anger, / and show appreciation more / and love the people in our lives / like we've never loved before”
Hymn: TiS 474 "Gather us in" We all have our flaws which prevent us from being complete but we are welcome here this morning to ask God to 'draw' us close in this service to mend us and heal us. It's hard to see ourselves but if we open ourselves to God's probing light we will know what we wants us to do so that we will be the people we should be.
Opening Prayer Rowena addressed our generous God whose will it is that we should be blessed with justice and peace and who is with us in all our experiences, declaring that we know that it is God's will that all should have this blessing.
Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Pardon Time to entrust ourselves, 'warts and all' to God's saving grace. Rowena prayed to God to forgive us when all the unimportant things distract us from our true mission. Especially when people call out for compassion, and we aren't listening. She finished by saying "Strengthen us with the Holy Spirit to be fruitful and active witnesses to Jesus in all we do and say."
Our sins are forgiven Thanks be to God.
Hymn: Tis 607 'Make me a channel of your peace' We are God's hands and mouth. Our faith should tell our family, friend and neighbours of the peace that he offers. Listen to what James has to say in the readings.
Hymn: TiS 681 "Lord let me see" Lord let me see, hear, care, learn, and love. Let me see the person behind my prejudices and assumptions. Let me hear their needs and their joys. Let me care about and for all other people. Let me not assume I know but be open to learn. And more than anything let me love all if God's creation.
Readings: Elaine read to us from: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15, 21-23. Jesus' disciples are seen breaking the law but Jesus' makes it clear that nothing in this earth is unclean and that impurity comes from within. It's something to make us think. All the "shoulds" we impose on ourselves and other people just take the joy out of the gifts God has given us. James 1: 17-27. The author is letting rip, telling people just how it is. How can we possibly confess faith if it does not translate unto works? Faith constrains us, forces us to act.
Sermon: “Hearers and Doers” Rowena's first point was that Jesus taught that obedience to the law is really a matter of the heart. James was a very practical theologian and his advice is designed to "help people transfer head knowledge and heart knowledge into the 'how-to' of everyday life." He sees grace as the foundation of faith but that more has to be done...we have to act. We have to let our lives speak "Let your values come alive in your local and global communities." Rowena told us that we have to be hearers and 'doers'. Not that works replace faith but that works are the evidence of faith. Rowena referred to John Wesley who said that "...works of piety, like worship-which express responsive love for God would deepen our live for others, while works of mercy would deepen our love for God.”
James "focuses on the practice of faith and a key theme throughout James is the contrast between hearers and doers of the Word."
Rowena said "To be called and led by God's Spirit beckons us to be doers of God's Word." God's generosity to us shows us how to be generous to others. We act for God in this world. What we do matters.
James gives practical examples "be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger." (Ouch!). How well do we listen or do we just sit, waiting for a break so that we can speak? God is slow to anger, and abounding in love.
"Ultimately I believe that James is really about living a life in response to the good and perfect gift that has been given to us in God."
Hymn: TiS 572 "O Thou who camest from above" Kindle the flame of your love and let it blaze in our hearts that the people of this world will see it gleaming through us and draw them to you.
Commissioning and Blessing
Go out, and be doers of the Word. Cleanse your hearts of all imperfection, be quick to listen and learn. And as you move into the week ahead, welcome the Word that God implants in you, and bring it to birth in acts of mercy and compassion.
And may God pour grace upon you and bless you forever; May Christ Jesus reveal to you the Truth of God's ways; and may the Holy Spirit fill your life with passion and love.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord, in the name of Christ. Amen
Retiring hymn “Now unto him who is able to keep
Able to keep you from falling.
And to 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.