A message for this Sunday by Jocelynne Labrum

It is very sad that we are unable to attend our Sunday Worship in St Paul’s Church and we hope so much that it will not be too long before we can all do so. As we are not able to sing hymns together, I thought I would begin with a hymn of which I am very fond – In Heavenly Love Abiding.

 In Heavenly Love Abiding

1 In heavenly love abiding,
no change my heart shall fear;
and safe is such confiding,
for nothing changes here:
the storm may roar without me,
my heart may low be laid;
but God is round about me,
and can I be dismayed?

2 Wherever he may guide me,
no want shall turn me back;
my Shepherd is beside me,
and nothing can I lack:
his wisdom ever waketh,
his sight is never dim,
he knows the way he taketh,
and I will walk with him.

3 Green pastures are before me,
which yet I have not seen;
bright skies will soon be o’er me,
where darkest clouds have been;
my hope I cannot measure,
my path to life is free;
my Saviour has my treasure,
and he will walk with me

I particularly like the absolute positivity of this hymn:

Wherever he may guide me,

No want shall turn me back;

My Shepherd is beside me

And nothing can I lack:

 

I seem to remember reading that this hymn owes something to the 23rd Psalm and the mention of green pastures and bright skies underlines this.

 

We are certainly aware now that this is the season of Autumn and here is an Autumn poem:

 

Autumn

Mellow weather, cooler days

The leaves fall from the trees –

Gold and orange, red and brown

Tossed by Autumn’s breeze.

 

The harvest waiting to be picked

Fruits and flowers abound –

Embrace God’s Autumn, cooler days

As frosts embrace the ground.

 

The shortening days and longer nights

Make us pause and wait –

Winter approaches, God’s still here

Let’s sing and celebrate.

 

1 John 4: 7- 18

Dear friends, let us love one another because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.

Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us and his love is made perfect in us.

We are sure that we live in union with God and that he lives in union with us, because he has given us his Spirit. And we have seen and tell others that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. If anyone declares that Jesus is the Son of God, he lives in union with God and God lives in union with him. And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us.

God is love, and whoever lives in love lives in union with God and God lives in union with him. Love is made perfect in us in order that we might have courage on Judgement Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

 

This is a Lenten prayer by the Rev’d David Grant.

 

Let us pray

Lord our God,

when our praise is absent, the heavens tell of your glory:

when our worship is muted, day and night bear eloquent silent witness

to your reputation:

when our creed and dogma dies within, the earth cries out in delight.

For the earth knows to whom it belongs and the heavens peal in gratitude

to their Maker

But we have grown deaf to the joyous laughter of nature

and blind to the glad spectrum of the day.

To whom can we turn to revive our dulled souls?

Where is a resource for regeneration?

What word do you have, Lord God,

that will bring our sagging spirits to life?

With relieved gratitude we note,

not only did you create our environment,

but you spoke within our bounds in ways that enlighten..

 

So your instruction opens a window for an imprisoned soul;

your simple tuition appeals to us, the ignorant clever;

your counsel fills an empty joyless heart;

your clarity of vision for us brings a sparkle to a dulled eye;

your demand for respect brings tested word of worth

to our storehouse of understanding;

your true guidance sets us in right paths.

 

Our consciousness is shaped by more than wealth

Or sweet satisfaction.

Our consciousness is shaped by your word in us

And our determination to de-absolutize our petty law.:

So may the words of our mouths

and the meditations of our hearts

be acceptable to you,

O Lord, our rock and redeemer.

 

Amen