The sharing at our penultimate Zoom Sunday morning meeting on 5th September was a reminder of how encouraging and uplifting these times together have been. When church meetings were initially suspended, and we switched to Zoom for our sharing and fellowship the Lord said that change would offer an opportunity – and it has. We have been blessed by so many joining with us and our fellowship is stronger than before lockdown. On Sunday we were encouraged as the themes of the sharing consolidated lessons shared and learnt during the previous months.
John read Psalm 84:
“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young – a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, God; look with favour on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.”
The Lord encouraged us to stand firm and press through to that place where we enjoy his presence. It is a battle. We will face difficulties and challenges in this life and we are at odds with the values of the world around us. Yet we have the Kingdom of God within us and, when we set our hearts on God’s Kingdom and don’t let distractions get in the way, we will experience the Lord’s presence and that will spill out of us and affect those around us. God has been faithful in the past and will not leave us on our own. He reassures us that ‘wherever you are, there I am with you’.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Towards the end of the meeting Paul shared a picture of an aerial view of Cratfield along with the following word from the Lord:
'God is here for you, let him in, let him in, feel his presence, reach out and touch the living God.'
It is so reassuring to know that God is with us in all the challenges that we face and we are looking forward to what the Lord has for each one and for the church as we go forward into this new chapter of our church life.
“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)