I’m in trouble again, this time with Jude and Charlotte our Childrens’ ministers….
I went to Family Bubble Church on Sunday (it was brilliant – try it!) but got a bit distracted when it came to the Bible talk. Maybe preachers are the worst congregants just like Doctors make the worst patients but I found my mind wandering. I was admiring how the Church had been laid out with sofas in a circle, bubble’s laid out on the floor and even colourful bubble tubes on the stage and Charlotte in her wellies (as I say you need to go as a family to truly experience it!)  And then I spotted the bunting. 
Plastic and high up. It started to fascinate me. The conversation in my head went something like this….
“I wonder how long it takes to put that up then take it down again. Its high up. Must be a pain to do each couple of weeks. Same person has to do it as well – Covid safe and all that. I wonder….I wonder if it needs to be taken down. Would be easier not to…..hang on a minute. What would it mean to keep it up through the week? It would mean that people can see that the Family Bubble service happens (which could be hidden to most totherwise). But look at those colours – blue, red, orange, green, blue. Repeated all the way round. Colourful. And square. Adorned even.
At this I got my bible out and was drawn to two passages.
“8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. …Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of finely twisted linen and blue, purple and scarlet yarn, … (Exodus 25:8 and 26:1)
…the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, …16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. …The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. (Revelation 21:10-11)
Now don’t get me wrong, the bunting in church is a poor representation of either the Tabernacle or the City of God, the New Jerusalem as John saw and described it. But there is something powerful about the symbolism; to mark a place in the centre of our worship space in Christ Church that recognises the presence of God and that it is a place of prayer. 
You may be feeling like you have been in a place of exile during these Covid times. The
Israelites famously wept by the rivers of Babylon, in exile and hundreds of miles from Jerusalem. “How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4).
And yet, the Psalmist knew the need to remember.
If I forget you, Jerusalem,     may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth     if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem     my highest joy. (Psalm 137 : 5-6)
Jesus declared, in the words of the prophet Isaiah, that “My house will be a house of prayer” (Luke 19:46) and the disciples remembered that “Zeal for your house will consume me” (John 2:17 quoting Psalm 69:9)
Sometimes we need a reminder.
In Bible Study this morning we were reminded that God’s relationship with his Church is like a marriage. It is a covenanted relationship; a relationship based on faithful promises, faithfully kept. We talked about renewing vows and when does this happen. “Every morning?” I suggested. We need to remind ourselves of the promises of God and the power of God. And that we are drawn into and strengthened in relationship by two things – the Word of God and prayer,  both guided by his Holy Spirit. 
My suggestion; don’t throw away the medicine because the pill looks too daunting. Take a smaller pill. It doesn’t have to be a whole chapter or three readings or built on a 15 minute reflection (although there are plenty of these available too).
One verse, one section, one word may be enough. Just let the Word of God permeate your day and chat to him as it does, whatever you are doing at the time.
Jesus promised his followers that they would be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). That power lies in prayer.
What to pray for (amongst other things….)?
Strength, Protection and Healing so that others will know
Revival and a powerful movement of God’s Spirit
A sudden, inexplicable end to Covid – unexplainable other than to the glory of God
16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)