On Sunday evening I led the service at Killinghall Chapel and I was privileged to have my sister Janet and her husband, Graham come to join the service. We began worship with the hymn ‘All praise to our redeeming Lord.’ After the opening prayers we had the reading from Genesis 42v1-25 about the brothers of Joseph arriving to buy food from Joseph but they had failed to recognise him. We then sang ‘In heavenly love abiding’ before the readings from 1 Corinthians 10v1-24 and Matthew 13v24-30. We then sang ‘There’s a wideness in God’s mercy’ before the sermon.
It was the well known story of how sibling jealousy and rivalry had led the brothers to sell Joseph into slavery. Now the brothers had arrived in Egypt to buy corn for their families and did not recognise Joseph, but when they were treated harshly and regarded as spies, they obviously still felt guilty and thought they were getting their comeuppance for the way they had treated Joseph. Joseph was however testing them to see if they had changed and learnt from their previous actions towards him.
The gospel reading reminded us that only God can judge and we are not called to judge others as illustrated by the wheat and tares parable, which Jesus told. As the young wheat and tares looked very much alike they were to be allowed to grow to maturity and then separated and the tares destroyed and the mature wheat harvested. Luke sees this judgment as at the end of time when God would judge them. Only God can judge as a person might make a big mistake then redeem themselves and by the grace of God lead a changed life.
Paul in 1 Corinthians reminded his readers not to be complacent, ‘Those who think they are standing firm had better be careful that they do not fall.’ He knew how easy it is to judge the failings of others, as Jesus had warned, when he said, ‘Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same judgment to others.’ What we need to remember is that we all make mistakes so we cannot judge others, as ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.
We then sang ‘Be still and know that I am God,’ before the prayers of intercessions. The service concluded as we sang ‘May the mind of Christ my Saviour’. Afterwards I was touched when Janet said she had found the service moving and that I was just like mum!! She felt mum would have felt very proud of me, so I am glad.