Sunday October 18th Worship at Kearby Chapel

On Sunday October 18th I was leading worship at a country chapel, called Kearby at 3pm. I was glad that I could drive there as it is very much out of the way on a country lane through and past Kirkby Overblow pass what used to be Barrowby Diocesan House and Retreat Centre. There are usually not many people there but the few voices sing joyfully. Our opening hymn was ‘Come let us sing of a wonderful love.’ After I led the opening prayers I told them a story of a doctor who served the poor as they needed without charging them a fee, who had played such a large part in the community that the church was full at his funeral. We then sang, ‘From heaven you came helpless babe’ before I read the servant song from Isaiah 53.4-12 followed by a dramatised reading based on Mark 10.35-45. We sang ‘Father of heaven, whose love profound.
I preached the sermon. The righteous servant in Isaiah suffered in silence, bearing the sins of many through his obedience to God. As the servant bore the guilt for Israel the nation would be vindicated. The suffering servant only found its complete fulfilment in the truly righteous servant Jesus. In Mark’s gospel when James and John made their request to Jesus, they had just heard the third and last prediction of Jesus’ death. Matthew in his gospel said that it was their mother Salome who had asked if her sons could sit on Jesus’ left and right when he came into his Kingdom rather than James and John themselves; Mark however aimed to show James and John as they were, warts and all. In response Jesus promised them suffering and could not guarantee them positions in glory. Jesus, having loved and served others, was now facing his suffering and death.
Jesus knew God was ultimately in control. In the world the standard of greatness is power; the more people you controlled the greater the power; the more you could reduce people to make them serve you, the greater you were. Jesus had the opposite view of what greatness was; the test of greatness was the service that a person could give to another. Jesus was prepared to serve and love the people, even though it led him to death on the cross. The way of sacrifice and love was not the sort of Messiah that the people had expected. Does this challenge us? Do we seek power and prestige or do we seek to serve and love others? We are called to love and serve and accept people, especially those whom we find hard to like and those who are challenging. Let us take up the challenge of service and learn from Jesus about how to serve.
We sang ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds’ before I led the prayers of intercession. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Behold the servant of the Lord.’

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