The meetings today were led by Major Nigel Schultz (morning) and Major Judith Schultz (evening)
The morning meeting focused on the Parousia or Second Coming, Revelation 22, and began with two songs SA 226 ‘Let us rejoice’ and 220 ‘Great is the darkness’. Numbers were very depleted as many had gone away for a half term holiday break. However, the Singing Company were still able to sing ‘I know a lot of people’. Following the singing of SA 249 ‘Christ, whose glory fills the skies’ Paul Scoulding testified to the amazing happenings when he and four others were on the Prayer Walk on Saturday morning. They had come across three people who were also prayer walking the area around St John’s Church in Railway Street. One of them had been convicted by God to come and lead a new church in the reopened St John’s Church. So far they had funds in place and work was going on to clear the crypt and develop a cafe and outreach services. Their mission was based, like ours, on Scripture, Ezekiel 47, with additional words from Joshua 1:3. Lyn also testified at the end of the meeting that God was amazing in that promises were being fulfilled and eyes were being opened to the needs of the people in Chatham. Major Nigel read from Revelation 22 and the Songsters sang ‘Breathe’ as their ministry.
In his message, Nigel said ‘Sometimes the Parousia refers to the ‘Second Coming’ and sometimes to ‘the Rapture’ which are two different things. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 refers to the ‘Rapture’ whereas Revelation 19 refers to ‘tribulation and return of Jesus’. Two different comings of Christ. At any moment Jesus will come in the cloud. Last week the sky turned a brownish-orange colour and people were saying ‘The Lord is coming’, even those who do not know Christ! The Second Coming is what we are thinking of today. In Thessalonians and Acts there are references to Jesus coming again. What does it tell us? Jesus is coming soon. This is a challenge for the church. Firstly, we need to be ready and prepared, busy and sanctified – free from sin. We need to be a holy people, set apart for God and ready for His return. To be ready we need to be in tune and able to hear the word of God.
The singing of ‘My Jesus, my Saviour’ was helpful in response and the meeting ended with SA 263 ‘Mine eyes have seen the Glory’.
Major Judy had chosen the theme ‘The wedding Banquet’ for the evening meeting which began with SA 405 ‘Whosoever will may come’ and a video clip of ‘Shrek: Invitation to the ball’. She said that at Strood Corps where had been a run of weddings and showed some pictures of these happy occasions. The theme this evening is all about a banquet. In Psalm 23 God prepared a banqueting table before us all. When God invites us, we are each an honoured guest. We come and he anoints us with oil. SA 63 ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd’ reminded us of this. The Songsters ministered with ‘Open Hand’ and there followed a second Bible reading from Matthew 22:1-14. The Band‘s playing of ‘People need the Lord’ was a reminder of the situations in Chatham where there are many needy people. The third Bible Reading was from Philippians 4:1-9. SA 389 ‘Rejoice, rejoice’ reminded us of Christ’s presence with us.
In her message, Major Judy said ‘Unlike some of us, Jesus didn’t seem to be out of his comfort zone in relation to parties and food as he often spoke about them in parables. In Psalm 23, he talks about a banquet to which we were being invited. In Matthew the Jews believed the time was for them but in the parable Jesus says the banquet is for all. Those who didn’t believe they were welcomed but were actually invited. Those who were so involved with their lives missed the invitation. The unwanted were invited to the banquet. The host gives clothes to wear when you come to the banquet. We must wear what God provides. Philippians says when we respond to the banquet invitation we must have the right attitude toward Him and to each other. Don’t you think it’s wonderful to be invited? Isn’t it humbling to be anointed? Isn’t it wonderful that we are invited as honoured guests to his banquet? Rejoice and come but respect all that is laid before you. Our God is a wonderful, inclusive God. Our response is for us to show God in our lives and invite all to the banquet and life with Christ.
Song ‘The Lord is near’ was helpful as we pondered these thoughts. The final song was SA 447 ‘The Saviour now will give’.
Last Friday the team from Mummy and Me hosted the MacMillan Coffee morning and the results of this event will be published during the week. What I can say is that it was a happy morning and gave lots of opportunity for conversations as well as plentiful tea and cake.
The usual activities will not be taking place during this week but hopefully all will be back to normal next week.
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