On Sunday June 18th our Minister Trevor Dixon led worship. Worship began when we sang ‘The God of Abraham praise.’ Trevor led the prayers of confession, thanksgiving and adoration. We sang ‘Come, let us sing of a wonderful love’ before Exodus 19.2-8 was read and we read psalm 100 responsively. Romans 5.1-8 was read before we sang a hymn that a veteran member of our congregation, 90 in August, had chosen, ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son.’ The gospel reading was from Matthew 9. 35-10.9
Trevor asked how wide God’s protection and love was. Are godly people safer? Are they treated as special people of God? Bad things happen to people; does that mean God does not love them? Sailors felt cheered to have a chaplain on board in wartime; they felt that God would keep them safe! Yet in the time of Jonah it was not considered safe to have a man of God on board! The Exodus reading was 3 months after the Israelites had left Egypt. They had been told that if they kept his commandments they would be his special people. God had a special eye on the Jews when they were in danger. Even when the Hebrews forgot to keep the commandments they knew they were God’s special people.
How did the people cope when Psalm 100 was written? It said that no matter whom you are, God made you, Jews included with everyone else. Did they like it as much when it is more inclusive? Everyone is special to God, no one is more special than anyone else; God’s love is limitless for all. God is like a warm reassuring safety net in life. He will always pick us up when things go wrong. Is that really so?
Paul in Romans encouraged the readers to rejoice in knowing Jesus. God has reached out to the whole world through Jesus, who showed us how much he loved us. Do we hope God is there and will see us right in the end? We are justified by faith not any merit of our own, nor any action of ours. How does that feel? We can now be at peace with God. God sent Jesus as his ambassador, who grants us citizenship as Christians. Christians do suffer but even in suffering can be at peace. We have hope at the beginning and end of our journey because of what God has done. God searches for his people, whom he loves and longs to welcome to his family. Sometimes we say we cannot cope and want out, we rebel, yet God still loves and hopes for us. Sometimes we are ashamed of what we have done but we are able to say we are sorry. God’s grace allows us to wander away and come back. God’s infinite love is great for everyone in the world. We are all ordinary yet God still loved us; his love adds value to our lives as we are justified by faith through God’s grace. If we trust in him we shall never be put to shame.
We sang ‘O breathe of life, come sweeping through us.’ Trevor led the prayers of intercession and the Lord’s Prayer. Worship concluded when we sang, ‘Behold the servant of the Lord.’