Dear Brothers and Sisters
‘Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing?’ – Haggai 2:3
Comparisons with the past can cause much negative thinking!
Haggai is a great little book in the Old Testament and tells us about the rebuilding of the Temple after the return from exile. The work had started but ground to a halt partly because of the memory of the original Temple and how magnificent it was. The people were feeling discouraged and despondent, and Haggai alerts them to the potential damaging consequences.
In a similar way, we may be feeling discouraged and despondent about the church as we look to get going again, thinking, “It’s not what it used to be! There’s no way we’re going to get back to the way things were! It doesn’t look that great!” I can identify with these thoughts and that’s why I have been encouraged by the Word of God through Haggai, who counters the threefold questions with three exhortations addressing the three parties involved (King, Priest and Community):
“But now be strong, Zerubbabel, declares the LORD.”
“Be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.”
“Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD, and work, for I am with you…”
Like then, we now need to adopt a positive frame of mind, ‘Be strong’, as we come out of lockdown, so we can together, joyfully pursue the mission God has given us to ‘Grow the church and deepen our commitment to Jesus Christ’ (St John’s Vision). This ‘Be strong’ is not to be confused with the worldly advice to ‘be strong, I know you’ve got it in you’, but rather with the knowledge that the Lord says ‘for I am with you.’ As we begin a morning sermon series on The Holy Spirit, I pray that we take great comfort that He is at work in us and through us.
Sunday Morning Services (9.15 and 11.15)
Sermon Series: The Holy Spirit – Life and Fruit
Please note that the 11.15 service will be live-streamed on St John’s YouTube channel. There will be virtual ‘Refreshments’ via Zoom at 10.30 for those unable to attend in person.
The services will be an hour long as we are encouraging families to attend (activity packs will be provided for children during the sermon). I appreciate that we can feel apprehensive about this but as a church family we all need to be positive about gathering together in these challenging times.
Sunday Evening Service (6pm)
Please note this will also be live streamed on the St John’s YouTube channel.
Sermon Series: James ‘Faith that Works’
Practical guidance for attendance morning or evening services:
- If you feel unwell, please do not attend.
- If you are worried about attending, please feel under no obligation to attend.
- Please bring your own face-mask, to be worn throughout the service.
- There will be no pew Bibles, so please bring your own or use your phone (church wifi details: name St John’s Guest, password Welcome0511).
- There will be no refreshments, but you are welcome to bring your own water bottle and take it away with you.
- It really helps if you arrive early!
- On arrival you will be greeted by the welcome stewards and asked to use the hand sanitiser.
- You will then be asked to register attendance for “track and trace” either manually or by using the QR code (only one person per household needs to do this).
- Then you will be directed to your seat via the one-way system (filling up from the front is a great help).
- Once seated, please limit any movement around the building. Households, please remain together; household hubs can sit together.
- Toilet facilities are available.
Sadly, we are not yet permitted to sing during the service but there will be live music for prayer and reflection.
Wednesday 9th September 8-9pm
We all recognise just how challenging these last six months have been. There are many reasons for this; worry and fear, doubt and bereavement, we’ve also been confronted by many diverse social issues, and for some, God will have been showing us new things. I believe it’s going to be important, as we come back together as a fellowship, that we have an opportunity to share our experiences with one another. The first ‘Lockdown Conversation/Prayer’ gathering will be on Wednesday in church. My heart is that these evenings will give us a forum to share together, to pray together, to focus us again on the gospel and that we are one in Christ.
‘Be strong … for I am with you…’
I look forward to seeing you soon
Yours in Christ, Eddie
Don’t forget to join us straight after church for our weekly virtual refreshments. We’d love to see you, catch up & chat.
Meeting ID: 875 8169 6484