A little word
When Barnabas came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. Acts 11. 23-24
Today was St. Barnabas’ day.
According to Acts 4 he started life as a Cypriot called Joseph. The apostles gave him a name change to Barnabas meaning ‘Son of Encouragement’. As we see some little pen pictures of him in Acts we can see why they chose that name.
In Acts 9 Paul comes to Jerusalem and the church is very suspicious. Paul was after all the chief persecutor of Christians, or rather had been. They had heard of his dramatic conversion and some clearly saw it all as a plot. It was Barnabas who got alongside Paul, befriended him, and introduced him to the Jerusalem church. He was prepared to find out the facts rather than just being blinded by his prejudice.
In Acts 11 news of what was happening amongst non-Jews in Antioch reached the ears of the Jerusalem church. Barnabas goes to investigate. He sees the evidence, rejoices and encourages them to continue. He is so pleased at what he sees that he searches out Paul and returns to Antioch with him to join in the work.
In Acts 15 Paul and Barnabas have such a sharp disagreement over John Mark and his involvement in the mission that they part company. Barnabas takes John Mark with him. Was Barnabas a soft touch? It seems, rather, that he was a good judge. There were questions over JM’s staying power; later evidence from Paul’s letters to Philemon and 2 Timothy suggest that JM was not only still going strong but was reconciled to Paul. Peter mentions him also and many scholars have the same Mark as the author of the gospel. It would seem that the promise Barnabas saw blossomed under his encouragement.
Barnabas was an encourager by name and an encourager by nature. He had that ability to draw alongside people and not only see the best in them but also to draw out the best from them.
Why don’t you try and be a Barnabas!
New for this week
If you’d like to join us on Sunday morning, here is a reminder of the link
Meeting ID: 303 159 289 Password: 597076
Alternatively, for audio only, you can phone in to this number: 0131 460 1196, and follow the instructions.
We start to gather online from 10.00, our service starts properly at 10.30.
Before the service:
Have a think about, or try drawing a map of, all your heart-strings! Who or what causes are you attached to in your family; in our neighbourhood; across the world?
For younger members (and others… some really great ideas!):
Things to pray for
Give thanks for all those who have encouraged you in your journey of faith
Wisdom for government & leaders as they seek safe and sensible ways to move forwards
For community cohesion and understanding in our diverse parish
We need to talk about race
In the light of the current Black Lives Matter conversations going on widely it would be really helpful for us as a church to think through these issues. I’m sure the best way to do this would be together in a room, but that is not possible in the short term.
For a start can I suggest the following video and book. (the book is currently available as a download for 99p! until 19/6)
We might try zooming, but accept its limitations. Any other suggestions as to how we get a good discussion on this going, most welcome.
This needs to be ongoing and not one-off, so it might well be both and, not either or, as regards virtual and in person conversations.
Lent Course – the return
Before we entered the world of ‘lockdown’, some of us were reading Ruth Valerio’s book, Saying Yes to Life and enjoying meeting to share what we were learning. So many of us seem to have been finding God speaking to us through Creation during this time, we thought it would great to start meeting again, through Zoom for the time being.
Hence we are going to be:
– Meeting monthly.
– Restarting this Sunday (14th June); 7pm, aiming to finish by 8.
– Led by Sara and Bill Goodman
If you have the book, then please:
– Skim the first three chapters. What things strike you particularly?
– Is there anything you’ve appreciated especially in the natural world?
– And, is there anything new that you’ve been doing to care for God’s creation?
Meeting ID: 824 1127 7512 Password: 880861
Earlier week’s news
Previous editions of this news update are on the website if you can’t find it in your in-box.