Coronavirus Our Response

Thursday 19th March 2020

“Here is an update on how  we will worship and respond to the current closure of services and meetings:

Watch video full screen by clicking this link.

 

These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.

 

Now onto the content…

Hello many of you will know me, my name is Max and I am the Rector, the church leader of Bedhampton Parish.

You will be aware that in line with Government advice our senior church leaders have for the time being put a hold on all services and meetings within our church buildings.

I stand here inside St Thomas’ on Bidbury lane which is one of our venues in Bedhampton It remains open during the day for private prayer and for those who wish to have a quiet space for reflection at this time.

Alongside St Nicholas’ in Belmont Grove it is one of our two church venues, and I use the word venues for good reason. For you will know that the church is not the building but is the people of God who gather under the name of Jesus within these buildings.

We are God’s people gathered locally in Bedhampton, nationally across denominations and internationally across all nations.

Psalm 96 reminds us that we to:

Sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous deeds among all peoples.

You see we who walk with Jesus. We who would call ourselves Christians are people of hope. People who know that even when darkness comes, there is light. There is a hope in Jesus. And we are sent locally, nationally and internationally to declare that hope.

Since the announcement that we were are longer able to meet together because of the coronavirus I have been in thought and prayer seeking the answer to the question, “what is our response?”

Micah 6:8 says that our response is to

act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.

And later in the book of Matthew, a biography of Jesus we are reminded that our greatest commandment is to

Love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind.’ and to ‘Love our neighbour as ourselves 

or as we have framed it in our purpose statement to:

serve the community of Bedhampton by sharing God’s love and friendship.

As I awoke very early this morning in a nudge from God’s Holy Spirit, I understood that is what our response should be at this time.

Our response needs to be to love God and love people locally, nationally and internationally.

So this is what we are going to do as a church here in Bedhampton:

Firstly we are going to love God

Being a geek I had all sorts of ideas about how we might stream a service from here at St Thomas’s perhaps a traditional communion service or a contemporary worship service from St Nicholas’.

However we are an international and national church. With international and national expressions of church that offer the very best of both traditional and contemporary styles.

So rather than duplicate that, each week I will post on our website (www.Bedhampton.church) access to the very best of traditional services. That might be our own Portsmouth cathedral service or another throughout our country or the world.

And because we are a church who want

to be a place where all ages gather together to worship God in a range of expressions.

I will also post on our website access to the very best of contemporary services. Again that might be from a UK church or an internationally recognized quality contemporary church service.

However because we are also to love God locally I will post each week on Sunday morning a short twenty minute or so service of reflection and prayer filmed in one of our venues.

The focus for this will be Bedhampton and our response here. You can send me your suggestions for inclusion in the service. You might send a prayer request in. You might send a scripture in that the Holy Spirit has inspired you with. You might let us know what is going on in Bedhampton and how God is at work.

We will also be posting material and access to material for our children and young people to enable them to continue to worship.

So we will respond by loving God locally, nationally and internationally.

But we are also called to love people and our response also for that will be local, national and international.

We respond locally by checking on our neighbours, those people you already know. Supporting those who have had to isolate by helping them or simply phoning to see how they are doing.

As a church our response to loving people locally has been to create Bedhampton Friends to coordinate those who are able to offer help with those who need that help. You can find out more about that on our website (www.Bedhampton.church).  

Our response nationally will be to recognize that there are many worse off than ourselves. So we respond without fear, trusting in God and not hoarding goods.

We respond by giving to the food banks such as the Beacon in Havant who are in such desperate need at this moment.

We respond by praying for our NHS and other front line workers as they risk their own health by serving us.

And then we respond internationally.

As a nation we are well placed to respond to this pandemic, but there are many nations that are not so well placed to respond.

In addition issues around our world have not gone away simply because our focus has been drawn away. There are still those who are trafficked, there are still those in need of food and shelter across our world. Let us ask ourselves who is God’s Holy Spirit asking us to support at this time?

We love people locally, nationally and internationally.

So friends join me loving God and loving people as our response to this pandemic.

Email me your responses and goto to www.Bedhampton.church and join our service each Sunday morning. But don’t wait until then, but join me in praying to the God who loves you beyond measure for our world. Join me in declaring that light overcomes darkness across all the nations.

May Jesus who has won the battle shower you in his love and blessings.

Amen.

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