Standing in the supermarket queue at the statutory 2 metre-distance gave me lots of opportunities to look around me.
Everyone seemed to have their own defences: gloves in latex, plastic and wool; snoods and scarves pulled over mouths and noses making them look like middle-aged Lone Rangers; dust-masks, paper masks, masks with ventilation devices. I felt definitely under-defended. Morrison’s never seemed so dangerous!
Meanwhile, those working in hospitals and in frontline services are crying out for more protection. It would be great to think that they could receive all they need this week.
This Sunday we read from Ephesians and Paul’s passage about the armour we have been given to withstand all the attacks of the enemy. He had no doubt that there was an enemy, the devil, who stood behind all the wickedness and chaos in the world. He had no doubt that this enemy would want to destabilise followers of Jesus, by making them doubt the goodness of God and the fact that they are loved and secure in Christ.
This week you might be on a ward coming to terms with new practices that you weren’t really prepared for. You might be in a school caring for a handful of children of key workers, at the same as being concerned about the vulnerable children that should be there but aren’t. You might be trying to work from home while your children are trying to do some schoolwork and missing their friends. You might be trying to stay in touch with elderly parents who feel bewildered by the changes we are undergoing. You might just be lonely – missing normality, family, people to hug you.
In all these situations and more, it’s easy for the clouds to overwhelm you. This is when we need to put the new clothing on.
In Romans 13:14, Paul takes this idea of clothing further and urges us to ‘clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ’. It’s as though he’s saying – it’s not enough to just identify as a Christian but be so close to the Lord that you are clothing yourself in him. It’s an idea that sounds so mystical that it might be easier to sing the idea rather than work it out intellectually. A few years ago, Kathryn Scott sang this song – it expresses the closeness of our connection with Christ well:
Wherever you find yourselves this week, clothe yourselves in Christ. Open your heart to him, offer him your lives – these lives that are coping with so many strange things at the moment, press into him closer – take time to be still before him, allow him to speak to you, clothe yourself in him.
This week it’s great to be able to introduce you to Adam and Emily. They haven’t been in church with us for very long, so this is a great way of you getting a little insight into their lives.
Sunday’s Gathering at 10.30am.
This is the link for our online service on Sunday:
(Meeting ID: 836 810 848)
This week we will take communion together – so bring your bread/wine with you to the service! If you want to invite others to be part of the service with us, please share this with them.
If they’re not part of our church, but want to be added to our mailing list, they can sign up here.
If you haven’t seen these yet – these are the activities that link to Sunday’s sermon.
On Thursday 9th April at 7.45pm we will be starting home groups again. These will happen via Zoom; the link to the meetings is here:
Meeting ID: 998 857 193
These groups will happen every week while we are all in lockdown.
If you are already part of Julian or Charlie’s home group, you will be able to meet in these groups. But we will also be starting a new group that Neil will lead. If you would like to join this new group, it would be helpful if you could let Neil know.
If you want to find out if these groups would be helpful to you, then please click the link and come along. You will be more than welcome.
We will be using the Prayer Course – we will be talking about session 5 on Unanswered Prayer, so please have a watch of it before you come. You can find the session here.
If you have any questions, please do get in touch.
On Friday 10th April at 8pm, we will have a service together:
Meeting ID: 128 668 846
Here are a couple of videos of Ian Peacock & family taken from our live worship during Salford Elim Church’s online service on Sunday.
Resources to explore
1. This (not very spiritual) clip has been rattling around my brain while I have been thinking about armour and being clothed in Christ. As soon as you see it, you will know what happens, but it makes me laugh every time!
2. Mark Meynell is a writer who is blogging about Christian writers at the moment. You might find some of his introductions interesting.
3. Elim has gathered a number of resources to be used with children of all different ages. Worth checking out.
4. I came across LUMO last week. Taking each of the New Testament Gospels unedited and unabridged as the script, LUMO offers four feature-length films with breathtaking visuals to paint an authentic portrait of the life of Christ. The films are in different languages so you can find the version that is easiest for you.