Welcome to this morning's Worship service.
Worship today is led by Rev Christine Fox (in church and via Zoom)
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click below on the red play button to start this morning's service video. You can also find the service on YouTube here if it isn’t working on the blog.
God Bless x
If you'd like to connect with Grangewood please contact us.
Rev Christine Fox: email@example.com
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.
In the first reading we are urged to be filled with the Spirit of God not alcoholic spirit – and in the second reading Jesus says eat my body and drink my blood and you will have eternal life. What astounding commands! Especially spoken originally to Jews. The Jews did everything they could to avoid eating any blood – it was forbidden – Kosher butchers make sure there is no blood in the meat.
Even we who are used to these words of Jesus said every time we share in Holy Communion are still uncomfortable with the idea that people might think we are eating flesh and drinking blood – so how much more so these Jews that Jesus was talking to – it was really shocking! Later, at his last supper with his friends Jesus explained a bit more about what he wanted them to do – he said ‘do this to remember me – whenever you eat bread and drink wine – these are my body and my blood’. I wonder – when you share in Holy Communion what do you think about it? Do you believe that somehow the bread and wine turn into Jesus’ flesh and blood? That’s called transubstantiation. Or do you see the action of eating bread and drinking wine as something you do simply because Jesus said that then you would have eternal life? Maybe the bread and wine are symbols for you helping you to remember as you eat and drink what Jesus did in giving his body, his blood being poured out on the cross. And of course some of you may not think about it at all but have experienced the presence of God in a deeper way when you have shared in bread and wine. I probably haven’t included all the ways that people find significance in following Jesus’ command to eat bread and to drink wine and remember him - do tell me later what it means for you. Sadly some people will not receive bread and wine at Communion because they think it is cannibalism. Though his words were probably phrased to overstate a point I’m sure Jesus didn’t intend them to keep anyone away from Communion with him. Maybe for them to learn about what the phrase ‘drink his blood’ meant to the Jews might help. – in the time of Samuel, King David was out with his top warriors at war – thirsty, he said something like I could really do with a drink from the wells of Jerusalem. Unknown to him three of them risked their lives to gain entry to the city and came back with water. He was horrified that they had done this – and he wouldn’t drink the water but poured it out on the ground. He said he wouldn’t ‘drink their blood’. You see what he was saying? he wouldn’t profit from their blood-shed. Jesus used this same turn of phrase – but this time he was telling his friends to absolutely ‘drink his blood’ – to profit from the sacrifice he would be making as he went to the cross. Every time they poured out the red wine it must remind them of what he had done – and open their hearts to receive the consequence of his death.
And that consequence was that Jesus would pour out God’s Holy Spirit – on them and on everyone down the ages who acts on his command to profit from his death. And that’s where the concept of eating – taking in Jesus within - is so important. Be filled with God’s Spirit says St Paul – only God is eternal – unless you have eternity within you, when your body wears out there will be nothing left. What lives on is not the flesh and blood but it is the Spirit within. It is not a problem to us, when a loved one has died, to have their body cremated or buried – because we know that there is more to them than the physical minerals and water that compose a body; they have a soul, the essence of the person, and united with the Spirit of God that person lives on for eternity. Now you will be asking, what about people who never take Communion – or never understood all this in their lifetime? Well, we call Holy Communion a sacrament – which is an outward visible sign of an inward invisible grace. What we do visibly doesn’t change what God is doing invisibly within. When we share in bread and wine we may receive a blessing, and when we are filled with the Holy Spirit we may experience God tangibly, and we would like this for everyone – but we can trust God, who after all is Love; trust that God loves everyone even if they don’t know it yet, and knows their hearts; we can leave them in his capable hands! But for us - you don’t have to understand what eating Jesus’ body and drinking his blood mean, you just need to trust him enough to do what he asked of you - every time you eat bread and drink wine, remember him and be open to experience his Spirit within you. Amen