Our meeting this morning was led by Tracy Wood
Tracy is our YPSM ( Young Peoples Sergeant Major), and stepped in while Major Ian presided at a Family Funeral.
The Band played as their pre-meeting music “Prelude on Quem Pastores” and following the announcements by Tim Scott our first song of the morning was Song SASB 954 – God’s soldier marches as to war, supported by the Band. Following this the Songsters’ first song of the morning was “I’m in His Hands” .
The Congregation then sang the Song SASB 571 – As the Deer , supported by Lisa Davis on the Piano. We were led in Prayer by Shingie & her Son Cami, who amongst other things, prayed for people affected recently by natural disasters and the bombings in Sri Lanka.
(My apologies to the Trombone section for missing them in the photo).
We had the first of two testimonies next, Mike Gibbs.
Mike began by quoting from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, ‘So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’. – and Mike said that the words leave no doubt as to our priorities. Mike had a small book with him, the Westminster Catechism (written in the 1640’s). Its purpose had been to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland. Question 1 in the book is ” What is Man’s Primary Purpose? Answer – To Glorify God and enjoy him for ever.” Mike asked us , when did you last do that?
We heard from Mike that Spring is his favourite season, to look around and see what God freely gives us, and as an amateur Watercolour Artist he explained that you often have to get really close to what you paint. Looking at a pastoral scene as you paint he feels is like walking with God. Recently, he was challenged by a friend to paint a Religious scene, but Mike felt this was not his comfort area, and didn’t believe he could do it. However, after a lot of prayer he produced a picture of the Holy Family, far better than he thought himself able to do, but feels it was completed with God’s help. Mike’s final comment was that we currently have great need in society for spiritual direction, perhaps in this time of year we should re-visit Question 1 The Primary Purpose ..
The next Congregational song we sang was Song SASB 358 – ‘Crown him with many crowns’ and following this we had our second testimony of the morning from Olive Long. Olive explained that Major Ian had given her a theme for her Testimony, and it was to speak about what Easter has meant to her over the years.
Olive told us that Easter had always been a big part of her life. As a teenager in North London, she would go from Wembley to Camberwell Green with her Sister Margaret, and attend the three meetings on Good Friday (queuing to get into the evening meeting) and rejoicing with a huge crowd of people in what God had done for them. This was a family event for Olive as her family was spread between North and South London and gathered at the meeting. When Olive married her Husband Terry they moved to the Isle of Sheppey, where, Olive explained, they have a tradition on Good Friday at a place called Bunny Bank. The tradition is that three crosses are brought to this site from Sheerness, Minster & Eastchurch prison, and are all set up on the Bank for a Good Friday service. The Cross from Eastchurch was brought by the Prisoners from the Eastchurch Prison. Olives’ Husband had a voluntary role at the prison teaching a Brass Band, and they would play at the meeting (Olive and Terry would arrange the music often with the help of Ray Maycock) and the Prisoners’ families would often come to the meetings as well which made it a very special time. When Terry died the meeting at Bunny Bank was not something Olive could face so she spent Easter with Family in Liverpool. It was while Olive was in Liverpool last Easter that she had the opportunity to go to the mercy seat, when one of her grandsons, Harrison, asked her to go with him. This year, however, was a worrying time as Harrison was picked up from University complaining of having double vision. This has meant that over Easter he has had tests and scans to see what the problem is. Olive prayed for her grandchildren and all those young people who are going to University, either for the first time or returning, and was reassured as the Songsters had sung earlier “I’m In His Hands”.
Steve Wood gave us the Scripture Reading Nehemiah 1:3-11 (NLT)
The Congregation sang the Song SASB 355 – Beautiful Lord (The Potters Hand). The Thought from Tracy
Tracy looked at the Story of Nehemiah, where the wall of Jerusalem had been just so much rubble for 70 years. The walls were needed to protect the City from attack. After Nehemiah recognised the problem, he prayed to prepare his heart, and when he got to Jerusalem he provided leadership to get the job of rebuilding under way and ultimately completed, and he didn’t avoid the hard work himself. He assigned the task of repairing sections of the wall to the people that lived close by in the area, giving ownership to the people who would get the protection. Despite threats and sabotage the walls were rebuilt in 52 days. God’s men and women had worked together to do God’s will.
Tracy said that God could depend on Nehemiah who had the initial vision to rebuild the walls, so if we have a vision or word from God, we should share it, pray about it and trust in the Holy Spirit. Pray and follow God’s will because to lead others as Nehemiah did, we need to listen to God. We should face problems and pray, and then press on with God, because no matter how far we may roam God can build something beautiful from the rubble in our lives.
Our final song of the morning was Song SASB 869 – I’ve found the pearl. Tune Zephania’s Song (SBS). Our Benediction was delivered by CSM Tim Scott.
Our Band was playing in Rochester Cathedral this afternoon, as part of the St George’s Day Parade.
and our Scouting sections were involved in the March through the town.