Brian Haymes at DBC this Sunday

biblematt17Brian Haymes will lead worship and preach at DBC on Sunday. In Young Church the children are using Scripture Union materials and we are following their themes in the main service. On Sunday we will consider Jesus in his glory. Brian will preach on the transfiguration of Jesus and will base his thoughts on the biblical texts: Matthew 17.1-9 and Colossians 1.15-20. We start at 10.30 a.m. and Communion will be celebrated. We use gluten-free bread and non-alcoholic wine. Come and worship with us if you can. All are welcome and if you are visiting for the first time, we would be delighted to meet you.

The Crucified One has been raised!

Easter morning at DBC was wonderful! I know, I should not be the one to say so because I led the service and was at the wrong side of the lectern to offer an objective view. But what made the service wonderful had little to do with me. The music and singing was full of inspiration, beauty and power. (Thanks to our musicians, singing group, soloists, children’s percussion section and a responsive congregation!) We read some of the greatest words of scripture and we received Communion on the most significant day of the Christian year.

The congregation is always interesting on Easter Sunday. While many of the regular members are away, we are always augmented by visitors and friends. We begin the day with an Easter morning breakfast and perhaps this helps to set the tone of celebration and joy. Or perhaps it is just that everyone knows that on Easter morning we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus so they come to church ready to give thanks and rejoice. Well, there was certainly a great atmosphere on Sunday. (If you were there, you were one of the reasons why). It was a great joy to welcome and meet congregation members new and old.

My message was based on Mark 16, the major reading for the day. We are reading the Gospel of Mark together at DBC this year and I have been finding it particularly rewarding. I would love to think I did justice to Mark 16 on Sunday but I am sure that, in fact, I did not; (I am not sure that anybody could). I concentrated on the sudden and open ending of the Gospel that seems to invite the readers to continue the story of Jesus in the daily living of their own lives.

I don’t think I made enough of the words of the young man in white who met the women at the tomb. ‘You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One; he has been raised, he is not here . . .’ (Mark 16.6). Sometimes, especially on Easter Sunday, we are so taken up with resurrection that we forget the cross. It is as if we have moved on. The cross is no longer important and all that matters is that Christ was raised. Yet in Mark’s Gospel the resurrection narrative is so short and the passion narrative so long that the reader is left with the abiding impression that, important as resurrection is, the crucifixion remains central. The words of the angelic figure confirm this impression. It is specifically the Crucified One who has been raised. The reader and the church is called to follow in the way of a crucified Messiah. The church is called not to arrogant triumphalism but to self-giving service. Here the risen Lord is to be encountered. I hope our congregation heard something of that message on Sunday morning as we also heard of the new hope offered to all, even to disciples who, like Peter and the rest, had already failed but were not forsaken!

Building work begins today

The day has finally arrived! The members of Didsbury Baptist Church have been raising funds and planning to remodel the church’s building for many years. Today the builders are scheduled to arrive on site and start the work that will open up all kinds of new possibilities for our ministry and mission.

Last week we cleared out the sanctuary so that building work can begin. Thank you to all our friends, especially Didsbury United Reformed Church, for storing our furniture and equipment.

An empty sanctuary

Last Sunday, we held our first service at Beaver Road Primary School. We will be meeting there every Sunday until our new sanctuary is completed.

First Sunday at Beaver Road School - almost ready

This Sunday Stephen Ibbotson will be our preacher at the school. If you do not already worship elsewhere or you are visiting Didsbury, you would be very welcome to join us on Sunday at 10.30 a.m.

A Church that sings

I recently heard someone somewhere (I think it might have been Nigel Wright at the Baptist Assembly) say something along the lines that: an observer of worship at a mosque might conclude that it is all about prayer; at a synagogue, that it is all about scripture reading; at a church, that it is all about singing. I took this to be a pertinent criticism of the church’s worship and a much-needed plea for the Christian rediscovery of scripture and prayer at the centre of its worship activity. Still, while studying the book of Revelation in our house-group, I have been struck by the amount of singing in its descriptions of heavenly worship (see, for example, chapters 4 and 5, which we read last Wednesday).

Eugene Peterson picks this up in his wonderful little book, Reversed Thunder: The Revelation of John and the Praying Imagination. For him, singing is a pervasive theme of the entire Bible:Reversed Thunder 02

There are songs everywhere in scripture. The people of God sing. They express exuberance in realizing the majesty of God and the mercy of Christ, the wholeness of reality and their new-found ability to participate in it. Songs proliferate. Hymns gather the voices of men, women, and children into century-tiered choirs. Moses sings. Miriam sings. Deborah sings. David sings. Mary sings. Angels sing. Jesus and his disciples sing. Paul and Silas sing. When persons of faith become aware of who God is and what he does, they sing. The songs are irrepressible (Reversed Thunder, 66).

Perhaps it is not such a bad thing to be characterised by singing.

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