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We are located in the suburbs of
 Derby, England and hope that
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Minister's Message

The Methodist Church Centre


LETTER FROM THE MANSE - Rev Janet Jackson  

Dear Friends,

        Easter is nearly upon us and this is often a time to send a card or phone those we rarely contact. It is always nice to receive a card or listen to a familiar voice on the phone, but have you ever picked up the phone to ring someone only to find an answering machine at the other end?  I do that often. Perhaps you replaced the receiver with a sense of disappointment. Did you feel let down by your friend. Why wasn't she there? Where was she? Perhaps you felt a sense of frustration welling up. You may have had an important message to convey or important matters to discuss and only she could give the advice you sought. But she wasn't there! Yet, thanks to the marvels of modern technology, her voice was there. But what use was her voice when it was she who was needed?

        Long before such gadgets as answering machines were invented people were able to do that - to be present in voice only. Nowhere is this seen so clearly as in the case of worship. Christ said of the Pharisees: "These people honour God with their lips, but their heart is far from him".

        People can be present in church in voice only, and so their worship of God becomes mere lip-service. We all know people who sometimes put on a phoney pious voice - they are no better than answering machines. The most important element is missing - the heart.

        This applies not only to worship but to any meeting or gathering of people, especially at public functions and formal occasions.  People are there, yet not all there. You may speak with someone but you don't communicate. You are face to face, yet you never really meet.

        How different real presence is! The heart is in it, and the words flow from there. For words to ring true, they must be spoken from the heart. If they come only from the lips they will have a hollow sound. And while they may be clever, they will never convince or inspire.  

        Take the word of forgiveness for instance. If it doesn't come from the heart, what use is it? It will not set the offender free. And the word of peace. If it is not spoken from the heart, can it bring peace? And the word of welcome. You may open the door of your house to me with kind words, but unless you make room for me in your heart I am still a stranger to you. It is only with the heart that we can speak rightly. And a presence without the heart is like a fireplace without a fire. Cold.

        When we are at church on a Sunday, what is the quality of our presence? How much of our heart is in what we say? And after worship, do we try to put the Word of God into practice in our life? No one but ourselves can answer these questions.

        In this Easter season, may you hear God's word of forgiveness and peace and welcome through his Son, spoken from the heart, and may you respond in like manner, with the devotion of your heart.

Your friend and minister, Janet.



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Copyright 2002-2014 Mickleover Methodist Church                                            Updated 31 March 2015