Our Palm Sunday meetings were led by Majors Drew and Beverley McCombe.
Songs chosen were 156 from the Salvation Army Song Book together with 189, 673, 1084, 384 and 1404 from Songs of Fellowship. The musical ministry was provided by the Singing Company, with ‘Its Jesus’ , and Songsters, with ‘Depth of Mercy’.
Our young people featured again this week with the commissioning of Jamie as a Junior Musician and Junior Soldiers awards being presented to Daniel, Jessica, Jamie and Florence.
Junior Soldiers Awards
In his message Major Drew said:
Public opinion is fickle, often sensational and we need to be discerning. Public opinion about Jesus was just as fickle as it is today. It was quite right for the crowd to praise him but they did it for the wrong reasons. They didn’t understand the plot. So we must learn and know the character of Jesus, really know it, otherwise we might be right about him but, at the same time, get it all so wrong. Part of this is to do good in the face of evil and not divorce the character of God from events around us. If you are a Salvationist look at your Soldier’s Covenant and see what it says. Then ask yourself how you have sometimes treated people especially when they make mistakes or do wrong. The nature of God’s Kingdom is ‘peace with God’ and the cross is central to this concept. Through all his suffering Christ offers peace to us all. So, with the gift of hindsight we can truly proclaim him as King. We can be right, and keep right, by the grace of God.
In the evening it was the turn of Major Beverley on the theme of ‘Back to the heart of Worship’. She chose songs 696 and 109 from the Salvation Army Song Book and 1157, 205 and 1113 from Songs of Fellowship. Scripture was taken from Isaiah 53:1-12 and John 2:12-24. The Band contributed ‘God so Loved the World’ and the Songsters ‘Before the Cross’.
In a powerful message Major Beverley said:
When you knock down a building it creates a mess, big-time, and you haven’t got a lot to show for it until you start to build something new. Tonight’s reading is a bit like that. Somehow we seem to enjoy the fact that Jesus got angry. Maybe we think that gives us an excuse. But what was Jesus up to? What was he challenging? Was it, perhaps, the contemporary centre piece of worship of the day? The focus of worship then was on sacrifice and if a person had to travel a long way to a Jewish festival they would purchase their sacrifice when they arrived at the temple. This often involved the necessity to change currency. So, how would the Jews worship without the merchants to provide the sacrifices? How would we worship today without, say, our bibles or, in the case of the Army, our instruments? Jesus responded to the challenge with a prophecy about the temple of his body. He challenged the temple system in which the poor could not afford to enter into worship because they could not buy the sacrifices. The sick or the Gentiles could not enter into worship either and so were denied a right relationship with God. There was separation. This is what made Jesus angry. He needed to break the system down before he could build one in which everyone could approach God equally; in which there were no barriers. His love demands this! So, we must radically re-evaluate our worship traditions so that it can be achieved. Nobody must be seen as second class. There must be no separation. The house of God must be for all people, whatever…………
During the coming week we shall be holding special Holy Week worship. This will begin on Tuesday at 8pm with a musical meditation given by the Band and Songsters, followed on Wednesday by ‘Worship and the Word’ led by Major Richard Mingay, also at 8pm and continuing on Thursday with a fellowship meal recognising Jesus last few days before crucifixion.
On Good Friday we shall hold worship at 10am and join with other local churches for a town centre witness at around 11 o’clock. Next Sunday is, of course Easter Day and we look forward to the celebrations led by Majors Drew and Beverley McCombe. Join us if you can for any or all of these gatherings. You will be most welcome. Here’s how to find us:
Click on the maps to enlarge
Finally some sad news. We heard yesterday of the Promotion to Glory of Richard Hewison. Richard, together with wife Gladys and son Nigel, was a member of our corps for many years and for a period of time occupied the position of Band Colour Sergeant. We extend our prayerful support to all the family members at this time.