Thursday, 29 March 2012

We all need a Barnabas

Dave finishing the Yeovil Half Marathon
Sunday 25th March 2012
He’s a favourite of mine, Barnabas – The Son of Encouragement.  In one passage he’s even mentioned before Paul and that might mean at one time he was considered the most reliable and experienced of the two.  Of course it all changed; yet Barnabas remains in the background, still reliable and still an encourager.

I’m grateful to have met a Barnabas or two in my time!  Folk who have spurred me on, prayed for me and the family or have simply been sources of encouragement.  In any walk of life such people are an asset, especially – dare I say - in church life.

Last weekend was full of Barnabases – or should that be Barnabi?!

One of our deacons, Dave, completed the Yeovil Half Marathon and was given so much encouragement both before and during the race.  He emailed saying how uplifted he felt by the cheering crowds on the roadside and by recalling the text an ‘encourager’ had given him from Isaiah 40.31 about those ‘who wait upon the Lord will have their strength renewed’.  All of us were thrilled to hear, at the end of morning service, that Dave had completed the course in less than two hours and raised at least £700 for Yeovil Street Pastors – in fact that news truly ‘encouraged’ us!

And then there was last Sunday’s Service of Infant Blessing.  The family had told me a few friends might be coming.  In the end I counted over thirty – and what a welcome addition they were to our morning service.  People who had come to share this precious moment – to lend their ‘encouragement’ to Harry, his mum, dad and brother. 

This weekend on Palm Sunday we’ll be celebrating communion together and sometimes, during the distribution of the bread and wine, I sit and think of those saints I’ve known and loved who used to share in this meal but are now in heaven.  I recall their faces and think about their inspirational example and how it has enriched my own pilgrimage of faith – and I’m grateful – grateful for their encouragement.

So to combine Dave’s experience of the Yeovil Half Marathon and the words of the unknown writer of Hebrews, in chapter 12: With this great cloud of witnesses around us (The Barnabases who have come our way) let us run with resolution the race that is before us – keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

So let me encourage you to keep going!

This weekend we gather for Palm Sunday worship at 10.30am and then at 6.30pm we’ll watch that wonderful animation film of the life of Christ, The Miracle Maker – combining it with some worship suitable for the beginning of Holy Week. And our prayers go out to all from our church who will be attending the Baptist Union Retreat Group’s Spring Retreat at Ivy House, Warminster – and especially The Revd Barbara Carpenter, one of our former members, who will be co-leading it.

With best wishes,


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