(Ephesians 6: 11-17 – NIV-UK)
The above reading was part of the lectionary for Sunday 22nd August, and having gone to a church while away, it was the one used there and is still in my head a day later. This passage reminds us we are spiritual beings, that not all we see or experience with our senses is all there is to life. It reminds us that there’s a whole other world which the Bible speaks of, of spiritual beings, not all good, and some of whom are opposed to God and all who would follow Jesus and trust in God through him.
I’ve been to conferences where we were encouraged to put on the armour of God every day, never truly to take it off, but in praying this short passage through, it reminds us that we do need to stand firm in our faith. Like the image of a Roman soldier Paul may have had in mind when he wrote the letter to the Ephesians, the armour of God acts as protection. Their armour apparently was one of the reasons the Romans were so successful in extending their Empire, and included good footwear, as well as the soldiers being fed well.
To us, the armour of God is what we need to advance the Kingdom of God. Some don’t like the idea of us being in battle. There was a children’s song in the 1990’s about winning the battle which some church members felt was inappropriate. And yet, that imagery is perfectly Biblical, and that’s what it is, of course, a familiar picture to illustrate Biblical truth. In today’s terms, we might think of the armour in a different way – the breastplate replaced by a bullet-proof vest, and a helmet shaped rather differently. Yet they all afford protection of the right kind for the army’s purpose to be achieved, just as the spiritual armour protects our lives of faith.
For us, the belt of truth is our belief in Christ as Lord, as part of the trinitarian God we worship. It’s that basic knowledge of God’s forgiveness through Jesus and our place in the Kingdom. In the Roman soldier’s uniform, the belt kept all the body armour together, just as keeping hold of the truth keeps us together. The belt keeps in place the breastplate of righteousness. The righteousness we’re covered in is that of Christ, who died for us so we can stand righteous before God.
As the soldier had good shoes, ready for battle, so we’re to fit our feet with shoes ready to tread out the gospel of peace. In other words, being that gospel of peace, bringing that gospel of peace wherever we go, just like shoes are on our feet wherever we go. While modern day soldiers don’t have face protection, riot police do, still called a shield. Our faith acts as our shield. Like a shield that a soldier would have moved to deflect arrows or a sword, so our faith is to be active. We don’t just stop at the belief stage, but are to be rooted in practicing our faith so that we can overcome when we’re tempted, and can stand firm in faith when difficult things happen in our lives.
The helmet of salvation is solid on our heads, knowing that Christ is our head, is our salvation. That is what we take out with us, and we take to others, the gospel of salvation through Christ. Lastly on the list is the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. We need to know our Bibles, and having the gospel in our heads and at our fingertips helps us in our Christian lives. But it’s more than that. The Word of God isn’t confined to words on a page, but is the Spirit of God going before us, and working through us.
As we go into September, this year as every year our task is to live out our faith and to show it to others, to be people of peace, and yet prepared to share why and what we believe. This autumn, as we welcome students to Leeds and seek to make a difference in the lives of others, we know we can only do it with God the Spirit’s help. In some translations of the verses, the words go straight into the next verse, doing all the above, ‘praying with every-kind-of prayer and petition at every opportunity in the Spirit’. We are still feeling our way after the lockdowns and all that we have left behind and may or may not re-open. So I encourage you to pray at all times, for all we may begin or begin again this autumn, for the Elders as they work hard behind the scenes, and for all who may be the ones to carry God’s work forward in Headingley.
May the peace of Christ fill you, Clare <><
This month’s prayer meeting is due to be on Wednesday 8th September, from 10.30am to 11am as usual. Do join us in the comfort of your own home to spend the time in prayer for those in our church and those we know who are unwell, bereaved or need prayer for other issues.
|Morning Worship led by Rev Phil Chilvers
|Morning Worship led by Rev Clare S Davison
Junior Church Book Service; Headingley Methodist Church will join us
|Harvest Festival at Headingley Methodist Church
NO SERVICE AT OUR CHURCH
|Morning Worship led by our Minister
There won’t be one in September as our good friend Mr Alex Walker, who leads worship for us from time to time, is being commissioned as the Elder in local leadership at the URC in South Leeds. I will be attending that, and an invitation will be going out to the Mission & Care churches soon.
AT LAST . . . something to look forward to.
Please join us on Sunday 12th September immediately after the service for a barbecue. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us, it usually is. To enable catering please add your name to the list pinned up in the large hall or let Susan Bollon know.
MEETINGS IN SEPTEMBER
Although it is likely that the Committee of Management will continue to meet on line, it is hoped that the Elders may meet together in September.
Certainly, we do not plan a Zoom lunch for the Guild but hope to share a meal together for the first time in so many months on Tuesday, 14th September. Sadly, we shall miss those who used to meet with us regularly and are no longer here or can no longer do so, but we look forward to being together again. To those who have not joined us in the past, but have thought about doing so – do think again! We share a ‘home-cooked’, simple hot meal and chat together—so the more the merrier. We meet for a fruit drink from 12.30pm, sitting down for lunch at 1 o’clock and finishing with tea and coffee by 2. We do not require any commitment, so if you are free the second Tuesday of any month, let us know if you would like to come—the ‘us’ is Elissa Grant, Rosemary Reid and Margaret Brownjohn.
It is with sadness that we record the passing of Mrs Mattie Tindley. She joined our congregation when she moved to Leeds to live nearer her niece, Jennifer, and it was nice to hear from a mutual friend that she had suggested our church to the family because she knew she would receive a warm welcome and friendship. Mattie transferred her membership to Headingley St Columba in November 2016 but poor health meant she was unable to attend as regularly as she would have wished. But Elissa Grant formed a firm friendship with her, sharing memories of life in Paisley where they had attended the same school, although a good many years apart. Elissa continued to visit her as long as it was possible, learning about her life as undergraduate at Glasgow University in 1939, then at Edinburgh University and her career as a Child Psychologist. She was a keen golfer, playing into her nineties. She became very frail during her final years and Covid made visiting difficult but we know that Mattie and the family appreciated the friendship shown to her.
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We hope you are happy to receive your newsletter on-line even though many things are now returning to normal. It is obviously without cost to the church and also allows us to use colour, which was prohibitively expensive in print. A few printed copies are available in the vestibule.
I have added a few photos of our quiet summer; if you have any to share, please let me have them by email and if they contain friends and family do make sure you have their permission
A big ‘thank you’ for the generous cheque the church sent, we were quite overwhelmed. We have had so many telephone calls and cards from our church friends wishing us all the best, it has been just wonderful.
The move went very smoothly and the bungalow couldn’t be more suitable with all the facilities just so easy to use and all on one level, and a lovely small and very private garden where we shall put some plants as a fond reminder of our life in Leeds.
Thank you all very much from the bottom of our hearts.
Love and best wishes to all.
Charlotte and Denis.
We shall be supporting two charities for our Harvest Appeal this year.
Firstly, a charity we have supported on several occasions in the past – WaterAid which aims to support communities supply clean water and decent sanitation in developing nations. An estimated 771 million people still have no reliable clean water supply.
90% of all natural disasters are water-related. Torrential rain brings flooding which pollutes rivers, lakes and water courses; increased drought dries up springs and natural water sources and climate change is making matters worse, so expertise is essential to deal with tomorrow’s problems as well as today’s.
Our second charity is HELP THE PERSECUTED – suggested by Sandra Barry
Rescue. Restore. Rebuild.
Imagine facing torture and death for just five words—“I believe in Jesus Christ.”
This is a reality for more than 340 million Christians today. They often face physical violence towards themselves or loved ones—or lose homes and jobs because of their faith in Jesus.
Their burdens are not meant to be carried alone. We want to see persecuted Christians experience fellowship with the Body of Christ as their needs are met—and find renewed strength to follow Christ.
The rapid events in Afghanistan have brought about an immediate crisis:- ‘Our Field Ministry Team is moving quickly to find ways to help Afghans in crisis, particularly Christian converts, and we are developing plans with local Christians to help with:
• Lightning Funds to evacuate to safe locations
• Temporary housing and living expenses as many are fleeing
• Medical expenses for the injured and those who now have no access to critical medications’
The Elders are sure you will respond to these two charities with your usual generosity. Information on Gift Aid will be available shortly