Two recent services at MRUC focused, at least in part on the parable of the Two Sons told in Matthew 21. Rev. John Candy spoke on October 1 and then Rev. Bill Ives spoke on October 15
Near the start of Rev. John’s service was a prayer: “ We gather in your presence, Christ of compassion, thirsting for your living water. Flow through this time of worship with your grace and wisdom. Nourish us with words of truth and challenge. Strengthen us to go forth in humility and love as your servants working in the world.”
This set our hearts and minds upon our purpose at that time, a purpose which directed the lives of all present but having been said, renewed our awareness of our goal as Christians
Rev. John focused on the story of the two brothers in Matthew 21, one who said he would do the father’s bidding but didn't and then the other who refused to do as his father asked but then did it. As far as the application to our lives is concerned, one is no easier to get on with than the other. Rev. John’s point was that the awful part is that sometimes, despite our profession of allegiance to Jesus, we are both.
“All too often many of us fail to embody in our lives what we say we believe with our lips.”
We don't recognize this because all too often, we only let the loyal servant parts of our lives float up into our consciousness. The times when we are not what we profess, stays hidden from our own view.
“The good news is that God loves us anyway.”
That love is what will power us to live the life of God’s servant Sunday through to Sunday with “arms stretched out in love to one another.”
And so we were dismissed with: “May we go forth with the mind of Christ and the love of God…” .
Rev. Bill Ives began with the same bible passage but went straight to the reason Jesus was telling the story at that time. He was making the position of the Jewish leaders clear. “He is going to tell them that they have the wrong slant in things.”
Rev. Ives linked this to God’s calling of the People out of Egypt. God called them out of slavery into freedom but that required the people to say “Yes” to God. Just as the father couldn't build his farm without a “Yes” from his sons, so God needed a “Yes” from his people.
We were challenged: “Will you say “Yes” to God and mean it?”
Rev. Bill then threaded his way through the Liturgy, showing how we come to hear God’s word to us and showing us our opportunities to say “Yes”
In the Prayers of the People we show how we will put ourselves into our prayers to serve a desperate world, which is realised in the “Sending Forth”.
The need for action was illustrated through the words of the chorus from “The Pirates of Penzance” where a frightened police body singing “we go, we go” until it is pointed out that they don’t actually go.
Perhaps they are keeping their inability to act buried deep away from their own sight.
Rev Bill admitted that going out may entail sacrifice, spoiling our own comfort, “ But God calls us as he called his son, Jesus.”
The message couldn't be clearer.