20th September 2020
Good morning all.
Please find this weeks’ Sunday Service copied below if you’d like to read it.
I am planning to record the full Sunday Service in the next few weeks.
Some of you said that you prefer the text format, while the majority preferred the Audio version of the Midweek Meditation – as a number of people said – so you can just “sit back, relax, close your eyes and listen.”
But, for now, until I can get that sorted, please draw up a comfy seat, take a deep breath, exhale slowly, relax – and I hope you find something in the service which will give you some comfort, reassurance and food for thought.
I hope this finds you well at this scary time. I say ‘scary’ because there are still those who are ignoring the guidelines, putting the safety of the rest of us in danger. I hear of people saying “ I’m not staying in, I don’t care what the advice is, I’ll do what I want to do!” – and that is scary – for the rest of us. Is it any wonder then that things are not getting any better, but if anything, getting worse.
The welfare of others is, or ought to be, of concern for all of us.
Caring for others is, or ought to be, not only a fundamental Christian characteristic (Jesus said “Comfort for my people”) but an essential feature of living in community with others.
Our Service this morning continues the theme of Healing – and we hear of another instance, as is so often the case, where Jesus performs a healing, where good spirited people intercede on behalf of someone in need. Caring for others.
But before all that – let us pray ~
Eternal and heavenly Father – Lord of lords, King of kings – we gather in our different homes, but as one people, one holy family – to bring you our praise and our worship.
We come, each with all our personal problems and issues – some physical and others spiritual.
Physical in the things we can see and feel – perhaps a breakdown of a relationship which is giving us pain – perhaps illness and concern for the future – or anxiety or apprehension for a loved one.
Spiritual – since many of us know that our faith is weak.
Our doubts and questions are many – and our commitments to you are few. Perhaps we struggle with our understanding of what “faith” really means.
Loving lord – we bring these issues to you – asking for a healing – whether physical or spiritual – knowing that for all our many faults and failings – you love us still and want only what is best for us.
Knowing that through your power – and by your grace – we can be renewed and refreshed – cleansed and made new.
Lay your hand upon us Lord – bless us – heal us – give us your peace of mind that we might have a calm assurance that you will sustain and maintain us in whatever way each one of us needs.
Lord help us to see the needs of others – to see that my neighbour, my friends – all have issues which worry them too – may I hold out the hand of friendship to them – with the same love and concern that Jesus gives to me.
Lord you are a great and awesome God – and we know only too well that our lives must fall short of what you expect of us – and yes, here we are once more – asking for your forgiveness for the many things we have said and done which are not in accordance with our claim to be Christian.
Hear us now listening Lord – as we bring all these thoughts, concerns and confessions to you – in our silent prayer……………
Lord hear us – in the peace of our silence…………………
Listening Lord – as undeserving as we are – we pray that you will forgive us and bless us with your mercy and your grace.
Lord we know that you hear us when we pray to you in faith – so hear us now as we say together – the prayer which brings us together as one family – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~
Our Father, who is in heaven,
bless-ed be your name;
your kingdom come;
your will be done;
May it be on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily needs.
And help us to forgive others,
As you forgive us.
Keep us from falling in to temptation;
and deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
the power and all the glory,
We have 2 Readings today – the first is from the Prophet Jeremiah and the second from the Gospel of Mark and we hear of Simon’s mother in law being healed.
Let’s read them for ourselves –
Jeremiah 33 : 6
“I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”
Mark 1 : 29 – 39 – from the New Living Translation
Jesus Heals Many People
29 After Jesus left the synagogue with James and John, they went to Simon and Andrew’s home. 30 Now Simon’s mother-in-law was sick in bed with a high fever. They told Jesus about her right away. 31 So he went to her bedside, took her by the hand, and helped her sit up. Then the fever left her, and she prepared a meal for them.
32 That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. 33 The whole town gathered at the door to watch. 34 So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.”
This is the Word of the Lord – Thanks be to God.
Do any of you remember the the American TV series of about 20 years ago – called “Action Man’?
You’re probably all far too young!
He was a Super hero who, like most Super hero’s, came to the aid of those in trouble – defeating all the odds, saving them and helping them back to a place of safety.
I remember one of the children in my Sunday School in the Highlands at the time saying “Mr Ramsden, is Jesus a super hero?” and I said to him “Yes Lucy, he’s the Super hero that all the Super hero’s look up to!” And she replied “Cooool !”
When we hear of the exploits of Jesus, we see that He wasn’t just man of Words – but a man of Action too!
He is known for ‘casting out demons’ and much more – but this week we hear of a more gentle healing.
It was after church – Jesus and his friends were walking from the synagogue over to Simon and his brother Andrews’ house for lunch.
James and John were with him.
Simon mentioned to Jesus that His mother in law wasn’t at all well – in fact they were very concerned for her.
And what we see next is the love and care of Jesus for his friend – and his friends’ mother in law.
He goes upstairs – has a few gentle words with her – and then takes her hand helps her up, and she is healed.
No shouting – no spells – no incantations like so many of the magicians and exorcists who were commonplace at the time.
A quiet, simple, gentle kindness – and a miracle took place.
It is a perfect example of the quiet humility and strength of this “heavenly man” – Jesus Christ.
The man of whom it was said – “Jesus is the man who has turned all our sunsets into sunrises.”
Jesus the man of whom Martin Luther King said – “look at Jesus – and see God!”
And so, in Him, we see the loving tenderness of God.
But over the years, concerned has been raised over a couple of verses in this text.
It’s the second half of verse 31 – “the fever left her – and she began to wait on them”
“Why is it” – the more cynical ask – “that instead of resting after her ordeal – she has to serve the men !”
Well, I have been thinking about this, and I remember being told about my great grandmother who lived in the Highlands many years ago.
She was reputed to have healing hands and was much respected – and called upon in the local community.
She was a devout Christian – and never claimed that she had any special powers – although she clearly did – but she always gave the glory to Jesus – who she firmly believed worked through her.
The gift had come upon her after a long illness in her youth – which she pulled through, she asserts – through the power of prayer.
And she said, simply and sincerely – “ I was saved to serve” – “Jesus saved me” – she was certain – “so that I might serve others.”
Through her gratitude – she took great joy in serving the one who was – quite literally – her Saviour, Jesus Christ.
“Saved to serve”.
Perhaps this is what was in the heart of Simon’s mother in law……. “saved to serve”.
In her gratitude for what Jesus did for her – she wanted to serve Him.
How happy it would make Jesus if we were to do the same !
Serving Him with joy and thanksgiving – for all He has done for us – and for those we love.
Jesus is your Saviour – as he is mine too.
How – I wonder – do we show our thanks to Him ?
In what way, do we ‘serve Him’?
This passage from Mark’s gospel – is very typical of all scripture – it has hidden depths – nuances to discover and lessons for us to learn from.
We also see – for example – the trust, the confidence, the belief and the faith of those first disciples.
They had only known Jesus for a short while – perhaps like some reading this today – yet they knew that they could confidently bring their fears and concerns to Him – and that He wouldn’t disappoint them.
Many in today’s world experience and endure needless pain and suffering.
They feel lost and adrift, they feel unloved and unimportant – yet there is one who will heal them of their pain and suffering – Jesus Christ – if they would only turn to him – he will not disappoint them.
In the words of the hymn ‘what a friend we have in Jesus” ~
“oh what peace we often forfeit – oh what needles pain we bear – all because we do not carry – everything to God in prayer”
Good advice to us – if we would heed it.
This is why daily prayer is so important for us – to ‘touch base’ – to talk with our faithful friend – and to bring Him all our concerns, anxieties and fears.
“A trouble shared is a troubled halved” or so they say – and in the very act of praying – as we talk to God and listen for His words to us – we are relieved of much of our worries – our load is lightened.
In the calm waters of prayer – just ‘being’ with God –knowing that we are safe in His holy hands – gives us a spiritual healing of the heart – and a wonderful peace of the mind.
Jesus knew the importance of prayer too.
We hear in verse 35 of this morning’s reading from Mark’s Gospel that “while it was still early – Jesus got up and went off to a solitary place – where He prayed.”
In the busy-ness of His life – with all the demands that others put upon Him – He knew that if He was to stay strong – physically, mentally and spiritually – then He must ‘take time out’ to pray.
He knew that time spent with God – his Father…….. Our father too……… With “our father who art in heaven” – was never time wasted.
it was time well spent – as He recharged and re-invigorated himself in body, mind and soul to meet the demands of a busy life.
And that holds true for you and i too – time spent in prayer – daily devotions – is a time which calms our soul – and re-energises and re-vitalises us..
Prayer is the food which sustains us on our journey of faith.
How much time do you spend in prayer?……….
And so as we look at these readings today – as we ‘unpack’ them – study them – we see that God offers us both love and healing.
We don’t know how He does it – but we do know that He does heal us – if not physically – then spiritually –
When we open our hearts and our minds to him – that great and amazing God who created the universe –
The warm and gentle God who walks with you each day.
How amazing is that !?
How blessed we are !!
And in Jesus’ name.
And may God bless this preaching of His holy word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.
LET US PRAY ~
Lord of all life,
We come to you in prayer, giving thanks for all your goodness to us – for all that you have done and continue to do for me and for those I love.
We pray for the world, with all it’s problems and issues – asking that you will help us to live in harmony with each other, respecting our different views and faiths – remembering that we are all brothers and sisters, all made in your image.
We pray for the sick and the bereaved, those suffering the pain of losing a loved one – maybe someone reading this today knows that pain – and we ask our great God to bring you both comfort and solace.
Today, we think of the turmoil which surrounds us, from the fires in California, the mass shooting in New York to the Pandemic which is devastating our communities.
From the riots, the hatred and the poor, the hungry and those who are outcast by our society.
We bring them to you and lay them at your feet, asking that you heal our broken world and bring peace and harmony to us, living as you intended us live, in peace, respect and love for one another.
Listening God – hear my own prayer as I as for your blessing upon my family and friends. Today I particularly pray for………….think of someone you know who needs a prayer – whisper their name………..God hears your words……….
Bless them caring Father, watch over them – watch over us all, keep us safe and keep us faithful, keep us ever aware of our need for you in our lives.
This we pray in the name of the one who shows us how to live in love and harmony with all those we know and love – and ought to love – our dear Saviour – Jesus Christ.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Have heard the story of the lady who bought a lovely picture and asked her husband to hang it up in the hall for her?
He hung the picture in the kitchen and they both stood there and admired it – as you do.
But when they came down the next morning – the picture was hanging crooked (or as we might day –‘squint’ !) – so they straightened the picture and went on with their day.
But when they came down the next morning – the picture was squint again ! – so they straightened it and that was fine.
But every morning the picture was squint again !
And so the husband finally took it off of the hook, and on measuring it again – found that the hook on the back of the picture wasn’t in the centre – so he centred the hook – put it backup and it has stayed straight ever since !
Just as a picture hangs crooked if it’s not properly centred – so it is with our lives – if we don’t make Christ the centre of our lives.
We’ll always be ‘out of kilter’ – no matter how hard we might try – unless we centre our lives around him.
Only then can we hope to receive help, health and healing.
So here’s a thought ~
Many today are “self” centred
How about you ?
Is your life self centred – or Christ – centred ?
I pray that it is Christ – centred.
But don’t worry if it’s not – it CAN be.
Just close your eyes and ask him to come in to your life – and then live His away. No Rocket science needed.
And all the blessings and promises of peace and contentment; happiness and healing that He makes to all of us – will be given to you –
And that’s a promise.
And in Jesus’ name.
Food for thought for us all…
And now – go out in love, joy and peace
Go with God’s love in your heart – and His hand on your shoulder, watching and guiding you in all you say and do..
And may the blessing of almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and friends and all who you love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.
Take care Brn and May God Bless you
And those who you love.
Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Medication’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.
And can I remind those of you who aren’t too far away from Kilmacolm, that our Murray Chapel is currently opened for a time of personal Peace and Prayer, each day from Monday to Saturday from 11am – 1pm.
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46 : 10