mourn
as they remember loved ones lost to this pandemic.
Hear our prayers for livelihoods destroyed and hopes devastated.
Hear our prayers for all continuing to sustain and support us
even as we begin to taste again so much we have had to wait for.
Bless the nations with a renewing spirit of generosity,
that vaccine and support might reach the poorest and most marginalised.
We pray in your name.
God Bless, Richard