On October 27th our minister Trevor led worship at Wesley Chapel. We began worship as we sang ‘Guide me O thou great Jehovah’, before Trevor led the prayers of adoration, confession and thanksgiving.’ We then sang ‘Through all the changing scenes of life,’ before Isaiah 45.1-7 and 1Thessalonians 1.1-10 were read. We sang, ‘A rich young man came seeking God’s Kingdom was his aim’, which was one I had not sung before. The words were very good. Matthew 22.15-22 was read before the sermon.
Trevor described an interview situation, a call to ministry explored, when open ended questions were asked, which expected answers in more detail than simply ‘yes or no’. Questions are the oldest technique possibly leading to controversy; sometimes open ended or to trap a person but not in this case. The perfect question is the one that even the questioner does not know the answer. Here Jesus was asked the perfect question; whichever way he answered it he would either alienate some of his followers or be trapped by the authorities. Taxes were paid to the Roman usurpers, so he cannot be regarded as the expected Messiah if he did not want to get rid of the Roman oppressors. However if he said they should withhold tax then he would be arrested by the authorities for not paying tax. The authorities thought they had caught him, but the trap did not work, as he answered the question with another question! They as religious leaders were supposed to be an authority the religious leaders. It did not occur to them that he would say, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s! Why do the authorities hate Jesus so much? They could not be sure whether Jesus was an imposter of not. They did not want God to get too close. If God were like Jesus they might have to recognise him again and again and give him everything. God’s authority and power is higher than any human authority and there is nothing God does not own. God cares about everyone; he is beyond definition, bigger than we can grasp; He holds all creation in the palm of his hand. We have only a little understanding of who God is; we have come to worship Him,, who is worth more than we can ever grasp. All comes from God and we give to him some of what he has given us. We often have more faith in earthly authority than divine. As Christians we remember Jesus has risen every day and are called to live in that faith, no matter what happens, even when it is not easy to see God in what happens around us. We need to render to God the things which are God’s, so that God is in charge and the guide for our lives in both good and bad days. When we are going through bad times, let us have confidence in God’s presence touching our living. We need to pray that we do not lose a sense of his hold on us, even if we don’t feel he is with us. If God has moved, who has moved? God weaves his presence into our everyday lives. Do we dare to believe that God knows what he is doing and will do it right. People are meant to see God through Christians. Have we domesticated God? God is God and will be God and we can’t alter that, but we can give God what is his, serve him and be his people working in his way.
We sang ‘Teach me, my God and King, in all things thee to see’ trying really to know what we were singing, as Trevor suggested. Trevor led the prayers of intercession and the Lord’s Prayer, before we sang ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness’ to conclude worship.