(On the occasion of the commissioning of Joy Hatfield as Youth worker at the Bridge)
“…..We began as a discipleship movement within the wider Church, a society of people seeking holiness and engaging in worship and mission. In Wesley’s time and through succeeding generations we have continually adapted to circumstances to fulfil that calling as effectively as possible. It is still Our Calling today. And mission has never been more needed than it is now….”
“….We live in a world where people need to hear the word of God in a language they can understand, where they need to see the love of God through people like us and experience it as good news for themselves. We live in a world where not enough people are being attracted and formed into disciples of Jesus Christ, responding to the promptings of the Spirit….”
“….It is our DNA as a people to be a group of disciples who are committed to glorifying God in worship, to holiness and to being obedient and active in mission….”
It is to that ends that this group of people here have searched for God and his enabling Spirit. Our desire, our vision is to make and grow more Disciples of Jesus Christ.
To that end we have laboured; over funding applications, over prayer, over seeking God’s face, There have been days of fast, days of prayer, hard talking, questioning and we have got to this point. We have not arrived by any means. But this is a new chapter on the journey.
We have raised over £150 000 in grant monies.
To that end we now have half time youthworker.
Vision becomes reality.
The Spirit breathes life.
God is faithful to those who follow him.
The Bridge is affirmed in what it does and how it does it.
(Tim asks Barbara and Joy to come forward)
The work to which Joy is appointed is particularly concerned with youth work here at the Bridge and within the local community. She is called to work with young people in a Bridge like way.
Joy, we rejoice that you are now to exercise this ministry within the life and mission of the Bridge. In your work you will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Barbara: Do you believe that you are called by God to serve as a Lay Worker in this Circuit?
Joy: I do.
Barbara: Will you accept the discipline of the Church, and work with us in its mission and ministry?
Joy: With God’s help I will.
Barbara: Will you be faithful in walking with Jesus Christ in your life 24/7?
Joy: With God’s help I will.
Then Barbara said:
Let us pray.
Faithful God, we thank you that Joy has offered herself as a Lay Worker in your Church. Uphold her by your love and enable her by your Spirit, that through her ministry your Church may be strengthened and your name may be glorified; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Commissioning comes to and end
Turn to a neighbour and discuss the following;
Who has been a leading light for you?
Who has guided you?
Who has been a source of wisdom?
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
There once was a man, his name John,
sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light.
He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in.
John was not himself the Light;
he was there to show the way to the Light.
The Life-Light was the real thing:
Every person entering Life
he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
the world was there through him,
and yet the world didn’t even notice.
John 1 : 4 – 10 (The Message)
I am not sure if some you will remember when the eclipse happened in the summer of 1999 in this country. Do you know what I remember the most about that? It was the cold, I remember thinking apart from the fact that is was dark, but it was how cold it went so quickly in the middle of the day. I remember too the birds singing, it was a strange event.
This week we have some wonderful sunny days which have been most welcome after the cold winter. Some of you might say we have had a proper winter! I remember driving the car during the week and looking at the thermometer on the car dash and noticed it had reached double figures for the first time in what seemed like ages. The prescience of the sun can put a spring in our steps and a smile on our faces. We look for signs of spring. Some will even spend a few minutes just soaking up the rays of the sun, the warmth, the brightness,
Why is it that we have street lights?
They were first used in Greek and Romans times as way of providing security to the population. Moseley Street in Newcastle upon Tyne was the first street to be light with electric lights in this country. I am not sure how much that says about Moseley Street or Newcastle upon Tyne
Nowadays we have ‘security lighting’ on our houses to deter burglars. Streets that are lit well are safer and more secure.
Have you ever been to one of those restaurants that has created mood lighting. I always think they do it so you cannot see exactly what it is that you are eating. It begs the question what do they have to hide?
Why is it that back alleys are places that we fear to go?
The start of John’s gospel which we read at the beginning is all about light. In the Message version we have the Light talked about as Life-Light. It was there at the creation of the world and everyone who enters into Life he brings into the Light.
When did you last just sit and bathe in the Light of the world? When did you last just sit and be warmed by the creator of the sun?
The writer of Psalm 18 says these words.
You have turned on my light! The Lord my God has made my darkness turn to light.
Psalm 18 : 28 (The Living Bible)
I think he knew how to sit and bathe in the light, and I not talking about the sun. I think he knew what it was to have God in his life bringing light, dispelling darkness.
There are times when sitting in the light can be painful for us. It might be something which we shy away from because it is too bright, or too hard. We are afraid of what the light might show up, our own imperfections, the diet on which we feed ourselves, our selfishness, the sin that leads us into darkness and away from the light.
Is that you sometimes? Do you shy away? Do you hide yourself?
If you do I would just like to remind you of the security that can come from being in the light.
Followers of Jesus are also called to be light ourselves. Read what is says in Matthew’s Gospel
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
Matthew 5 : 14 – 16 (The Message)
It’s not easy shining, standing out from the crowd, being noticed. We might find it easier to wear a bucket and go around anonymous and in darkness. We are called to share the light with others so that they might find security, safety and life in a relationship with the Light of the World.