A weekend of special significance for at least two families within the corps. A golden wedding celebration and a renewal of marriage vows.
In addition to the 50th wedding anniversary of Pat and Gordon Phillips, John and Rachael Mills renewed their vows in a ceremony on Saturday. More of this later in the week.
Majors Drew McCombe led our meeting yesterday morning which began a new series entitled ‘Challenging Lifestyle’. This series is based on an excellent book of this title by Nicky Gumbel, of Alpha Course fame, which contains some very practical teaching.
The specific topic this week was ‘How to live under God’s Blessing’ which centred around Matthew 5:1-12. Songs 365, 396, 20 and 959 from the Salvation Army Song Book were chosen together with songs 1607, 1144, 673 and 475 from Songs of Fellowship.
Major Beverley preached and said in 2005 Rolf Harris was commissioned to paint a portrait of the queen to recognise her 80th birthday the following year. Some people were shocked as the picture was not what they expected; it had some unflattering features.
If we can paint an authentic picture of Jesus Christ then it will be attractive to others and interest them. Christianity is very different from the average lifestyle of the 21st century. In Matthew’s gospel the beattitudes are not soft and lovely, touchy/feely or nice. They are hard. But life in the Kingdom of God is uplifting and we are made happy by Him. Jesus gives us aspects of conduct that tell us how to live our lives. When we feel spiritually desparate and low, that’s the time to take heart. It’s not wrong to mourn those that we have loved and comfort will be given. Those who are small before God are the ones who will be rewarded. We need a burning thrust for goodness and we shall be happy. If we show mercy we shall receive it. If we are the same before God as we are before other people we shall be blessed. How does this portrait match up with what you think you are? How does it make you feel? This is ‘blood, sweat and tears’ Christianity. It’s really challenging but what matters to God is what sort of peole we really are.
The Songsters concluded the meeting with ‘Let us go in Peace’.
The second meeting of the day took place earlier than usual (4pm) and took the form of ‘Cafe Church’. The Salvation Army’s former chief photographer, Robin Bryant, was the guest for this meeting and gave us an interesting insight into his many experiences working in this capacity around the Salvation Army world. He spoke particularly about The Salvation Army’s involvement in the 9/11 disaster in New York, the war in Rwanda and the Tsunami in the Far East giving an emotional account of the vital emergency work carried out in all three of these theatres.
Two periods of worship were led by our worship band and Major Drew finished the meeting with a brief message.
Finally, we were introduced yesterday to Cadets Karl and Rachel Carpenter, from the William Booth College, who will be with us for several Sundays during the next few months. Carl and Rachel enetered the college from Southport Corps. Yesterday their role was to ‘observe’ but they will be leading some of our meetings on future visits. We trust we shall be able to encourage them as they continue with their training to become Salvation Army officers.
Join us again next week as we seek to bring you more of the ‘heartbeat’ of our corps. But don’t forget to put your clocks back one hour on Saturday night because British Summertime ends next weekend!