24 Waldingfield Road,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A belated “Happy new calendar year” to you all. It is good to be back from my Sabbatical. I missed you!
In the Covenant service, God challenges us to think about our Christian lives. We rededicate ourselves to following Him. You may set yourself a spiritual target to grow in some way more Christ-like in 2019.
This afternoon 11 people from St John’s attended the excellent Bible study on the book of Hosea. This is a pleasing increase on the usual attendance. I hope that some of the congregation have decided to deepen their understanding of God’s Word because of the Covenant service. Passages of scripture can be difficult, obscure and frustrating but they can lead to fruitful discussion and action.
Meeting together to talk about the Bible and how it applies to our 21st Century lives is an important, essential part of Christian growth. In Psalm 119: 105 we read, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” In Deuteronomy 6: 6,7 “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” I do hope that in 2019 you will take time to engage in Bible study, either on your own [with God] or in a group [also with God!]
Like doing physical exercise, it may not be easy, but it will do you good. In 1 Timothy 4:8 we read,” For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
During my Sabbatical, I went to Iona, Scotland and studied the Psalms with Revd John L Bell. He led Bible study sessions looking at themes like justice, the environment and the character of God, drawing upon many Psalms.
Many hymn writers, including John Bell, have written hymns based on the Psalms, for example Martin Luther [StF 433 Out of the depths I cry to thee. Ps 130], Henry Williams Baker [StF 479 The king of love my shepherd is. Ps 23] and Nahum Tate [StF 638 Through all the changing scenes of life Ps 34]. There is a great richness to be discovered in the book of Psalms. Read, discover and wonder.
Before I went to Iona, the headteacher of Tudor Primary School in Sudbury challenged me to write a hymn based on Psalm 37, her favourite. Not being one to shirk a challenge, I have attempted this! It is to the tune Monkland [“Let us with a gladsome mind”]
- Wicked folk are like the grass,
Cut when God’s judgement shall pass.
Chorus: Step the ways the saints have trod:
Do what’s right and trust in God.
- Christians upset and dismayed,
Know that God comes to their aid. Chorus
- Those who exploit, cheat the poor,
Truly will be seen no more. Chorus
- All in God’s community,
Join Him in eternity. Chorus
- Those who gain by evil ways
Fear God’s pure and righteous gaze. Chorus.
- God loves people just and meek,
Those who help support the weak. Chorus
© Rev John Boardman 2018
My Sabbatical gave me time and inspiration to develop other interests and dimensions. More to follow …!