Online Sunday Service – 17th January 2021

Good morning folks, I hope that you are well. Please find this weeks Sunday Service below should you wish to take a few minutes and listen to it. It’s about the first Miracle Jesus ever performed and what it means for you and for me in our own lives. Take care, keep warm and God Bless. Iain.

Audio Version

To listen click on the word Facebook

Printed Version

Good morning all

Well, as I write this, the snow is lying all around, reminding us that Winter is still very much with us.

Keeping warm is essential, more especially for our elderly and vulnerable. Let’s keep our eyes open for those who might be having to choose between heating or eating. For the most of us, there will be someone not too far away who is struggling, so a wee knock on their door to ask if there is anything they need would be most welcome. Yours may be the only other voice they hear today.

 

Today we are thinking about the beginning of the Ministry of Jesus. He has been Baptized and was now ready to start on His incredible ‘Mission Earth’ – but before He could get going, He, His mum and some of His close friends were invited to a Wedding.

 

But before that, let us pray ~

PRAYER

 

Loving Lord, as we sit in our various homes, we take time to tell you that you are our amazing God – the God who gave us life and sustains us each and every day.

 

We bring your our thanks for all your goodness – and we fell safe in the knowledge that whatever life may throw at us – you are alongside us, watching, guiding and supporting is as we go.

Thank you Father – how blessed we are.

 

Forgive us for the times we put ourselves before others – for the times we fail to see the needs of those around us – seeing only our own desires, wishes and needs.

 

Forgive us for praising you with our lips – but denying our love for you by our conduct.

 

Lord, help us to be ambassadors for you in our communities, our work and our homes – so that we might lead others to come to know you for themselves.

Listening Lord, be with us now as we bring to you all our worries and concerns– safe in the knowledge that you will take them from us and still our hearts and minds.

 

And hear us as we bring to you our own private and personal prayers of confession for those things we have said, done or thought which we know goes against our claim to be a good Christian. Forgive us father -and hear now as we gather all these thought together – our silent prayers. ….now we take a few moments for own personal prayers……………..

 

Forgive us, and bless us, we pray.

 

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.

 

PREAMBLE TO READING

 

In our reading for this morning we hear of the very first miracle that Jesus performed – changing the water into wine at a friends wedding.

 

But is that all there is to this that well known story ?

 

MMmm – we’ll see in a moment…

 

Let’s hear God’s word –

READING – John 2 : 1 – 11 New Living Translation

The Wedding at Cana

The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.

 The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, “They have no more wine.”

“Mother, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

But his mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Standing nearby were six stone water jars, used for Jewish ceremonial washing. Each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” 

When the jars had been filled, he said, “Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.” So the servants followed his instructions.

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over.

 10 “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!”

11 This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.   And his disciples believed in him.”

 

Amen.

This is the Word of the Lord – thanks be to God.

 

SERMON

 

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU – BUT I LOVE A GOOD WEDDING.

 

THE BRIDE LOOKING BONNIE – THE GROOM  HANDSOME IN HIS KILT – AS DOES HIS BEST MAN.

 

THE BRIDESMAID AND THE GUESTS ALL DRESSED TO KILL (NOT LITERALLY, OBVIOUSLY! J )

AND THERE IS A LOVELY ATMOSPHERE AS NOT ONLY TWO PEOPLE, BUT 2 FAMILIES – AND THEIR FRIENDS – SHARE IN A HAPPY DAY…

*

 

JESUS had been baptized but HADN’T CALLED HIS FIRST DISCIPLES YET – AND THERE WAS MUCH TO DO – MANY THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH – AND YET WE SEE HIM TAKING SOME TIME OUT TO ENJOY A LOCAL WEDDING.

EVEN AT THIS EARLY STAGE – JESUS KNEW THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING INVOLVED IN THE EVERYDAY LIVES OF EVERYDAY PEOPLE – PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND I.

 

HE KNEW THAT HIS MISSION – AS SIGNIFICANT AND WORLD CHANGING AS IT WAS – WENT HAND IN HAND WITH THE LIVES OF ORDINARY PEOPLE.     PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND i.

 

UNLIKE THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF THE DAY – JESUS WAS A ‘PEOPLE PERSON’ – A ‘MAN OF THE PEOPLE’ – WHO LOVED TO GET TO KNOW PEOPLE – SEE HOW HE COULD HELP THEM, AND SO CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOR THE BETTER.

 

AND HERE HE WAS – MINGLING – CHATTING – SOCIALIZING – AS WE DO AY WEDDINGS.

 

NOT ONLY CHANGING WATER INTO WINE – BUT TRANSFORMING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THOSE WHO SAW WHAT HE COULD DO.

“IF HE CAN DO SUCH AN AMAZING THING” THEY MAY WELL HAVE THOUGHT – “THEN HE SURELY IS – THE VERY SON OF GOD.”

 

IT SHOWS US – THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARING OUR FAITH WITH OTHERS.

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT BEING A ‘BIBLE BASHER’ OR A ‘HOLY WILLIE’ – BUT BEING A GOOD CHRISTIAN PERSON WHO CARES ABOUT THE LIVES OF OTHERS – WHO LEAVES A GOOD IMPRESSION – WHO PLAYS YOUR OWN HUMBLE PART IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF the lives of THOSE YOU AROUND YOU.

 

95% OF JESUS’ MINISTRY – WAS SPENT WALKING, TALKING, SHARING – WITH EVERYDAY PEOPLE – PEOPLE LIKE US – PEOPLE WE SEE ALL AROUND US IN SOCIETY.

 

pEOPLE, WITH ALL THEIR ISSUES AND WORRIES – IN THEIR TIMES OF SADNESS AND THEIR TIMES OF JOY.

 

HIS KINDNESS – HIS FAITH – GAVE AN EXAMPLE – A HOPE AND A FAITH – TO THOSE WHO MET HIM – AND TO COUNTLESS MILLIONS EVER SINCE.

*

BELIEVE IT OR NOT – BUT YOUR LIFE HAS AN EFFECT ON THOSE AROUND YOU.

 

THE WAY YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE – HOW YOU ACT –  RE-ACT AND INTER-ACT WITH OTHERS – ALL SHOWS WHO YOU REALLY ARE – AND IF YOU HAVE A FAITH – IT SHOWS THAT TOO.

 

DO YOU REMEMBER THAT SAYING OF St FRANCIS OF ASSISI – WHEN HE WAS ASKED BY A STUDENT HOW HE CHANGED THE LIVES OF so many of the people HE MET – HE REPLIED – PREACH THE GOSPEL AT ALL TIMES – AND WHEN NECESSARY – USE WORDS!

 

HE “LIVED” THE GOSPELS – IN HIS EVERYDAY LIFE – AND WHEN PEOPLE SAW HIS FAITH – HIS CHARACTER – THEY TOO WERE CHANGED.

 

THIS IS WHAT JESUS WAS DOING AT THAT WEDDING IN CANA – AND IT’S WHAT WE – AS CHRISTIANS – ARE ALSO CALLED TO DO TOO.

 

‘OH DEAR!’ – YOU MIGHT BE THINKING – “THIS SOUNDS LIKE i’M GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOMETHING!’

 

MAYBE THAT’S WHAT JESUS THOUGHT WHEN MARY ASKED HIM TO HELP – HE WAS CERTAINLY RELUCTANT!

 

WE SEE THAT IN VERSE 4 OF OUR N.T. READING – WHEN JESUS SAID – “WHY DO YOU INVOLVE ME!? – MY TIME HASN’T COME YET !”

IN OTHER WORDS – DON’T ASK ME ! – I’M NOT READY TO DO THAT KIND OF THING!’

 

PERHAPS HE WAS NERVOUS.

AFTER ALL – IT WAS HIS FIRST TIME – BUT  WITH A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT – HE STEPPED UP AND SHOWED THOSE PRESENT – THE AMAZING, TRANSFORMING POWER OF GOD.

 

and IF WE’RE TOTALLY HONEST – MANY OF US ARE RELUCTANT TOO – BUT WITH A LITTLE ENCOURAGEMENT – WE CAN SHOW OTHERS THE TRANSFORMATION IN OUR OWN LIVES – AND SO ENCOURAGE THEM TO CONSIDER DOING THE SAME.

 

*

YOU SEE – IF WE THINK THAT THIS MIRACLE IS ALL ABOUT THE WINE – we would be seriously missing the point.

 

IT’S ABOUT THE ACT OF TRANSFORMATION – IT’S ABOUT THE ABILITY TO TRANSFORM THINGS FROM WHAT THEY WERE – INTO WHAT THEY CAN BE – IT’S ABOUT TAKING EVERYDAY, ORDINARY, MUNDANE THINGS – LIKE WATER – LIKE OUR LIVES – AND THROUGH THE POWER OF CHRIST – CHANGING THEM INTO SOMETHING FAR SWEETER – FAR MORE ENRICHING – SOmething so UNBELIEVABLY DIFFERENT.

 

THAT’S WHAT IS accessible AND ABSOLUTELY AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU AND i – AND TO OTHERS – IF THEY BUT KNEW IT!

BUT HOW CAN THEY KNOW WHAT AWAITS THEM – UNLESS SOMEONE TELLS THEM?

 

HOW CAN THEY KNOW ABOUT THE LOVE THAT GOD HAS FOR THEM?

 

HOW CAN THEY KNOW THAT HE HAS A  PLAN FOR THEIR LIVES WHICH INVOLVES A BOY FROM GALILEE, BECOMING A MAN FROM HEAVEN – WALKING BESIDE THEM THROUGH THEIR LIVES – AND STEPPING INTO ETERNITY WITH THEM?

HOW CAN WE KNOW UNLESS WE COME AND HEAR IT FOR OURSELVES ?   HOW CAN THEY KNOW –  UNLESS SOMEONE TELLS THEM?

 

AND THAT’S WHERE YOU AND I COME IN – WE MUST TELL THEM IN THE NAME OF THAT WEE BABY BOY WHO WAS BORN IN BETHLEHEM  JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS AGO – OR HAVE WE FORGOTTEN SO SOON!?

 

THAT’S THE MESSAGE – THAT’S THE CHALLENGE – BUT THAT’S NOT ALL !

AS THE IRISH COMEDIAN USED TO SAY – “THERE’S MORE!”

 

AND IT’S AT VERSE 10 – WHERE THE ‘mASTER OF THE BANQUET’ –THE ONE OVERSEEING THE ARRANGEMENTS – SAYS “ EVERYONE USUALLY BRINGS OUT THE BEST WINE FIRST – AND THEN THE CHEAPER WINE – WHEN THEY’VE HAD A FEW DRAMS NOBODY WILL NOTICE ! –

 

BUT (AND HERE’S THE IMPORTANT LINE) “BUT YOU – HAVE SAVED THE BEST TILL LAST!”

 

AND THAT’S THE POINT – THE IMPLICATION THAT THIS PASSAGE HAS FOR YOUR life – AND MINE – AND FOR THOSE AROUND US.

 

AND IT’S THIS ~

THAT FOR AS RICHLY BLESSED AS WE ARE IN OUR LIVES – THE BEST IS YET TO COME !!

 

GOD’S LOVE FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE WHO RESPONDS TO HIS LOVE – WILL KNOW AN OVER ABUNDANCE OF HIS GENEROUS BLESSINGS.

AND AT THE LAST – THAT DAY OF SORROW WILL BECOME THE DAY OF JOY FOR YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES – AS HE RECEIVES YOU INTO HIS KINGDOM FOR ALL ETERNITY –TO LIVE IN PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY IN THAT MOST WONDERFUL OF PLACES – WITH THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US.

THAT’S HIS PROMISE – AND PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THAT – WE NEED TO TELL THEM.  FOR EACH ONE OF US – AND FOR OUR LOVED ONES – THE BEST REALLY IS – YET TO COME !!

 

AND IT’LL BE BETTER THAN ANYTHING WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED BEFORE.

 

it’s A BREATHTAKING TRANSFORMATION that we all have TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

 

AND WHAT A WONDERFULLY COMFORTING THOUGHT FOR US TO TAKE AWAY WITH US TODAY AND THINK ABOUT –

TO PRAUY ABOUT –

 

 

AND IN JESUS’ PRECIOUS NAME.

 

AMEN.

AND MAY GOD BLESS THIS PREACHING OF HIS HOLY WORD – AND MAY ALL THE GLORY AND THE PRAISE – BE HIS.

 

‘THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK’

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest…blindfolded…and leaves him….alone.

He must sit on a stump the whole night…and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it.

He is all by himself.

He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night…he is a MAN.

He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.

 

The boy was terrified…could hear all kinds of noise…Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human who would hurt him.

The wind blew the branches of the trees… and it shook the tree stump on which he was sitting.

But he sat there, determined not to give up and remove the blindfold.

Finally, after a horrific night…the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. He blinked a few times – and it was then that he saw his father…sitting on the tree stump next to him…at watch…the entire night.

We are never truly alone.

Even although we do not know it, our Heavenly Father is always watching over us – and when we realize that – our lives will be transformed – we will never be the same again….

That is what God Promises to us.

 

Now THAT IS food for thought for us all !!

Amen.

 

BLESSING

 

And now – go 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 – be with your families and all who you know and love – and ought to love – this day – and everyday.   Amen.

 

And now a few verse of my favourite praise song – “standing on the promises…”

 

Take care and May God Bless you – and your loved ones.

 

Have  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

*