On Sunday November 23rd Local preacher George Thomas led worship at Wesley Chapel. Worship began as we sang, ‘We love the place O God’ before the opening prayers and we heard the reading from Ephesians 1v15-23. We then sang, ‘Come divine interpreter,’ before we heard the judgement of the nations.
We then sang, ‘When I needed a neighbour’ before he preached on Matthew 25v40, ‘And the king will answer, ‘Truly I tell you: anything you did for one of my brothers here, however insignificant, you did it for me.’ The challenge and anxiety of this text was set in the context of Jesus’ ministry and spoke to the people in the temple, God’s house, the synagogue and those who experienced the orthodoxy of the scribes and the Pharisees. The parables were addressed to the Jews as Jesus was a man of Jewish heritage. It became a critical situation for Jesus when he left his home territory of Galilee and came north to Tyre and Sidon, the area of the Phoenicians, who had mutual hatred of the Jews. However the Canaanite woman with her sick daughter recognised Jesus’ gifts. Jesus had no great personal status, but the people gathered, listened and argued with him. Jesus had limited means, was a simple man teaching through parables, healing the sick and even raising the dead. The Canaanite woman called him sir and recognised his talents.
Jesus talked about the nature of the world, his kingdom and heaven and our need to love and care for one another. In the parable of the sheep and the goats he speaks warmly of those who care, and feed the hungry. Jesus made sure we are taught about the way of God and how to devote our lives to others. It was a simple message where we would be judged on our reaction to human need, not buying merits, but doing it as it is the way God has made us to live. Martin saw the need of the beggar and gave him half his cloak and later dreamt that he had given the cloak to Jesus. We give to those in need as all we have comes from God; all that is worthy, good and true comes from God and God created us in his own image. The letter to the Ephesians was written to people who try to witness to the truth of Jesus. Jesus’ kingship was affirmed as greater than Roman authority. The only true power resides with God the father and creator. In Christ we find out who we are. Jesus spoke to Jews, Gentiles such as the Canaanite woman; he speaks to all, to young and old, to people of talent and those of no talent through the Bible. Jesus’ love has no dimensions or limits and is for us to share with all.
We sang ‘Rejoice the Lord is King’ before he led the prayers of intercessions. Worship concluded as we sang one of his favourite hymns, ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory.’