Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Have Hope

I guess we're all still trying to come to terms with last night's tragic events. I've found encouragement this morning looking again at Paul's words to the church in Thessalonica. I've copied out 1 Thes 4:13-18 below

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

I'm going to preach into this on Sunday, but in the meantime can I encourage you to meditate on Paul's words and what God is saying to you through them in this situation.

At tonight's prayer meeting we'll worship, share communion and pray into all that has happened. I'd encourage everyone to come if you possibly can. I know that lots of our youngsters are planning on being there - what better place to be as we come to terms with all of this.

The Friday night LIFE youth event is going to go ahead. Having read Annie's blog on the impact LIFE had on her it's hard to see what else we could do. Pray for Liam as he speaks into Annie's death and ministers to the hundreds of young people who will be there.

As I've already said on Sunday I'll be talking about how we understand and come to terms with Annie's death. Yvonne Scott has cancelled her holiday so that she can be with children, and will be sharing the news with them and in a way they can understand. However, please can I encourage parents to talk and pray with your children before Sunday so that the come prepared. We spent some of last night doing that with our three - it is so key that we as parents take the lead in helping our children and young people through this.

I spoke to Bill, Annie's Dad, this morning. He's travelling back from France today and then he and Anne, Annie's Mum, will drive up to North Wales tomorrow. Please pray for them both, and the rest of the family, as they come to terms with the loss of their beautiful daughter.

Hope to see you tonight.



Anonymous said...

Simon. Prayers are with you all for wisdom as leaders in knowing how to deal with such a tragic event within our church community. Yvonne coming back is so important for the children, Annie has had a huge impact on kids and adults over the years and our own children have been hugely blessed by her and loved her very much. A tragic loss. Prayers and thoughts with you all. Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Simon, really feeling for you and Catrina and your children - it's been a tough year for you losses and you, as leader of our church community, are doing so amazingly well navigating the many storms and taking us with you. Thank you for being real, honest and supportive and for providing healthy, God-focused ways to learn to how to live this life we've been given well. I'm still in shock mode - even though I didn't know Annie that well - so not really praying much - crying lots though. When I do start praying, i'll be praying for the Clagues and for you and our leadership team. This has been such a tough year. Although, earlier today, I had a mental image of Bert, Gwen and Karena welcoming Annie into the Kerith crowd in heaven and Heidi was there too. They are alive - we just don't have transport to get there to visit just now - that's how I'm seeing it at the mo. Alli Inwards

Val C said...

Thanks Simon for taking the time and trouble to visit each group with the recent tragic news. You have an amazing pastoral heart and understandably each group will process it in a different way. This afternoon we were listening to Geoff Lucas talking about hope. It was very applicable and honest for us right now. He said "Mystery and trust is part of our faith" "Hope is often mingled with tears" "What would be our priorities if we only had 24 hours to live?" Very thought provoking stuff. We all felt the presence of God.

Unknown said...

Dear Simon & all at Kerith

We are praying for you at York City Church. So very sad for your loss and praying for enormous downloads of comfort, hope and joy in adversity (Colossians 1.11).

I can empathise with what you are handling having been through something very similar just a few short years ago. God bless you, strengthen and uphold you Simon, it sounds as though you are doing a wonderful job in tragic circumstances.

Love and prayers

Alan Rose and all at York City Church

Anonymous said...

Last night's prayer meeting was the best prayer meeting I have ever been to. Coming away from it, I felt compelled to share something that had been on my mind from C S Lewis' "Last Battle" - I was looking for the bit I wanted to share and then stumbled over this - it seems to fit - it's on the very last page of the book ... 'Lucy said, "We're so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often." "No fear of that," said Aslan. "Have you not guessed?" Their hearts leapt, and a wild hope rose within them. "There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are - as you used to call it in the Shadowlands - dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning." And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.' -- Alli Inwards
p.s. taking on Ben's encouragement and praying for you Simon every time I think of what's happened/happening