At the moment it’s difficult to remember what day it is, let alone what month we are in.
So here’s the public service announcement: it’s Wednesday, halfway through the week known by Christians through the ages as Holy Week, the build up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
For the all the gospel writers, this week is the focus of their stories about Jesus. They cram 30 years of stories into half of their short gospels and then slow down as Jesus gets closer to the cross. For example, Luke begins his journey in 9:51
The next 14 chapters are all about this journey that will lead to the cross and the turning of the most remarkable tables, the resurrection.
In Sunday’s Gathering, we read about the entry into Jerusalem where it becomes clear that Jesus is going to turn everyone’s expectations on their heads. He’s got a plan and he is intent on seeing that plan come into play and he is willing to disillusion a lot of people (read this for some great insights).
It’s good to get an overview of what happens next:
19:45-21:38 Jesus disrupts the temple and disturbs all those who wanted to keep things as they were.
22:1-6 Judas works out a way he can betray Jesus.
22:7-38 There is the Last Supper which finishes with disciples strapping on swords ready to defend Jesus to the death. The very thing he was determined to embrace.
The evening’s late now and we get an insight into Jesus that we haven’t seen before. We know he has prayed regularly, and sometimes all night, but there are only a couple of places where we overhear Jesus’ prayers (here and here).
Lots of you struggle with praying out loud in church when others are listening – and I totally get it. Praying is one of the most vulnerable things you can do – you reveal something about yourself and it can feel very difficult.
So listen to Jesus and you get to see his relationship with God.
There’s no niceties about this prayer, just a wrestling as he asks God if there can be another way. Jesus is aware that he has to go through the horror of separation from his Father on the cross in order that death can be defeated, in order that all that is new can emerge. In prayer he recognizes there is no other way. Jesus accepts the God-forsakenness and the full horror of isolation where the evil powers of the world could and would do their worst. His prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, it allows him to express his own anxiety and come to terms with his calling.
A calling that cost him his all.
A calling for us. Listen to this song that explores all this.
Getting to know you
Some of you may not have had chance to meet Jay. He’s often away in different concert halls and business centres all over the world sorting sound systems out. When he is with us, you’ll often see him with a guitar in hand. It’s great to be able to find out a bit more about him.
1. Home Groups
This week we begin home groups again. If you have been part of either Charlie and Kate’s or Julian and Claire’s home groups you will be delighted that they are beginning again. For those who haven’t but would like to join a new group led by Neil, you will be very welcome to come along.
The groups are continuing The Prayer Course, so before you come along, make sure you have watched this.
These groups begin on Thursday at 8pm. Join us from 7.45pm.
(Meeting ID: 998 857 193 Password: 820084)
2. Friday Prayer Group
The Prayer group continue to meet on Friday mornings. Corinne sends a text around to people with prayer requests so that people can pray at the same time. If you would like to be part of that, contact Corinne directly or Neil.
3. Good Friday – 8pm
There is a Good Friday Gathering. Can you bring a candle to this event? It will be a time of readings, film, songs and prayers.
(Meeting ID: 128 668 846 Password: 363995)
4. Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday’s gathering happens at 10.30am. We will have communion again – come prepared!
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
Thanks for all of you who give to the church as part of your worship. One of the changes that has happened since we can’t meet together is that those of you who used to give to the church on Sunday mornings in the baskets haven’t been able to give. So, this is what you can do:
- You can send us a cheque. Make them payable to Salford Elim Church and send them to Bev Walsh, 47 Moorfield Road, Salford, M6 7EY.
- You can save it all up and give it to us when you can.
- OR ‘Ta da!’ there is another way:
- You can use your smartphone.
- Elim have joined up with Givt, the company that created this solution. First, download the Givt app. Now you can give in the same way you would if you gave cash on Sundays. This is what you need to do:
- Open the app.
- Choose the amount you want to give.
- Choose the third option, give from the List.
- Enter the name of the church in the search bar.
- Tap ‘give’ at the bottom of your screen.
- Finally, press Next to complete the donation.
(There is also an option to use the QR code – if you know what that means!)
If you want more information about any of this, do get in touch with Bev Walsh or Neil.
6. Inviting others
During these strange days, we want to stay growing as church. You might have friends and family who might be interested in staying in touch with us as a church. Ask them to fill out the form on our church website and we will add them to our mailing list.
Please invite as many people as you can to our gatherings, forward the emails to people who might appreciate them, tell as many people as you can about the beauty of Easter!
7. An update from Morag
If you’re using the Kids Resources that we published on Sunday, Morag’s got an extra little message for you to accompany the download.
There are so many resources being made available online, here are some that we think will be particularly helpful.
1. This one might just make you smile.
2. You can download David Suchet reading the NIV on an app for free this week here.
3. Chris Cartwright is Elim’s General Superintendent. He shares a helpful message about Easter here.
4. Spring Harvest can’t meet this year obviously, but they are putting their sessions online in real time for free. It’s on 13-17 April and you can find all the details here.