Over the summer we have been opening up the Chapel building every Sunday morning for a few people to come along and watch the service together. We have continued to provide a live stream service from different homes over that time.
Today, we had our first go at running a live service from the building although we are continuing at the moment to stream a separate online version. This is what happened.
We started with an opening prayer. I also couldn’t resist welcoming people with the words of James 4:8
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
The handwashing reference linked to our theme “Clean.” We then listened to a few songs from YouTube. After this we read Scripture together. We think it is important that there is congregation participation and so using things like Scripture and the creeds is helpful. We encouraged people to either sit or kneel for some scripture and stand for other parts -again, we don’t want people to simply sit and watch.
After this we had the Bible reading, Matthew 8:1-4. A leper comes to Jesus and asks to be healed and to be cleansed. I have been struck again reading those verses in a new way about the tie up between disease, cleanness and isolation with leprosy. We have of course experienced a disease with a similar fearful, isolating affect. This reminds us of how sin is linked to a sense of dirtiness, uncleanness, guilt, shame and isolation as it destroys lives and relationships. Jesus is the only one who can offer true healing and cleansing.
We then had a final song to listen to (There is a hope by Stuart Townend) before one of our other elders prayed and dismissed us with the words of the Grace.
It was encouraging to be together, we miss being able to sing out loud but the sense of fellowship in the prayers and the joy of sharing God’s word with people actually in the same room was so wonderful.
This week was a trial and so over the next few weeks expect us to be testing and trialling a bit more as we get things right and as we agree our way forward. However, it felt like we were taking another little step forward.