One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. …Acts 3
I’d been like this all my life.
40 years of being excluded.
40 years of people wondering whose fault it was that I was like this.
40 years of shame, knowing that I was reliant on handouts.
40 years of watching the worshippers go into the temple, never being able to go in myself.
40 years of wondering what it would feel like to dance.
And then they looked at me.
It was just another day, like every other one. I’d been helped to my usual spot, just outside the temple gate. I could never go in, it wasn’t allowed. I guess they thought I would somehow infect the worship areas. And anyway I wouldn’t fit in. I couldn’t stand or kneel to pray. So I just sat outside waiting.
But not now.
On that day, I danced my way into the temple. It wasn’t pretty, but it was joyful. These guys had noticed me, had given me their full attention and had welcomed me into a new life. My healing was more than being about able to walk. It was about entering into everything: into God’s presence, into community, into life.
So I danced.
They could have ignored me. Or worse, they could have given me what I wanted. I asked for money. They gave me life.
And, after the dancing, I held on to Peter’s arm to keep my new-found balance while he explained that what had happened to me was because of Jesus. And what had happened to me was an example of what Jesus would do for a world. It would make anyone dance.
But just one last thing. There’s a whole load of people like me. They sit and watch on while you go about your busy business. They watch you as you go and worship. They would love to dance.
Can you give them what you have received? Will you let them lean on you as you explain about Jesus? Will you give them your attention? Will you help them to dance?
This week’s interview is with Steve Christmas. Steve’s worked in the area of immunology all his life, so this is a really good time to hear from him. He’s a scientist with a strong faith in Jesus and he’s part of our church.
1. Governing Body Changes
As you might remember, three of the present members of the Governing Body will step down in the summer. They are Gill Oldham, Pearl King and Frank Walsh. They have served the church really well by supporting those employed by the church and helping us become the church that we believe God is calling us to be.
We have already agreed that Judith Thompson and Charlie Blundell will replace them, but as we said at the time there was another space to be filled.
We are delighted to be able to tell you that Jumi Isobor has agreed to be proposed as part of the team. If you want to know more about Jumi you can see her here being interviewed with Emmanuel…
As is our custom we give you 14 days to get back to Neil or any of the Governing Body if you have any concerns that you think are really significant. I’d like to thank Jumi for being willing to allow us to put her forward to you. We think Jumi is the right person for the team. She is younger than the rest of us (!), comes from a different ethnic background, loves the church, asks great questions and has a heart for the growth of the Kingdom of God.
2. Our Gatherings
The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
A chance to reflect on life and scripture together. We are using this resource at the moment. We are in the third week.
Thursdays at 7.45pm is the time to log on.
Meeting ID: 998 857 193
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.
This may be an easy time to invite friends and family to our Gatherings, after all they can be with us from the safety of their own homes. You have nothing to lose, they have a lot to gain!
3. You’re not alone
If you need prayer, or need to talk, don’t hesitate to contact folks in your WhatsApp group, or Neil – his number is 07771 558058.
4. Hardship fund
We set aside some of church’s money so that we can respond to needs that we become aware of in church. You might want to give to that fund, if so, let Bev Walsh know, or you might be in need yourself. If you would need help, don’t be embarrassed to talk with Charlie Blundell. We want to help.
Links and Resources
1. A rather good film you saw half of!
This is the Psalm 23 film that I stopped on Sunday!
2. Neil on Purpose!
Last year I was part of a research project looking at what helped people grow as disciples of Jesus. I presented some of the findings as part of Elim’s Leadership Summit last week. If you’d like to watch it, it’s here:
The findings about purpose were particularly interesting and I intend to lead some sessions on discovering your own purpose in the near future. There are other sessions that you might find helpful. Malcolm Duncan preached a powerful sermon on grief that you might find helpful (Malcolm starts speaking at around 27 mins.):
3. Children’s Resources
Morag and Ian have put together a couple of films for children at different ages. Having said that, whatever your age you might want to take a look!
But if you have children that fall into these groups, I know that they will really value your feedback.
You can watch them here: