Once again we are pleased to bring you some information about yesterday’s meetings at Chatham, both of which were led by Corps Officer Major Nigel Schultz.
The day began with a Big Bang (at least that was the theme for the morning meeting). The Band opened with ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ and the congregation joined to sing two songs giving praise to God the Father (‘Let all the world in every corner sing’ and ‘I sing the mighty power of God’). A time of reflection and prayer followed and scripture was taken from Genesis 1:1-31.
The Singing Company (children’s choir) brought ‘Light of the world’ and Major Nigel gave a message for the youth in which he asked some of the older children to bring him a book. He reminded them that every book needs an author (designer) and because of this is beautiful. God is our author in scripture and in our creation.
The ministry of the Songsters was ‘This day’ and the congregation joined in the song ‘Now thank we all our God before Major Nigel delivered his bible message saying (summarised):
Soon it will be spring. It’s creeping up on us slowly but already there is evidence of the beauty of God’s creation.
Today we read the story of creation as described in scripture but there are many who cannot accept the concept of a creator God. Often their theory is the Big Bang but there are also many other, different, thoughts on the subject. So, how do we deal with this in conversation.
The Salvation Army’s 2nd and 5th doctrines each touch on the subject but non- believers often attack us for our views. Nevertheless many still take Genesis literally although once it was everyone who thought like that.
We are often told that, once upon a time, there was nothing and then the Big Bang took place. Personally, I cannot accept this argument. Even the scientific world is divided on the subject (between Big Bang and slow emergence). Even religious groups differ as they often do. An example comes from the Roman Catholic Church when Pope Pious 3 who seemed to see no conflict between the biblical and scientific theories. Many young students also believe that Genesis should be taken figuratively. All in all, there are many different views. Some believe in the existence of God and his influence over creation. Others don’t. ‘Intelligent Design’ is also a theory supported by many.
So, where do we stand and what is right? To answer this I go to the very first words in Genesis, ‘In the beginning, God…..’. John 1:1 also uses these words. However, referring back to Genesis we find a different version in chapter 2. What is clear to me amongst all the theories is that those responsible for biblical translations hold on to the words ‘In the beginning, God….’. His spirit was over everything including the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
So, how does creation relate to us? Is it important? We all have our own personal views but we don’t have to argue about it. We are to be a ‘new creation’. If we are to recover from our present desperate times , God has to be involved.
The great hymn of praise ‘How great thou art’ closed the meeting.
The evening meeting took the form of our monthly ‘Sunday Night is Music Night’ and included more music than usual from our adult music groups. The Band contributed ‘Harlesden’, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’ and ‘Fill the world with music’ whilst the Songsters gave us ‘This Kingdom’ and ‘Grace Alone’.
The congregation joined with the song ‘Joy in the Salvation Army’ and three other songs chosen by those present in the meeting. These were ‘God’s love to me is wonderful’, ‘My Jesus, my Saviour’, ‘and ‘All to Jesus I surrender’ and ‘The day thou gavest Lord is ended’.
Major Nigel delivered a bible address and said (summarised):
When I started secondary school I was made to learn four prayers, two of which I already knew. In our Wednesday Bible Study we have been studying Matthew 5 and 6 which, of course, include the Lord’s Prayer.
Recently, in the USA, a young girl student has taken her school to court for making the girls recite the Lord’s Prayer every day. Also the classroom was covered with Christian material and the teacher spoke about Christian things all the time. She won her case!
Even Pope Francis has asked for, and made, a new translation of the Lord’s prayer, changing some of the words because he says that God does not lead us into temptation. We go there by ourselves. This is an interesting point and a challenging one.
These issues are important, especially for our young people as they face the challenges of the world around them. They will need to be strong.
We have always been blessed in having good music groups at Chatham Salvation Army and these contributed to a very enjoyable evening yesterday.
Next week we shall launch the annual Self Denial Appeal, a time during which we are encouraged to give sacrificially to the work of the ‘Army’. Major Karen Smith will be the leader and preacher in the morning with Lisa Davis leading and preaching at night. This will be a special day of commitment to God so we invite you, if you live locally, to join us. If that is not possible why not read the information given in this link (click here) about the impact of Self Denial giving.
For now we wish you a very good week ahead and pray for God’s blessing to be upon you.