Sermon Series: At the Table
Theme: Enacted Grace
Scripture: Luke 5: 27 – 32
Today we gathered around the table in Levi’s house and watch as Jesus displays the radical nature of grace in the Kingdom of God to his unsuspecting dinner guests. We listen to the voice of Jesus critics and ask ourselves about our own response to grace. The Pharisees idea of being part of God’s people had become to be about meticulous standards instead of loving hearts which is why they couldn’t understand why Jesus would sit and eat with ‘tax collectors and sinners’ in a society where who you ate with was a socially fixed experience.
Elsewhere in Luke’s Gospel, we don’t just see Jesus transforming the guest list to the feast, but even the ettiquet…he sits at the table with hands unwashed and makes the point that outward cleanliness is nowhere as important as our hearts. The think that makes out practical expression worth, is when our ‘cups and plates’ are clean in order to honour others.
We must confess that our own tables aren’t always as embracing and that our outward appearance can be cleaner than our inward parts, but we learn from Jesus that we are all invited to come just as we are and enjoy life in the Kingdom of God.
For further reflection
Read Luke 15 and consider the ways in which Jesus expands on radical grace. What do these passages say to the ‘sinner’ and ‘the Pharisee’?
Sermon Series: Easter – Jesus the King
Theme: The Road to Emmaus, the Road to Jerusalem
Scripture: Luke 24
Mary Bellshaw shared reflections on the journey of the two disciples after their experiences of witnessing the trial and execution of Jesus when they are joined by a new Companion on their road. Jesus listens to their sorrows and concerns and begins to slowly reveal the plan of God through the scripture to the men before breaking bread and revealing who he is.
We are reminded that the road to Emmaus was also the road back to Jerusalem and how easy it is to remain in the place of our grief, dejection and disbelief. As we go on our Christian journey, we simply need to come to the point where we see Jesus beside us, and recognise him for who he is. This ensures that our path to wards ‘Emmaus’ is a forward journey. We see Jesus on the cross in Jerusalem, his salvation provided, that we might move from there into life in the Kingdom of God.
For further reflection: Look again at today’s scripture and see the process that Jesus takes these disciples through. Take time to explore in scripture for yourself the way that God promises a Messiah to his people throughout the generations.
Sermon Series: ‘Easter – Jesus the King’
Theme: ‘Jesus the Risen King’
Scripture: John 20: 1 – 18
Andrew Clark spoke about the wonderment that the disciples showed on that first Resurrection Sunday. We asked why they were so surprised the Jesus had risen. And why was their initial wonderment not about ‘salvation’ as we understand it? They had walked with him for 3 years and they had witnessed him raise dead people, heal the sick, cast out demons, change water into wine as well as hear his radical teaching. They were also well aware that it was God’s desire that the Messiah would make all things new.
However, their amazement was that they still didn’t expect what Jesus accomplished. They expected God to bring everything right at the end of time but Jesus triumphs over the enemy in the middle of history. So when Jesus appears to them, their absolute amazement is that God has started the new creation in the here an now…and that they get to play a part in that new creation breaking into our world. Jesus starts the renewal of what it means to be human which totally transforms every act of love, compassion and grace we enact. It transforms every note of music, stroke of the pen or paintbrush, every kick on the sports field. Why? Because as the redeemed people of God, we can being to see the great things of God’s Kingdom come in the here and now because of Jesus.
For further reflection: read Colossians 1:15 – 23 and consider Paul’s vision of Jesus. How central is Jesus in your own understanding of life, church and everything else?
On Maundy Thursday (5th April at 7.30pm), we explore a multi-sensory worship experience in the form of a meditation called ’30 Pieces of Silver’, focusing on the experiences of Jesus and Judas.
On Good Friday morning (6th April at 10am), we gather for worship at 10am around the theme of ‘In Royal Robes’ to consider the ways in which Christ clothes us with Himself, led by Tracy Clark, before joining with other Christians on the grass at the front of church for a joint act of worship and witness around the cross.
Easter Sunday at 10.30am – Our celebrations reach their climax on Sunday 8th April as we celebrate ‘Jesus the Risen King’ as we gather to give thanks for Resurrection Hope.
Early Morning Communion at 8am (Andrew Clark)
Main celebration at 10.30am (Andrew Clark)
Evening Worship at 6.30pm.(Peter Waugh)
Our Easter Journey continues on 15th April as Mary Bellshaw focuses our thoughts on the journey on the Emmaus Road.
Sermon Series: Easter – Jesus the King
Theme: ‘Entry of the King’
Scripture: John 12: 12 – 19
Andrew Clark spoke about the ways we sometimes have Palm Sunday ‘all sorted’ in our heads, that the moral of the story is that the crowd which worshipped him on the Sunday cried ‘crucify him’ on the Friday; that we should praise Jesus and not be silent as the Pharisees suggest; that we should follow Jesus and worship him from the right motive.
Yet, there is a large contrast happening in Jerusalem on the day. As Pilate gets ready to enter into Jerusalem from the west with his chariots, horses and military prowess to make sure the Jerusalem behaves during its national religious festival, he is there to show the world who is boss. As Jesus enters the east of the city on a donkey, he comes as the King of a Kingdom not of this world, founded on grace, mercy, peace, righteousness, joy and justice.
We noted, too, that we can enter every situation in our own lives either taking the example of Jesus and his Kingdom, or from the opposite spirit where we are the centre along with our needs and desires to be the centre of our worlds. Palm Sunday reminds us that there are two ways to enter a city!
For further reflection: Revisit the experience of Jesus week before his crucifixion and see if you can identify the ways of the Kingdom of God and the contrasting ways of the Kingdom of Pilate. What can you learn from them?