Maundy Thursday 9/4/2020

April 08, 2020

Maundy Thursday Sermon

Easter Sunday 12/4/2020

April 11, 2020

Our Easter Sunday Service

Sermon 5/4/2020 Palm Sunday

April 04, 2020

Sunday 5th April 2020

Palm Sunday

Matt 21 v1-11

 

Introduction – Evidence for the Authenticity of the Bible

Throughout my Christian life, I have met many people who are antagonistic towards my faith 

and the authenticity of the bible.  They have tried to argue, that the contents of the gospels were fabricated and that Jesus of Nazareth was little more than a character of fiction!

 

In our sermon slot this morning, we do not have the time to go into all the evidence and arguments against such a stand point, but we will touch briefly on it!

 

Exploring Further

For those wanting to explore the discussion further, there are many good books out there on the subject, such as ‘Cold Case Christianity by Jim Wallace’, ‘The Case for Christ’ by Lee Strobel, ‘The Bible Phenomenon’ by John Drane and ‘Questions of Life’ by Nicky Gumble, to name just a few that I can see by glancing over my shoulder!

 

Picking up on Gumble’s writings on the subject, he highlights two major flaws, when arguing against the existence of Jesus!

 

The first being that there is more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth than there is for Julius Caesar, and yet no self-respecting historian would deny his existence!

 

The second is that, both Jewish and Roman historian’s mention Him.  This in itself is intriguing because Jesus was an embarrassment to both camps!  For the Jew’s He was an antagonist and heretic, whilst for the Roman’s he was the one man who cheated their most brutal punishment, crucifixion.  Surely both these groups would want to write Him out of their history, or argue that he was a fictional character.  But neither do, they refer to him as a very real person!

 

Why raise the question about the existence of Christ and the authenticity of the bible on Palm Sunday?

 

Quite simply, because the Palm Sunday narrative also adds huge weight to the argument in favour of the existence of Jesus!

 

 

 

The Story in Context

Let’s consider the story in context!

 

This story is all about timings and symbolism.

 

It is the start of the Passover week, probably the most important festival in the Jewish calendar.

 

Jerusalem and the surrounding areas would have been engulfed in a sea of pilgrims.

 

In his book the longest week, Nick Page says, that ‘as Jesus rode over the crest of the mount of olives on that spring morning, there would have been a sea of makeshift tents and shelters spreading across the valley below’.  

 

Just think Glastonbury but in the Kidron Valley!

 

But those gathered in the tent cities, would not just have been pilgrims.  Amongst them, would have been people that Jesus had taught, healed and released from demonic possession over his three years in Ministry.

 

So is it any wonder, than when he appears the crowd is quickly whipped up in a frenzy?

 

But it’s the magnitude of this gathering that gives further weight to the existence of Jesus!  

 

If you were going to fabricate stories, you would not create ones which could quickly and easily be dispelled!

 

Given the enormity of the crowd that would have gathered for the Passover week, it would not have taken long for the alleged stories of Jesus riding into on a donkey to reach people that were actually there.  Quickly the credibility of the apostles claims, would have been eroded, as mass groups would have been able to say ‘I was there, that never happened!’

 

But history paints a different picture.  Rather than the stories being questioned and challenged they quickly spread!  Why?  Because they were true, because there were so many witnesses to verify the accounts!

 

This is really important for our Christian faith, because as we head towards Easter, which in many respects is the corner stone of our faith, we can have greater confidence in it’s truth!

 

Returning to the crowd

Return briefly to the frenzy whipped up in the crowd!

 

If the impact that Jesus had on the living was not enough, the means by which he approached and entered Jerusalem would certainly have got the pilgrims attention!

 

Jesus was playing on the hype and speculation that surrounded His identity.  

By acting out the words of the Prophet Zechariah:

 

Tell the daughter of Zion,

Look your King is coming to you, 

Humble and mounted on a donkey.

And on a colt the foal of a donkey.

 

One apparently innocent act, was in reality making a very bold statement! 

‘I’m riding into town as your king’.

 

The Crowds Expectations

This was the moment the disciples and the crowds had been waiting for, the moment when Jesus, finallyrevealed himself as the Messiah.

 

It’s no wonder the crowds laid coats before him, and broke of palm branches to wave.  They weren’t just celebrating the arrival of Jesus, they were celebrating the arrival of the long awaited messiah and the actions that they thought would follow!

 

There was an expectation that as Jesus rode past the adoring crowds, He would head straight for the temple, ascend the temple steps, march into the inner court and grasp the horns at the corners of the alter, and in doing so signify his Kingship.

 

Had Jesus done this, the crowds would have raised up as an Army behind him, to overthrow the Romans.  They were looking for a leader to make a stand against their oppressors, and if this man on the donkey was their long awaited Messiah how could they lose?  God was with them, and his promises of liberation, and the restoration of Israel as a mighty nation were about to be fulfilled!

 

But Jesus had other plans!  He was not interested in over throwing the Romans, or a physical battle, he had his eyes set on greater foes!  His battle was not of flesh and blood, but of the spiritual realm.   He had come to defeat mankind’s greatest enemies, those of sin and death, and to win that battle he needed to face Satan one more time!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Battle against Satan

As Christians we need to recognise that Satan is our enemy, he comes to cheat and steal, to deceive us about the identity of Jesus and lead us away from our heavenly father.

 

But he is an enemy that has been defeated on the cross!

 

We have the victory through Christ, so sin and temptation can no longer can claim to have power over us!  Through Christ we can stand strong.

 

In John’s letter to the early Church he reminded them of this powerful truth, writing:

“You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you, is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4v4)

 

Whatever we face, our God is bigger, stronger and more powerful.  In these unusual times, it’s important that we cling to that truth, ‘God is bigger, stronger and more powerful!’

 

Growing in Christ

The trouble is, we often impose our expectations upon God.  We see this in the crowd on that first Palm Sunday, placing their understanding and expectations upon Jesus.  Interpreting his Kingship, as one to challenge the current political regime, wanting Jesus to exert His power and authority their way!

 

How often do we do the same?  How often de we create God in our image, or we tell Him how to do His Job?

 

We should be seeking His will, not expecting Him to fulfil ours!

 

True discipleship requires us to be growing our relationship with Jesus, through the daily pursuit of a forgiven life!  His grace is free, but we need to acknowledge our brokenness, allow God to work in our hearts on a deeper level than we ever imagined.

 

As we give him access all areas, he moves right into our hurts, hopes, bitterness, love, selfishness, mistakes and desires.

 

Christ rides victoriously into our deepest and darkest moments, to bring us, peace and wholeness.

 

He is the only one, who can truly know and understand our private thoughts and struggles.

 

And so I want to pause briefly, what are the areas in your life, where you have not allowed Christ access, or where you most need his healing touch?

 

Now welcome him, as your risen king, invite him into to your life, surrender all authority to him, and ask for his spirit to fall upon you afresh, to revive you and to bring transformation.

 

 

 

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Financial Support Still Needed 31.3.20

March 30, 2020

Dear All

 

firstly may i thank all of you who have contacted either myself or John to enquire about how to financially support the church at this time!

 

Although the doors of the church are locked, the majority of our costs remain!  We have taken a couple of steps to reduce these, such as

 

1) Turning off the heating in the church

 

2) The PCC have agreed to reduce our parish share by 25% for the next three months.

 

3) Postponing the publication of the Barming Link.

 

The challenge now for us as a church is balancing the remaining funds we have.  With the suspension of weddings and the Dioceses new policy on funeral fees (Jan 2020) our source of income from the occasional offices has been drastically reduced.

 

Our other main source of income, the open plate on a Sunday has also ceased for the foreseeable future, which means we are predominantly surviving on our reserves.

 

If you are able to, and would like to continue financially supporting the church throughout the crisis, there are several ways of doing this.

 

1) For those of you who give by the green envelope scheme, even though you are not attending the church building, you could still put an envelope aside each week.  

 

2) For those of you with online or telephone banking you can support the church electronically either by setting up a regular payment or one off donations.

 

if you would like our bank details please email me, we have not published them for security reasons.  - We are also working on online giving and will keep you updated.

 

3) Create a jar at home, which you put loose change in, and then when the church is reopen you can bring your jars along.

 

Finally we appreciate, that for many in our community the crisis will have drastically effected their income.  So please do not feel guilty if you are in that camp and cannot give during this season.

 

Yours in Christ

 

Wil

Community News Letter 31.3.20

March 30, 2020

In response to the government’s stringent recommendations about isolation, St Margaret’s church set up various initiatives to support the community.

 

Phone Buddies

In an attempt to combat isolation and to ensure that urgent needs are being met, we set up a phone buddy system.  As a church we are now phoning over 150 people every week to enquire how they are , what support they have and importantly where we can help as a church, whether that be in a spiritual or practical way.

 

As a result of those calls from our volunteers last week, St Margaret’s has supported many in our community with food and help getting prescriptions, and will continue to do so.

 

If you are not getting a call and would like to be on a weekly call list or indeed have a need, please drop us a line at   infostmargaretbarming@gmail.com.

 

What has been hugely encouraging from those phone calls, is to hear about the great community spirit here in Barming, with help coming from family, friends and neighbours, and we pray that this fellowship of looking after each other continues.

 

Online Services

As well as this support, and even though our lovely church building is closed, St Margaret’s continues to post online sermons (search St Margaret’s Barming on YouTube) and reflections, our groups continue to meet virtually on-line, and our church continues to pray.

 

As a community we are the church and we plan other ways for us all to keep in touch, to be able to support one another. Even in these trying times our vision and mission are the same as they have always been.

 

Our Vision

To be a church at the heart of the parish, inspiring and serving the community, to bring about transformation.

 

Our Mission

To enable people of all ages to connect with Jesus, so that they may grow in their knowledge and love of God and learn to love as God loves us

Sermon 29/3/20

March 29, 2020

Dear All

 

i continue to pray for you and our community during these challenging times.  I know many of you find it frustrating that the Arch Bishops took the decision to lock our churches.  They did not do so lightly, but felt it was important that the church led the way, in supporting the governments policy to stay safe, and stay in doors.

 

Below is the link for this weeks sermon.  Next Sunday for Palm Sunday it is my intention to use video conferencing technology to lead a simple service.  If you would like to be emailed the link just let me know.  Those of you who have already expressed an interest in this, do not need to email me again, your names are already yon the list.



Yours in Christ

 

Wil

Sermon 22/3/20

March 22, 2020

Sermon 22.3.20

In this time of social distancing, and the fact that we cannot meet as we would wish, we are doing all we can at St Margaret’s, to keep in touch with you all.
Even though we were unable to meet together this morning, worship does not stop, so please find below the first of two links for today. The first is our Sunday sermon for 22nd March

Communion 22/3/20

March 22, 2020

Communion 22.3.20

In this time of social distancing, and the fact that we cannot meet as we would wish, we are doing all we can at St Margaret’s, to keep in touch with you all.
Even though we were unable to meet together this morning, worship does not stop, so please find below the second of our two links for today. Communion for 22nd March

Mothers Day Intercessions

March 22, 2020

Mothering Sunday Intercessions

Loving God, we thank you for Jesus who taught us of your all-encompassing parents’ love; We thank you that we are your children, called by name, called even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, called into your world-wide family, where there is such diversity, such individuality, such creativity, such beauty.

Remembering the world wide family we are so much part of, we pray first of all for own country as we go through this virus. Protect us daily and help us as we go forward into this season of lockdown,which will mean different things for all of us. Also inspire and motivate us to reach out individually and as church to those who are vulnerable through age, illness or pregnancy and unable to get out for shopping and do things for themselves .
We also pray for China, Europe and all countries in this world. Help doctors, nurses as they care for others and protect them from this virus. We also pray for our leaders and all the Royal Family, asking you to give them wisdom in all the decisions they make.

We give you thanks for our own families, remembering especially our own mothers or those who stood in her place who took care of us, who met our needs, not only nurturing our bodies, but also in love and security. For the love of those who are still with us and those who are no longer with us or who are unwell.

For mothers at the start of the adventure of motherhood that you will give them all they need especially at this time. For mothers or single parents who are stretched in patience and love, who find things hard, with too much to do and not enough time to it, with babies who don’t sleep. Help them and supply all their needs.

Loving God, in You we find life, health, and strength. Protect us as we go through this period of uncertainty and show each of us how we can help people in our families and the community of Barming both physically and spiritually,reaching out to them with our personal prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Be aware of scammers

March 18, 2020

Please take care the are local scammers in the area. Follow the link for advice.

All Public Church Services Suspended

March 17, 2020

The Church of England have cancelled all public services until further notice.

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(01622) 726263

Church Lane, Barming, ME16 9HA

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Rev Wil North.  Email:- revwilnorth@hotmail.co.uk 

The Rectory, Church Lane, Barming, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 9HA

Telephone:- 01622 726263