Tuesday Update 19
Dear brothers and sisters,
What a long time it has been since we’ve been together for public worship! Assuming that we are able to return as planned, it will have been 20 Sundays of enforced closure due to the Coronavirus. (I was wrong to welcome you to the 17th service of lockdown last Sunday – it was actually the 18th .) Now that we have a date to look forward to, we know that an end is in sight to the present pattern for most of us, although it’ll still be some time until what we know as ‘normal services’ are resumed.
I wanted to pick up on something I said in last Sunday’s message on Psalm 40 – that while we’ve sought to provide as good a Sunday experience as we can, I do hope none of us have grown too comfortable with the present format. It has been a stop-gap; a temporary measure. We look forward to resuming the real thing. Hebrews 10:25 says: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
In that connection, I was recently directed to a sermon by Puritan David Clarkson, colleague and successor to John Owen. His text was Ps.87:2, and his title: Public worship to be preferred before private. In the sermon, he gives 12 reasons why, and I reproduce them here with approval:
- The Lord is more glorified by public worship than private
- There is more of the Lord’s presence in public worship than in private
- God manifests himself more clearly in public worship than in private
- There is more spiritual advantage in the use of public worship
- Public worship is more edifying than private
- Public worship is a better security against apostasy than private
- The Lord works his greatest works in public worship
- Public worship is the nearest resemblance of heaven
- The most renowned servants of God have preferred public worship before private
- Public worship is the best means for procuring the greatest mercies, and preventing and removing the greatest judgments
- The precious blood of Christ is most interested in public worship
- The promises of God are given more to public worship than to private
Service this week
This week (DV) we’ll be looking at Q.24 in the Shorter Catechism, which looks at how Christ executes his office of prophet, developing the thought of the previous question. Then we’ll give some thought to Psalm 84, about desiring God, and the praise of his name.
Easing of Lockdown Latest
Thank you for your prayers for our elders-&-deacons meeting last week. We had a good and constructive meeting, at which progress was made and plans put in place.
As you know, the provisional return date is Sunday 9th August, and we look forward to being able to meet together for public worship, albeit in an altered and somewhat restricted circumstance.
A detailed information sheet about what to expect when you come to church will be issued with next week’s update, and should give you a good idea of what to expect, from the moment you arrive right through to the moment you depart. Rest assured that all necessary steps will be taken to ensure a safe and comfortable experience as we get back-to-church.
Those who are shielding, or who don’t yet feel ready to return, please be assured of our understanding of that, and of our intention to ensure that everyone is provided for, as videos and CDs of services will continue to be available.
The Record subscriptions
The time has come for the bi-annual subscriptions for The Record to be paid. Obviously, the publication has been made freely available online in recent months (because of the virus) and we don’t know when the normal print edition will be sent out, but if you pay a regular subscription, this can be renewed in August once services resume. The amount owing is £12 for the 6 issues from January-June.
I’ll be compiling the prayer update tomorrow, Wednesday. If there is anything you’d like to be included, please call or email me by 12-noon – especially if you or your family are self-isolating/ symptomatic, or have any kind of particular requests.
With warm Christian greetings,