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
Last year, when going through my father’s effects after he died, I came across a small card he had given to his mother many years ago. On the one side it simply reads, ’To mummy with love from Coo.’ ‘Coo’ was her nickname for him. On the printed side it reads:
THE ROBIN AND THE SPARROW
Fear not therefore, for ye are of more value than many
sparrows. Luke 12:7.
Said the Robin to the Sparrow,
“I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings,
Rush about and worry so.”
Said the Sparrow to the Robin,
“Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me.”
As we entered lockdown, and for several weeks into it, I was surprised how well people seemed to cope. As responsibilities, commitments and appointments evaporated from our diaries and we turned to decorating, gardening, reading and so on, more than a few said it ‘. . . felt like a holiday.’ Again, more than a few, said they were enjoying spending more time with the Lord, listening to the Spirit as they read His Word and talking to Him in extended times of prayer. Perhaps, for a moment, we stopped being ‘. . . those anxious human beings [who] rush about and worry so.'
As lockdown lifts and we begin to resume daily activities, yet with numerous restrictions and uncertainties over what’s permissible, what’s not and what is wise, slowly anxiety does seem to be increasing once again. It’s perhaps therefore more important now than it was back in March to remember that, through Jesus, we have a truly loving, caring, sustaining and providing Heavenly Father. How easy do you find it to rest in Him at this time? To put it another way, what are you anxious about at the moment? How does turning to your Heavenly Father help? Remember this, key the command of Luke 12:7 not to fear, is to know how valuable you are to your Heavenly Father. Do you believe you are valuable to Him? If not, what stops you? What would convince you? Speak to Him about your answers for He will hear you. If you do, draw near to Him in thankful trust.
In our Father’s Love
Live Streaming of Services
Our recent Worship at Home with Matthew Dawkins was live-streamed on Wednesday 1st July at 19.30. If you missed it you can watch on our YouTube channel or by clicking in the player below.
Our next Morning Worship will be live-streamed on Sunday 5th July at 11.00.
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