Sunday, February 26, 2012
However - I certainly wasn't up to going to Church today, and that's fairly unusual. I really don't miss very often. I'm the kind of guy who ends up in a service in a language I don't understand when on holiday just to worship & be with God's people.
But I do have a fall-back. During my St Catherine's years, we recorded four radio services for BBC Radio Wales, and I have them on my iTunes player ready to listen to. I have the songs form the broadcasts separate, so I can listen to them as worship music - they are a lovely reminder of great times, and a super selection of songs we valued in our worship.
This morning I listened to "Listening to His Voice", a service first broadcast on Father's Day 2004. It works through the idea of listening to God and being obedient to what we hear. Songs included My Hope is Built, my version of The Lord's My Shepherd, I Hear Thy Welcome Voice, & Jesus in The Name We Honour. Classics of our worship together. There was a bit of John's Gospel, some Moses, some Samuel, a bit of Isaiah and lots of lovely voices from that period in church life. Miles who was so important to so many, Gill Morgan who was leading services at that time, Joseph Davies when he was really young, lovely Phil Cox who is much missed, and John Murphy of beloved memory.
Hearing the voices of those who have gone before was a special treat. I do often say that those who have gone have not "gone" but "gone before", and the communion of saints as a concept in Christian theology is about how all God's faithful people from all times & all places are worshipping together. He is the God of the living, and in Him, we are all alive. Today I worshipped with Phil & John, who have gone before, and it was a delight to hear them as I did so.
It was also a delight to hear Joseph Davies sounding so young. He, his Mum & his Dad have been a lovely thread through my Ponty years, and I am enormously grateful for their kindness & humanity & all that they offered me.
Worshipping God is not best done by yourself. We are part of the larger body. Physically I was alone this morning, but in heart & soul I was surrounded by saints & angels.
Now this coming Thursday St Catherine's have their new vicar officially instituted. A great day for him, his family, and for St Catherine's. I wish all of you great, great joy! The Lord bless you in all that lies ahead; may you know more of that blessing than you can ask or imagine.