Hello everyone! This morning’s service was led by our minister Tim Boocock. We sang the hymns ‘Come, we that love the Lord’ and ‘Now thank we all our God’ to start our service. The children were absent as they had done the midnight walk to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice and so were resting in bed to catch up the sleep! They were walking in memory of Cathy Austin who was a member of the congregation who sadly died last Christmas after she lost a 5 year battle with bowel cancer at the age of 45 leaving her loving husband and two small boys. She was well cared for till the end by St Michael’s Hospice.
He read from Mark chapter 5 about the healing of the woman with the haemorrhaging and Jairus’ daughter. Tim asked why we only seem to do well in cricket; why are the English so hopeless at sport. Sports like tennis are elitist; even Murray our main hope for Wimbledon was taken out of school and educated in Spain so he could nurture his talent in tennis. Only those privately educated can afford to do tennis. They are talented but do not do as well as those from other nations who are desperate to achieve. Although they work hard, they do not understand what it is to feel desperate, as their lives are too comfortable. They have never experienced that sense of desperation, which would make them step up to the mark and do that bit better. What you might wonder does the failure of the British to succeed in tennis have to do with the healings? Both the woman and Jairus were desperate, at the end of their tether, after having tried everything that the doctors could do and they tried Jesus as a last resort. The woman with the haemorrhage was unclean and not meant to mix with a crowd, yet she dared to approach Jesus and touch him and knew she was healed. Her desperation had been rewarded. Jairus as a wealthy and respected man was so at the end of his tether that he was prepared to the northern teacher to ask him publically to heal his daughter and she was healed. He could have sent a servant to him but instead came to ask in person.
How willing would we be to do what Jesus asked of us? Tim reminded us of the reluctance of Naaman to wash in the River Jordan to be cured and what of the rich young ruler? Do I really want anything to change? Are we as desperate as the woman or Jairus was to risk everything to make a difference for Jesus? Tim was apparently livid when his 12 year old son was not bothered about losing the cricket match with his school team! Tim felt he had the wrong attitude; if his son had been more desperate to fight to win, maybe they would have been successful! I have to admit that winning at games is not my interest, but I always have a tendency to do my utmost to improve my skills at work and in life strive to do my best, just not in the field of sport!
What about in the church – do we have a desire for discipleship? Do we really desire to listen to our Lord? Are we ready to speak and share the gospel of grace? Are we confident in God’s grace and do we realise the reality of forgiveness? What if we are in a worst state than tennis? What are we willing to give, or do for change? How can the reality of these gospel readings slide inside us and take root and make a difference in the community we share? How can risk be managed or reduced? Being church can mean taking a risk, as Jairus and the woman would have felt when they sought the help of Jesus; Jairus publically and the woman as she thought discretely! Tim added that of course we need to be desperate to take the risk to prove our commitment. How would we feel if Jesus welcomed the bankers first into his kingdom, when they recognised their failure, and were at the end of their tether? Tim asked us to take the risk of putting all our faith on the power and love of Jesus. Taking risk is not for the happy and contented, but for those who are desperate to know the grace of Jesus in our lives. Tim concludes with these words: may we know risk to be prepared to receive all God wishes to pour out on us, whatever the cost? I am still digesting all he challenged us with and long to serve Jesus as he would wish.