Your smiles, your hopes, your courage

Dear Friends,

A sign outside a shop in Broadway said that good friends help you find what you have lost —your smiles, your hopes, your courage!

I must admit, some people have made me lose my temper, lose my faith (in humanity), lose hope for the future, lose my sense of humour and lose my direction, but a phone call or encounter with a friend has restored sanity. Oh yes, forgot to mention, I have lost my head and some people have questioned whether I have ever found that!

I wish my friends would be around when I lose my keys or my glasses, which happens often. That might be embarrassing though as they are often found in the door or on my head!

One of the biggest losses is when people lose their voice and dont feel as though they are being heard when they want to shout for justice or become exhausted from trying to convince people over many years that everyone deserves a home and all people should have equal opportunities. Confidence, faith, hope, value — all, and more, are lost when voices are lost. Our voice is like a bag with so much more packed in it. It needs a wonderful friend to help us find our lost voice and restore confidence and value for an individual or a community.

If you are like me and have lost Jesus in the past I can assure you he has never lost you and God rejoices when you find him again. WE are like the lost sheep or the lost coins of the parables and Jesus is such a good friend that he keeps searching for us so that we can smile again, renew our hope and restore our courage. What a Friend we have in Jesus who will help us find what we have lost and US when we are lost! I dont suppose the shop in Broadway were thinking of that Friend, but I liked the sign.

Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.. It is a hymn and a prayer, or a sung prayer, and I really hope God does not like garlic because this is a breath that you can feel on your skin. Its the breath felt from a relationship so close that you can feel it, smell it and hear it! If you ARE that close in your relationship with God then Jesus is standing in the same room as you, looking in your eyes when he speaks, and then you will feel his breath on your cheeks as he hugs you and invites you to receive the Holy Spirit. Pray that we can be that close to God in our relationships that we feel the breath on our cheeks, see Love in the eyes and smell the presence like incense burning all around. Get as close to God as you are with children, grandchildren, best friends and husbands, wives or partners in love. No! Get even closer than that and we will receive the Holy Spirit that Jesus breathes on us….

Dont leave God at a distance in heaven, but open the door to your heart and offer Jesus a home where he can snuggle up with you on the sofa where you can share stories together and breathe on each other in a relationship of ultimate trust! Are you that close, YET?

I was sitting outdoors with breakfast and talking to God over my breakfast yesterday when I had this picture of a Christian Community living next door to Church, opening the doors for worship each morning and providing a daily living presence of Christ in the Community. It will become the spiritual heart of the community as people are able to come with their fears and worries and find the Love of God meeting them each day. Is it possible that the new Church could be the old model with a community of young people “devoted to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer.(Acts 2: 42-44) To be honest, I have had this vision of such a community for a long time because it is Kingdom life and I am sure “everyone would be filled with awe at the wonders and signs that would be seen because of it.Maybe God was giving me the theme for tonight at breakfast yesterday!

Early this week we forwarded a further £100 from tour Emergency Fund to the Oxygen for India Fund run by the British Asian Trust. This make the total now sent by the Church to £250. Going forward the Emergency Fund returns to being a general fund. We will know the Christian Aid totals next week.

It is always important to tell our story and the Armchair Pilgrimage this morning takes a journey through the history of our Church. I wont spoil the Pilgrimage for people who are about to do it this morning, but if you dont have the information and would like to know more about the story of Broadway United Reformed Church you can ask Joanne or Mark.

Pray for the many families who need support following a lockdown through which many people have lost jobs, relationships have broken, now suffer from depression or continue to grieve or are suffering long Covid. Pray for the many who are on waiting lists for hospital treatment.

Continue to pray for Patrick Murunga in Kenya and for the church leaders who are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table for their families, and now have to pay school fees for their children to return to school. With those challenges also pray that they can continue to be a light for Christ.

Patrick also needs prayer for his spiritual leadership in the country. Esther Odhiambo would also appreciate your prayers for her ministry and study in Nairobi.

Also for Naomi Pam Susan Michael Frank and Christine Kathy Hancock Vicky Margaret

Keep pray for Israel, the Methodist Minister, and his family and friends in India during the pandemic crisis.

Pray for guidance for the future ministry of Broadway United Reformed Church and the deployment of ministers in the Synod

God Bless, Richard