Lectionary Readings for today:
Isaiah 58:1-9a, (9b-12)
Psalm 112:1-9, (10)
1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16)
Morning Worship at Engadine this morning was well attended in spite of the torrential rain that saturated most of the state in recent days.
Our worship was led by Sue McKinnon with Rev. Paul Bartlett bringing us a message based on the scripture for the day. The two relevant scripture passages he used were from Matthew’s Gospel (5:13-16) and Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (2:1-12).
Following the Matthew reading: “You are like salt for everyone on earth (CEV)” Sue had tables with salt activities and encouraged the congregation to engage and reflect on seven different aspects of salt.
These activities helped us all contemplate the significance of the gospel words and challenged us in new and relevant ways. This was followed by a special song “A little bit of Salt”.
Rev. Paul’s introduction referred to some popular quiz shows on TV he shared how impressed we are about the knowledge of some contestants. We can’t help but be impressed by how they can showcase their knowledge under pressure, nor by the money they can earn on such shows.
Rev. Paul introduced us to the Apostle Paul’s impression of the Greek city of Corinth which he planned to visit. For Paul, a Pharisee, a knowledgeable and learned man, he was concerned about how to approach the people of Corinth who were steeped in Greek logic and reason as we heard again this time from the Message translation of first five verses of the 1Corinthians reading.
The heart of Rev. Paul’s message is that Paul realised that his own knowledge was no longer the centre of his life but ‘Christ’ and this would be his message to the Corinthians; that he would present Jesus as a human being. A real person born in the lowest place (a manger in Bethlehem), he spoke of Jesus’ love and how he lived his life and experienced death as a human being, not as some thought, as one who came just in ‘the image’ of a human being. This is a simple yet profound story with no need for special knowledge or reason, a story and the personal encounter which he had on the Damascus Rd 12-14 years before that transformed St Paul’s life – a story he would tell to all whom he met of Christ Jesus crucified and risen.
To offer an example of a small light referred to in the Matthew passage, Rev. Paul showed us a small genuine third century oil lamp (see photo above) that would have been used to produce a small flame to chase away the darkness in the home during the night. The power of light is that it only takes a small amount to overcome the darkness. On its solidus was carved the chi-rho, the first 2 letters in Greek of the word Christ. A small lamp used by an early Christian family.
Kathy Slade lead us in the ‘Prayer of the People’ where we prayed for our world asking that we might be light and salt to this world. She finished with a special version of the Lord’s Prayer which we said together:
Our Father, who is in us here on earth, holy is your name in the hungry who share their bread and their song.
Your kingdom come, a generous land where confidence and truth reign.
Let us do your will being a cool breeze for those who sweat.
You are giving us our daily bread when we manage to get back our lands and to get a fairer wage.
Forgive us for keeping silent in the face of injustice and for burying our dreams.
Don't let us fall into the temptation of taking up the same arms as our enemy, but deliver us from evil which disunites us.
And we shall have believed in humanity and in life and we shall have known your kingdom which is being built for ever and ever.
We sang our final hymn about being a humble neighbour:
Kneels at the feet of his friends
silently washes his feet,
Master who acts as a slave to them.
Fill us with your love
Show us how to serve
The neighbours we have from you