Our meeting this morning was led by Territorial Envoy
CSM Tim Scott announced that next Sunday Evening would be the Corps annual meeting, and on the 2nd February Lt Col Judith Payne would be installed as the Training Principal at William Booth College.
Tony led the Call to worship reading from Isaiah 9:2
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned
Our first song of the morning was
Song: 528 ‘A light came out of darkness’
Tune: 230 ‘Shall you, shall I?’
Followed by an opening Prayer:
We then sang Song: 114 ‘ Light of the world,’
Tune: 653 ‘ Here I am to worship’
which was followed by the Singing Company: who sang ” Building Up”
The YP spot followed this which Tony referred to as ‘A cluttered stable’
Tony asked Isabella Woodman to help , and he showed us his Nativity Scene. This Nativity Scene had some extra characters, which were identified as out of place, Snow white, Mowgli & a Parrot. However all the other traditional participants were there. Tony explained to Isabella that everyone was not at the stable at the same time, they visited , left gifts , paid respect to the baby Jesus and left. The shepherds went back to work , the Kings travelled back home , the Angels went back to Heaven etc. Mary , Joseph and the baby Jesus also left to travel back home. All we were left with was an empty stable in the end .
Tony told us that many people try to keep the Christmas story frozen in time in their minds, with the Nativity image of Jesus, but we must remember the man he grew up to be .
Emma Davis played “ The Fathers Song “ during the collection
Song: 165 ‘ From heaven you came,’
Tune: 869 ‘The Servant King’
The Songsters contribution to the morning meeting was the Song ” I’m In His Hands ”
Followed by a Bible reading from Carolynn Woodman
Reading: Luke 2:21-40
Song: 743 ‘As we come in prayer before you’ was our next song , sung to the tune : 379 ‘South Shields’
Tony delivered his message, which reflected on Christmas in his Family. It has been nearly two years since Tony’s Father died , a man who never really liked Christmas, and that always created an amount of tension during the Christmas season . This year Tony was hoping for a better time, and despite a bit of a despondency when hearing Wizard sing “ they wished it could be Christmas every day “ , Christmas with Family went well .
Tony asked us if we got what we wanted or needed? , did we feel full or empty in our lives?
Tony read to us a Modern Parable
Whoever Takes the Son Gets It All
Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate. The widowed, elder man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days, his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season, a season that he and his son had so looked forward to, would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home.
As he opened the door, he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand. He introduced himself to the man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told everyone of his, not to mention his father’s, love of fine art. “I’m an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man unwrapped the package, the paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the son.
Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the picture over the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task.
True to his word, the painting went well above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars of paintings. And then the man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man realized that even though his son was no longer with him, the boy’s life would live on because of those he had touched. He would soon learn that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart.
As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease the grief. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.
The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation!
Unmindful of the story of the man’s only son, but in his honor, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas day, the day he had received his greatest gift. The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled this day; greatness would be achieved as many claim “I have the greatest collection.” The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum’s list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid. The room was silent.
“Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked. Minutes passed. No one spoke. From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and go on to the good stuff.”
More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a friend of the old man spoke, “Will you take ten dollars for the painting? That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it.”
“I have ten dollars. Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer. After more silence, the auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice. Gone.” The gavel fell, cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can get on with it and we can bid on these treasures!”
The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a picture of some old guy’s son. What about all of these paintings? There are millions of dollars of art here! I demand that you explain what’s going on here!” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”
Puts things into perspective doesn’t it? Just as those art collectors discovered on that Christmas Day, the message is still the same: the love of a Father, a Father whose greatest joy came from His Son, who went away and gave His life rescuing others. And because of that Father’s love, whoever takes the Son, gets it all.
Our final song of the morning was
Song: 263 ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory’
Tune: 565 ‘Battle hymn of the Republic’
Tony gave a Benediction , and the meeting was closed.
The Band left to continue the ministry at the Wisdom Hospice .
Thank you to all who made worship possible today