Our meeting this Sunday was led by CSM Tim Scott
The meeting was themed around Looking Forwards
Following the Announcements , By Tim (which included the information that Evening services resume next week , and on the 15th September @ 5pm we have a Presentation of the Voluntary Aid Detachment , with the Band & Songsters , plus the Rotary Club Medway Sunlight and Special Guests), we sang our first Song of the Morning
Tim commented that the song was a good start to his theme of Looking ahead, and then he asked Major Peter Clack to Pray for us
Before singing our next Song Tim Spoke of needing to look back , before you look forward and he had chosen 1989 as his start point .
1989 – Disneys the Little Mermaid was released , Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the internet , Tiananmen Square demonstrations happened in China , the Dalai lama received the Nobel Peace prize & the Simpsons cartoon started
….and on the 2nd September 1989 Tim & Heather were married , and the following song was sung at their wedding
Song: 403 When morning gilds the skies accompanied by the Piano: Tune 727
Next we had a spot called What happens next? , and this was led by Heather
Heather asked us “what does September mean to us”, Some of the congregation have Birthdays & Anniversaries in September ( Congratulations to Don & Olive Lockwood on their 68th Wedding Anniversary ) . Others have school to return to, teaching staff & Students , and Heather presented the Following clip for us ” Pep Talk”
As it said in the clip , Teachers can see the You ……that you can become
Heather Prayed for those returning to School , for Jenny Collins who is starting back teaching in School following maternity leave , for Stephanie Lenton who is now working as a teacher & Jessica Boughton who is beginning her training to work as a teacher
The Singing Company, led by Sharon Smith this morning sang ” I’m In His Hands ” , and they sang it beautifully, and Tim commented that it was good to know that going forwards we were in his hands
Tim Delivered the Bible Reading 2 Peter, Ch1, v 3 – 11
and the stand out line from the reading was ” Do your Best ”
Our 3rd song was Song: 361 Fill Thou my life, O Lord my God accompanied on the Piano: Tune 134
And then following the Offering the Songsters sang “By His Hand”
Bible thoughts were bought to us by Floss Scott, a willing volunteer we were told ( and this is confirmed when you read her notes )
Copy of the notes from Floss If’n I was God
If’n I was God
Well, just for spite
I wouldn’t set the sun at night
Till everyone was treated right
By everyone else they see
If’n I was God
I’d fix it so
Without explainin’, folks would know
They’d know what’s goin’ on inside
Of everyone else like me
Nobody’d hurt nobody else
I wouldn’t let it be
Nobody’d have a need to pray
Except for thankin’ me
If’n I was God
I’d make us wise
So’s everyone could realize
That everywhere beneath the sun
Everyone needs everyone
That ain’t half what I would do
If’n I was you
Before I altered what I had originally written a year ago, I asked Dad what the theme of the meeting was so I could try and link with it and I was told he wanted the theme to be looking to the future. However, I need to begin by looking back. This is a song I first heard last year after I had finished my first A-Level exam. I was relaxing and watching movie clips on YouTube when I can across this from the 1970s version of Tom Sawyer. The scene this came from is after Tom and his Aunt Polly have had an argument which leads to Tom singing this song as he runs away from his home. There was something about this song being sung by a child since it seems to insightful and to be a level of thought that most people would not attribute to a child of around 10. While the obvious message or challenge of the song is what would you do if you were God, I feel as though there is a deeper meaning hidden within it that needs to be shared, even though the setting of the story and therefore this song is a completely different time period, as it is still relevant- also this is probably the only time I will have the opportunity to talk off the platform. Anyway, looking at this from an alternative perspective poses the question not what would you do if you were God, but issues a challenge on how we should live as disciples of God.
The first verse reads ‘I wouldn’t set the sun at night, till everyone was treated right, by everyone else they see.’ These lines are the foundation on which we can build on for if we are not treating everyone with kindness and love, then how can we ever hope to show the love God has for everyone? There are many examples throughout history of people not being treated right, the consequences of which have echoed throughout the preceding decades. These examples include wars, crime and slavery which cause emotional as well as physical hurt to a wide circle of people. But another way in which people are not treated right is that we seem to have evolved as a society that is quick to judge. We judge people based on their skin colour, their sexuality, their style and their choices and the growing influence social media has in everyday lives has made passing judgement easier since it can be done anonymously. However, even though we are all guilty of judging, we all have the ability to move past it and be more forgiving.
The Bible is a valuable tool in showing us how to strive towards a life in which we treat everyone the same. Matthew 5: 21-26 highlights this point perfectly. Not only are we warned about the danger of harbouring anger towards others, but we are also told of the importance of reconciling with others- in the passage it states that this should be done before making an offering to God. This highlights the importance of letting go of anger, an explosive emotion that causes harm and makes it easy to mistreat people unfairly and unjustly.
Although, the Bible also provides examples and methods on how to live a life in which everyone is treated right. Matthew 5:44 has the line, ‘love your enemies’which may seem impossible at first until the realisation that we can only begin to treat everyone with kindness when we banish all the judgment and just love them the way God does. The parable of the Good Samaritan which can be found in Luke 10:30-37 is the perfect example of loving your enemies and treating everyone right. While it is hard at times to live this out it is important to try. As we begin a new academic year and begin to move into a busy period with Christmas fast approaching, I wonder in what ways you can put this idea of loving your enemies into practice. After all, if God decided to not set the sun until everyone was treated right, would the sun ever set again?
The second verse has the lines: ‘I’d fix it so, without explaining folks would know, they’d know what’s goin’ on inside, of everyone else like me.’ How many of us are aware of the struggles people in our lives are facing? We are told to be considerate to everyone we meet as everyone is fighting their own personal battles. While this is true, I’ve only ever heard it applied to talk focusing on strangers or people we don’t know that well, but this saying is just as relevant to the people closest to us. We may think we know everything going on in the lives of our family and friends but this might not be the case as some things may be too personal or people may not want to share their problem which is fine. I have spoken about how it is important that we love our enemies but we should also take the time to make sure we don’t unwittingly ignore those around us. Unfolding this a bit more brings us into the world of stereotyping, something I won’t linger on, but we all fall victim to conforming to stereotyping. Without realising it, we now live in a society where everyone has to fit in a box and conform to stereotypes. The trick we need to learn is breaking this expectation and exhibiting an unfailing love and support for everyone no matter what society thinks. By doing this we can begin to exhibit God’s love to people who may not know it. Even just taking the time to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to could lead to fruitful results if we just look beyond the stereotypes and trust God to help us.
Moving on to the third verse we encounter the words, ‘Nobody’d hurt nobody else, I wouldn’t let it be, nobody’d have a need to pray except for thanking me.’This sounds nice, even if a bit unrealistic. People get hurt everyday whether by words spoken, actions performed or a lack of action. The world is full of hurt, it is being ravaged by wars, people seeking to further their own personal agendas and damage to the environment. In the face of such hurt it almost seems that change is impossible. However, the key is to start small. Obviously the influence we have over major world problems is small but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to do anything. By narrowing the area of hurt we can look no further than our own town. As previously mentioned, one way we hurt people is by lack of action which may be not speaking up against an injustice or turning a blind eye on a problem that doesn’t concern us. To live differently is to live bravely but it is also more than that, by not letting being idle we are able to exhibit the love and care that God has for everyone especially since a simple action could prove to be life changing. After all, as Jesus once said, ‘whatever you did not do for the least of these, you did not do for me.’Looking forward into the future how are you going to show you devotion to everyone, do you know someone who needs a friend? Someone who is lost? Or someone who needs a shoulder to lean on? What can you do in the future to show how much you care?
The second part of the third verse is also significant as it focuses on being thankful. This topic has been spoken about already in the meetings led by Judith but it is so important to remember to be thankful, especially when it seems that there is very little to be thankful for. How many times do we thank God in our prayers? When we pray is it to ask for something, to bring a worry before him or do we just say a quick prayer of thankfulness? So many people doubt prayer because of this preconception they have that prayer is almost like wishes from a genie- which is far from reality. Prayer is a way to talk and connect with God, but how many of us forget to be thankful to him? It’s probably hard to find much to be thankful for but easy to question why and almost plead to God to step in and stop the evil in the world, but that is dangerous as it can lead to us focusing too much on the bad instead of the good. Even though there is a lot of conflict in the world, we should still take the time to thank God for what he has done for us this day.
Finally, the last verse has the words, ‘I’d make us wise so’s everyone could realise that everywhere beneath the sun everyone needs everyone…’Being wise is generally attributed to elderly people, those who have been alive for a long time and so have experience and can help people make choices based on their own experiences. However, even though that might be true when talking about worldly wisdom and other subjects. What we all appear to lack as we grow is a child-like wisdom. This may sound confusing but it’s quite simple when you stop and think about it. People talk about a child-like innocence, this can be used in the way that children look at the world, they have not been tainted by the evils of the world, stereotypes hold no sway over them, and to them it doesn’t matter where their friends come from, only that they have fun. It states in the Bible that we must be child-like in our belief to enter the kingdom of God (Mark 10:13-16). Until now I have never truly connected with that or connected the dots of why it is so important. After listening to this song the pieces appeared to fall into place. While children are innocent in their faith in all things, they also possess what I call child-like wisdom. Children are not generally racist or prejudice against others, they generally treat everyone right especially at a young age, they can listen and help people going through difficult times just by smiling at them or listening and they can help defend their friends, it is adults and parents who can impose their views on them and change their perception of the world. In order to be child-like we need to get rid of all the prejudices and judgements we might have, let go of how the world has corrupted us and just believe that there is good in everyone. If everyone did this then the other verses of the song would seem easier to achieve.
The verse also states how everyone needs everyone. At times there are instances when we feel like we need to be alone, we don’t need help or anyone else. How have they affected you? How can you show someone that everyone is needed?
To conclude I would like to leave you with two challenges and some words from a different song that I hope prove to be encouraging.
- Challenge 1: If you were God, what would you do?
- Challenge 2: Looking to the future, having thought about what you would do if you were God, how are you going to put this into practice?
Thank you Floss for allowing me to reproduce your notes here .
Tim introduced the next song of the morning , as one that he often finds a hard one to get through as the words are quite emotional . ( judge for yourself as the link below should take you to the words)
Song: 79 I know Thee who thou art accompanied by the Piano: tune 199
Following a short Prayer by Tim , how we are all at different points on our individual Journey with the Lord , but he is with us , we sang our final Song
Song: 949 Come, join our Army accompanied by the Band: Tune 809