Shepton Mallet Benefice Churches
To know Jesus and to make Him known
Shepton Mallet Benefice and the Coronavirus (covid-19)
A letter from Jonathan
Dear Church Family
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12:1-2
Listening to the Holy Spirit from these verses over the past two weeks, first we thought about laying aside ‘every weight’ - the baggage, of all sorts, that leaves us struggling as Christians. We then thought about the ‘. . . sin which clings so closely . . . ’ and three wrong responses to sin which leave us encumbered and thus unable to run with endurance.
Lastly, and most importantly, today we note we ‘. . . run with endurance the race set before us . . .’ not looking back to failure and hurt, not wallowing in our sin, not looking to how we are doing relative to others, not looking to the latest gimmick, fad or popular best-seller spiritual guru, not looking in the mirror but ‘. . . looking to Jesus . . .’. Why? Because ‘. . . He is the founder (or author or pioneer) and perfecter (of finisher) of our faith (see also Philippians 1:6). As Christians, He defines us, changes us and completes us. Why look anywhere else? Jesus, and only Jesus, can overcome our past, liberate us in the present and clear the way ahead for us that we may ‘. . . run with endurance . . . ‘.
In this time of lockdown, many are discovering areas of their lives in which Jesus desires to bring change. So, don’t wish it away, use this time of isolation to grow spiritually. Fix your eyes on Jesus, as a dog on their master. Pay attention to Him, reaffirm Him as the object of your faith, your Lord and master ‘. . . seated at the right hand of the throne of God.’, ruling now as King. Listen to Him, trust His love and plans for you, surrender and obey His call on your life. As you dedicate time to focussing on Jesus, recalling all He endured for you and as you share with Him the obstacles in your way, trust the Spirit to work in you to overcome all that hinders so you may run with endurance the race set before you, remembering the joy that lies ahead.
With love in Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith
Live Streaming of Services
Our next Worship at Home with Matthew Dawkins will be live-streamed on Wednesday 3rd June at 19.30. You can watch on our YouTube channel or by clicking on the player below.
Our next Worship at Home with Matthew Dawkins will be live-streamed on Wednesday 3rd June at 19.30.
Supporting our fellowship
We are keeping a list of those who are self-isolating, along with any particular pastoral or practical needs so that we can arrange appropriate help. Morag Brown is co-ordinating this. Please let her know of any needs or changes to need as they arise.
Keeping us praying
Praying together as a family is vital. We will be sending out a weekly list of prayer needs for the whole church family and our community. Do try to set aside a time each day to pray - many of us are pausing at 8 in the mornings and evenings to do this, and knowing that others are too at the times is encouraging.
The Lord’s Prayer in the face of Coronavirus
Our father in heaven - thank you for Jesus in whom you have adopted us as your beloved children; help us remember that sickness and death will never separate us from your love, believe you will be with us through whatever lies ahead, and trust you are fully in control and perfectly good;
Hallowed be your name – we pray this crisis will result in much praise for you – that believers will be strengthened in their faith and unbelievers will recognise our human frailty and mortality and turn from sin to worship you;
Your Kingdom come – until Jesus returns to rescue us from this world of pain, as far as this virus spreads, we pray your kingdom will grow further, in the hearts of people of all nations finding in Jesus the sure hope of resurrection into your new creation, free from sickness, suffering and death to enjoy you forever;
Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – Father we rejoice in your sovereign power; in your mercy, please end this crisis soon, deliver us and all your people through this crisis, and may your gracious plans to save the lost be advanced by this season of humbling;
Give us this day our daily bread – thank you for dedicated doctors, nurses and other NHS staff, for our government and its advisors - please grant them the wisdom and endurance they need; sustain us with the daily bread of Christ crucified for our sins, in the living bread of your Word; reassure us when we’re anxious, heal us when we’re sick, strengthen us when we must die, comfort us in our bereavement, and embolden us to share the gospel of Jesus, the living bread we all need;
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us – have mercy where we have presumed upon our health, forgotten our frailty, or neglected to thank you for your daily care and protection; forgive us because Christ died for our sins, count us acceptable in his perfect righteousness, and in the light of your mercy, helps us show mercy to all;
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil – deliver us through this time of testing – help us resist every temptation to doubt your love; help us stand firm in our faith against Satan’s lies, knowing that all over the world, your people are enduring the same kind of trials;
For yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
(With thanks to Dundonald Church, London SW19)
Worship at Home with Matthew
Midweek Worship with Matthew Dawkins
Do you need a mid-week boost? While we’re all in lockdown, Matthew will be leading a live-streamed contemporary worship session every Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm. Turn up the volume and sing along! We’ll publicise the link on the day, so check our Facebook page for details, or head over to our YouTube channel. You can also view on the player above