Reflection and Sunday Service 13 May

  a green cross motif 13 May 2018

a wee reflection on the week ...

I received an enquiry asking if we had any old copies of the Church Hymnary 3rd Edition available, as a school was looking for copies for its pupils’ use.   Although initially a little surprised that any school retained a central Christian element in its assemblies, I was also pleased to think that some schools desired a spiritual, let alone Christian, ethos to aspects of its life.  However, I am not sure that CH3 is necessarily the most theological or musically engaging for young people nowadays as it is not really a ‘child-friendly’ expression of faith.  The person enquiring did indicate that its strength was that it fitted neatly into a blazer pocket.  Again, I understand that, as my own children carried the very book in their pocket en-route to assembly from classroom, but it was replaced with a more contemporary school edition of favourite ‘modern’ songs as well as old classics including the school hymn.  But should restricted size be the main reason for the choice of spiritual enlightenment?

It simply made me wonder how often what we believe is created or accepted because it fits neatly into our pocket.   We often want to put God in our pocket and have a concept of faith to fit our notions, suit our needs, or be accommodated within our lifestyle.  Is the best kind of God one which fits neatly into our ideas and assumptions? Or is it one who will not be contained but will wear through the threads and a burst out of the blazer pocket of our neatly held concepts because our image of God is often far too small and needs to be enlarged somewhat.

And often those who do not believe or are not inspired or drawn to faith seem to have a pocket-sized view of God which they believe we hold dear.  I do not desire a God who fits in my pocket – comfortable and more manageable as that is, but I need a God to dishevel me and disturb me and push me on and challenge me, and expand my small-minded view of the world which centres around me.  God will not be contained, restrained and confined to our small notion of him.

 

this sunday’s service

READINGS FOR THE WEEK

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19


Psalm 1                 True Happiness

1 Happy are those

    who reject the advice of evil people,

    who do not follow the example of sinners

    or join those who have no use for God.

2 Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord,

    and they study it day and night.

3 They are like trees that grow beside a stream,

    that bear fruit at the right time,

    and whose leaves do not dry up.

They succeed in everything they do.

 

4 But evil people are not like this at all;

    they are like straw that the wind blows away.

5 Sinners will be condemned by God

    and kept apart from God's own people.

6 The righteous are guided and protected by the Lord,

    but the evil are on the way to their doom.

Amen.

 

Acts 1:15-17 & 21-26         Regrouping and redirecting

15 A few days later there was a meeting of the believers, about a hundred and twenty in all, and Peter stood up to speak. 16 “My friends,” he said, “the scripture had to come true in which the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, made a prediction about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 Judas was a member of our group, for he had been chosen to have a part in our work.”

… then …

21-22 “So then, someone must join us as a witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He must be one of the men who were in our group during the whole time that the Lord Jesus travelled about with us, beginning from the time John preached his message of baptism until the day Jesus was taken up from us to heaven.”

 

23 So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs.” 26 Then they drew lots to choose between the two men, and the one chosen was Matthias, who was added to the group of eleven apostles.  Amen.

 

1 John 5:9-13       Life in Christ

9 We believe human testimony; but God's testimony is much stronger, and he has given this testimony about his Son. 10 So those who believe in the Son of God have this testimony in their own heart; but those who do not believe God, have made a liar of him, because they have not believed what God has said about his Son. 11 The testimony is this: God has given us eternal life, and this life has its source in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has this life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  Amen.
 

John 17:6-19        Jesus prays for his disciples

6 “I have made you known to those you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me. They have obeyed your word, 7 and now they know that everything you gave me comes from you. 8 I gave them the message that you gave me, and they received it; they know that it is true that I came from you, and they believe that you sent me.

9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those you gave me, for they belong to you. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and my glory is shown through them. 11 And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me. I protected them, and not one of them was lost, except the man who was bound to be lost—so that the scripture might come true. 13 And now I am coming to you, and I say these things in the world so that they might have my joy in their hearts in all its fullness. 14 I gave them your message, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but I do ask you to keep them safe from the Evil One. 16 Just as I do not belong to the world, they do not belong to the world. 17 Dedicate them to yourself by means of the truth; your word is truth. 18 I sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. 19 And for their sake I dedicate myself to you, in order that they, too, may be truly dedicated to you.  Amen.

 

Comments on readings (from Christian Aid Website)

In John’s gospel, Jesus is worried about the challenges that his followers will face when he’s gone. They will need to take over, continue his ministry and lead the work to transform theworld. They will now become witnesses. Jesus prays for the disciples saying: ‘I pray for them. Iam not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.’ Why doesn’t Jesus pray for the world? After all, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.

Instead, Jesus prays for his disciples because he is entrusting them with his mission – and his mission is to the world. When we bear witness to the good news, we join Jesus’ mission, and we liveout God’s declared love for the world, a love so strong that he even went to the Cross.This Christian Aid Week, we witness the transforming power of love in Vilia’s life. (Look for story
on Christian Aid website if you like
). This transformation was made possible by ordinary people
like us who joined together to put their faith into action. They did what Jesus prayed for his followers to do. This Christian Aid Week, Kingdom-builders from all walks of life and Christian traditionscome together to step out in mission for the world’s poorest people. From house-to-housecollections, sponsored walks and church collections to Big Brekkies, abseils and quiz nights, we are united in our belief that the world can and must be changed. Together, we raise vital money to support our poorest brothers and sisters around the globe. We pray for justice as we witness at the heart of our communities.

 

 

PRAYER

A Prayer from Christian Aid

 

Give us, Lord God, a vision of your Kingdom

as your love desires,

a world where the weak are protected,

and none go hungry,

a world where life is shared,

and enjoyed by all,

a world where all races, nations and cultures

live in tolerance and respect,

a world where peace is built with justice,

and justice is guided by love.

Give us the inspiration and courage

to build your Kingdom

here and now.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 


Note:

The Reflection and Sunday Service is taken from the weEbulletin which the minister emails each week to those interested whether or not they belong to the church. If you wish to be on the mailing list please let the minister, Stewart McPherson know.
Email: SMcPherson@churchofscotland.org.uk

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