Every Sunday at 11 am Family Church is held. On the third Sunday of the month Holy Communion is celebrated at this service. (Please note that occasionally services take place at Brookmans Park URC – check our Calendar page)
As we are a joint pastorate, our Minister leads us in worship on the second and third Sundays of the month.
On other Sundays we benefit from welcoming to our pulpit a wide range of preachers all of whom have strong links with our church.
A Message from our Minister (March 2019)
There are three events for which planning and prayer are required at Potters Bar URC as I write. These three events are the annual dinner, the AGM, and Easter.
I wish to concentrate on the AGM in this message. The other events will be
focusses for prayer in the services that I will lead.
The AGM is a matter of great concern to me. At it we will elect the group of serving elders for the coming year. According to our constitution this group will also become the trustees of our local charity. It is my earnest hope that this group will discharge their responsibilities by bringing back to church meeting later in the year a robust plan for the church. This plan should provide a clear and concrete framework for all decisions taken within the church in the future.
It is to be hoped that God will guide us and provide both a sense of direction
and the means to travel as he directs. The AGM will be an important stop on
the journey God intends for us all.
Geoff Peterson’s Monthly Message.
(Geoff is an adherent of our Church, who writes a regular message for our magazine The News)
To God be the Glory Great things he has done!
Christmas and the beginning of the year have long gone as we enter into the month of March. We have left the solstice and are now approaching the spring or vernal equinox. Nights are shortening, and daytime is extending. What else can we look forward to in this month? Well, the clocks change on Sunday 31st as we lose an hour and on Friday 29th the UK is set to leave the European Union (but don’t hold your breath?), so Monday the 1st of April should be an interesting time!
In our Church Calendar we are moving toward Easter Day (April 21st) and Palm Sunday (April 14th) so these together define Holy Week and the content of the April Newsletter. During the currency of this Newsletter, Lent – the run up to Easter – begins with Ash Wednesday (March 6th), so this month in our study we will prepare for Lent and Easter -that should give us hope for the events that the end of March will bring.
I am gradually working through the Gospel of John, who is writing in Greek Ephesus at about the year AD 100 as he recounts to his new converts to Christianity, his memories of being with Jesus in those early, momentous, years. Last month I challenged you to “Follow Him into 2019” and offered you some more thoughts drawn from the Gospel of John. You may remember that I jumped from Chapter four – the subject of the month before – to chapter six because the material flowed better, and I gave you the reasons for so doing.
Now we must return to chapter five so that we do not miss out on some truths that it contains. In Chapter Five, John relates some events that occurred in Jerusalem when Jesus was at a festival at the Temple. There are three themes in this chapter, there is a healing, there is the question of the authority of Jesus, and there is the question of the witness to the work of Jesus as being God directed work. Let us look at each in turn.
First read the verses 1 to 17 on your own.
It must have been quite a sorry sight to see sick and lame people laying around a pool and just waiting to see the water move, and at that point to jump in in the hope of being miraculously cured, and for this man to wait for a lifetime of 38 years just in the hope of being first into the water. Notice that Jesus has compassion for people in this state of hopelessness of life – yet He first asks if the man wants to be healed. Upon his affirming that he does comes the command ‘Get up, pick up your bed and walk’ and the man, in faith, does just that. There ends the story of compassion and love but for two things, Jesus heals the man on the Sabbath and the man carries his mat – or works – on the Sabbath.
Now read the next few verses from 18 to 29.
Jesus, by saying that God is his Father, is making himself equal with God. He is saying that he is not the son of a carpenter but the son of God, Yahweh, the most high – to the Jewish authorities a great blasphemy – and further by healing on the Sabbath he is disregarding the holiness of that day set apart for God. Thus, in this confrontation which follows a beautiful act of love, Jesus is set upon the pathway to the Cross, and we have walked into Lent!
Jesus challenges the Jewish understanding of Gods’ love for his people and the type of worship that he wants from them. You will remember that Apostle John is recounting to his followers some of the events in the life of Jesus and explaining some of the meanings behind these events. The followers were largely Greek and their ideas of God and indeed Gods were different from those that were held by the Jewish people who in their turn had misunderstood, or manipulated, the Covenant that they had with their God. You will recall from the earlier study that the Greeks believed in a hierarchy of Gods, and these Gods lived rather like humans in their relationships, and that they were both manipulative and malevolent in their relationship with the human world.
Now read the next few verses from 18 to 29.
Here you see John recalling the discourse when Jesus tells those about himself that he is indeed the Son of God, Jesus tells the crowd of listeners that God is a Father to them as well. Jesus further states that he is working as directed by his Father. Now read just verse 24 and ponder upon it.
“ I am telling you the Truth that whoever hears my words and believes in him who sent me has eternal life ! “
In our twenty-first century we can look back at the evolution of mans’ understanding of God and what he wants from his people and understand the meaning of the Cross. The revelation that starts with Abraham, through the directions given by Moses, and concludes with the sacrificial act of Love at Easter. The verse 24 makes saving sense !
Now read verse 30 to the end. To witness is to testify to the truth and these verses attest to the truth that Jesus is not talking on his own behalf about himself, but that these events and John (the Baptiser) and Moses and the Father himself all attest to the fact that Jesus is the Son, and the work of Love is the purpose for which he was sent to us. The period of Lent is the time for thinking on these things – it is not a time for giving up ‘things’ but a time of preparation to receive (or reject?) the Love of God our Maker.
Will you follow Him into the rest of 2019 and beyond? For a start you may be sure that he will carry us through the events to the end of this month !
The song written by Fanny Crosby (CH no 512) comes to my mind-
“To God be the Glory Great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
who yielded his life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life-gate that all may go in,”
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord
let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father, through Jesus the Son
and give Him the glory! Great things he has done!”