SUNDAY SERVICE 14th March 2021
4th Sunday in Lent.
Good morning to you all, I hope this finds you well. Are you able to find a short while to sit and listen to this weeks Sunday Service? I hope that you are and you find that it speaks to you (literally) and gives you encouragement and food for thought.
Take care, keep safe and God bless. Iain
Online Sunday Service
14th March 2021
4th Sunday in Lent
“A word to the wise…”
Good morning folks,
How are you all this morning? I hope and pray that all is well with you, wherever you are.
Thank you for joining me on this 4th Sunday In Lent 2021.
We will be looking at matters of Faith and see that all is not always, as it might seem.
Another step on the road to Easter.
But before that –
Let us hear 2 verses of that lovely hymn – with the encouraging words –
“I do not know what lies ahead
the way I cannot see,
yet one stands near to be my guide
He’ll show the way to me”
Let us Pray ~
You are the God of the universe, of our world, and you are the God of my life.
There is also a sense where you are my Heavenly Mother too – you gave me life, you nurtured me and watched over me like a mother hen watches over her chicks.
Today we pray for the family of Sarah Everard
In their loss of Sarah in the most distressing of circumstances.
Watch over them, we pray, and walk with them through their dark time.
Lord, help me to live a life worthy of being your child, living a life, loving others, seeking out the lonely and the sick, the hungry and the lost.
Bless those who are suffering at this time, perhaps grieving for a loved one or distressed by circumstance.
Bless our loved ones and watch over them too, we pray.
And forgive each of us for our many faults and failings, for those things which burden us with guilt – which play on our minds – things we pray you will forgive us for having said, done or thought which are not in accordance with the life you would wish us to live.
Be with us now as we sit for a few silent moments, each with our own thoughts and prayers – each with our own personal prayer of confession.
Lord, hear our silent prayers …………
Forgive us Father – bless us with your mercy and your grace, we pray. – and hear us now as we come as the family of your Church, and pray together 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
And now we come to our reading – and if you have Bible to hand why not read long with me ~
Our reading is – 1st Corinthians 1 : 18 – 25
Let us hear the Word of God.
‘God’s Power and Wisdom in Christ Jesus’
18 The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.
I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent.”
20 So what does this say about the philosopher, the law expert, or anyone in this world who is skilled in making clever arguments? God has made the wisdom of the world look foolish. 21 This is what God in his wisdom decided: Since the world did not find him through its own wisdom, he used the message that sounds foolish to save those who believe it.
22 The Jews ask for miraculous signs, and the Greeks want wisdom. 23 But this is the message we tell everyone: Christ was killed on a cross. This message is a problem for Jews, and to other people it is nonsense. 24 But Christ is God’s power and wisdom to the people God has chosen, both Jews and Greeks. 25 Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Even the weakness of God is stronger than human strength
This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God
WELL – TODAY IS THE 4TH SUNDAY ON OUR JOURNEY OF LENT – AND, OF COURSE IT’S MOTHER’S DAY.
A DAY WHEN MOTHERS ALL OVER THE WORLD GET COLD TEA AND LUMPY TOAST BREAKFAST!
PERHAPS A WEE BUNCH OF FLOWERS AND HAND MADE CARD.
DON’T WORRY IF YOU DIDN’T GET THAT,
NEITHER DID I !!
AND THE WHOLE IDEA OF A HOME MADE CARD IS LOVELY ISN’T IT?
..MADE WITH LOVE..
AN UNSOPHISTICATED – UNASSUMING – STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART, KIND OF LOVE.
THAT’S THE KIND OF LOVE THAT WE OUGHT TO HAVE FOR GOD, FOR OTHERS, AND FOR OURSELVES.
AYE, BUT DO WE?
LET ME EXPLAIN, BUT FIRST I’D LIKE ASK YOU A QUESTION –
ARE YOU INTELLIGENT?
WELL, I SUPPOSE MOST OF US WOULD SAY ‘YES’ TO THAT. WE MANAGED TO GET OURSELVES UP AND DRESSED THIS MORNING – WE HAVE OUR CLOTHES ON THE RIGHT WAY ROUND WITHOUT HELP.
except for me of course who managed to get my collar on back to front! J
BUT YES – WE’RE PRETTY SMART I SUPPOSE.
BUT HERE’S ANOTHER QUESTION – “YOU MAY BE INTELLIGENT – AYE – BUT ARE YOU WISE!?”
I’m prompted to ask you that question – AS WE HEARD IN OUR READING JUST NOW – GOD SAID –
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.
I will confuse the understanding of the intelligent.”
SO MAYBE THEY’RE NOT THE SAME THING.
MANY INTELLIGENT PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK THAT BELIEVING in god, jesus and having a faith – is complete madness.
“how can you believe all that stuff?” they ask.
why would anyone want to die on a cross for others? it doesn’t make sense – to them.
WHAT ABOUT THIS ~
A SCIENTIST CALLED FRANCIS CRICK – SPENT MANY YEARS OF RESEARCH TRYING TO LOCATE JUST WHERE – IN OUR BODIES – THE SOUL WAS LOCATED….
EVENTUALLY, CLAIMED to have ‘FOUND THE SOURCE OF THE SOUL’.
BUT IT WASN’T IN SOME ‘SPIRITUAL OR SACRED’ PLACE – BUT IN A SYSTEM OF ELECTRIC IMPULSES AND CONNECTIONS IN THE BRAIN !!
of course – for those of us with a faith, the soul is much more than a system of electric impulses and TWITCHING nerve ends.
IT iS A PRECIOUS AND SPECIAL INNER PRESENCE, PLACED WITHIN EACH ONE OF US BY GOD’s holy spirit – AND IT SHAPES HOW WE LIVE OUR LIVES – AND HOW GOD INTERACTS WITH US DAY BY DAY.
BUT SAYING THAT THE SOUL CAN BE EXPLAINED IN PURELY PHYSICAL TERMS Is like saying that a cathedral is JUST a pile of stones, WOOD and glass.
It’s true, but is too simplistic.
THERE’S A STORY THAT A MAN HAD ASKED TWO SEPARATE BUILDERS WORKING ON St PAULS’ CATHEDRAL WHAT THEY WERE DOING.
ONE SAID “WELL, IT’S QUITE SIMPLE REALLY, I BUILD ONE STONE BLOCK ON TOP OF ANOTHER ALL DAY UNTIL THE JOB IS DONE”…….. THE OTHER SAID – “WHAT AM I DOING? – I AM BUILDING A WONDERFUL PLACE OF WORSHIP
TO THE GLORY OF GOD!!’.
SAME THING – DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES…
I DON’T NOW ABOUT YOU – BUT I DON’T MUCH MIND WHERE THE SOUL IS – IN MY HEAD OR IN MY HEART – PERHAPS BOTH – BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS THAT I HAVE A SOUL –
BECAUSE IT IS THE VERY ESSENCE OF WHO AND WHAT WE ARE –
ONE OF GOD’S CHILDREN – made in his image with his spirit inside me – TOTALLY LOVED AND COMPLETELY SAFE…
IT’S ALL I NEED TO KNOW…. NO HEAVY THEOLOGY NEEDED – JUST A FIRM BELIEF IN GOD’S LOVE FOR ME – AND FOR EACH OF US….
INTELLIGENCE – AS WE UNDERSTAND IT – HAS NO BEARING ON OUR SPIRITUAL AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING – OR COMMON SENSE FOR THAT MATTER…….
BEING ABLE TO FINISH THE TIMES CROSSWORD IN 2 MINUTES DOESN’T mean THAT YOU CAN BOIL AND EGG!
AN ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND EINSTEIN’S SPECIAL THEORY OF RELATIVITY, AND HOW IT IMPACTS OUR EVERYDAY LIVES – IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU CAN MAKE A PIECE OF TOAST WITHOUT BURNING IT!
AND SO WE SEE – INTELLIGENCE AND WISDOM DO NOT NECESSARILY GO HAND-IN-HAND.
SOME SCHOLARLY PEOPLE LIKE TO PUT THINGS INTO NEAT LITTLE PIGEON HOLES IN ORDER TO ANALYzE and so UNDERSTAND THEM.
PERHAPS THAT’S WHY THE RELIGIOUS AND CIVIC LEADERS OF THE DAY – FAILED TO UNDERSTAND JESUS – HE WOULDN’T FIT INTO ANY OF THEIR PIGEON HOLES – HE WAS ‘OUT-WITH’ THEIR UNDERSTANDING.
THEY COULDN’T UNDERSTAND WHO AND WHAT HE REALLY WAS – AND IS….
AND IT COULD BE SAID THAT NOTHING MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE THOSE EARLY DAYS.
MANY PEOPLE STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND WHO JESUS WAS – AND IS.
MANY STILL LOOK WITH SCORN ON THE THINGS OF JESUS –
WITH PUZZLEMENT WHEN YOU MENTION GOD OR ETERNITY.
PEOPLE WITH NO UNDERSTANDING – NO SPIRITUAL AWARENESS – STILL LOOK AT THE crucifixion and the events leading up to it, AND AFTER – THINK THE WHOLE THING IS COMPLETE MADNESS.
BUT TO THOSE WHO HAVE A FAITH IN HIM – IT MAKES ALL THE SENSE IN THE WORLD.
EVEN IF WE DON’T FULLY GRASP ALL ITS implicationS – WE DO KNOW That it DEMONSTRATES THE SUPREME LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR US.
“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD” SCRIPTURE TELLS US – “THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE…” THAT’S IT.
THAT IS WHAT THE CROSS WAS AND IS – ALL ABOUT… A GOD WHO LOVES US SO MUCH THAT HE WOULD ALLOW HIS SON TO DIE IN SUCH A WAY – SURELY SHOWS A LOVE THAT IS BEYOND ANYTHING WE COULD EVER UNDERSTAND – AND THAT’S THE KEY TO THIS WHOLE BUSINESS – LOVE.
BUT IT “DOESN’T COMPUTE” – IN A NON RELIGIOUS MIND…..THERE IS NO PIGEON HOLE FOR THIS KIND OF KIND OF LOVE.
JESUS WAS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE – AND HE WANTS US TO BE THE SAME – “LOVE OTHERS AS I LOVE YOU” HE URGES US, AYE, EVEN OUR ENEMIES – HOW ‘INTELLIGENT’ IS THAT ? – SOME ASK.
and HOW DOES THAT SQUARE IN A WORLD WHERE HUMILITY IS SEEN AS A SIGN OF VULNERABILITY – AND A WILLINGNESS TO HELP AND TO SERVE OTHERS AS SOMEHOW STRANGE OR EVEN ECCENTRIC??
IT MAY NOT BE THE “MODERN” WAY – BUT IT’S GOD’S WAY – AND IT SHOULD BE OUR WAY TOO.
EVERYTHING JESUS DID – EVERYTHING HE ENDURED – WAS BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US – FOR YOU – and FOR ME.
he endured the most painful, humiliating, degrading and agonising death so that no person on earth – who goes through the absolute worst aGOnY, HUMILIATION OR torment possible – can say that JESUS doesn’t understand their pain.
have you lost someone close ? – god knows how you feel – he WATCHED his only son DIE.
have you ever been betrayed – let down, by those you thought loved you? – jesus knows all about betrayAL!
have you had to endure physical pain and suffering? – jesus knows all about that too! – nails driven into his hands and feet – hoisted up and left to die in agony – he knows all about pain alright!!
but he endured all that – so that you and i may have the promise of forgiveness – and the HOPE of a glorious life after WE HAVE ‘PASSED ON’ FROM THIS ONE.
MANY WITHOUT FAITH WOULDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT – BUT JESUS DID – AND IT’S FROM HIM THAT WE GATHER OUR STRENGTH AND OUR ABILITY TO ENDURE AND BEAR OUR CROSSES AS WE TRAVEL THROUGH THIS JOURNEY OF LIFE.
the last line of our reading from paul’s letter to the church in corinth says – “for the foolishness of god – is wiser than mans wisdom – and the weakness of god – is stronger than mans strength”
so even WHEN WE ARE AT OUR STRONGEST AND HAVE THE MOST BRILLIANT MIND – WE DON’T EVEN COME CLOSE TO GOD AT HIS WEAKEST.
JESUS CALLS US TO love as A child loves – with aN UNSOPHISTICATED – UNASSUMING – STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART, KIND OF LOVE.
UNCLUTTERED BY HEAVY AND HIGHBROW THEORY.
JUST KNOW THAT you HAVE A SAVIOUR WHO HOLDS yoU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND.
WHO IS THERE WITH YOU IN YOUR DARKEST, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
WHO SITS ON THE HOSPITAL BED AND GIVES YOU COMFORT AND HOPE.
HE IS THERE AS WE STRUGGLE WITH LOSS AND SADNESS, guilt and shame – hE TAKES THESE THINGS FROM US – WHEN WE HAND THEM OVER TO HIM IN HEARTFELT PRAYER.
JUST AS HE’S THERE BESIDE YOU AS YOU TRAVEL THIS ROAD OF LIFE – JUST AS HE WILL BE WAITING THERE FOR YOU – TO TAKES YOUR HAND LEAD YOU THROUGH THE VEIL.
HE IS YOUR PARTNER IN THE DANCE OF LIFE… HOLDING YOU… LEADING YOU….. GUIDING YOU…
in life’s twists and turns….
WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD WE HAVE!!!
THERE FOR EACH one of US – yesterDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOR ALL TIME – BOTH HeRE AND HEREafter –
yes, it really is that simple.
AND It’S PROMISED TO YOU –
AND in jesus’ precious name..
AND MAY GOD BLESS THE PREACHING OF HIS WORD, AND MAY ALL THE GLORY AND THE PRAISE – BE HIS.
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
One fine day four people were flying in a small, four passenger plane: a pilot, a minister, a teenager and man who had just won an award for being the “Smartest Man in the World.”
As they were flying along, the pilot turned to the passengers and said, “I’ve got some bad news, and I’ve got some worse news. The bad news is, we’re out of fuel. The plane’s going down and we’re gonna crash. The worse news is, I only have three parachutes on board.”
This meant, of course, that someone would have to go down with the plane.
The pilot continued. “I have a wife and three children at home. I have many responsibilities. I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to take one of the parachutes.”
With that, he grabbed one of the chutes and jumped out of the plane.
The man was next to speak. “I’m the Smartest Man in the World,” he said. “I might be the one who comes up with a cure for cancer or solves the world’s economic problems. Everyone is counting on me!” And with that – the Smartest Man in the World grabbed the second parachute and jumped.
The minister then spoke up and said to the teenager “Son, you take the last parachute. I’ve made my peace with God, and I’m willing to go down with the plane. Now take the last parachute and go.”
“Chill out, Rev” said the teenager. “The Smartest Man in the World just jumped out of the plane with my lunch bag !!”
Being smart and being wise aren’t necessarily the same thing!
Now do you see what I mean?
Mmmmmmm – food for thought for all of us as we take a look at ourselves on our journey to the Cross in this time of Lent.
Benediction / Blessing
And now –
Go – and may God make you strong in faith and hope and love.
Live faithfully – walk humbly –
And may the blessing of Almighty God – Father- Son – and Holy Spirit – be with you all – may He be with your families and your friends and all who you know and love – aye – and ought to love – this day and everyday.
May God bless you –
and may He Bless 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.
“Be still and know that I am God”
Psalm 46 : 10