On Sunday September3rd our minister Rev Trevor Dixon led worship at Wesley Chapel. Worship began when we sang ‘Sing praise to God who reigns above’ before Trevor led the opening prayers. We sang, ‘O God you search me and know me’, before we heard the potter’s house described in Jeremiah 18.1-11. We read psalm 139.1-18,23-14 together as a congregation, before we sang, ‘There is no moment of my life.’ The gospel reading was from Luke 14.25-33.
Trevor commented on how the lectionary readings had a range of themes on discipleship and the people of God. Trevor explained there had been three different lectionaries since he had begun preaching which could have a common theme or disparate set readings or a confusing mixture of readings. Sometimes he wonders why the lectionary reading has stopped at that point. Trevor wondered why these particular readings had been put together for the day. The potter reshaped a misshapen pot into the right shape just as people can be shaped into disciples. Jesus told his disciples that they had to count the cost being prepared to split off from their family, parents or children. Trevor admitted that Psalm 139 was his favourite psalm, as it is comforting showing how God knows, understands and will stick by us. Trevor wonders if there is a conflict between Jeremiah’s the potter’s story about the nation and Psalm 139.
Have we turned our back on God in our nation? The census returns the claim there are believers who pray and read the Bible even if they don’t go to church. OMG, Oh my God is a favourite phrase of teens, but does it mean the same to the teens as it does for us? Only God knows who love him or not. The psalm shows us that God does not turn his back on us. God is wherever we are and watches over us, so that we eventually have to acknowledge God’s presence. There would often be a sign above a maid’s bed, ‘God seest me’; was that a threat or a promise? The world was regarded as flat, so people would fall off the edge, but people returned from travelling to witness to the reality of the whole world. We can go to the end of the world, the universe and God is there. The denial of God’s presence is as futile as sailing over the edge of world. Many people nowadays look for a heaven without God but with money and possessions; God is superfluous and they don’t need God.
However everything is not right about the world, as for so many the world is hell not heaven; there is desperate poverty and lack of shelter or illnesses like Aids. Modern warfare, terrorism, drug addiction, prostitution, racism, child abuse, prolonged unemployment, loneliness are all hell. In Psalm 139 God seems to not only be in heaven but even in hell, Sheol; God is there for all going trauma. Wherever we are God has a love that will not let us go. We cannot run away from God; God has great forbearance and tenderness; Jesus knew him as his father. Our parent God will not let us go; it is an intimate and personal relationship we have with God. God was even there at our conception and God knows us and understands us. Thanks be to God.
Trevor led the prayers of intercession before we sang, ‘Lord we have come at your invitation.’ Trevor celebrated communion and we shared bread and wine. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Brother, sister let me serve you.’