The Third Rocky Road Epistle Chapter 12

Two riddles for you: -

What has hands but no feet, a face but no eyes, points without fingers, strikes without arms, and runs without legs?

What is free yet priceless, spent but not owned, only goes forward and never stops, lost but never can be got back?

These act as a timely reminder that the clocks go forward at the weekend.  So if you are coming to our Palm Sunday service in the building please make sure you change your clock. 

It seems incredible that a whole year has passed since restrictions started, there have been times where time has gone slowly and times where time has gone by fast.  Thinking about time reminds me of the hymn “Take time to be holy”.  I hope and pray that each of you has taken the time to spend with God and “speak oft with the Lord”.  Lockdown has given us space to slow down, to “abide in Him” and “feed on His word”.  These habits will help us as we come out of restrictions and probably start to see that “the world rushes on” again. 

“Take time to be holy” encourages us to help each other and “His blessing to seek”.  Let us do that and not get too preoccupied with our own issues.  We need each other as this last year has shown.  The hymn has the challenge “Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see”.   Or as a slogan from my university days put it, “if you were on trial for being a Christian is there enough evidence to convict you?”  In your behaviour and speaking do you show the love of Jesus and build people up?

Only if we take time to be holy can we live for Jesus.  Only as a church can we “let Him be thy guide” if we take time to pray.  We can all have good ideas, but we need to be “looking to Jesus” for His best for RRBC. 

Many thanks to all those knitting eggs, it is going really well, please get them to Margaret Shaw as soon as you can.  On Palm Sunday  we hope to have some to hand out for people to hang up on a tree near you or in your garden with a tract attached for someone else to find and take.  Please pray for seeds to be sown in this way.   

Maundy Thursday Communion

There is no Zoom Bible Study on Wednesday 31st March, instead we will have a communion service for Maundy Thursday on Thursday 1st April at 7.15pm for 7.30pm start,

With this chapter there is a communion service for Maundy Thursday

If you would like to, you can join with some of us online through the “Zoom” system. 

We are using the usual Bible Study log in details (see note below). 

You will need to provide your own with bread and wine (or equivalent).

  • If you want to join in by phone - then you can. 

You ring either of these phone numbers, 0131 460 1196 or 0203 481 5237
Then you will be asked to enter the meeting ID 429 588 385 followed by #, then another #. Then you will need to enter a passcode, again followed by #.

Please contact Laura for the passcode. 

Otherwise you could celebrate it at 7.30pm on Thursday (1st April) by yourself, knowing that others from RRBC are doing the same.


Reflection

From Phillip “A Surprising Journey”  based on Hebrews 11 v.32-40, Matthew 21 v.1-11

We are reaching the end of our journey through the wilderness and heading towards Easter.  We have been preparing ourselves to journey with Jesus into his most difficult and barren period yet – his betrayal, crucifixion and death.  We, of course, know the end of the story – that the horror of Good Friday will gloriously transform into the joyful resurrection of Easter Sunday.  But for those who lived through that first Easter weekend, the struggle of the week was all too real.  They had no way to be sure it would all turn out okay.

Our own wilderness experiences can be very much like that.  Looking back, we can see how God has used dry, barren, and difficult times to shape us.  But when we are in the midst of the wilderness it is almost impossible to see beyond our present situation.  When good things come along, they can take us by complete surprise, as God works in mysterious and unpredictable ways.

The heroes of Old Testament, as listed in Hebrews chapter 11, lived with much hardship.  They wandered in deserts and mountains, lived a nomadic existence in caves or holes in the ground and if imprisoned were often held in chains, tortured, and put to death by the sword.  They struggled in the wilderness of sorrow, rejection, and physical violence, but through of all this the writer to the Hebrews records some amazing answers to prayer.  At the end of his account though, he says this of the Old Testament heroes,

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11 v.39-40)

The fulfilment that they were looking for was only going to come through Jesus.  The hopes of the people of God were pinned on this surprising Messiah.  He came not as a military super-power but as a helpless baby.  He lived, not as a rich ruler, but as a homeless wanderer.  He preached, not vengeance for Israel’s enemies, but grace and love for all.  And his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which we mark on Palm Sunday, was not in a chariot or on a white horse, but fulfilled a prophesy of Zechariah,

See your king comes to you, lowly and riding on a donkey.  (Zechariah 9 v.9)

The surprising answer to all of Israel’s hopes is a humble man on a donkey.  A lowly man, who would further humble himself by dying on a cross.  The crowd who welcomed him on Palm Sunday would quickly turn on him.  The cross that appeared to be his final defeat would turn out to be his final victory over sin, death, and the devil.  His resurrection would become the first fruits of the resurrection of all things. 

We live in the in-between time.  Jesus is risen.  Death is defeated.  We have the salvation of the Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.  And yet, God has not quite finished with this “wilderness world”.  He holds back Christ’s final coming, and so we continue to experience both desert struggles and resurrection surprises.  The promised land is before us, so the writer to the Hebrews encourages us to take heart from the Old Testament heroes and from Jesus, to finish this journey together:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart
(Hebrews 12 v. 1-3)

Journeying with Jesus means drawing strength from him during the hard times.  We can know that he has walked this wilderness road before us, and that he is walking with us now.  He is using even our struggles to transform us, and to prepare us for the day when all sorrow and sighing will cease to be.


Songs for Sunday

1. Make way, make way, for Christ the King
in splendour arrives.
Fling wide the gates
and welcome Him into your lives.

[MEN] Make way!
[WOMEN] Make way!
[MEN] Make way!
[WOMEN] Make way!
[MEN] For the King of kings.
[WOMEN] For the King of kings.
[MEN] Make way!

[WOMEN] Make way!
[MEN] Make way!
[WOMEN] Make way!
[ALL] And let His kingdom in.

2. He comes the broken hearts to heal,
the prisoners to free.
the deaf shall hear, the lame shall dance,
the blind shall see.
Make way

3. And those who mourn with heavy hearts,
who weep and sigh;
with laughter, joy and royal crown
He’ll beautify.
Make way

4. We call you now to worship Him
as Lord of all.
To have no gods before Him –
their thrones must fall!
Make way

Graham Kendrick
© 1986 ThankYou Music CCLI #5638

1. All glory, praise and honour,
to you, redeemer, king,
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring.
You are the king of Israel,
great David's greater son;
you ride in lowly triumph,
the Lord's anointed one!

2. The company of angels
are praising you on high,
and we with all creation
together make reply:
The people of the Hebrews
with palms before you went;
our praise and prayer and anthems
before you we present.

3. To you before your passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to you, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.
As you received their praises,
accept the prayers we bring,
for you delight in goodness
O good and gracious king!

Theodulf of Orleans (c.750 - 821), translated by John Mason Neale (1818 - 1866),
adapted by Jubilate Hymns © Jubilate Hymns Ltd CCLI 5638


Dates

Saturday 27th March -

Socially distanced spring clean in the morning starting at 10am. 
Please bring your own cleaning materials etc so we can easily keep to restrictions.

Sunday 28th March -
Reopening for morning service at 10.45am
inside our building on Palm Sunday

Sunday 4th April -
Easter Sunday morning, we hope to hold a service outdoors on our carpark, provided singing outdoors is allowed and the weather is reasonable!

Sunday 18th April -       
Church AGM after the morning service.


Listening to a recording of our audio service

If you have the internet, then go to our website (www.RRBC.org.uk) where you will find a recording under the audio files.

If you are not on the internet, we have now paid to have a “Dial-a-Service” facility.  Telephone 01536 909787 and you will be able to listen to a recording of the service on your telephone. 
The cost, around 30p a call, is covered by the church.

Don’t forget our Facebook page always has some interesting things on as well. 


Prayers of Intercession,

Adapted from prayers by
Rev’d Andy Braunston of the URC.

We bring our prayers to God for our world, our country, the church and those we know, love and worry about.

Eternal God, we lift our planet before you,
we thank you for its beauty and wonder at its complexity.
We pray that this time of enforced reflection and stillness
will be a way for us to re-evaluate how we live and work,
that we do less harm to this our fragile home.

God of all people, we pray for our world,
for those living with the virus,
for those researching into treatment and administering the vaccine,
for those living in fear,
for those recovering from illness,
and for those who are bereaved.
We pray for those countries where there are fewer resources, and where the virus will add to a litany of war, famine and poverty.

We pray for a fair and peaceful sharing out of the vaccine worldwide.
Help us, O God, to see unity of humanity,
and to change how we live.

Eternal One, we pray for our own nations,
for Elizabeth our Queen, Boris our Prime Minister, and for all who are elected to serve us, that they may govern with justice,
and seek the good of all. 
We pray for our Police Service, particularly coping with violent demonstrations and trying to enforce the restrictions.

God of the Church
we pray for your people
adjusting to new ways of being community
and new ways of worship. 
We pray for those around the world
who always have to worship at home for fear of the authorities,
for those who can never take part in Palm Sunday processions,
for those who can never openly share their faith,
may they find comfort in you and strength in your love as through them you allow your Church to grow.

God of tenderness,
in the silence of our hearts,
we pray for those we know and love…..

and we pray for ourselves and our own needs….
Accept these prayers, Eternal One,
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Please pray for our Mission of the Month – The Gideons,
and for our BU link missionaries Mark and Andrea Hotchkins, whose returned to Chad has been delayed due to Mark being unwell.  They hope to go back early April.


A COMMUNION SERVICE FOR Maundy Thursday

(Adapted from the Wee Worship Book)

Invitation

Jesus was always the guest
In the home of Peter and Jairus, Martha and Mary,
he was always the guest.
At the meal tables of the wealthy where he spoke up for the poor,
he was always the guest.
Upsetting polite company, befriending isolated people, welcoming the stranger,
he was always the guest.
But here, at this table, he is the host.
Those who wish to serve him must first be served by him,
those who want to follow him must first be fed by him,
those who would wash his feet must first let him make them clean.
For this is the table where God intends us to be nourished;
this is the time when Christ can make us new.
So come, you who hunger and thirst for a deeper faith,
for a better life, for a fairer world.
Jesus Christ, who has sat at out tables, now invites us to be guests at his.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, present with us now,
for all that you have done and all that you have promised, what have we to offer?
Our hands are empty, our hearts are sometimes full of wrong things.  We are not fit to gather up the crumbs from under your table.
But with you is mercy and the power to change us.
So as we do in this place what you did in an upstairs room, send down your Holy Spirit on us, healing, forgiving and making us whole; and that we may become, for you, your body, loving and caring in the world until your kingdom comes.  Amen.

The Sharing

To his followers in every age, Jesus gave an example and command rooted in the experience he shared with his disciples in an upstairs room in Jerusalem.
On the night on which he was betrayed, and as they were sitting at a meal,
Jesus took a piece of bread and broke it. He gave it to the disciples saying,
‘This is my body.  It is given for you. Do this to remember me.’
So now we do as Jesus did. With thanksgiving we eat this bread in remembrance that Christ died for us.

Later after they had eaten, he took a cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new relationship with
God made possible because of my death. Drink this all of you to remember me.’ 
We drink in gratitude, remembering that Christ’s blood was shed for us.

Concluding Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, you have put your life into our hands; now we put our lives into yours.
Take us, renew and remake us.
What we have been is past what we shall be, through you, still awaits us.
Lead us on. Take us with you. 

Amen.