Chapter 151 [day 256]: Sunday 29 November
Good morning all
On the evening of 25 April 1982, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Defence Secretary John Nott emerged from Number 10 to the waiting Press. John Nott announced that the islands of South Georgia had been successfully recaptured by British forces following invasion by Argentine troops. A journalist asked, "What happens next, Mr Nott?" at which point Margaret Thatcher intervened to state: "just rejoice at that news and congratulate our forces and the Marines.” She was later criticised for using the word ‘rejoice’ as was Tony Blair who also used the same word 21 years later after the Iraq war in 2003.
The word ‘rejoice’ is often regarded as a triumphalist statement – the winner gloating over victory whether it be military conflict, political or just rowdy supporters of a victorious football team. A dictionary definition is, to be glad; take delight in, to rejoice in another's happiness. Happiness is dependent on our feelings and we may often say we feel happy (or unhappy) but that emotion can change so quickly and unexpectedly. But rejoicing is the result of a determination of mind, regardless of the immediate situation we are in. We can be in pain and yet can be rejoicing. We can be facing defeat and still have a heart and mind that rejoices.
The Bible is full of exhortations to rejoice, particularly in the Psalms where there are more than 140 uses of the word. At the heart of ‘rejoicing’ is ‘joy’ which is much more than human feelings or sentiment. I’ve known Christians who have faced terrible ordeals, illness, tragedy or bereavement, poverty and persecution, and yet they still knew the inner joy that comes only from God.
Nehemiah had faced terrible opposition whilst rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and the people were suffering; many having to sell their businesses or mortgage their homes simply to be able to have grain to eat. But after the work was completed, Ezra the prophet read out the holy scriptures before the people and Nehemiah stood up and said -
‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8:10)
In today’s service we move on to Philippians chapter 4 which includes Paul’s exhortation ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!’ Paul also instructs the believers to resolve any differences and disagreements and not to be anxious about anything but to enjoy the peace of God.
Our service today opens with one of Charles Wesley’s triumphant hymns followed with 2 contemporary songs about rejoicing. Then a film of Steve Murray, a British Christian mime artist (who I did try to book to come to the Chapel a few years ago). The service includes session 7 of Discipleship Explored which was filmed in St Louis, USA focusing on Philippians 4:1-9.
The service lasts 42 minutes >>> https://falconlodgechapel.sermon.net/21699976. I hope you enjoy today’s service and find it encouraging, especially as last week’s service had the lowest viewing figure of any service recording since April.
· Next Sunday we are planning to resume Sunday services in the Chapel but subject to the format that we had prior to this month’s lockdown.
Ž There will be a limit of numbers allowed to attend
Ž You will need to book your place in advance either by phoning us, or email firstname.lastname@example.org (please do not presume you can just turn up)
Ž Aim to arrive at Chapel between 10:10 and 10:25am and remember to use the hand sanitiser (and don’t forget to bring a facemask}
Ž Seating will be spaced at 2m as before and you after signing in, you will be directed to your seat
Ž We are still not allowed to participate in congregational singing so the songs will be pre-recorded and shown on screen
Ž After the service (approx.45 minutes) we will need to observe the rule of no socialising inside the building. This is to safeguard everyone who attends, and particularly before Christmas.
· The service next Sunday will also incorporate our BCM Toylink donation facility at which you can donate NEW toys to Birmingham City Mission to be presented to needy children for Christmas. If you are unable to attend in person next Sunday for any reason, let us know and we can organise to collect the toy from you.
· Here’s more information about BCM’s Toylink project including what toys are suitable >>> https://www.birminghamcitymission.org.uk/christmas-toylink/ There are also alternative options of either ordering a toy online and have it delivered direct to BCM, or you could make a cash donation to the Toylink project via https://www.give.net/toylink
· Also next Sunday, the Chapel Christmas post box will be available for you to deposit your cards. We will then organise to safely and hygienically sort the cards for distribution by the following Sunday. This will be repeated on Sunday 13 December, and for those Chapel members who are still shielding and unable to come to the Chapel, we will deliver cards to you as well as collecting any cards you wish to send. For those of you who normally send just one card to everyone at the Chapel, you will still be able to do that and include your usual charity donation. We will film all the cards so everyone will be able to see your greeting even if they are not able to physically come to the Chapel.
9 Marilyn Ridge
10 Christine Jennings
11 Andrew Groves
12 Christopher Jennings
Finally, many thanks (again) to the anonymous sender of yet another box of beautiful flowers received a couple of days ago. Karen thought she had worked out who the anonymous sender was, but now she’s not so sure!
More on Wednesday