Theme: Why do I do it?
Call to Worship
Dermot declared that we had gathered in the Holy place of the church to meet God the Creator, who knows each one of us by name and urged us to respond to the call by joining in the following hymn.
Hymn TIS 745 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness"
We seem to need constant reminding to seek the most important things first and this hymn imparts that message very clearly
Prayer of Adoration and Confession
Dermot began by speaking of God who created us with the capacity to choose; with the capacity to alter; with the capacity to protect or destroy the creation we have been given; made in God's image. He then raised the problem of how we have made ourselves the most important thing, not sharing ourselves or our gifts but protecting our controlled and ordered lives. Dermot praised God who has created the vast universe but then confessed that we often choose to use it for ourselves, risking humanity's future. He then appealed to God, the source of all life, the God of all, to breathe life into us; to walk and talk with us, that we will be the people we should be, for the sake of the gospel. Dermot appealed to God to help us lose ourselves in him, so as to carry out his will in this world.
Dermot accepted the offerings, praying that they be used to share the church and the gospel.
Hymn TIS 276 “There’s a light upon the mountain and the day is at the spring”
A message of hope. When this will happen worldwide is not in our hands but it can happen in our lives in a minute.
Bible Reading Kaye read to us first from 1 Corinthians 9:16 - 23 and then from
Mark 1: 29 - 39.
In Corinthians Paul makes it clear that his preaching of the gospel is not his choice and is not for any reward. He has to do it because that is the command we have been given and he follows on by saying he is prepared to accommodate anyone in any way to facilitate the passing on of the good news. The Mark reading covers a time at the very start of Jesus' ministry when he cured many people of their various illnesses. But then he went out into the villages to spread the word. That was his purpose - that everyone should know the message of redemption.
Jesus lived his life in service for others but is there any instance of him asking "Why"? No, because he knew that is the purpose of life. We may speak about it as a command from God because in the sense of that being the way he should live that was part of his thinking.
But he was human and needed support to carry on, so prayer was an integral part of his life. The service he gave took its toll on him and ultimately he suffered death because he did not shy away from the purpose he saw before him. But that suffering is why we can relate to him. It's why we know to turn to God for the strength to continue.
Jesus did not do good to others for a reward: he did it out of love. That is the template for our lives. We should not even be looking for God's approval much less the approval of others.
When Paul spoke about the reason for his preaching it was the same. He preached because he had to. Not for any other reason and he, as Jesus did, was willing to lose all of self in doing it.
Paul speaks of bring free, which meant much in a world where so many were slaves. But being free, he willingly gave all of self in service to others. As Luther said. "Here I stand. I can do no other". Dietrich Bonhoeffer had to risk all for Christ's sake and died for it.
When we risk ourselves for others, we are sharing in the presence of God. That is God's call to us: to lose ourselves for others.
Hymn TIS 223 “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds”
The old message for those who feel the burdens are too heavy and the hurdles too high - the only help.
Prayers of the people and Lord’s Prayer
Dermot prayed to the God of compassion and grace, reminding us that like any other service, we do not seek reward but pray out of love. We pray in compassion and from our concerns for those around us, trusting in God's abiding love to care for his children. After praying for those known to the congregation, we joined in the Lord's Prayer
Hymn TIS 572 “O Thou who camest from above, the pure celestial fire to impart”
The pure celestial light has pierced the darkness for all who have sought it. Harking back to the first hymn: that's our priority
Dermot blessed us and announced the final hymn, saying that those should be the words we took with us.
Going out Hymn “Now unto him”
Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling,
And present you faultless before the presence of his glory
With exceeding joy.
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power, both now and forever.