SUNDAY SERVICE 14th February 2021
Good morning on this chilly February morning. Here is this week’s Sunday Service, and I hope you can take a few relaxing minutes to chill out and listen to the words which are written just for you. I hope you find them helpful and thought provoking. Take care, keep warm and safe and may God bless you. Iain
Online Sunday Service
Good morning – how are you today?
Welcome to our online Sunday Service for the 14th February 2021.
Well, today is of course Valentines Day – how many valentines cards did you receive?
Did the postie have to use a bigger van to deliver them all to you!? J
Now, don’t be shy! J
Today we are taking a look at Jesus in His home Church.
It is still early on in His Ministry and he has been out an about Preaching and Teaching – and he decides to go back to his home town – and we’ll hear how that went in a moment – but first let us pray.
Holy, Heavenly Father, we thank you that for all your greatness, wonder and holiness, we can come to you in prayer, no matter who we are or where we are – you hear us as we open our hearts to you.
We ask that you bless our loved ones and keep them safe in these challenging times.
Bless those who are affected by the Covid virus, and bless those who are on the frontline as well as those who work behind the scenes in the fight to eradicate it from our world.
Bless too, all those who have no-one to pray for them, keep them in your sight and watch over them we pray.
Loving father, we know that we have no right to ask you these things – and we know that we must disappoint you at times – you deserve better – and so in all sincerity, we ask for your forgiveness, your mercy and your continued tolerance.
Now we take a few moments, as we gather all these thoughts together and bring you our own private and personal prayers….. in the peace of our silence…………….
Lord, hear our prayers – and hear us now as we pray together in faith – the family prayer – the Lord’s prayer ~
Our Father.. Who art in heaven.. Hallowed be thy name.. Thy kingdom come.. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven….. Give us this day our daily bread.. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.. Lead us not into temptation.. But deliver us from evil .. For thine is the kingdom.. The power and the glory forever…. Amen.
Our Readings for today are –
Isaiah 61 : 1 – 2 & Luke 4 : 16 – 22 & 28 – 30
If you have a Bible to hand, then why not join me and read with me as I read from ~
Isaiah 61 : 1 – 2
Let us listen to God’s Holy Word.
The Year of the Lord’s Favour
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour”
And from –
Luke 4 : 16 – 22 & 28 – 30 Christian Standard Bible
Rejection at Nazareth
16 Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As usual, he entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written:
18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me
to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.
20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
22 They were all speaking well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from his mouth; yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
28 When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. 29 They got up, drove him out of town, and brought him to the edge of the hill that their town was built on, intending to hurl him over the cliff. 30 But he passed right through the crowd and went on his way.”
This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God
well – just when we thought winter was on it’s way out – and the nights are getting lighter – we get hit with the ‘beast from the east 2 !
Bringing heavy snow and dropping temperatures!
And with lockdown and the weather – it’s easy for us to become downhearted and glum.
that’s a great word isn’t it!? Glum.
It describes wonderfully how we feel when things aren’t going well – we’re fed up an a bit gloomy.
Perhaps that’s how Jesus felt after the incident in the Synagogue – that we heard about in our text from Luke’s gospel this morning.
He had been out and about – preaching and teaching – and now He was returning home.
If there had been newspapers in those days – the headlines of the ‘Nazareth Times’ might have said something like – ‘local boy made good’ – or – ‘Mary’s boy returns to a hero’s welcome’
What better place to receive a hero’s welcome – than on home ground – with a home crowd? – or so He might have thought!
And so – this was the setting in which Jesus was invited to read the scriptures in His home church, or rather, synagogue.
He stood up – unrolled the scroll and read those ancient words that we heard in our first reading this morning ~
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me – because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.”
And so on….
When He had finished – He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
So far – so good. Except, perhaps, for a few uncomfortable moments as one or two thought that he seemed to place an unnecessary emphasis on the words ‘me.’
When he said – “that prophesy of Isaiah has now come to pass – look – it’s me that has come to “to bring good news to the poor – to proclaim release to the captives – the recovery of sight to the blind – and to let the oppressed go free” – me!! – and you’re here to see it!!”
verse 22 tells us that at first, they “spoke well of Him and his gracious words.”
But as Jesus continued to speak – things took a turn for the worse.
‘Is He saying what I think He’s saying!?” one would have said – “Yes” another would have replied – “I heard it too – he said he was the Messiah – sent from God to fulfill the ancient prophesy!” –
Then perhaps another silence as they digested what it all meant…
Only broken when someone says what they’re all thinking – “Isn’t that Joseph’s boy!?”
“Yes” someone would have replied – “I remember him running around as a lad – barefoot – and now He’s telling us he’s the long awaited Messiah! – who does he think he is – God’s gift!!??”
Little did they know – that is exactly who He was – and is.
And as these words – and these thoughts, spread through the synagogue – like the ripples from a pebble thrown into water – uncertainty and unrest followed.
Silence – then anger.
Anger at this blasphemy – as they would have seen it –
Anger that a mere, unclean mortal – could claim to be the Messiah – the Saviour promised from God.
and this anger boiled over – and we heard in verses 29 & 30 – ‘all the people in the synagogue were furious – and they got up and ran him out of town – they drove to a hill top in order to throw him down the cliff – but he walked right through them.’
And so, to say that they were ‘unhappy’ would be an understatement.
But why – I wonder – were they so angry?
Because this heresy and blasphemy – became too much for them – and they expressed themselves in a way that many still do today – not with dialogue – but with violence.
Jesus sensed their unrest in those few words at the end of v.22 “Isn’t that Joseph’s son!?” – He knew that they could only ever see im in worldly terms.
That no matter what He said or did – to them – He would always be that wee boy from the local joiners workshop – Joseph’s boy.
What short memories they had – for it had only been 30 years or so before – that the Shepherds and the Angels – had been in attendance at His birth.
And then there was that business with the Star – and those mysterious Wise Men from the east who came to pay homage to him.
Had they forgotten all that?
how many forget today? How many in the world today have the same kind of attitude towards Jesus?
Many – aye too many.
They celebrate His birth with party’s, food and presents – then he is forgotten until next December.
They don’t want to hear what He has to say – it’s too challenging – too “unbelievable” – it doesn’t fit in with their preconceived ideas.
People stop praying and wonder why they can’t hear god’s voice anymore.
We take religion out of our schools and wonder why so many of our young people go off the rails.
Many stop coming to church – and wonder why they feel lost and alone.
Many don’t read the Bible – and wonder why there seems to be no ‘Good News’ for them.
Many ‘speak well of Jesus’ (v22) – but soon lose interest when they think His words don’t fit in with their lifestyle – instead, of course, realizing that we need to change our lifestyles – to fit in with His ways and His words.
The Reading from Luke’s Gospel is headed ‘Rejection in Nazareth’ which was a reflection of the society of the day – and more importantly for us – it’s a reflection on our own society, here, today, sadly.
people still don’t listen to his words – or if they do then they reject them as being ‘old fashioned’ and out of date with modern day life.
They reject him because and He calls us out of our comfy-cosy faith – to make a difference to the lives of others
They don’t know that the very word ‘Gospel’ literally means ‘Good News’ – good news for all – if they would only come and hear it for themselves.
When Jesus speaks – do we, do you, listen ?
Or do we reject Him – close our ears to what He has to say – because it doesn’t suit us? or fit in with our lifestyle?
Well, it’s up to you – your choice –
But it makes you think doesn’t it?
Or at least, I hope it does.
And in Jesus name.
And may God bless this preaching of his Holy Word – and may all the glory and the praise – be His.
‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten
Commandments with her five and six-year-olds. After explaining the commandment to ‘honour your father and your mother’, she asked, ‘Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?’ Without missing a beat, one boy (the oldest of a family of seven) answered, ‘Is it – Thou shalt not kill?’
The Bible is an amazing book – or rather, set of books – and interpreting the meaning of it all is no easy feat.
Men and women have been trying to do that over centuries.
Those who heard Jesus read in the Synagogue
didn’t grasp the truth that He was trying to tell them.
And sometimes we don’t grasp the message or the implications of His Message.
But don’t let that worry you – because
all we really need to know – is that it all comes down to one word, a word that we hear so much about in the Bible –– LOVE.
It was because of Love that God created the world.
It was because of Love that God sent His son down to Earth.
That Saviour that Isaiah prophesied.
It was because of Love that God that Jesus gave up His life – for you and for me –
You see, it ‘s all about love.
God’s love for us – our love for Him and for each other.
What could be more appropriate for Valentines Day ??
And every day.
Something for us all to think about…
May you know 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 know and love – and ought to love – this day and everyday.
Don’t forget that This Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday – (pancake day to you and I) – and Wednesday is Ash Wednesday – the first day of the season of Lent – and we will be looking at that over the next few weeks.
But until then – take care
May God bless you – and your loved ones too.
Have a good week – and please – keep safe.
Be sure and look out for the Midweek ‘Meditation’ which is Posted every Wednesday Morning.
Have good week – and Please – keep safe
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46 : 10