On Sunday July 3rd Rev Gillian Robertson led worship and celebrated Holy Communion. Worship began when we sang, ‘O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ before Gillian led the prayers of adoration and thanksgiving and the confession and assurance of forgiveness. Rosemary read 2 Kings 5.1-15a before we sang, ‘Brother, sister let me serve you.’ Catherine read Luke 10: 1-11 and 16. I read Galatians 6.1-10 before Gillian preached.
The theme of her sermon was ‘Doing all we can.’ She looked back at the readings from June, which gave a flavour of what was selected from Luke’s gospel, which had skipped the death of John and the feeding of the 5000 and the predictions of Jesus’ death. The reading set for this Sunday was the sending out of the 72 in pairs as missionaries; earlier the 12 disciples had been sent out by Jesus as missionaries. The disciples were different from the crowds who flocked to hear him. Where had all the crowds come from? Luke was glad to record two different missions, one to the Jews and a bigger one to the Gentiles. There was an urgent message for everyone; the harvest for souls was plentiful and the workers few.
We are not excused effort; each church needs a small group of missioners, who need to be specially trained or may be specially gifted. Gillian described a mission she had been sent on, which was to clear the rubbish from a dirty grassy area. They started clearing the streets. The people asked what they were doing and they said they were picking up the rubbish. Occasionally someone came up to ask who they were and what they were doing. They explained that they came from all over the country to clear rubbish as they loved the Lord Jesus and wanted to help them. One person came and shared his life story, his break up with his girlfriend and baby; she got him some help being careful not to look into his eyes, so he felt able to talk freely. Some of the local people brought out drinks for them as they worked. It was a mission.
What did Jesus do? He chose 72 people who were following him; they did not have any special gifts, but Jesus had given them the power and authority and right words to be missionaries. Mission is not only being sent out, but it is living and being here and now trusting alone in Jesus’ power,
Naaman’s story told of a man suffering from leprosy, who was told by his slave girl captured from Israel, that her master could be healed if he went to Israel. Elisha came to help and gave simple instructions to wash in the Jordan, and Naaman took umbrage, but was persuaded by his servant to follow the instructions and he was healed. The young Hebrew girl was a missionary when she shared her faith.
Jesus had an urgent message to tell them the Kingdom of God is near. The 72 returned excited about their success, but Jesus they should only rejoice that their names are written in heaven. Are we doing all we can to spread the good news? Do we witness whenever we have an opportunity? Let us be good to all people especially to the family of believers. We must not be afraid of sharing what God has done for us. Together let us pray that Wesley Chapel can become full with missionary volunteers.
We sang ‘We pray for peace’ before the prayers of intercession and the Lord’s Prayer. We shared the peace with each other and then sang, ‘God whose love is all around us’ before Gillian celebrated Holy Communion and Christine helped distribute the bread and the wine. We said the joint prayer of thanksgiving at the end. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Give me the faith which can remove.’