Sunday September 20th at Wesley Chapel

On Sunday September 20th Reverend Michael Wearing led worship at Wesley Chapel. We began worship as we sang ‘Praise the Lord his glories show’. Michael led the prayers where we responsively read, ‘Jesus Saviour of the world, come to us in your mercy: we look to you to save and help us’ responsively. We heard the first reading from 2 Corinthians 5v16-21. There is a message of reconciliation that we are ambassadors for Christ and all become the righteousness of God; we are a new creation. We then sang ‘I am a new creation.’ He led the thanksgiving prayer and the Lord’s Prayer. The next reading was from Mark 2v1-12 before wesang, ‘Christ triumphant ever reigns.
Michael described the healing story of the paralytic. It is a proclamation story or a miracle story or a praise story. Jesus said the 6 words, ‘my son your sins are forgiven’ proclaiming forgiveness to the paralysed man. Behind those words there is the truth that Jesus inevitably probes deeper to causes of human pain or disaster. Jesus recognised that the man needed spiritual restoration before his healing could take place. His sins needed to be forgiven. In the early church it was important for forgiveness to be declared, so that they could make new relationships with God through Christ.
Treaties, summit meetings or statements do not bring peace and reconciliation, until there is a change in human hearts. The refugee crisis reveals crowds of desperate people seeking hope and relief. Deep down there is a crisis of a sinful attitude. Sin which assesses land as more valuable than people, national prestige over human welfare, power as more valuable than suffering, poverty and starvation. Michael reminded us that we need restoration through Christ to God. Proclamation can be heard in the National Sphere where programs pander to our greed. We need deeper values, sins need to be forgiven and new life restored and that should be proclaimed to the nation as well as individuals.
It is also the story of a miracle. The paralysed man, who had been brought to Jesus to be healed, got up and walked after Jesus healed him. People like John and Charles Wesley and Mother Teresa were men and women of faith who were empowered by their faith. We too have known saints. Somebody told him that Mrs B was a saint. She was well known to them but they had not thought of her as a saint. She had a very hard life but she always had a smile on her face; her face seemed to shine with serenity and integrity; she was Christ-like. Everyone agreed she was a saint. Another person Michael knew was Sheila; she had been handicapped all her life, imprisoned in a room with support and help from others. People went in to help her, but were helped by her; a meditation group and a house fellowship met there in her bedroom. It was her living room, and sanctuary; she wrote to students at university and on their return they visited Sheila. Those who were in trouble came to her for counselling. She was helpless in body but it was a miracle story of how through her commitment to Christ by God’s grace her ministry was a blessing to many.
Michael reminded us of the witness of the Methodist Church in Charleston South Carolina after the shooting and killing 7 of them; the next day the survivors forgave the attacker through God’s grace. A young lad stabbed a supply teacher in Bradford, but subsequently he spoke about his faith in God and prayed for the young lad who had stabbed him; another act of grace.
It was also a praise story. It was wonderful that the paralysed man had four friends who brought him to Jesus. We need people to help us when difficult times come. Michael is very grateful for those who carried him, when he couldn’t walk, but stumbled; those friends, family or church members who carried him when no one else could. He praises them all and praises God most of all. Everyone was astounded at what they saw in the healing of the man and they praised God. When they realised there had been a miracle they gave their adoration and worship to God.
Michael then led the prayers of intercession before worship concluded when we sang, ‘Fill thou my life O Lord my God in every part with praise.

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