The Rev’s Roger Baker, our former church minister, now in retirement, led our worship on Sunday morning with the theme “Trials and Tribulations”. He was welcomed by Sue Fox, and Neil Barnett played the organ. It was good to have Roger in the pulpit again leading our service of Holy Communion, and after his call to worship we began by singing the great Isaac Watts hymn “We give immortal praise to God the Father’s love, for all our comforts here and better hopes above”.
Our prayers of praise and adoration were largely taken from the Methodist Worship Book after which we said the Lord’s Prayer. Our two bible readings were from Psalm 27 and the first chapter of the letter from James, both read by Neil Barnett. This letter from James, generally acknowledged to be the brother of Jesus, emphasizes the importance of actions along with faith, in the practice of the Christian religion. Our prayers for others were said remembering all the regions in the world where there is strife and conflict and much suffering, but also for those in our own community in need as Christmas approaches.
“I like to have a quiet life” said Roger, as he began his words on the theme of trials and tribulations. “We like our Christian life to be on an even keel, but things come to upset the applecart”, Referring to the letter from James written to all Christians in the ancient world, the Jews were scattered, were homeless, as they escaped persecution in their own country, but they were not welcome even by fellow Jews who were settled in those countries. James wrote to them saying they were fortunate when they suffered as they had God’s power to overcome. James was realistic. They were in trouble and Roger questioned what joy there is in a dark and difficult place. In a time of testing, it can bring
the opportunity for us to turn back to God. “You cannot rely on yourself and when we look back we can see the joy of trusting God in our trials”, said Roger, “and James reminds us that trusting God gives us joy, and when our faith succeeds in facing trials the result is the ability to endure”.
We shared the sacrament of Holy Communion. The minister beings assisted by Jill Harrison to distribute the elements of bread and wine.