This week we have returned to the usual two meeting programme at Chatham and this will continue throughout the year with the possible exception of the New Year. Both meetings were led by corps officer Major Nigel Schultz adopting the theme of ‘Back to School with God Sunday’. School items, such as cases and shoes had been placed on the Mercy Seat in anticipation of this.
The morning began with the song ‘There’s no other name but this name’ and was followed by another song, ‘I know thee who thou art’. Introducing the theme, Major Nigel welcomed all young people to the meeting and invited them to the platform for prayer by the whole congregation using words displayed on the screens. The young people each received a ‘goody bag’ containing things which had a message for them (and a box of Smarties!)
The meeting continued with the song ‘Be thou my vision’. The Singing Company (children’s choir) contributed ‘Zephaniah 3:17‘ (soloists Jodie and Erin) to the worship and all Teachers, Classroom Assistants, Caretakers, School and College Staff were recognised, reminded that they were ‘building a nation’ and prayed for during the singing of the song ‘In my life, Lord, be glorified’.
The Songsters (adult choir) brought ‘He is exalted’ before Major Nigel gave his message, saying (summarised):
Children, what is your current school? Did you enjoy school or not? How many here have been to William Booth College. Let’s look at some pictures reminding you of school in the days when prayers were still said and there were opportunities to learn about Jesus.
Can you remember when you first gave your heart to Jesus? I found it very moving recently when I visited Capernaum in the Holy Land where Jesus himself taught. I think of Peter and how was called by Jesus to take his first steps with Jesus.
Learning to walk with Jesus can be difficult; being in step with the Spirit. It is costly and quite a challenge. We need to follow Jesus and to seek his guidance when we are unsure of what to do. Follow Jesus.
Peter, on occasions, fell out of step with Jesus, arguing with him and denying knowledge of him. Some times we also fall out of step thinking we may know better what we should do. But we don’t. We musty choose to follow. Our understanding of him can be more important than life itself. don’t sacrifice this in the pursuit of life. We all make errors but God forgives.
A reprise of ‘In my life, Lord, be glorified’ gave time for meditation and the meeting closed with the song ‘Every promise we can make….’
The Band opened the evening proceedings with the March ‘God’s children’ and the song ‘I’m going to make my life into a melody’ followed. The Band’s regular ministry was given with ‘With gladsome mind’ and the song ‘Thank you for these quiet minutes’ introduced a more thoughtful phase. Three people testified giving evidence of the way God had blessed them during the summer holidays.
Scripture chosen was for Matthew 11 and the Songsters contributed ‘Give me Jesus’. In his message Major Nigel said (summarised):
Our scripture this evening tells us something profound about Jesus. He had setbacks even here in his hometown. He did not see what he wanted to see.
Here are three questions. Are you weary? Are you burdened? Are you in need of rest? There are some beautiful places where you can enjoy rest.
Are you weary of all the issues in life? Do events and happenings weary your heart? Are you burdened? What heavy load are you carrying? There are many such situations in our world; real burdens. Jesus says ‘I WILL give you rest, not just maybe! He is all you need.
The well known and popular hymn ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’ closed the day.
We ask that you pray for all children, especially our own, who are returning to school, beginning school for the first time or starting at a new school. May the blessing of god go with them and their teachers and other staff.