Did it matter about the weather? Not at all…! Thick mist covered Townhill on Sunday July 24th, which then turned to rain through the morning. Inside Swansea St Nicholas on the Hill and St Jude Church we welcomed Bishop John for a special service of Holy Eucharist with Baptism and Confirmation.
“All the kings of the earth shall praise thee O Lord: when they have heard the words of thy mouth” Psalm 138.5
Bishop John reminded us that our praise was not just about singing to God, it was also about promising to live faithful lives as disciples of Christ. Where we prayed in the collect “that we may bring forth the fruit of the spirit in love and joy and peace” we were echoing St Paul’s prayer to the church in Galatia. We have to know God’s ways of truth and justice…as Abraham was starting to understand God in his apparent “bargaining” for the righteous of Sodom. The Church in Colossae were learning like us that people can be torn away by sin but we are called to be faithful and look to Jesus as our pattern. The first disciples asked to be taught how to pray, to grow in understanding of praying “your will be done”. We grow in praise when we hear the words of God which are not those of a distant God but one who is near. Bishop John reflected that Peter was being Confirmed and Philip was being Baptized and Confirmed, and it wasn’t suddenly going to make them both perfect in understanding God’s ways but they would be given good gifts to do so. All of us seek and promise to be faithful and to do so we need the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us.
Following the Baptism and Confirmation, we sang:
“Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, sing and praise your God and mine…!”
with the final verse:
“Fill your hearts with joy and gladness,
Peace and plenty crown your days.
Love his laws, declare his judgements,
Walk in all his words and ways;
He the Lord and we his children
Praise the Lord, all people praise!”
After the Holy Eucharist, Bishop John presented certificates to Peter and Philip. We then continued to celebrate and say thank you for more gifts of ministry being recognised in our community. Suzanne received an acknowledgment of a long-standing commitment to music in St Jude’s, and a Worship Leader licence.
Tony and James were licenced as Eucharistic Assistant’s, and (as a surprise to him but not to the rest of us) Andrew was recognised for his faithful and continuing contribution to the music in the church for over fifty years. Bishop John commended everyone for their contribution whether it was specially noted on this occasion or not.
After the final hymn “Great is thy faithfulness” we gathered at the back for some refreshments including a huge and delicious Confirmation cake…!