Category Archives: Minister’s Messages

Thought for the Week: Celebrate!

Wow! Who would think that there is a reason to celebrate today when we are in lockdown and unable to gather together for worship? My friends, we celebrate because we are free. Our Lord said, “Where two or three are together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18. V.20) If any of us, as we read this, is called to celebrate, we can be sure that Jesus joins with us, in fact He will be in the midst of us. So, today, we celebrate the 193rd year of worship in this chapel and we give thanks for Mr. Herbert and Mr Sibree and a small group of people who risked their lives and their livelihoods to have a chapel in this village. Those people were determined before God to overcome the restraints which took from them their freedom to worship Jesus Christ. For 193 years, people of this Long Itchington Congregational Chapel have been able to worship freely with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit has been with them.
I don’t want us to forget in our time of memorial that it has not always been an easy journey, for there have been times from the beginning of the 193 years when ministers and lay people have come under attack; people who, because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their way of worship, have been made to suffer.
The restraints today are different and necessary. Today, we are praying a thanksgiving for those who have suffered through their faith to follow Jesus Christ, who gave His life for all people, and in our celebration we thank those who serve the Lord in many ways and we wait prayerfully for the days when we can be together in worship safely.
We also look to the future as we welcome more people to come into membership and to become part of our Christian family. We welcome all who would become friends of the Chapel and are interested to learn more about the work of the Chapel to speak to Marion or one of the Deacons.
Today we also have a great gift to celebrate, for two thousand years ago before our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified He was explaining what was to come. He promised that He would not leave us like orphans, but He would give us another counsellor, another helper. The promise was also that the Holy Spirit would be for all who believed in God His Father and just as He had promised the day came while the Apostles waited, the Day which is called Pentecost. On that day, there was a sound like the blowing of a violent wind from heaven followed by what seemed like flames of fire touching each of the Apostles, but that was not all that changed because suddenly they began to speak in different languages so that everyone could understand them. Then there was more. Peter who had denied Jesus once in the past began to preach in a way he had never done before and those watching wanted to know what they needed to do to change to become Christians. They found their lives being turned upside down so that they could serve God as never before.
We celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit because to this day and into the future the Holy Spirit is alive for us, to help us to speak about our Lord Jesus so that others will want to know about the love of God and the love of Jesus who died for them.

PRAYERS FOR THE YEARS OF THE LIFE OF LONG ITCHINGTON CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL

Almighty and ever caring God
We come on this special day for our chapel to thank you for being with us always, even though we are not able to gather together in the chapel we love.
We thank you for the ongoing work in the chapel and for all who share in making it a welcoming place for worship.
We thank you Lord Jesus for giving us your Holy Spirit and for the Day of Pentecost which has given us a special time, two months earlier than usual, to celebrate in our hearts with remembrance how we would usually have a day of celebration. We thank and praise you Lord Jesus as, in faith, we look forward to the day when we are no longer in lockdown and when the terrible virus has been beaten and we are free once again.
We look back into the past and give thanks to all who have come before us and have served you here.
Lord Jesus Christ, we praise you again and again for giving your life on the cross and we pray that in the coming of the Holy Spirit many newcomers will come for us to welcome and share with them the love and joy which we have from you . Amen.

Thought for the Week: All Change

ascension of Jesus Christ

Today’s thoughts are about changes and the Ascension of Jesus Christ.


Following Easter Sunday, Jesus was showing His disciples that he was resurrected and alive, but not all of the people who were told about His change were able to accept it. Some were uncertain.
Nine weeks ago, the lives of people throughout the world were changed, not all in the same way but they were changed. Some were heard to say that they had lost their freedom and others just looked for someone to blame.
Today, we will think about what the Ascension meant at the time when it happened and what it means to us today at this time of uncertainty – yes, uncertainty, because no one understands how COVID-19 will react from now on.
On the day of Ascension, the people were looking up at the sky, and I imagine it was because they were still uncertain about where Jesus was. Two men dressed in white appeared, angel messengers from God who said to the onlookers, “Why are you looking up, Jesus has gone to His Father God in heaven and will return as He promised”.

We need have no uncertainty because we have the truth a) that Jesus is alive, b) that He is with God, c) that He will return one day in the future, d) the love that God has for us never changes because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and e) the ministry of Jesus on earth becomes our ministry.
Throughout these past nine weeks, we have been told firstly, to do certain things to save the lives of other people and secondly to be safe. That is the same today. We have done what Jesus did and many have given their lives for others. The prayers for today were written 7 years before the pandemic by Karen Campbell for Ascension Day.
Before we come to the time of prayer I hope you will forgive me for including my cat in the thoughts again…I have learned a lot since having Nala 3 months ago. Many people find change very difficult to handle and are uncertain about doing new things. I tend to be untidy and put things down in haste instead of putting them back where I got them from. Nala has her own way of putting me in my place. As soon as she comes across something new or something out of place she will sniff it, stand by it, look at me with her beautiful big eyes and even make her strange cat talk at me and wait for me to put things right. As we read the prayers we may feel that God is speaking to us about putting things in our lives right while we make the necessary changes.

PRAYERS FOR TODAY

LIVING GOD’S KINGDOM

Inviting God,
You call us to work as partners with you, in and for your world.
Show us how to live your kingdom into being inspired by the love of the risen Christ,
Now seated at your right hand.
Sustaining God, you call us to be as Christ in our world,
Starting here, where we live and work and dream. By your Spirit, grant us wisdom to discern your will,
When to wait, and when to move,
When to be silent and when to speak, when to be stubborn, and when to change,
Show us how to live your kingdom into being
Immersed in the love of the risen Christ now seated at your right hand.
Loving God, you see when the road seems too long,
When the task seems too great, when we encounter hostility or disbelief,
And the world laughs at the foolishness of the gospel
When we are tired, disheartened and ready to give in, remind us that we are a people of power,
Show us how to live your kingdom into being empowered by the love of the risen Christ
Now seated at your right hand. Amen

Thought for the Week: Lifted High

It was very early on Thursday morning, time to prepare for this week’s THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK. I was about to close the computer down, prayerfully asking for inspiration, and there it was before me! A thank you for the “SO GOOD” thought from a reader who had tried but failed, she said, to say something profound about ‘be strong, keep calm and have faith’ and then asked, could I help?
You Raise Me Up
You will recall that a previous THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK included words from a song which was sung by Michael Ball with Captain Tom who raised over 30 million pounds for the NHS. Soon throughout the world people were singing the song and getting help through the words, “When you walk through a storm… you will never walk alone”. As I recalled that happening, another song popped into my mind – one that has always lifted me when I’ve struggled. It was written by the band Secret Garden, with music from Norwegian Ralph Lovlaid and lyrics by Irish writer Brendon Graham. Many have interpreted “You Raise Me Up” as a song to God, part of which is “When I am down and oh my soul so weary, You raise me up,” and another line is “I am strong when I am on Your shoulders… You raise me up to more than I can be…”
Please let me know if you can’t find the complete song for in that raising up there is calmness and faith.
Now I take you back to those two short words ‘calm’ and ‘faith’, neither of which need to be intense or deep in knowledge. We might remember the day when Jesus calmed the storm – Luke 8.v.22-25. Jesus did not calm the storm for Himself but for His frightened disciples as He does it for us.
Then we go to St. Paul writing to the people of the Roman church (Romans 8 v.26 & 27) and saying, “The Spirit (Holy Spirit) helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us by searching in our hearts.” Our simplicity is loved by God and answered by Him.
I have spoken to Revd Michael and Barbara Haighton and they thank us for the prayers. Thinking about those who have not got access to the internet, they suggested turning to Premier Christian Radio, which can be found on channel 725 on Freeview (also available on digital radio).

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

Almighty and ever hearing God, we pray that we might find stillness, for in stillness we can know your nearness and as we are still Lord you show us how to be calm.
Lord God, as we are quiet, we find once more the depth of love which comes to us from your Son Jesus who gave His life that we might live.
As we are still and quiet we remember how Jesus calmed the storms and as, at the present time, we are going through the storm of COVID-19 the prayer is that Jesus might calm our fears, that our children will be safe as well as the teachers and other workers, as the decision has been made for the schools to be opened again soon.
We pray too that the Holy Spirit will be interceding in all our prayers as was promised by St Paul. and as we pray as always in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. AMEN

Thought for the Week: So Good So Good So Good

Strange words to begin with when we watch the news and hear so many negative statistics about past, present and future. Our word for today is ADOPTION. This week 75 years ago the war against Europe was over. There was celebration, people smiled again and got together in London and in street parties and even though the war had changed lives there was an air of SO GOOD. The people adopted the future and sang, not for the first time ‘We’ll meet again’.
ADOPTION for a child can mean a change of life, both for the children and for the families who have ADOPTED them with hope for all; SO GOOD.
Nala
A few months ago, my daughter saw an advertisement for a cat, free to a good home. When I returned from a short break, I discovered we had ADOPTED a beautiful cat, and our lives changed. Nala, the cat, without words shows us what she doesn’t like and what she likes. She rules our lives. Not always SO GOOD but even better!
Recently I was given a book in which the author, a Christian with a family, had hit a time of darkness and was ill for a while. Later with his family he ADOPTED a small child and through the ADOPTION he realised what it meant in ROMANS 8. V. 22-24 about wanting to be ADOPTED by God. People of faith need help in their lives to have hope. The HOLY SPIRIT is the first gift and it says that from that gift and even through suffering we know that there is still better to come, and we seek it eagerly.
ADOPTION by God, given through Jesus changes our lives, takes us with our problems and loves us completely.

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK


Heavenly and giving Lord,
As our thoughts go to the past when people of our country gave their lives to save others and sang, ‘We’ll meet again’, we thank you Father that you gave your Son’s life that we could be free. We bring to You our memories and the memories of those who were there when the war ended. Our thoughts go to the present, when through the necessity of lockdown we are apart from our loved ones, so that others loved by their families working in caring will be safe and their lives will be saved as they will be singing, ‘We’ll meet again’. Our thoughts go to the future and our prayers are that we will be together, ADOPTED children of God, drawn together in His love. We pray thanks and hope that those words we began with will be used: SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD. AMEN

Thought for the Week: We Will Be Back

Bluebells in my garden
Those were words said regarding Coventry City of Culture 2021 about the preparations which had been cancelled because of COVID-19. No doubt we could all list things that had to be cancelled during the time of lockdown and have caused us disappointment, so ‘WE WILL BE BACK’ seemed to be positive thinking for the future while we continue to stay at home to save lives.
Our other thought for this week is for all the people who have lost loved ones. You might recall that last week’s thought was called, ‘What would Jesus do?’ Today I want to tell you what Jesus did when He met two people who were walking home in great distress because their Master had been Killed and with His death all hope for a better life had gone.
The story is in Luke 24 v13-33. As they walked home, Jesus came along side of them but they didn’t know Him. He asked them why they were so sad, then listened to them, answered their questions and stayed with them until they were safely home.
We can do what Jesus did for people we know who are losing loved ones.
As I sat basking in the sun I counted it as a blessing, for my garden has become a wild flower meadow with about 17 species of wild flowers, birds and bees and buttercups. It almost seems that nature has helped us through the bad times and people have noticed that the sky is a deeper blue now and although it might be caused by less traffic it could still be a Godsend regarding climate change.

PRAYER FOR THE WEEK

Ever loving Father
We thank you once again for giving us your Son Jesus
Who is alive and always with us to help us when we are unsure.
We pray for all who have lost loved ones through COVID-19.
We ask that the equipment the Doctors, Nurses, and all carers need will be ready for them.
We ask that when we know someone who is bereaved
we will remember what Jesus did
And do likewise.
Help us to look forward to the time when we can begin again
And never let us complain about lockdown which saves lives
And helps all people to live to the day when the saying ‘WE WILL BE BACK’
will be true for all
In Jesus name
Amen.

Thought for the Week: What Would Jesus Do?

A few years ago, my daughter Becky wore a bracelet with those words on – What Would Jesus Do? – and whenever we came upon a problem or challenge with two ways to choose or to take we would remember the bracelet and say to each other Well, what would Jesus do?
With the Covid-19 virus continuing to challenge our lives with decisions to make now and later as things begin to get, in some way, back to normal we might turn to our Lord Jesus Christ for help.
We can find the answers in many of His teachings and parables. First of all my mind goes to the Great Commandment, ‘Love the Lord with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.’
Many people are suffering due to the virus and many will suffer even more when we try to start again. As the virus has spread throughout the whole world our neighbourhood has grown throughout the world.
One of the songs we love to sing begins with, ‘ He’s got the whole world in His hands.’ Surely, some good would come out of this terrible situation we have found ourselves in if ‘May the nations be glad and sing for joy.’ The whole of Psalm 67 is our prayer for the week and as we read it will give us hope.
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us,
That Your ways may be known on earth
Your salvation among all nations.
May the peoples praise You, O God;
May all the peoples praise You.
May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
For You rule the peoples justly
And guide the nations of the earth.
May the peoples praise You, O God;
May all the peoples praise You.
Then the land will yield its harvest,
And God, our God, will bless us,
And all the ends of the earth will fear Him.

Thoughts for Today: Easter Sunday

The first thought for today comes in the form of a video message from Revd Marion Hartwell who, like many of you, is self-isolating at home.
JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY, HALLELUJAH!
HE IS RISEN INDEED, HALLELUJAH!

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing sing or say this hymn (from Mission Praise no.689)

Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son,.
Endless is the victory Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave-clothes where Thy body lay’
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
For her Lord now liveth; death hath, lost it’s sting.
No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is nought without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conquerers, through Thy deathless love;
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son
Endless is the victory Thou oe’r death hast won.

The Gaelic Blessing

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall softly upon your fields
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand. Amen