Welcome to Merrow Methodist Church
Following the Government's Lockdown roadmap, the Trustees of Merrow Church have decided to reopen for services from Sunday May 23rd. The Church will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols as defined by the Government to ensure the safety of all attending Merrow. In the mean-time,
Merrow Church will remain open for Silent Prayer on Wednesdays between 10 and 11am.
Guidance on Silent Prayer can be found on the following page: Guide to Services
THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: MAY 9TH TO MAY 15TH: Thoughts for the Week
MESSAGE FROM OUR MINISTER
Acts 4 : 13, 21 – 22 (NRSV) – ‘Peter and John face opposition’
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed . . . 21 After threatening them again, they let them go, finding no way to punish them because of the people, for all of them praised God for what had happened. 22 For the man on whom this sign of healing had been performed was more than forty years old.
The incident above starts at the beginning of Chapter 4, when Peter and John are arrested for healing a lame man and speaking openly about the Risen Jesus Christ. It becomes almost a familiar theme in Luke’s account of the mission of the Early Church, and it’s no surpirse that it’s one of the readings set for a Sunday just after Easter (the 4th, actually). But it’s verse 13 that struck me as interesting – perhaps because, as an ex-schoolmaster, this is the time of the year when academic matters move into overdrive for teenagers as GCSE and A-levels rapidly approach.
But Luke makes a special point about Peter and John being ‘uneducated and ordinary’. Why? They were hardly ‘country bumpkins’, but nevertheless were plain artisans – nowhere in the same league for example, as Paul, who was highly educated. The words Luke chooses to use to describe Peter and John are ‘agrammatoi’ = ‘unlettered’, or ‘uneducated’ (from which we get our English word ‘grammar’) and ‘idiotai’ = ‘ordinary’ or ‘laymen’ (from which we get our word ‘idiot’ – yes!).
Reading this passage from Acts and hearing it again recently in a service made me think of my teaching days in Banbury School and how, over the twelve years I was there, learned something about the nature of education. Education was far, far more than getting the school’s 3000 students to jump through a succession of academic hoops. It was about developing the girls’ and boys’ potential, encouraging them to discover their inner talents and the nature of the world around them, and about exploring the wonder and purpose of human life.
The recent events in India also reminded me of a beautiful hymn written by another schoolmaster who lived in Bombay – Narayan Vaman Tilak (1862-1919) – which was translated from the Marathi dialect into English by a missionary. It doesn’t appear in Singing The Faith sadly, but you can find it in Hymns & Psalms (H&P 539), and many of you will know it well. It begins:
One who is all unfit to count as scholar in thy school,
thou of thy love has called a friend – O kindness wonderful!
We don’t need to be scholars, either to love our Lord Jesus Christ, or to witness to him using the hundreds of ways, verbal and non-verbal, that God has given us. But we have to be bold! The comedian Frank Skinner recently published a book of prayer and when interviewed said: “It's easier to come out as an alcoholic than as a Christian”. It’s not easy in our world today for you and I, when there is little or no reference to the Christian faith by our leaders. That is one reason why we should take courage and not worry about our credentials, as it were, but be content to be friends of our Risen Lord.
A Prayer: Eternal, gracious God, you are the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Help us never to stop growing in the faith, so that we may be constantly surprised by the new things we can discover about your nature and love. Help us also always to be like Peter and John, and boldly stand up for what we believe, and never be silent in the face of injustice or pain or need, so that others will see that we are the friends of Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Barrie Tabraham