#821. Broken Rails (24/05/23)
I started writing this post while stood on a packed train, coming back to London after a day in York. As is usual with mine and Raph's journeys, the whole thing was a bit of a fiasco, with a broken rail causing significant disruption all day. Things were so bad that the train company automatically refunded us the cost of our tickets. But, we saw the good parts of humanity and God's grace was abundant - we made it to our event and we made it home again before midnight!
My Dad tracked our journey with interest and later sent me this picture of the rail in question:
I don't mind telling you that this crack felt wildly out of proportion with the severity of the subsequent cancellations and delays! I was expecting a mangled, deformed rail. A scene from a film. Instead, we have a crack that looks like it could just as easily have been missed, were it not for some fancy ultrasonic test train going up and down the lines.
Jeremiah 31:27 - “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the kingdoms of Israel and Judah with the offspring of people and of animals.28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down, and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the Lord.
Sometimes we are broken, but still going about our lives. We carry on, the cracks barely detectable, until something points us in their direction and we finally see them, or once they've got so deep we can't ignore them anymore because we are falling over them. But God's promise is that he will rebuild what has been broken. New seeds will be planted in our cracks, which will bloom and grow, and the whole process will make us fitter for God's purpose and plan. It's hard to welcome being broken, but it's a necessary step in the process. The challenge is in allowing God to work his purpose out in us, whatever it entails.
Throughout the Gospels we hear about how Jesus heals all manner of ailments. There is nothing too big for him to deal with, no brokenness too broken to rebuild. We can come to him to raise us from the depths of our sin, and he makes all things new again. We have every reason to be thankful, and to rejoice in our brokenness. And when we've experienced his healing, we will be like a brand new rail, ready to serve others and point them in the direction of Jesus too.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Please read Luke 1:5-38
The message of Luke 1:5-38 can be summarised as: God wants us to believe and receive Jesus as Saviour, God and King. Like Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary, we have to take a journey from questioning God’s word to believing and worshipping.
What is prophesied regarding John’s character and ministry?
What is prophesied regarding Jesus' character and ministry?
What were the challenges that Zechariah, Elizabeth and Mary had to believing the angel’s promises to them?
Zechariah’s questioning receives God’s discipline whereas Mary’s does not? What made Mary’s questioning acceptable to God and what can we learn from this?
What does this section (Luke 1:5-38) teach us and how can it be applied in our lives?
SIV - What does this section teach us about how God can and wants to work through us to bring Jesus to our communities?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about that.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?