Worshiping at home

Like everywhere else, there was no service at Christchurch this morning but the church was open for private prayer and about a dozen people came along. (Some may also have come to get supplies from the Traidcraft stall!) The Methodist Church is streaming services from Wesley’s Chapel in London, and I followed the service this morning at 11 am, which was led by Revd Jennifer Smith, the superintendent there. Before she was ordained Jenny was a lecturer at Leicester University and a member of Christchurch so she is well-known to the longer-standing members. It was a short service based on the liturgy from the Methodist Worship Book.

After it I listened to the service she led on Thursday morning which included two hymns and a sermon. She preached on Psalm 137. Many people are familiar with the start of this psalm – “By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion.” (Quotations from the NRSV) But the end of the psalm is usually discretely omitted – “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!” Jenny pointed out that we should not take this as a call to violence. Rather, it is an outpouring of anger the Children of Israel felt with their situation in exile. When we are anxious and stressed it is all to easy for it to turn into anger, but we must ask for God’s help to resist this, and to give us the strength to get through these situations.

More live-streamed services can be found on the Methodist Church website.