Here’s Martin’s reflection for Sunday 01 August.
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Our worship session starts at 11.00 Greenwich Mean Time.
London Road Congregational Church Reflection 7/11
It’s the difference between a need and a want
Call to Worship
Friends, let us worship God today, for God is great –
God has blessed us with life, with faith, and with community.
Let us worship God today, for God is good –
God forgives us, and encourages us, and loves us.
Let us worship God today –
Because we are God’s people.
Let us worship God.
Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier;
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
Loving, Teaching, Empowering:
Let us worship God.
With eyes to see,
And ears to hear,
With lips to sing,
And hands to help:
Let us worship God with the fullness of our being.
Let us pray
Father let us have this time together to recognise just who you are what you mean to us. Help us to refocus our lives on you as the source and purpose of all things. Let this time be one of blessing for each other and for you. We thank you that we can have this time and want to worship you. Amen
Let us say together the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Hymn Take my life
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us. They will have power over the fish, the birds, and all animals, domestic and wild,[d] large and small.” 27 So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, 28 blessed them, and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals.
5 One day Jesus was standing on the shore of Lake Gennesaret while the people pushed their way up to him to listen to the word of God. 2 He saw two boats pulled up on the beach; the fishermen had left them and were washing the nets. 3 Jesus got into one of the boats—it belonged to Simon—and asked him to push off a little from the shore. Jesus sat in the boat and taught the crowd
Jesus Walks on the Water
22 Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people away. 23 After sending the people away, he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; 24 and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it.
25 Between three and six o’clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. 26 When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear.
27 Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don’t be afraid!”
28 Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.”
29 “Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. 30 But when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried.
31 At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”
32 They both got into the boat, and the wind died down. 33 Then the disciples in the boat worshiped Jesus. “Truly you are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
I don’t intend to speak for long this morning as what I want to say can be said quite quickly and perhaps would be better said without great expansion so that the point isn’t missed.
I was listening to something recently and they referred to the stories in the two Gospel passages. They pointed out something to me that I probably knew but when they said it, it hit me so much I had to just stop and praise God.
When Jesus first met Peter, or Simon, we are not told that He asked to get into the boat, just that he did. He also told them to push out into the waters after he had finished speaking.
When God created the world, he created everything, sorted everything, finished everything, and then created humans.
And then there was my third passage where Jesus sends the disciples away and then walks to then on the water and calls Peter to him.
So what was the lightbulb moment for me, or the way these passages were introduced that hit me? When Jesus entered into Simon’s life and involved him in his work it wasn’t because Jesus needed Simon to help, it wasn’t because Jesus couldn’t do what he wanted without him. He got in his boat because he wanted to. God created the whole world without us and did a spectacular job, he chose to create us and have a relationship with us. Jesus could walk on water and he could have walked out onto the waters and spoken to the multitude but he chose not to. God and Jesus could do everything without us quite fine, and often far better, but he chooses to get into our lives and involve us in his plans because he wants you and me. When Simon has his moments it isn’t critical because Jesus doesn’t need him to always have it all together. When Thomas doubts and struggles it doesn’t matter because Jesus is fine without his strong faith.
I don’t have to be adequate because Jesus is capable of all and much more than what I could contribute.
The people who Jesus mixed with, who everyone rejected, didn’t need to achieve, succeed, conform or anything to any standard of acceptance because what Jesus did on the cross is enough to cover everything. We don’t need to do, we just have to submit and accept the grace that is available. The reason why Jesus had such an impact with the people on the fringes is that he walks through their storm and got into their boat whether they had earned it or asked for it or sought it.
Jesus does not need you – he wants you.
Jesus does not need you to do anything – he accepts you.
You are loved without merit.
I’m going to pause and let that sink in, but I think you’ll appreciate that that message will have an impact when spoken to those who feel the opposite because of how society treats them.
Hymn and Offertory And Can it Be
And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
We remember the stories that Jesus’ friends tell,
stories of bread broken and shared, feeding a multitude,
stories of being gathered together, enemy and friend, around tables,
stories of unlikely guests revealing the face of the sacred.
They say that that it was on a night of both celebration and betrayal
that he took the bread leftover on the table,
blessed it and broke it;
reminding them that it is in the breaking that we become whole,
in losing our lives that we find them, in serving that we are served.
As the grain scattered becomes one in the loaf,
when we eat this bread, we become one with one another.
They say that he took the cup also leftover on the table, poured out and sharing,
remembering with them, the life-giving breath even now pounding a rhythm through our veins,
the breath of life from whence we come the breath that precedes and follows all that we can see – at the very beginning God breathed life into us, when Jesus breathes his last breath he breathed new life and a hope of new life into the world.
As the grapes find life in the vine, when we drink this cup,
we become at one with the source of life itself.
And so we pray:
Come, holy Spirit, come.
Bless this bread and bless this fruit of the vine.
Bless all of us in our eating and drinking that our eyes might be open,
that we might recognize the risen Christ in our midst,
indeed in one another.
Come, holy Spirit, come.
We eat this bread and remember Jesus’ sacrifice for each of us.
Take and eat, do this in remembrance of what Jesus did and allow the Grace of God to minister to you and your needs today.
We drink this cup together to remember the price Jesus had to pay.
Take and drink, do this in remembrance of what Jesus did and allow the Grace of God to minister to you and your needs today.
Prayer of Thanksgiving/Dedication
Holy God, we came to this table
Wanting you to speak, to say something that speaks to where we are
To feed and nourish us
You do meet us here and we thank you that knowingly or unknowingly every encounter with you changes us and makes us more like you.
We thank you, living, loving God. Amen.
Hymn Oh for a thousand tongues to sing
1 O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!
2 My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro’ all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.
3 Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.
4 He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
he sets the prisoner free;
his blood can make the foulest clean;
his blood availed for me.
5 To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the Church in earth and heaven.