Well, that's me done for the day - barring accident or emergency. A couple of services today, the first of which was easier than usual, as someone else was leading most of it (I just said the magic words at the end - or 'presided at the Eucharist' if you prefer); the second another Communion service in a small country chapel, where I talked about the importance of the Scriptures at the start of this 'Year of the Bible'.
One of the quirks of Methodist ministry is that one finds oneself preaching in different chapels regularly. I have responsibility for two congregations, and do most of my preaching in those contexts, but often find myself out in the wider circuit. Part of me finds this a great source of frustration, as do some of the congregations, as I and they would like a little more consistency from the pulpit. But if I were solely in my two congregations, I would miss out on quite a lot.
Wherever I go in the circuit, I am overwhelmed by the love that God's people have for me. I am experiencing health problems at the moment, and never a week goes by without people enquiring after my health, with a genuine interest and an equally prayerful concern. It is a great blessing to know that so many are bearing me up in their prayers, especially as hospital appointments loom on the horizon.
There is also a great joy in sharing God's word with his people. It never ceases to amaze me how the same sermon preached in two or three places can be so different each time: the word of God is indeed 'alive and active'.
Our world is one that seems increasingly hostile to God's message, or at least apathetic to it. Although they are often older people, it is heartening to be a part of groups of people who evidently love God and who want to meet with him. And it is my privilege, on any given Sunday, to lead them into God's presence and to facilitate their communion with him. We may use words penned centuries ago; we may use contemporary phrases; we may simply see where God will lead us, in words or in silence. But we do so in the hope and in faith that God, who is faithful, will meet us as we seek Him
Now that's not a bad way to spend a Sunday...