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Feedback Wanted on Worshipping during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

As I write this article, we should be (in ‘normal’ times) halfway through our study of the Holy Habit ‘Worship’, which was scheduled for May and June 2020.  Of course, we have not been able to meet face-to-face for Sunday services and gatherings since 15 March because of the coronavirus pandemic, and so we have all had to find new and different ways of worshipping.  I thought it might be interesting and helpful if we could share feedback on how we are worshipping at this present difficult time.  There are different options of worshipping available to us during this ongoing crisis, although, admittedly, those online have more choice. 

 

Every week, Rev Tim sends us a short act of worship for the following Sunday with the suffix ‘if-you-are-unable-to-attend-church’. This is one of the ways I choose to worship on Sundays.  When I am sitting on my own going through the service, it is good to know that others are doing the same in their homes. It would be great to have feedback about this particular worship resource. One of these services which ‘spoke’ to me was the one for Sunday 24 May.  One of my favourite worship songs, printed in full in that worship material, is STF 45 ‘Earth’s creator, everyday God’.  I find the following lines to be relevant to us during the pandemic: “… In our hoping, O Spirit, in our waiting, come be with us;  …… home and shelter, O Spirit, strong and patient, come be with us.”  I was also encouraged by the reflection that, like Jesus’s disciples, with the Holy Spirit to help them, “ …. we must adjust as best we can to the new circumstances of our lives”. I also enjoy watching the Sunday Morning Service and Songs of Praise on television when there is a mixture of ‘sermons’ relating, helpfully, to the current crisis, and hymns and songs from various churches recorded before the pandemic.  I know others listen to the radio on Sundays to help them worship from their homes.  You might wish to share which programmes you have enjoyed over the last few weeks, and why?

 

For those online and tech-savvy, many are enjoying the streamed services.  The Sheffield Methodist Circuit website provides links to worship streamed services in the Circuit and beyond.  Janet mentioned in her Holy Habits article that she enjoys streaming the weekly service from Methodist Central Hall, Westminster.  There is a list of local churches who also stream their services on our website, where there is also an invite from one of our Holy Habits partnership churches, Carterknowle, to take part in their weekly service on Facebook and YouTubeIf streamed services are your preference, can you send us your feedback on one service in particular, and why it was important to you? 

 

Are there any hymns/worship songs you find yourself singing these days?  Do let us know. I am drawn to a worship song listed in the Holy Habits resource booklet for ‘Worship’ that I find myself singing to myself most days.  It is STF 18. The first lines of each verse (each line repeated) are:

 

          Be still and know that I am God

          I am the Lord who saves and heals

          In you, O Lord, I put my trust

 

Finally, from an intercessory prayer of worship in the Holy Habits resource booklet, the lines:

 

          Holy God, we know that however difficult it may be at times,

          that worshipping you draws us in,

          helps us to bring your love into a broken world …

         

          Holy God, lead us into worship with you.

 

Alison

May 2020

Yellow Hearts

yellow-heart – Barnsley Hospital Charity

Why are people putting yellow hearts in their windows?

The yellow hearts are being used to remember loved ones. 

The idea was started by Becky and Hannah Gompertz and their granddad, David, after their grandma, Sheila, passed away.  They wanted a special way to remember her and others who have died because of coronavirus

David also wanted a way for people to show other people that they are grieving, so they don’t feel alone.

Link to BBC Newsround - Yellow Hearts

 

 

Rainbows

We have all seen the colourful rainbows drawn by children and put on display in windows during the Covid-19 pandemic. They are uplifting and they serve the purpose of thanking the NHS, or reminding people to stay at home and stay safe. Apparently, the idea started in Italy and spread to many different countries as a symbol of hope in dark times. They also remind us that there is light at the end of the tunnel and they can lift the sombre mood because they symbolise that the sun will return one day.

Some people also view a rainbow as their guardian angel watching over them in times of great trouble.  A rainbow reminds us to hold onto hope. A rainbow also shows the presence of light in the midst of darkness. 

Each one of the seven colours is beautiful in its own right and different to the next, so rainbows also give a message of inclusivity and togetherness showing how wonderful diversity can be. The LGBTQ community have adopted the rainbow flag as one of their symbols. 

Of course, for the believer, the rainbow is the sign of God’s covenant between him and every living creature on the earth.  In the story of Noah and the flood in Genesis chapter 9, we read that God says, “As a sign of this everlasting covenant which I am making with you and with all living beings, I am putting my bow in the clouds.  It will be the sign of my covenant with the world …. When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between me and all living beings on earth. That is the sign of the promise which I am making to all living beings.”

There are lots of rainbow templates on the internet. If like me, you are unsure of the difference between indigo and violet, look at the coloured ones.  Or, why not print a blank template of a rainbow and colour it in?  Then you could send it to the following to remind them that you have not forgotten them: a resident in a care home; someone in the shielded group at home unable to leave the house; an NHS or social care worker to thank them for all they are doing to keep people safe; or another keyworker.  Alternatively, during these dark weeks, put this powerful symbol of hope in your own window. 

Alison

 

 

LETTING GO

What a lot of letting go we’ve all had to do over recent weeks – letting go of pleasure trips, restaurants and more sadly losing work, human contact, even having to say goodbye, at a lonely distance, to close friends.  We pray that sometime, fairly soon we hope, we shall be able to take up again most of the things we have let go.

When Banner Cross does re-emerge – and we shall be so much stronger and more resilient after these weeks of extra caring – do look at the latest CONNEXION magazine on the Coffee Lounge shelves.  The Spring issue, which was clearly designed and planned before the Corona outbreak, is entitled “Letting go” and is really inspiring.  Each article has been contributed by a Methodist church somewhere in the Connexion where members have had to let go of something; sometimes it was an outworn habit or attitude that was being put aside, sometimes something cherished, a tradition, a way of worship, even a treasured building.  On each page is a question and these questions are relevant to all of us in today’s churches.  There is also a prayer included by two independent celebrants who lead funerals and I found this very moving, especially when thinking of our loss of Kathleen and Joan.

Goodbye

by Ruth Burgess

We let you go

Into the dance of the stars & the planets

We let you go

Into the wind's breath & the hands of the star maker

We let you go

We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy

Go Safely, go dancing, go running home ....

We shall come together again, perhaps not in the old way but in better ways, as more loving people, and I end by quoting one of the magazine’s questions: “What will you lay down and what will that make room for?”  - a pertinent question after celibrating Jesus’ suffering and resurrection.                             

  God bless.                                                                                                                                                   Jackie

Easter 2020

It started in China so we believe 

Causing thousands of people all over to grieve 

The loss of family and many a friend

When will our hearts if ever really mend?

April approached and churches were closed

No Easter this year the world supposed

Church services and egg hunts were out

Not possible when we couldn’t get about

But one couldn’t stop Easter from coming, it came

Somehow or other it came just the same

Without a bonnet an egg or a bunny 

And we all donated a lot of money

Churches were empty but so was the tomb

And Jesus is victor over death doom and gloom

Now Easter has passed let this be our prayer 

Dear Lord take this virus from us everywhere.

Amen

Celia Christian

 

 


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