I have been going through our website and have seen a version of ‘Sadly due to Covid19 this is currently not available….’ all too often.
For sure, there is much else going on – Sunday worship of course morning and evening, plus also groups including ZoomCoffee and the Bible Study Group also on zoom and the new Contemplation Group also on zoom and on all these we do see some faces.
But the Men’s Pub Night, the Ladies Evening Group, the Women’s coffee morning, the Prayer Breakfast – all monthly events that have now been out of action for around 9 months in most cases and are likely to continue to be so. There is nothing we can do to change that any time soon.
But lifting out of that list just one item – the Prayer Breakfast – I have an idea:
I do not wish personally to run this on zoom with promise of codes…..
But what I am happy to do is to put some light resources online
And if any of you in twos or threes or whatever…. wish to share some face time while munching breakfast …. I will leave you to connect with one another.
The resourcing would look a little like the sample below. Pick whatever you want out of the menu and let it lead you into Prayer for our church, for our world, for…..
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. Matthew 5.1
Bill Hybels was one of the world’s most successful ministers. He was spiritual advisor to Bill Clinton and led the Willow Creek Community Church, at one time the largest church in America. Yet he confessed ‘If I do not set aside a time for a private meeting with God at least once every 24 hours, I tend to drift off course spiritually.’
The Big Breakfast
Now hold on. Stop the filming. Time out. This just can’t be right. What on earth was Jesus doing, ignoring the crowd and wandering up a mountainside for a sit-down? Surely it was for the crowd that he came to earth in the first place? That crowd would have been full of sick people who needed healing and confused people who needed setting free. The crowd would have been bulging with lost people who needed guiding. So what’s with the walk up the hill?
The answer is clear enough. In that moment Jesus saw what was pressing but chose what was important. In our own lives there will always be people and also their demands crowding in, pressures and deadlines alike. Unless we peel off and head up our mountainside for those moments with our Creator we will run dry.
Peace and perspective are needed daily.
Communication demands instant responses. Choosing therefore to stand daily on the mountaintop with God and breathing in the fresh air of his kingdom will give us renewed energy to face the madness of the market-place. If Jesus himself needed time alone with his Father…..
Choose now. Choose to sit on the mountain as did Jesus. Choose a private time or meeting with God today … and let it lead you into prayer……….
Matthew 4.23-5.2 is the first of many editorial summaries. They do not just summarise what comes before or after, but also supply narrative continuity, lengthen the narrative time, expand the geographical range, create a picture of movement (Jesus goes from here to there), highlight several themes, and tell us that Matthew’s material is only a selection. Jesus did much more.
Between 4.23 and 9.35 which together create a set of brackets, Jesus first teaches (the Sermon on the Mount) and then he acts. After all that, in Chapter 10, where he instructs and sends out the disciples for mission, he tells them to do and say what he has done and said. This implies and means that Jesus is the model ‘missionary’.
It is common to view the mountain of 5.1 as the counterpart to Sinai. ‘Christ preached this sermon, which is an exposition of the law, upon a mountain, because upon a mountain the law was given.’
So this whole section gives us a brief overview of Jesus’ ministry to Israel and introduces the Sermon on the Mount. It makes the crowds, as well as the disciples, hear Jesus, who heals them. So before the demands there is healing. The crowds, having done nothing, are benefited. Grace comes before task.
If there are people who would make use of such material ideally with others in friendship groups (though digitally) then I am happy to produce more of these ……
Stay safe and stay blessed