New Year With God

The main points from today’s all age service at All Saints Ilkley.

Begin with thankfulness. Look back at the year, 2017 and give thanks for the small things, big things, ordinary things and extra ordinary things where we recognise God.

God’s people look backwards to look forwards. The faithfulness of God motivates hope for the future.

Thank you bingo is a great way to engage all ages in beginning the discipline of thankfulness. Me and my helper ‘A’ called the pictures and gave lots of chocolate away as prizes!

Consider Forgiveness.

I want to be on an adventure with Jesus in 2018 and so the children helped me find a collection of things hidden around church to fill my rucksack in preparation for the adventure.

What do we need when journeying with God? Here is my list and the items that went in the bag.

Bible – My Children’s Gospel Bible

Prayers – A candle to help me pray

Holy Spirit – A toy dove!

Passion and boldness – flames of fire

Identity, child of God, son of the King – a gold crown

I missed two items in the service – a cross hidden near the back of church and a shepherds crook to symbolise Godly authority or leadership.

Finally friends help us avoid getting isolated and in danger on the journey. Trusty helper and friend ‘A’ agreed to carry my rucksack but could not move it.

At the bottoms of the bag was two carrier bags full of rocks! There is little point setting off on an adventure if we are dragging hard and heavy things with us everywhere.

The Bible is clear about forgiveness. We should offer it to others for our own sake. We receive it from Jesus when we confess our sins and sometimes we need to forgive ourselves to walk in the freedom that forgiveness from God offers.

The congregation came forward in silence to place their hard or heavy thing, a rock from the pile, at the foot of the cross in buckets of water, representing cleansing. To remind us of the sweetness of forgiveness, everyone was invited to take a chocolate. Some took two – double blessing!

This was our first reading Matthew 11: 28-30

Welcome 2018

2nd reading, Ephesians 3:14-20 which finishes with these words…

God is described here as the one who can accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. The song, God Our Father, was sung over the congregation we asked for God’s blessing in areas where there is pain and struggle and imagined afresh what the Kingdom breaking in would look like in our lives and that of our churches, families, communities and world. It’s based on the Lord’s Prayer.

“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis.

Happy New Year, looking forward to the adventure.

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