On Sunday morning our meeting was led by Major Ian and took the theme ‘What is this new thing?
Major Ian Payne
After a call to worship, the congregation joined in the song ‘On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand’, before sharing in Psalm 145; a reminder that ‘The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.’ (v.17). Howard Davies’ song ‘The Wonders of His Grace’ set a contemplative atmosphere, as prayers were said for our young people, currently away on their retreat, and the band, which will be visiting Hastings Temple Corps next weekend.
After singing the song ‘What a fellowship’, Shingie gave a powerful testimony which evidenced the constant faithfulness of God through difficult times in her life. Although she was initially reluctant to visit the corps for the first time, Shingie recounted the warm welcome she received when she did come and, during difficult times following a car accident, how God, through the corps family at Chatham, sustained her. Though this, Shingie confidently testified that the promise written in Luke 4:10 had been true for her; ‘For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone’ (Luke 4:10, KJV).
The songsters contributed the song ‘Everywhere’ and the second verse of John Gowans’ words had a particular significance this morning, forming the starting point for Major Ian’s message:
Everything is changing in the world today,
There’s one thing reliable in every way,
Other things may alter but it’s clear and plain
That the love of God is just the same.
Major Ian highlighted that everyone has a back story – but that through Christ we are forgiven and the mistakes of the past can be left there. God wants us to be focused on moving forward and fulfilling His will for us, rather than being held back by the past; ‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.’ (Isaiah 43:19). God is doing a new thing in Chatham – his faithfulness is the same today as it was yesterday and will be forever.
In reflection, our time of worship concluded with ‘I bring my heart to Jesus’, which served as a time of re-dedication and an opportunity both to surrender our past and commit our future to God.
‘My heart, my life, my sins, my all – I bring them to Jesus.’
Following our meeting, a group of the band visited the Wisdom Hospice where it was able to share music and prayer with the staff and patients there. The band’s final piece was St Francis of Assisi’s prayer ‘Make me a channel of your peace’; we pray that the band’s ministry will have been a channel of God’s peace to those who heard it this morning.
Our afternoon meeting was not held in Chatham but instead took place on the green at Hoo Marina Park, where local residents gathered around to listen to the band and sing some much-loved hymns. The band was able to chat to those who had gathered to listen in the sunshine.
As already mentioned, the band will be visiting Hastings Temple Corps next weekend. We pray that this will be a spirit-filled time for both the corps and the band and that God will use the band’s ministry there.
There will be a meeting as usual at 10am in Chatham next Sunday (Church Street, ME4 4BT) – we hope to see you there!