Unfortunately I was unable to attend today's service, but as I had some information about it, I thought I would do what I could to keep you in touch.
This morning's service began with a welcome and a call to worship given by Dermot Armstrong, visiting in Helen's absence, whose theme for today was "Why we come to Jesus" and the first hymn,28, Praise to the Lord, went some way towards answering that question. He is our health and salvation; he gently sustaineth; he grants our hearts' longings; he prospers and defends us; his goodness and mercy daily attends us; he sheds his light on all evil and chases it away and for that reason all that exists should adore him-gladly. And that's what we do, but do we do it in every situation or are there occasions when we would rather go our own way? And are there situations where instead of "coming to Jesus" we look to our own solution and then wonder why it comes out badly?
(I suppose you can guess why I know these sorts of things happen)
In keeping with the theme of the day and the hymn, there followed prayers of adoration, confession and supplication followed by the Lord's prayer which in its simple way, reinforces all other prayers, reminding us of God's daily place in our lives, if we let him take that place. (I hope I'm not nagging)
The hymn that followed was “Seek you first the
”, an obvious instruction or piece of advice and one worth following even it was presented as a simple hint. We often tell the younger members of our families to "stop and think" but we ourselves rush off on the wrong path because we do not stop and think to seek first the Kingdom of God . kingdom of God
The readings from John 6:6-15 and Ephesians 3:14-21 provided the basis for Dermot's message. In John's story of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus feeds the "whole people of God" spiritually and then Paul's prayer in Ephesians illustrates a response to this spiritual feeding.
As I said, I was not there to hear that message but I thought I might add some thoughts of my own. Many of us have an inner emptiness which is never filled until we forget about what we want and hand over to God to fill us with what we need. In the story of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus feeds a throng from a minute amount of food with so much left over. I do not know what the theological significance of this is, or what Dermot made of it, but what occurred to me is that God's healing, restoring, forgiving love is such that everyone who ever lived and whoever will live can be filled to abundance and there will still be an endless supply.
And the reading from Ephesians is not only a strong prayer of blessing but points out that God's gifts are given to us are for His glory. I will not reproduce the reading here but in verses 16-19 the prayer is that we will be showered with everything we need and more for a rich and full life, with the last verses of the reading making clear the purpose:
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
I think the message is clear.
Hymn 207, “There's a light upon the Mountain”, returned us to the theme of why we come to Jesus, with the promise that the day is coming when we shall see the beauty and glory of God and that day can start now. As I see it we don't have to wait until the next life to enter into eternal life, we can know the richness of that now. His triumph day can be now in our souls so that the drumbeats of his army will be our heartbeats.
After the prayers of the people in which the congregation supported friends and family and the community about us the Offering was taken - another sign of our commitment.
Hymn 480, “
Forth in thy name I go”, pointed us to the same conclusion that was reached earlier and the service was completed with the Benediction, sending each one forth in His name.