Notices for Sunday 23rd August 2015

“So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment.
Josh 24:14 (Message)

We worship you Father God because we have no other god and we give thanks because you have watched over us in our travels.
Amen

We welcome our preacher this morning who is Rev Marian Jones
After service tea hosts Keith and Myra

Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Tom Wynne and Sheila Bullough in memory of a loving wife and  mother Elsie
Organist: Lydia Edwards

Sunday 30th August
11.00am        Local Arrangement
Vestry Stewards – Elizabeth and Warren
Door Steward – Warren
Tea Hosts – Warren and Vera

Diary Dates

August
Mon 24th      Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Tue 25th      Coffee Morning at Llangollen 10.00am – noon

September
Tue 1st         Circuit Service at Llangollen 7.30pm

Please pray for the following:
Richard Down
Phyllis Davies
Mark Steene
Gareth Jones
Maurice Anderton
Kay Davies
Vanessa Woolrich
Isobel Holroyd

All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.

Problems for Professionals

The Jewish New Year is approaching, and I am trying to think about my sins. When I first became a rabbi many years ago I knew quite well what they were. As I’ve got on in life I’ve become less certain. God has a way of using everything I’ve got. Sometimes, to my annoyance, He ignores my virtues, such as they are, and prefers to work through my weaknesses.

What do you make of this for example? As a minister of religion you have your highs and your lows. Sometimes I’m in love with God, and His presence feels very close. Sometimes He has just vanished, and it feels like I am trying to peer at Him through the wrong end of a telescope. Sometimes I am so fed up, I can’t even be bothered to try.

CartoonWhat do you do if you are a minister in that situation? I can’t shut the shop, close the synagogue and put a little notice outside the door saying that the service this morn­ing is cancelled because Rabbi Blue is suffering from an attack of doubt. Whether you like it or not the service has to go on, though it doesn’t seem more than a show.

It once happened to me like that and I decided I would just have to get through the liturgy as best I could. The congregation had arrived and I had to give them some­thing. I used every bit of technique I possessed, though I was in a very depressed state. I modulated my voice to fit the words, mechanically but quite effectively. I whis­pered some, I declaimed others. I surprised myself un­pleasantly by putting a throb in my voice. I wooed the congregation with synthetic sincerity, and they said afterwards that I was a doll.

I felt awful, and went to one of my teachers and told him what a dreadful thing I had done. All I wanted was to be told off and get defrocked or something. I could hardly believe my ears when he said to me that it was probably the best service I had ever taken.

Was he taking the mirky out of me? I looked at him suspiciously. After a pause, in a businesslike way he told me why. ‘When you took that service,’ he said, ‘you weren’t thinking of yourself and what you were going to get out of it, spiritually or any other way. You only thought of your congregation and their needs, not of your own. At last you tried to do something for them, without bothering about little spiritual shivers going up and down your spine.’

I sat back confused. Then I asked him another ques­tion. ‘What is religion?’ I said. His answer surprised me, and I have never stopped thinking about it. Here it is and you can ponder it too. It’s a strange answer. ‘Religion,’ he said, ‘is the art of giving freely without strings.’

In the intricate web of life you never know what part of you God is going to use or what purpose He is going to use it for.

Take the case of the saintly teacher who had a saintly disciple. When the teacher died his disciple took his place. And in due course the disciple died too.

When he got to heaven they asked him gently what he desired. ‘If only,’ he said, ‘I could see my saintly teacher again.’

Well, a door opened, and there was his saintly teacher, and a beautiful girl was bouncing up and down on his knee.

‘Oh, my teacher,’ he said. ‘Is she your reward for all your saintliness?’

‘No,’ said the teacher gently. ‘She’s not my appointed reward. I’m just her appointed punishment.’

‘Don’t take it too heavy, dear, don’t take it too heavy.’

Rabbi Lionel Blue “Bolts From the Blue”

 

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