There are so many ways to describe a person - for example, I’m a daddy, a husband, a musician, a fashion icon, a bad artist, a below average footballer, and an above average toast-butterer. But one thing that connects me to every other person on this planet is that I am human.
From the rich, powerful and famous to the unwanted, forgotten and disadvantaged, all of us are equally human.
When it comes to worship, the word can mean many different things to many different people. To me, to worship is simply to be fully human, to take our place in God’s creation being made new.
In a world where the camera is often “selfie” focussed, I can find it really difficult to lift my eyes from what is going on in my own personal world. But when we worship, we are no longer the star of the show but part of a greater narrative. Eugene Peterson says,
“Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”
So how do we worship? How do we become more preoccupied with Jesus than ourselves? How do we follow God's example in Jesus? How do we become fully human?
To be fully human is to take our place between the dust and the divine.
Like Jesus, to accept that on the one hand, we are in the likeness of God, that we have a divine spark, that we are not just the stuff of matter but there is a part of us that is more than what we see, and it is just as much ‘us’ as what we can see and touch and feel. On the other, it is also to acknowledge that we are ‘in’ time, finite; that we are dust, brought to life by the breath of God. And this has great impact on how we interact with the world: we have both great power and agency to change our destiny and the world around us, and at the very same time, we are powerless to change so much.
It’s a tension, like the string of a violin. And it is not always a place of comfort. But it is where the music is made.
Jesus embodied this tension: being in nature God and yet completely human, subject to death. Fully man, fully God. A divine melody that Philippians renders thus:
"[Jesus] Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
To deny either part of us is to deny our place in creation: to follow Jesus in being fully human. And to deny full humanness is to disrupt the flow of love: the flow of love from God to us and from us back to God, which we call worship. Worship is to acknowledge who I am, who God is and then to live, sing, create, do business, make love, enjoy, walk, rest and speak in the light of this.
When we are kind, when we join the poor, when we give beyond what is comfortable, when we choose sabbath, and when we pray poetry and song, we express this worship to God.
And we shuffle closer to God's great idea… You and me.
image credit: southviewchurch
Church Administrator (part time) Immanuel Church, Chichester
Lively and growing Anglican church requires an experienced administrator, who is good with people, and has strong skills in IT and teamworking.
Hours: 8 hours per week: two mornings midweek.
Work base: mainly home-based; office equipment provided.
Salary: £3744 pa (equivalent to £18720 pa full time)
Closing date for applications: 16thJune 2018
The Bell Tower is now in it’s fourth year of operation as an after school youth drop-in centre and is now a well established hub in the community for local young people. We have extended our work into local secondary schools, running assemblies and regular lunch time drop-in sessions to connect with those who have not yet made use of the centre.
Check the information below for all that is happening over the Christmas season at Revelation Family Church. We hope you can join us!
This Autumn, our church is looking at what we believe, and using the Nicene Creed as a basis for exploring this (this creed is an ancient declaration of the Christian faith dating back to AD325 and the early church communities). Last month, Dan Slatter asked us if we might create a short film recording of the creed. You may have already seen this film at church and recognise some of the voices on it!
We decided to record many different voices because we wanted to build a diverse picture of what it means to be part of church family – the young and old together, from many backgrounds and upbringings, all united in their love and adoration of Christ. So, on this recording you will hear Scottish, Irish, English and even Afro-French accents! In the western world we value highly our individualism with “I” and “my” being some of our most frequently used words. Christ knew that it was “we” - the church - that would become a beautiful family of relationships - his bride and treasure on earth. He knew that if we continued to view the world and understand ourselves with an “I” outlook, that we would fall to confusion or comparison. “We believe” is then a transforming creed, “we” are whole within the body, we are valued within the body and “we” are sheltered within the body.
We hope that the imagery we have woven into this film will help others who are on a journey of faith to distil, contemplate and rest in these ancient statements. We are “one” in belief, connected to our brothers and sisters of faith through many generations in Christ. “We” can play our part – not with fear, comparison or insecurity, but with confidence. “We” belong – accepted, loved, forgiven and free. “We” can rest when we are tired, question when we doubt, and be carried when we can no longer stand because we share in the love and the legacy of others who have gone before us.
Neil & Julie Haydock
Here are the words to this glorious declaration of Christian faith:
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
A Level results are out! We are thinking of those across the country who have now received their results. For many, these results will determine 'what's next'. Let's be praying for students who are coming to study here in Chichester this year, and for those returning in the coming weeks.
If you are coming to Chichester university this term, we'd love to hear from you. Keep an eye on our student Facebook page to stay up-to-date with freshers and autumn term events: www.facebook.com/revelationfamilystudents/
Dwell - Neil & Julie's new album!
If you were at church on Sunday 2nd July you'll know that we were interviewed about our prayer resource - Prayerscapes. We’re super-excited to announce the release of our new album “Dwell”, now available via iTunes, Amazon and on our site at prayerscapes.com.
Some of the material on “Dwell” is taken from the videos that you may already have seen in some of our church meetings. The album weaves inspirational poetry, foundational scripture and song ministry together with filmatic soundtracks.
"If you are looking for a recording all about Biblical meditation and reflection you won't find anything better than the prayerscapes albums. We've used them for years at our creative prayer workshops. What makes Dwell even more a winner for us is that a lot of our talented friends are involved on it. Yet again Neil & Julie prove that they have a God given talent by producing this unique new album."
Ishmael & Irene Smale
(Ishmael - singer/songwriter - writer of "Father God, I wonder" and numerous children's albums.)
Much of the material on the new album has been born out of some of our life experiences over the last few years. "May the Road Rise Up to Meet You" came out of praying for Julie, soon after our second child was born. I stumbled over this ancient Celtic blessing and found myself praying/singing it for her. It became a gentle reminder that whatever stresses we face (and these were plentiful with a small baby & a six year old child!) God holds us in the palm of His hand, and His faithfulness and love will never let us go:-
Other tracks have emerged from flashes of inspiration and creativity. The words to the track "Prayer Connects" came to Julie as one continuous stream of ideas - she scribbled the words down with the aid of a torch during the middle of the night! The poem is read by the wonderful Ant Stewart and is about God's amazing gift of prayer, charting the many different ways in which we encounter this gift in our lives:-
There are also tracks on the album which take the form of ministry songs, such as "Take my Hand". This song seeks to carry the love, grace, healing and hope that we have in Christ for those who are suffering. We played this track a couple of weeks ago in our morning meeting together:-
Dwelling is about finding a home, about connection with our Eternal Creator, pushing our roots deep into God’s Kingdom. To find “home“ we need to settle, unpack, relax and feel welcome. ”Dwell” is an open door leading us to moments that crystallize our beliefs, shelter our troubled hearts and inspire us to connect, to rest and to seek after the love of Christ.
It's possible to explore the album further by visiting this page and clicking on the samples from the tracks on "Dwell". Clicking on the track titles will take you to the lyrics, scriptures and poems that are on the album. Here you can also buy the album, either as mp3s or as a good old physical CD!
Neil & Julie