We have started a series of sermons in the Book of Acts looking at the new things that God did when everything seemed so very uncertain. I’m convinced that God wants us to be able to see all that might be possible in these times. This Sunday we will read Acts 2:1-12. Here are some musings ahead of that.
Dorothy, Maggie’s mum, has lived with us for just over a year. Apart from holidays visiting us, she never really ventured out of Northern Ireland, and so to come over was a great adventure.
Last week, she had one of those experiences that you’ve probably had. She went to the cashpoint (as part of her government-permitted daily exercise!) and the machine swallowed her card. The branch was closed, so she trudged back home concerned about what would happen next.
One call to the bank and everything changed. They sorted the card, but far more importantly the woman who dealt with her was from ‘home’. Dorothy’s phone was on speaker mode so we could hear the conversation – ‘oh it’s so nice to hear someone from home’. ‘I know, how are you?’ and off they went into their own dialect for just a few moments.
It made Dorothy’s day!
The nuisance of losing her card to the machine was made easier by hearing someone who spoke like her.
Accents make all the difference.
I have what I think of as a generic Northern accent. So it was a surprise when not long ago I was speaking the South of England and someone came up to me at the end and asked if I was from Huddersfield or Halifax! Quite impressive – I grew up in Halifax. Whatever I had said, he’d heard the sound of a place he knew well. And we spent about 15 minutes reminiscing about the places we knew in common. The connection was made in the cadence of a sound.
This is what happened at Pentecost. They were promised power, they received languages.
And those who heard asked ‘what does this mean?’
Well, you would, wouldn’t you?
The answer became clear. The Spirit of God, his life, his breath, was filling these disciples and enabling them to make connections that would have been thought of as impossible. After all, they said, aren’t these ignorant, uneducated, unsophisticated Galileans?
As we pray our way through the book of Acts, what new things will break out from us by the power of the Holy Spirit? Into whose lives is the Spirit leading us? What new connections will be made?
Lord, the church buildings may be empty at the moment, but our mouths of the church can be full of all that you have done. Give us confidence, Lord, to speak out your praise; may we connect with those around us.
This week’s interview is with Mark Cann. We are really pleased that Mark, Rachael and Joseph are with us. This is a chance for you to get to know their story a little better.
1. Our Gatherings
The link to this Sunday’s Gathering is here:
Meeting ID: 836 810 848
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!
On Thursday evenings from 7.45-9.00 we have three small ‘home’ groups that meet. If you haven’t been part of a group in the past but would like to explore it, you will be very welcome to come along.
The groups will be finishing are The Prayer Course this week focusing on Spiritual Warfare. But even if you have not been part of the groups up to now, you are more than welcome to come along. Watch the film before you come along: come along, make sure you have watched the 8th session here.
Meeting ID: 998 857 193
2. Using Zoom – Some basic tips
I think we are all getting better at using Zoom. Here are a few tips that might help:
- If you are using Zoom in groups, or where you are going to speak, sit as close to the microphone as you can.
- If you are using wifi, it’s helpful to be in a room that is close to your router.
- If the signal starts to go, closing your video down can help.
- I know that some of you prefer not to be ‘seen’ and that’s fine, but it is helpful if you can show yourself on screen at the beginning, even if you the switch your video off later.
- It’s better to use the ‘gallery view’ rather than the ‘speaker view’. That way you get to see everyone at the same time.
3. Social Night: Friday 8th May at 8pm
It’s definitely worth a go! On this night (a bank holiday weekend – does that even matter anymore?) we are going to have our first quiz night via Zoom.
Meeting ID: 891 0941 4539
You can come on your own of course. But you might want to come as a team – you might have family and friends that are smart, and you’d like to form a team with them. There will times during the quiz when it’s every wo/man for themselves; but other times when you will be able to answer as teams.
It’s a chance to extend an invitation to those who don’t come to church with you regularly.
Bring your own drinks and nibbles!
4. How are things going? Reflections on Online Church
We want to pause for a moment to see how we are doing as church during these days. This is not just to check our own heartbeat (!) but is a chance to feed into how things might change going forward – even when we get back to a new normal.
It’ll be a chance to think about how connected you feel, what works well and what doesn’t, what is missed and how (if at all) we can address that, how we can ensure we stay outward-looking, whether using Zoom has been better for you than pre-recording a service and then using Facebook/Youtube to stream it. Those sorts of things.
So would you come along with a mug of tea and some biscuits and have a conversation with Neil?
It’ll be on Tuesday 5 May at 8pm
Meeting ID: 856 6215 3113
5. Prayer Together
Ian is going to host some prayer meetings – he just needs to know when will work best for you. He is suggesting Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday evening, Wednesday afternoon or Wednesday evening.
Can you let him know what would work best for you?
6. You’re not alone
If you need prayer, or to talk, don’t hesitate to contact folks in your WhatsApp group, or Neil – his number is 07771 558058.
Links and Resources
- I was interested to read about all the recent archaeology that has been happening in Nazareth and the new light it offers us to see the place where Jesus grew up and the social and religious background that he would have encountered. You can read about it here.
- Anthony Delaney, pastor of Ivy Cottage Church, Manchester wrote an interesting post about what God may be wanting to get our attention about in these days.
- For those of you with kids know how brilliant it can be when you get those opportunities to talk openly, and equally how difficult it can be when you feel you are not getting through. This was a good short piece on how to talk together.
- Finally, all that thinking about accents meant that I couldn’t help but think of this old, old sketch! Lord, may I never be this sort of Yorkshire man! (By the way, their impersonations of Yorkshire accents were awful).