Hi all Greetings from the Manse and I trust this newsletter finds you all staying safe and indoors if you are in that vulnerable category. In keeping with our emphasis on communication and attempting to keep some sort of access to worship are you all aware (for those with internet access) that there is a BBC service at 11.30 on Sunday mornings which has proved to be popular. There is also an offering of an order of service on the Methodist Website. However it does not have a sermon but the prayers and readings are helpful. Do let me know if you are on Skype for facial contact in the future. As all our bible studies and fellowships are now postponed here are bible notes which you might find useful.

BIBLE: CREATION; CRISIS; CALLING; CONVERSATION; CHRIST; CHURCH & CONTINUATION.

THE STORY IN WHICH WE FIND OURSELVES!
BIBLE: A story with many smaller stories. Often, we touch on the smaller stories and not the bigger story which reflects God’s plan for humankind. The six acts help us to see our own place in the plan. The Drama of our life with God has not yet ended. Therefore Act 7 is the continued journey.

ACT 1 CREATION We turn the clock back billions of years. We imagine a God who is alone. Then God creates distinct individuals. We are not robots nor puppets. In Genesis 1and 2 we begin to see the attributes of a God in the entire sculpting of creation. We also begin to see our attributes in being created in his image. God is now not alone! We are in the story because God has endowed us with His image. He Has placed us in the world to create, caretake and have compassion. We commune with God and we live central to the narrative and His purpose.

ACT 1: SCENE 1 Awe and wonder Gen 1 & 2; Psalm 19 Matt 6:25-34 • God forms the galaxies. • There is a wonder that God wants us to be part of His creation • How can we not feel alive in His creation?

QUESTIONS • What one idea from these passages intrigues, provokes, disturbs, challenges, encourages, helps or surprises you? • Think about a story where you have experienced awe and wonder. You might want to share this with me or others via email (just in the spirit of communication). • Choose one part of creation that has meaning for you. What does it tell you about God.

MINDFULNESS

Just a reminder that the central motivation is to become more aware of our relationship with ourselves, others and God. Recently I was listening to a lecture where the speaker believed that there are three levels to sight: • Seeing but not being aware. Unconsidered observation (Mindlessness) • Seeing with reasoning: Observing to explain. • Seeing with the heart …..open and without prejudice. The idea reminded me of the moment when Jesus speaks to His disciples in Matthew 13: 13 Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand Relax breath in and out slowly (Breathing centres, us on the present moment of awareness. We cannot have future breathing or past breathing. Breath gives us instant life. Creation began with a breath. We commonly use breath as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.) Continue with reading Matt 13:14-15 Relax in a position of expectation that God is present in you and around you. Think about times when you have looked without any consideration of what is before you or you looked around you or out the window. Think about times when you have “looked” with reasoning. How much is your reasoning about self or is even prejudiced? Think about examples. Think about the times when you have looked with your open heart and without prejudice. Think about those who are vulnerable; homeless who cannot isolate; frontline workers in NHS, government and other support groups. Think about the distribution or PPE (personal, protective equipment to the NHS. Think of those who are experiencing grief from a lost loved one. Candles are being lit throughout the Nation between 7pm and 7.30pm. It’s cathartic, it makes us feel part of the fight against the virus. Now read Matt 13:16,17 Mindfulness is about enhancing ourselves and our relationships with others.

BIBLE…BEHAVING BADLY?

This is just to get you communicating with me and with each other. Often we have tamed the bible to our own cultural and historical reasoning. However, do you realise that camels were only domesticated in 800 BC. So how do we explain the accounts of camels in pre 800 BC times? Gen 24:10: Gen 37:25?

Camel dealer to buyer ……. One lump or two! Was the camel called …. Humphrey! What about unicorns. Look at Isaiah 34:7 (St James version) and the unicorns shall come down with them. The NIV version has a sobering re-translation to “wild oxen”. Where do you think the unicorn came from? I will respond to the above questions in my next newsletter. Keeping you all in my prayers and looking forward to your contact.

Shalom,

Dermot