16th March 2021 Canvey Methodist Church Bible Studies

Dear Friends

Here is this weeks Lenten Bible Study, below and attached. Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts.

Blessings

Colin 

 

Week Four - Hear and There Scene 4- Living With Tension. 

 

Comments and follow up from Last Week's theme of “Isolation” …..

 

Last week in our  Conversations and reflections we were asked to comment upon the following questions:

 

1 Sacrifices come in all shapes and sizes. Are there any sacrifices you feel that you may have had to make during the pandemic to keep one another safe, (or to keep a particular person safe) and how it has felt?

 

2 How have you felt or experienced Jesus’ presence during times of isolation?

 

3 Share some ‘good news’ stories about new and creative ways people have found to support one another in the last few months.

 

My grateful thanks to Rev Peter and Pat Bailey for sharing their thoughts and comments on this theme of Isolation. Also my  thanks Valerie, for sharing the study with members of our Church Wednesday Fellowship. Thank you. Colin. 


 

Our Responses

 

From Pat Bailey.

Every time I go up to the communion rail at church to receive the bread and the wine, I imagine that I am there at the last supper, receiving the meal directly from Jesus. 

 

From Colin.

During this past year, with its lockdowns, its call to stay indoors and the closing of our church buildings for worship it could have been the case that the impression given was that we all, as today’s disciples of Jesus, had fallen asleep and taken a nap; that the church was closed for business. However, thanks to you all, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead the witness of Canvey Methodist Church to the saving grace of Jesus Christ has continued via telephone calls, Hand delivered service transcripts! Church WhatsApp Group, YouTube Services and Zoom Services. Through these means, it seems to me, that we have all continued to experience the presence of Jesus even during these times of isolation? Thanks to you all for being part of the living church of Jesus in 2021. Looking forward to being together again for worship in our buildings soon. 


 

From Rev Peter.

Thank you again Colin and all who shared their thoughts from last week.

This week it was the gospel passage that spoke to me. How disappointed Jesus must have been that even his closest friends could not stay awake to support him in his hour of need. On Monday night we heard how Meghan was so disappointed with Harry’s family who could not support her when she was driven almost to suicide. My daughter Liza tells me how she sees children in Cardiff desperately driven to that in the current pandemic. There are many others. BUT … One disciple must have stayed awake to be able to tell us the words of Jesus’ prayer. Meghan did not give in to her suicidal thoughts. The children in Cardiff are met by a crisis mental health team member who listens and cares. We have the privilege of a caring church that prays and supports us in our need.

Let us be sure to extend that caring to every one we can.

Bless you all.

Peter

 

My grateful thanks again to all who have shared their thoughts. And now to this week's Lenten Study. I am really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences on today’s topic of Living with Tension. Colin.

 

Week Four - Hear and There Scene 4- Living With Tension. 


 

 Scene 4 Living with tension

 

In this scene, Pilate washes his hands of the responsibility for Jesus’ fate, and leaves a decision up to the crowd. In this pandemic, we have experienced being under government regulations and guidelines, and also been trusted to use our judgement. This week, we consider how to respond in times where we may not agree with decisions made by others on our behalf, and how we respond when others seem to flout or bend the rules. How have we found ways to live with this tension.

 

The courtyard – Mark 15.6-15

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, ‘Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate spoke to them again, ‘Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?’ They shouted back, ‘Crucify him!’ Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

 

Voices

Here: Family member of someone shielding

I can’t understand what goes on in people’s minds. When all of this started, we were all in this together – clapping for key workers, wearing our masks, staying home to protect one another. How quickly things can change, though,  this last year’s been a hard one. It’s all very well to say forget the rules, that officials don’t know what they’re talking about, we’ll do what we want, it’s a free country! What about those of us who have someone vulnerable to protect? No immune system means no defence against the common cold, let alone a deadly virus! Weak chests, cancer treatments, bowel disease, old age – there are so many people having

to be so careful. This is the most crucial time – relaxing the rules, letting our guards down, breathing a sigh of relief because the worst is over – not for those with chronic illnesses! It’s been difficult all the way along, let’s be honest, having to abide by rules set by other people – whether you agree or disagree with them, it’s not always been easy for anyone, we all have a lot to lose but for some of us, the odds are stacked against us. When people say a mask isn’t just to protect you, it protects others from you, it really is galling when that one’s ignored! I’ve had to find some sense of rhythm in all this, some way of coming to terms with living under constant risk – the strain of worry is draining

– although some precautions now are second nature after all this time. I no longer have to think about sanitising my hands when I enter a shop; I automatically pat my pocket for keys and face-covering when I leave the house now. But dealing with other people’s decisions and the consequences of them, that’s more difficult to live with.

 

There: Widow of Barabbas’ victim

I can’t understand what goes on in people’s minds. When

all of this started, we were all in this together – I was there with the rest of them, waving palm branches, laying cloaks on the road and shouting to welcome the newcomer into town, what was it – a few days ago? Oh, how quickly things can change. Now the crowd is baying for that man’s blood, and what’s he done? Upset the Pharisees? Said a few things they don’t like? What’s that compared with murder? Compared with tearing lives apart, taking husbands from wives and fathers from children? Barabbas killed my Saul. He was eventually put away for it – took long enough – but I thought I could finally sleep at night knowing he was locked away. But no, they chose him over that man Jesus – they chose to release a murderer over a religious teacher!

I would laugh if it didn’t hurt so much. Now no one’s safe, and me and my children have to live with whatever happens next because of someone else’s poor judgement! What were they thinking?! Are they just going with the crowd? Trying to please – who? Is this a political statement against this Jesus character? What could possibly justify setting a known killer loose? It’s hard enough to be grieving for my husband, but dealing with the consequences of other people’s decisions, that’s more difficult to live with.

 

Reflection and conversation

 

1 How do you personally respond to: a) government guidelines you may not agree with; b) other people flouting restrictions; c) people you disagree with in a wider context?

 

2 What do you think may have been the implications for anyone who stood up against Pilate’s judgement in the crowd?

 

3 Can we or should we find ways of trusting and living with other’s decisions?

 

Listen

Behold he comes Rend Collective

https://youtu.be/G529cpSmU6Q

Man of sorrows The Celebration Choir

https://youtu.be/za2LLm5Heis


 

Prayer action

If you have a disposable face mask, consider writing ‘I wear this to show I care’ across the front, and display it on a mantlepiece or somewhere prominent, to remind you that in part the reason we wear masks is to protect others as well as ourselves. Reflect on other areas of your life where your actions protect or care for others, and how this may adapt or develop once restrictions are lifted.

 

Prayer

Wise and all-knowing God, we cannot fathom how others think, and we cannot see the full picture that you can see. Please guide us, give us discernment and courage as we learn when to stand up and contest something, and when to try and live together with tension. Give us your heart for justice, and your patience to make it happen, we pray. Amen.


 

Follow-up activity

Create a ‘worry box’. Through this week, write down anything playing on your mind on a slip of paper, fold it up and pray over it, then place it into a worry box and entrust it to God. You may end up placing the same worry in the box again and again, but practise giving your concerns over to God.


 

RSVP

 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

In Christian Love

Colin