Midweek Musings – No Neat Endings

A good ending is important.

Do ever turn to the end of a book to see how it ends so you can relax into the story? Or is that just me?

Do you ever to the end of a film and ask ‘is that it?’, feeling somehow cheated at the loose ends that haven’t been tied, or worse, with a feeling that the actors and directors got bored and just stopped!

I tell you who does a good ending: Death in Paradise. Every week the detectives collect the murder suspects and the ‘brilliant’ detective explains who committed the murder, why they did it and how they did it. From murder to conclusion in 60 minutes.

It’s neat, completed, no doubts, no untied loose ends, in a warm island location that looks really tempting on a cold Thursday in Salford.

Except after you have watched one, you know – that’s not how life goes. Not really.

It’s neat, but it’s no good.

We are at the end of Luke’s story of the earliest church. 28 chapters have taken us through most of a year and from the beginning of a pandemic to (hopefully at least) the end of the beginning of that episode.

So how does it end?

With our hero under house arrest waiting to see what happens next.
And no hint of what happened next.

Did he get to court? Did he die? Was he pardoned, free to travel again?

This is no way to finish a story.

Unless the story is not over yet.

Is that why it ends as it does? Are we supposed to see that the story goes on, a baton passed on to every generation? I wonder if we could ask Luke why he didn’t finish Paul’s story, whether he would tell us that it was never Paul’s story – not really. It was God’s story into which Paul was wrapped, and that story goes on except this time he wraps us up in it.

Every generation gets to run their leg of the relay race carrying the baton of faith. Carefully, faithfully, determinedly, hopefully, knowing there will be a moment when we will have to pass it on to the next generation of runners.

That’s what we are called to do. To listen to this story of God at work in the first Jesus generation and then work out what it means for us to live that out in our generation.

Paul sits in prison waiting to see how his story ends, while he hands on the baton to us, cheering us on, urging us to run our race, waiting to see what the next chapter will be like.

You have that baton in your hand.

Now run like the wind!

Interview

Last week we listened to Martin tell his story. This week, we have Yvonne’s story of what it was like breaking away from the Spiritualist church, the church that her family were so deeply involved with. It’s a story of how to respect your family, while at the same time being set free from some of the strongholds that they hand you.

Our Gatherings

(Click on a heading to see full details)

1. Coffee Morning: Wednesday at 10.30am.

A Wednesday morning is the ideal time to catch up with people, have a brew, even involve yourself with a quiz.

Meeting linkhttps://zoom.us/j/94930624852?pwd=dlI0SnhwY3RaNnUrUGpSMTkrWm5hZz09

2. Home groups: Thursday at 7.30pm

Every other week we meet in smaller Zoom groups. It’s a chance to reflect on the Bible passages we have looked at on Sundays and to support one another as we learn what it means to follow Jesus in our own particular situations.

If you want to be part of a group, contact Neil and he will include you.

3. Prayer Meeting: Friday

Contact Corinne Baines or Gill Oldham or Neil and they’ll make sure you are able to connect.

4. Sunday Service at 10.30am

Zoom Link: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/836810848
Meeting ID: 836 810 848

And on Salford Elim Church’s YouTube page.

And at 10am, led by Hannah:

If you would love the privilege of praying for our Sunday morning service, then we need you! Log on to the Sunday morning Zoom at 10am and we’ll go into a break out room for 15-20mins, to pray together for those involved in the service, as well as for the service itself.

I’d love to see you there xxx

5. Quiz Night: Friday 5th February, 7.30-9.30pm

We’ve really enjoyed the last few Quiz Nights and so we thought we’d do another!

You can come on your own and will be teamed up on the night or you might want gather a team beforehand – there might be folks in church that you want to team up with but it’s also a chance to extend an invitation to those who don’t come to church with you regularly.

If you know that you want to be in a team with friends and family you can form a team of up to 5 screens. But you must register that team with Ian by Thursday the 4th of February.

He needs to know the names of who will be in your team (the name that will appear on each person’s Zoom screen would be very helpful!) and the team captain’s mobile number (the team captain will also need to have WhatsApp installed on their phone in order to send and receive questions and answers).

If you don’t have a team beforehand, come along and we will create teams on the night – no one will be alone. But please turn up on time!

It should be a fun night 🙂

Here is the link to use: https://zoom.us/j/99180747057?pwd=TUxwMTNsdHNYZ0c1aDFpL1ltSXc1dz09

6. Young Adults Work (Ages 15+)

15-18 Sunday groups – every other Sunday 12-1.30pm

If you’re 15-18 and would like to get involved, we have bi-monthly sessions which involve fun social activities and bible studies, all from the comfort of your own home. Get in touch if you’d like more details of the zoom link for these events. 

18+ young adults group

In normal times, we run a 6 week cycle of fortnightly events of alternative worship, bible studies and social events. 

We’ve adapted our work since 2020 and are currently running fortnightly events on zoom – switching between a social evening and bible study using the Nooma programme. 

If you’d like to get involved, these take part on every other Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm – please get in touch for the zoom link. The next event is Wednesday 20th January.

7. Kids Work

During this time of not being able to meet together in the same building, we have adapted our children’s work to the below schedule.

3–11-year-olds (Primary School children)

Once a month, resources go out online via the church website for parents and carers to access and use when convenient. They will follow the content of the main Sunday services wherever possible and include bible stories, activities and crafts. The idea being you can dip in and out of the activities suggested whenever suits you and your family best. Please feel free to use as little or as much throughout the month as you find helpful 🙂

On the 4th Sunday of each month, after the main service at 12:30pm, there is a ‘Family Zoom’ aimed at those with children 11 and under. For safeguarding reasons, Morag sends out emails directly to parents and carers about this and the Zoom link, but if you haven’t been emailed or texted about this and you think this is something you’d like to do with your child, please do get in touch!

11-15s (High School children)

Every Sunday after the main service, there is a Zoom meeting for those in High School. This is usually at 12:30pm, but on the 4th Sunday of each month will be at 1:30pm. Each week we have a bit of a catch-up, do something fun, study the bible and pray. We’ve spent time going through Acts and are almost at the end of the Youth Alpha course.
For safeguarding reasons all Zoom links are sent out directly to parents/carers on a weekly basis. Again, please get in touch if you have a child in High School and think this is something they would like to join in with.

If in doubt

All the links to the meetings are in ChurchSuite and on the ‘Calendar’ section of our church website: http://www.salfordelimchurch.org/events/

You’re not alone

If you need help and don’t know where to turn, you are always welcome to contact Neil on 07771 558058.

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