Very, very occasionally, we catch a glimpse of the glory of God. I was at a Cursillo meeting yesterday morning and someone in our group talked about seeing a sunrise as she was driving. She turned a corner, and suddenly the sky was full of colour. It took her breath away. For her, moments like that are a testimony to the presence and the glory of God.
Maybe you have seen a sunrise or a sunset that reminded you of God. I would love to have seen the Northern Lights earlier this week – that is one of my ambitions. The pictures were amazing.
Someone else had recently attended a prayer group, where they spend some time being quiet together, and then the moment comes when God is present and you know it, and for a moment, everything is awesome.
Maybe you have been praying in church or in a group or one your own, and become aware that God is with you.
Another person was talking about a church project she was working on, and how everything was coming into place, people had contacted her offering to help, and all the things on her list were just happening smoothly. She felt that the Holy Spirit was working alongside her and making things happen. She felt very blessed. And very thankful.
Maybe you have had times when you have been doing God’s work – perhaps doing something for the church, or in the community: for the school or the community project, when you feel God is beside you and things are working out.
A lot of the time though, it’s a hard slog. The skies are grey; the driving rain is battering the windows; prayer is hard work; there seems to be no blessing from the time you try to spend with God; doing things for the church just feels so thankless. And then someone says something thoughtless like “why does no one clean the windows” (or the brass or whatever), and you’re seething because no one appreciates the things you do, only criticises the things that you just don’t have the time or energy to do.
It can be hard getting things done here in St Chad’s. There aren’t a lot of us, and the jobs fall on a small handful of people. Some people do give a lot of time and energy, and it would be great to share some of the jobs, and to appreciate the work of those who do make sure that things happen.
It’s like that too with the money side of things. People give generously to help the work of the church. The money you give each week pays for ministry and mission, the cost of services and keeping this beautiful building going. Mostly our contributions are just part of the routine of going to church. We put our money in the envelope or in the plate, or we pay by standing orders, so that the money goes straight into the church bank account.
A few days later, it gets counted and recorded and then paid into the bank account. We keep records of these payments on the computer, and at the end of the year, we use that information to create the accounts for the year, so we know just how much is coming in and going out to pay the bills.
Sometimes we might moan inwardly as we have to find the right change for the envelope, or we feel we don’t see an awful lot for the money we contribute. But the money you give enables the work to take place. It enables the church to reach out generously to the community to show God’s love. And when you give, you are part of that. There’s that prayer we say every week:
Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power,
the glory, the splendour, and the majesty;
for everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
All things come from you,
and of your own do we give you.
God has been so generous to us, and whatever we give comes from that generosity.
Thank you for your part in that. Thank you for the money you give to the church. Thank you for your time and energy in doing God’s work in this place. Maybe together we can help people come closer to knowing God, and experience more of those special moments when God’s love and God’s presence touches us in a very personal way.
Maybe there are things you would like to do in church. Would you like to read some times or do the prayers in services? Don’t be shy – tell us. Would you like to help in caring for the building or getting the church ready for services? We would really appreciate some help. Or would you like to help with the lunch club or organising the monthly family service? That would be brilliant!
Maybe when you get involved in doing some of these things, you will become more open to God’s loving presence, and grow in confidence in your faith, find a greater hope and become more and more loving.
Everybody here is important to God and important to the St Chad’s team. Thank you for all that you do and all that you give. Why don’t you thank someone for what they do for the church? – so please look around you at what people are doing and take the opportunity to thank them.
There may be also ways in which we can help each other to grow in faith and hope and love.
I have brought some information about Cursillo, because it’s something you might really enjoy, and it might help you discover a little more about how much God loves you. Cursillo has enabled some people to experience some of the special moments I talked about for themselves.
So thank you. All of you. And thank each other. Live thankfully. And look out for the glory of God’s presence all around you.