On October 2nd I led worship at Park Grove Chapel and worship began as we sang ‘Dear Lord and Father of mankind’. I led the prayers of praise, thanksgiving and confession before we heard the dramatised reading based on Luke 17.5-10. I then did a children’s address in which the two children participated. I asked them to name something big and the boy suggested an elephant, I agreed that it was big, but in comparison with the earth it was small. I got the boy and his sister to hold three balls, representing the earth, Saturn and the Sun and explained that there were a hundred million stars in the universe like the sun; I asked them to imagine what a hundred million footballs and that was only one galaxy of many in the universe. Our big and amazing God the creator is still interested in each one of us. Even if our faith were as small as a mustard seed we could do great things if we trusted in Jesus. As we offer our small faith to God to use he will enable it to do great things in Jesus’ strength. We then sang, ‘Father I place into your hands’ before I read Habakkuk 1.1-4; 2.1-4 and a member of the congregation read 2 Timothy 1.1-14. We then sang, ‘Now the green blade rises’, before I preached.
Habakkuk complained to the Lord about him not listening to him and ignoring the growth of lawlessness and injustice. How could God allow such horrors and still claim to be a righteous God. It reflected the social injustice under King Jehoiakim of Judah. I can understand his frustration as I feel the same when I look at increased inequality, homelessness, marginalisation of the disabled and the plight of the sick when they face sanctions in our society. We see the plight of millions of refugees, displaced by war and injustice. At times I feel frustrated as God does not answer my prayers for our society and the MP replies to my concerns using the party line, which is often accepting the status quo. Are we patient and persistent in prayer? Do we read our Bible regularly and see how God is speaking to us?
Jesus had been telling the disciples that they should forgive someone who wrongs them seven times. When the disciples wonder how they could possibly have the faith to lead such a life. Jesus encouraged them by saying that if they had faith even as small as a mustard seed that would put them in touch with God’s power; their weakness would be made perfect in God’s strength. Trusting in God to use our small faith means we have to rely on his strength.
Habakkuk’s impatient waiting on the Lord for a response wqs finally rewarded when God told him to write the message large so that he could share it with the people; that the righteous were to live by faith. We too are called to be faithful to God and trust in him, placing everything into his hands.
Jesus told the parable of the slave who worked in the fields all day and then in his master’s house before he could get his own food. The slave’s time and labour belonged to his master, so that the slave had no claim on his master, even after a time of obedient service. He was only doing his duty and could expect no reward. We too need faith to serve and trust in our heavenly father daily. Paul reminded Timothy of the faith of his grandmother and mother and that he had confidence in him as an apostle. God’s love and grace were undeserved gifts to be accepted; Timothy could not achieve it in his own strength. He just had to offer his faith small as it was to the Lord, trusting in his strength, as we too are called to do.
After the sermon we sang the Song of Fellowship, ‘Be still!’ before I led the prayers of intercessions and the Lord’s Prayer. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Behold the servant of the Lord.’