A Methodist Way of Life - Commitment 3: We will look and listen for God in Scripture and the World
by Rev Jacky Quarmby 20 May 2022
Reading: Psalm 19: 1 – 11
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” The first part of this lovely psalm reminds us that the heavens and the earth speak volumes about the love of God for his wonderful creation – if we can but see it. Elizabeth Barrett Browning once said,
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
On a beautiful Spring day as we sit in the garden and listen to the birds sing, it is good to remember the words of Jesus, that it is God who clothes the lilies of the field in splendour, and it is God who feeds the ravens and will not forget even the least of the chattering sparrows. Julian of Norwich once envisioned a small hazel nut in her hand and marvelled how it could exist, it looked so small and fragile. And she was answered in her vision, “It lasts and ever shall, for God loves it.” How wonderful that God has created such a beautiful world and loves it and everything He has created, however small, for its own sake.
The second part of our psalm from verses seven to eleven, speaks about the preciousness of God’s word found in scripture – how it revives the soul, makes the simple wise and gives joy to the heart. How important it is to read the scriptures for ourselves and to allow God to speak to us through them. Next Thursday on Ascension Day, we begin eleven days of prayer leading up to Pentecost. It is a time set aside by millions of Christians throughout the world to pray as the early disciples did after Jesus ascended into heaven, for “the gift that the Father promised” (Acts 1: 4). As we pray for the Holy Spirit, we pray too for five people we know personally to grow in their relationship with Jesus. This Sunday we will be giving out two prayer resources to help us in that endeavour – one of which is a study guide focusing on words from the first letter of Peter. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has written 9 reflections on words from 1 Peter to help us to hear God speaking to us. Make sure you pick up your copies on Sunday or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can drop some copies round to you. As Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 2:2,
“Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
Song: For the beauty of the earth (John Rutter)
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Thank you for your word in Scripture
Thank you for its encouragement and hope
Thank you for all that it reveals about your love for us
Help us never to take the Bible for granted
But to read your word every day with joy and delight.
Open our eyes to your ways and your working in the world
That in our ordinary every day we may see you and follow you
Blessing others as you have blessed us.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen