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Sunday Worship 24th October 2021

Welcome to this morning's Sunday Worship service, led by Richard Collins (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: christineamfox@gmail.com


Click below on the red play button to start this morning's service video.



God Bless x

If you'd like to connect with Grangewood please contact us.

Rev Christine Fox: christineamfox@gmail.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.


Message

I went to my Fencing Club a little while ago for an evening of fun but was

stopped at the door.

My temperature was checked (I was OK).

Under the Covid rules of the time, had I booked and been granted admission?

(Yes)

Had I read, I was asked, the new health safety rules? (I had)

Was I suffering from or been in contact with anyone with Covid 19 over the

last fortnight? (No)

Had I filled in the on-line health form required by British Fencing on my phone

App? (Ahh!)

I was judged and found wanting.

A good, sincere, much respected Christian business friend told me he'd been

studying the Scriptures regarding the end of the world. And quoting some of

those Scriptures, informed me, " The world is going to end very soon!" He

expected me to agree and join him in acting accordingly. That was over 30

years ago. And I thought Jesus said, "No one knows the day nor the hour, only

God".I didn't argue with my friend because I knew he was quite sincere in his

belief.

Much of St. Paul's time was spent when visiting churches and writing letters to

them, trying to mend disagreements. He discovered divisions of thought or

actions between individuals and large sections of congregations. He wasn't

the only one. St. Peter and other apostles found similar problems. They

worked hard to heal early church differences of opinion. They had all chosen

their own life styles, through faith and couldn't see how anyone would think

otherwise.

Now, I don't know about you, but there are lots of people I find it difficult to

agree with theologically. (They're definitely wrong! But I don't understand how

they could possibly think the same about me!)

In the 1970's there was a major disagreement in the Methodist Church. It was

all about Infant Baptism verses Believers Baptism. Perhaps some of you

remember it. It was a real 'hot potato' at the time.

A large thriving church I knew was split over it. Eventually their differences

became irreconcilable and half the congregation left to set up their own

church. The remainder were weaker alone. They no longer had a powerful

voice for Christ in their community. The same was true for the half that left,

who now have faded away. God's kingdom was not promoted in the area.

Quarrels regarding religious practise and based on the application of faith

plague every generation; possibly every congregation.

Paul addresses specific quarrels in our Romans lesson. Things some people

still hold strong views on today. There are many other subjects we could put in

their place. How can such things be fairly adjudicated

without hurting one side or the other? Without tearing the fellowship apart?

Paul's response isn't to back one side, but to view the whole of the peoples

beliefs. If someone harms another’s faith with their interpretation of how life

should be lived to honour our Lord, or clever arguments to prove their opinion

which ruins others faith how can that be right? People may hold differing views

within our faith. Unless the act or attitude is opposed to the fundamentals of

Christianity, all may co-exist at peace. Paul stresses the point that every

individual must have their own reasoned convictions. Having reached their

conclusions, they will organise their own life but not inflict that interpretation on

others All must live their own life of faith.

Ultimately, each individual lives before our Lord and will stand before his

judgement seat.

Isn't it easy though to judge others? And not forgive their wrongness, their

foolishness, which may affect or even harm us? Being told we ought to forgive

doesn't always work. Indeed we sometimes cherish our hurt feelings. Isn't it

only human after all?

Yet we just prayed about it in our Lord's Prayer, expecting others to forgive us.

So, yes, maybe I'll be prepared to forgive someone once or twice, or

exceptionally three times, but when Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive up

to 7 times, wasn't that a bit over the top? Jesus response then is mindblowing.

What he's really saying is that forgiveness isn't a commodity to be

reckoned on a calculator. In fact not only should it not be quantified, it should

be limitless. The language of numbers is inappropriate when contemplating

forgiveness. Yet still it isn't easy to understand fully, believe and accept God's

forgiveness of us.

The parable of the Unforgiving Servant reminds all would-be disciples that the

law must be tempered with mercy in our dealings with one another. In the

same way as we look to receive mercy from our Heavenly Father.

So why does that first servant, having been treated so generously by the king

go off and immediately act so ruthlessly toward his fellow servant? He seems

unrealistically heartless. Surely no one would do that.

Looking again at the parable, we may see how humanly difficult genuine

forgiveness is from both sides. And begin to recognise the root of our human

forgiveness may only be found through divine forgiveness. The king let the

servant off an incalculable debt; which must have built up over considerable

time. The servant must have been aware of its growth. Yet when confronted

with its enormity, and the consequences - amazingly he's let off! Then on

being granted such great forgiveness and freedom from obligation, he shows

no appropriate response - No rejoicing with his family, no happy thanksgiving

with his fellow servants, no reflection on his good fortune and its cost to the forgiver. Forgiveness has to do with something very different from distributing

justice. The servant is still trying to play power games when dealing with

others. He fails to recognise and acknowledge the overriding superiority of

mercy. Could it be that he didn't truly believe he'd been forgiven; couldn't

accept forgiveness; didn't feel he really deserved it?

That can be true for many people. Each Christian works out their faith, choices

and decisions between themselves and their Lord. Therefore as people of

faith we shouldn't judge one another, rather acknowledge and celebrate each

others commitment to living out our beliefs before our Heavenly Father

through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Differences of opinion, attitude and application of faith, may lead to

disapproval and even passing our thoughts of others around, which won't

strengthen God's people and kingdom.

Prejudices are not sufficient grounds for denying admittance to God's Family.

And He Doesn't.

We receive mercy and forgiveness through the work of our Saviour. If we have

received we must see it is given to all. For each of us is saved by grace

through faith. We are all children of our heavenly Lord. Amen.

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