Category Archives: worship

Making a God of Our Own

You were delayed Moses,
you didn’t come back
when we wanted you to.

We didn’t know where you were
or what you were doing
and we,
so we thought,
couldn’t wait.

You didn’t act God,
when
and how,
we wanted ,
thought we needed
you to.

So,
we took matters into our own hands.
made ourselves a god,
a god that looked like we thought it should,
would do what we wanted it to.

And we worshipped it,
the god of our own making,
our design,
to meet our purposes.

Forgive me Lord,
when I have failed to wait for you,
your time,
your best ways.

When I have taken things into my own hands
tried to make you be like I want
you to be,
to look like the kind of God I think I need.

When I have made you
in my image
and offered my all,
my precious gifts
to that poor imitation.

May I learn to wait for you,
for your timing,
not try to force you hand,
but to live by your ways,
for you are God,
the only God I need,
the only one worthy of my praise
and worship.

The Golden Calf

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, ‘Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ Aaron said to them, ‘Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.’ So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears, and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mould, and cast an image of a calf; and they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’ When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation and said, ‘Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord.’ They rose early the next day, and offered burnt-offerings and brought sacrifices of well-being; and the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to revel.

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it, and said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” ’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.’

But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, ‘O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ’ And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

Exodus 32: 1-14

“It’s Not Church Without The Singing”

This is meant to be an encouraging post for all those who are worried about worship without no singing, or feel that it just is not church without some element of singing. After all, Methodists especially are known to be ‘Born in Song‘. As churches start to go back to the buildings, at least in part, but without being able to sing – how can that be worship?

Music, and particularly singing, have always been a big part of my life. Indeed my mum’s pearl of wisdom to my husband when we got married was, “If she’s not singing within a couple of seconds of putting her feet on the floor in a morning, you are in trouble! She’s either grumpy or ill”.

Music has always been a major element I used in leading worship. So often a song can say what you have been struggling to. Picking hymns/songs always took the longest part of preparing a service, to ensure that they carried and enhanced what was being said and offered to God.

So, I can understand the feeling of people who cannot comprehend worship without music, and cannot imagine what it will be like, and how it can be true worship at all. But, we are having to find new, meaningful ways of doing so many things – and different does not always mean worse, we can find a new worth and value.

When my illness first took hold fifteen years ago, and probably the thing that initially immediately stopped my ministry of preaching and leading worship, I lost all power to my voice. As anyone who has heard me speak will know, my voice goes hoarse very quickly when I start talking, especially at any volume, and my struggle with breathing makes it very difficult to regulate even talking. If I need to talk for any length of time, even in conversation, my throat aches so much for days afterwards. Pre-recording at my pace, with lots of gaps no one else sees has become an opportunity for me to do some small parts of worship again, but it is not something I could do live, or frequently. Singing therefore is impossible.

Hence why this is, I hope, encouragement to those who are struggling with worship with no singing. At first I hated not being able to sing. It wasn’t me. Singing was how I expressed everything in my life (if we could have Pamsperambulation – the Musical, we would!), including my worship of God, and I was bereft without it. But I am here to tell you that it is possible, you can get used to it, we can find other ways to share our worship with God. It may take time and effort, but the new ways that we discover may offer a different slant to our worship, a new facet to our relationship to God.

One of the things I have found is that the less noise I can make, the more I can listen and hear God. God get’s a chance to speak, because I am quiet!

I am certain there are other people for whom singing is difficult, or uncomfortable for varying reasons, or actually it is just not their thing.

So, please don’t despair, don’t think this is the end of worship – we may yet discover a richer seam and a new encounter with God – because after all, worship is about God and not the method.

Basically, what Matt Redman says:

What Is Love?

This is my offering for today’s devotions for our circuit website.

The text is printed here for those who prefer that.

In 1983, the absolute heyday of music, Howard Jones recorded a song , whose lyrics begin

“I love you whether or not you love me
I love you even if you think that I don’t”

I think of those words when I hear today’s reading from John.  Again I am working my way through the readings suggested in The Prayer Handbook, where Jesus continues to tell his disciples all he wants them to know before he has to leave them, his way to live for when they are without his physical presence among them.

John 15:9-17 (CEV)

I have loved you, just as my Father has loved me. So remain faithful to my love for you. 10 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.

11 I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am. 12 Now I tell you to love each other, as I have loved you. 13 The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them. 14 And you are my friends, if you obey me.15 Servants don’t know what their master is doing, and so I don’t speak to you as my servants. I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.

16 You did not choose me. I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. 17 So I command you to love each other.

The chorus of Howard Jones song goes on to ask

“What is Love anyway, does anybody love anybody anyway”

A question you could ask in response to Jesus’ entreaty.  What is love?  What is Jesus asking of us?

You ask us to love,
to love each other
as you have loved us.

What does it look like
that kind of love.

Is it words
said to get what I want?
Feelings easily given
and easily taken back?
A passing fad,
loved today
forgotten tomorrow?
An emotion
wasted
on nice food,
a new tv programme,
the latest fashion?

None of those are love.

Love is sacrificial.
putting your needs before mine;
giving
without waiting for something in return:
wanting hope for you;
sharing your burdens
and your joys;
supporting you in what you do;
loving
without needing love back;
letting you be
the person you are
wonderfully created to be.

This is love,
love that will bear fruit,
that will make us strong.

Love that if each of us share,
we will receive
what we need too.
A circle of love,
hope,
peace
and life
in all it’s fulness
for all.

Thank you for love Lord.
Your love for me,
given so freely
by you
and by others.

Teach me to love
as you love,
to love without counting the cost,
without waiting
for someone else to make the first move,
without waiting
to see what I get in return.

Give me your love,
tender,
true,
that keeps on loving.

The love of being your friend,
chosen and loved.

I could suggest you listen to Howard Jones’ What is Love for my song suggestion, but I also offer you Love Like Jesus from Rhett Walker Band