A Vicar Writes: November 2016

At the time of writing its Monday 17th October and I have to be honest with you, I’m very excited!!! You see it’s a big match tonight. Infact they don’t get much bigger – Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield. Obviously, you are reading this and by now you will know the result, but right now, I’m very excited about going to Anfield. You can’t beat the atmosphere on occasions like this! Don’t get me wrong, there’s always a good atmosphere at Anfield, but when it’s a ‘big’ one there’s something a little bit different. It’s the anticipation of what might happen, the anticipation of getting a good result over our rivals etc etc.

As most people will tell you (apart from Evertonians) the Kop is a fantastic place to be on occasions like this, the noise and the singing is amazing, it sends shivers down the spine and you can’t help but be carried along with it. You simply get caught up in it all. The sheer passion that wells up among the supporters is something special – its infectious!

Our church, like countless others, has a great heritage of singing. Sadly, it appears singing in churches today is perhaps not what it was. For many attending Sunday worship the singing is a little lack lustre. Some say that singing in public like this has had its day and people won’t do it anymore – apparently we are too self conscious! I completely disagree – you watch the last night of the proms – and you ask any football fan who regularly attends the match! There will be 54,000 people singing with one voice tonight! In many ways, its like worship. All those people, gathered in ‘their church’, with one mind, with one focus, all ‘praying’ with one voice and singing with passion and hope.

Why oh why is our singing at Sunday worship not equal to this? Surely it should generate a similar passion. We all gather in God’s house ‘his church’ as his people, we gather with one aim, to worship him, to meet with him and to draw near to him. We gather with one mind, with one heart and with one voice. Our sung worship should lift the roof off the building as we give praise to God for all that he is and for all that he has done. It’s in sung worship that we are able to express our feelings towards God in a way that ordinary words can’t allow, and when we do this united together, there is something that sends shivers down the spine!! You see quite simply – ‘God inhabits the praises of his people!’ (psalm 22) In other words God is present as we gather, as we call upon his name, as we worship him!! Now that’s something a football match can’t even compete with!!!

Also tonights match is surrounded in history. There is a great and glorious past that we reflect on. Talking on the kop tonight with the people who sit either side of me, we will be remembering great games against United in the past. Its important to look back and remember. You see its by remembering that we are able to see what makes us who we are, but its our past that enables us to look to the future.

This month we will be remembering in a different way the ultimate sacrifice made by so many. Their selfless sacrifice through which we are able to live in freedom. Why not join us on Remembrance Sunday (13th November) at 10.45am. Where we will also be remembering God’s love for us and the sacrifice he made once and for all. That through him we are able to be found acceptable in God’s sight, to be forgiven and to be restored to a right relationship with him, that we might truly know the freedom that only he can bring!

Now that’s worth singing about!!!

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