We then moved into the church for a time of praise, and updates from various organisations such as Open the Book, Food Bank, charity work, chaplaincies, winter shelter and Messy church - who shared a little of what was happening and points for prayer, before we broke into small groups to pray.
It was good to come together and celebrate the great things that are happening across the town, but we were encouraged not just to sing about helping others, but also to act.
The retail chaplain also challenged us when he spoke about work taking place before the fall. This surprised me, I had always concentrated so much how things went wrong, that I hadn't really paid any attention to the part when things were happening as God intended. Not having a Bible to hand I did later invite the speaker to expand on his point, and he reminded me that God put Adam & Eve in the garden to work, not just to wander around. I had completely forgotten that bit! I did look it up when I got home, and sure enough in Genesis 2:5 it says 'Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,' and reading on I discovered in v 15 'The God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' It was only when mankind started following their agenda, not God's, that things went wrong, and they got booted out of Eden. it was only after this that work became a battle not a joy.
“Cursed is the ground because of you;