Welcome to this morning's Sunday Worship service, led by Neil Jones (in church and via Zoom).
We apologise for the fact that parts of the service are missing due to a technical problem, but hope that this will not detract from its value to you.
We normally worship in church each week and also via Zoom, with a recording of the Zoom meeting published by Monday morning. If you are not currently on our mailing list for Zoom please contact Rev Christine: email@example.com
Click below on the red play button to start this morning's service video.
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Rev Christine Fox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to all those who have been part of arranging this week's service.
Below you can find this weeks Message. Click here to find the whole worship sheet.
A rich young man comes eagerly to Jesus - running and falling at his feet. He seems to think there is something missing in his life. Yet he goes away sad as he hears the answer. Where are we on this scale - are we eager to hear what God is saying to us or are we worried we may not like the answer? What is our relationship with God like? Perhaps we can't give a binary answer as we are somewhere in between.
With human beings said Jesus things are impossible but all things are possible with God. We come as a people who rejoice in all the grace that God offers in Jesus, who can sing 'To possess by faith what we could not earn all surpassing gift of righteousness, Knowing you Jesus, knowing you, there is no greater thing'. We rejoice in the grace of God we could never earn.
But still we can ask ourselves the question - what do we put in the way of our relationship with God? We receive the grace of God in Jesus but what do we need to do in response to develop that relationship? Do we want to grow our relationship? What we must not do here is make ourselves feel guilty as there are many things that crowd in on our lives, work, rest and family as some examples.
In the account of the 10 commandments in Deuteronomy 5 we read the following words
'For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work - you or your son or your daughter or your male or female slave or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock or the resident alien in your towns so that your male or female slave may rest as well as you. (5:14-15)
We could say a lot about these words given in the context of an agricultural society and we are not going to defend slavery. The point to take today is that people need to work to eat and here is a command to rest.
In Ephesians Chapter 5 Paul writes about family relationships again a society with very different views on the place of women. But when Paul writes 'husbands love your wives' (5:25) we see the need to care for our families and human beings generally.
Depending on our situations we do work, have families to care for, need to relax and unwind and be involved in the community in different ways. We do have our own health issues. Most of are called to serve God where we are rather than give up our work as Peter did.
But what can get in the way of developing the relationship with God that carries us through all the stresses of life? What is that we need to let go of in a way the young man was not able to? This may be our riches or things we are doing in our lives that don't lead us in the direction God intends. Like the rich man we may be sad at what we have to give up.
We are all different and it is a matter of balancing things. But perhaps some of these examples may resonant:
· Money is a theme that runs through this reading. I have sung the hymn 'Be thou my vision' many times. I have to admit that the phrase 'riches I heed not' has been much easier to sing after I paid off my mortgage and it is very easy for me to criticise others. But have we got our valid desire for financial security out of balance?
· What about our giving to church and in other ways? Give to the poor said Jesus to the young man. Maybe we are not called to sell everything but what is our concern for those less fortunate than ourselves?
· Are we selfishness ambitious, maybe at work?
· Are we too busy with church activities? The young man seemed keen to tell Jesus he had always obeyed the commandments and he comes across as quite religious.
What are our priorities in life? We need to spend time in prayer and fellowship to learn about God and his love and bring the anxieties we have to God and to share with each other. We need to find that balance in life between the calls on our time. We need to be in a right relationship with God and weigh other choices through that lens. Let us listen to God's call.