On Sunday February 19th our minister Rev Trevor Dixon led worship at our chapel, Wesley Chapel. Worship began when we sang, ‘New every morning is the love.’ Trevor then led the prayers of adoration, praise and the confession. We sang, ‘Be still for the presence of the Lord’ before we heard Leviticus 19.1,2,9-18 and 1 Corinthians 3.10,11,16-23 read. We sang ‘Come down O love divine’ before Matthew 5.38-48 was read.
Trevor told us that there was a program list of all Methodist places of worship with their postcodes produced ten or fifteen years ago and not all the chapels listed are still in use. Chapel names often related to the street or town where it was, but the most popular name was Providence, which is God bringing good out of what was bad. Romans 8.28 tells us that; we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Jesus’ followers were in an occupied country, so they had their problems. However adding love to evil can have a neutralising affect turning hatred into reconciliation. We are encouraged to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. The Rabbi Hillel was challenged to tell an unbeliever the whole law whilst standing on one leg; he summed it up by saying treat others as you would wish to be treated and that the rest of the law was just explanation. Love has no limitations. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. God’s love embraces saints and sinners and we are called upon to return that same love. Evil would then be overwhelmed by good. We are to live together as a community designed to reflect God’s love. We must be holy as God is holy. Leviticus 19 gives practical advice on how to do that. It shows the people how to treat the poor and gave detailed instructions, expanding on the Ten Commandments. The whole of life belongs together and people’s lives are important; care for the poor, the rich, the blind and the deaf are the lifeblood of a community. God gives life to everything irrespective of any response; the sun shines on evil and good. God sees everything alive as part of the whole. We may think of ourselves as separate individual beings, but we cannot function if we are detached from God. We are called to form strong communities where all people are equally treated. There is no need to fight for rights if they are offered as a matter of course. Society has been subverted by greed, fear and selfishness; we never believe that we have all we need. Many are convinced that if they are made to share fairly with the poor and the hungry they would not enough for themselves, despite the amount of evidence to the contrary. We have rights offered by God and can afford to be generous to others. If we are greedy that will dispossess us.
We sang, ‘A new commandment I give unto you’ before Trevor led the prayers of intercessions and the Lord’s Prayer. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Make me a channel of your peace.’