Glencairn Methodist Church
A month of anniversaries
I regret to say that I have been somewhat unwell for the last two months and have not been at St Andrew's for most of this time. Still, I have had lots of visitors and have shared worship on TV via RTE1 on Sunday mornings and Songs of Praise via BBC1 on Sunday afternoons. I have been able to read some books including John Polkinghorne's Science and Religion in Quest of Truth (SPCK 2011), and if I can ever manage to express what he is saying in my own words, I might share it with you sometime! I have also been able to keep the website more of less up to date and I did find something topical to write about for the Minister's Monthly Message in April.
So what of May?
I have titled this a month of anniversaries. Well, most of the church's calendar celebrates anniversaries, but in May this year we come to the end of the Season of Easter with celebrations of Rogation tide and the Ascension. This is followed by the day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday.
Rogation Sunday and the succeeding three days are the anniversary of the spring sowing of seed in the fields with prayers that God will work his annual miracle and give us a good harvest in the Autumn. It is becoming increasingly difficult to feed the whole of the world's population and we are coming to rely on genetically modified products and intensive use of land. Somehow I think we have to try to slow down the rate of human population growth. This is an anniversary in the annual cycle of life, whereas I suppose Ascension and Pentecost are anniversaries in the cycle of remembrance of God's great acts of salvation and support for the Christian life and witness - Christ returning to heaven 40 days after his Resurrection, and then the gift of the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Trinity Sunday reminds us of that great mystery of the God who is Three in One and One in Three.
I thought it would be a good exercise for me to read all of the appointed lessons for Rogation Sunday and to think on what I might have preached on had I been well enough. There is lots of material here! Joel 2 and Psalm 67 dwell on the theme of Rogation. But in Acts 16, verse 14b made me stop and ponder. Paul and his companions had recently arrived in Macedonia and in the city of Philippi they encountered that marvellous woman, Lydia. St Luke tells us that "The lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message." The lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. What joy this must have brought to Paul, to see such fruit from his labour.
Perhaps you, dear reader, have already heard from a preacher or read in the scriptures a message that "opened your heart to respond"? Lydia gave her life to the Lord there and then and her practical response was to invite Paul and his team to her house.
Have you received such a message yourself? Have you responded?
3rd May 2013
Postscript: - In saving this Message to our archive (see the web reference below) I notice that this is the 100th Minister's Monthly Message posted to this website. The series started in November 2004.
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm