Sunday 10th May 2020

Sunday 10th May 2020

Good Morning and welcome to worship here at MPN Church. Wherever
you have joined us from a warm welcome this morning.
As you can see, I am not in the Church today, I thought I would take you
on my walk today and show you some of the sights around
Dalmellington.
Some people find God in the grand cathedrals and Churches around
this country. For some it is a sacred place that they encounter God.
For me it is here up in the hills and the rivers and lochs. This view in the
peace and quiet is one of the places since childhood where in the
stillness God speaks. A sacred space for me.
I want to read a Psalm again to open our worship:
Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.
Let us worship God this morning as we sing our first hymn: Come people of the risen king


Reading Revelation 2:18-29
In times when we haven’t been able to plan our holidays or even go a
short trip on a day away, it’s been a good time to visit the Churches in
Revelation. A bit like a holiday to Turkey the modern-day location of
the Churches. We get to move through the countries and to take in the
good and the bad news that the Churches have been told.
We have had time to think and reflect on going back to our first love of
God, to remember that the word of God is central for our lives and the
life of the Church. Today we head off on our travels round the
Churches and today we are in Thyatira.
Thyatira, seated on the river Hermus, is (38 miles) from Pergamos and (32 miles)
from Sardis. The city was located in the northern part of Lydia of the Roman
province of Asia.
Thyatira was a prosperous trading town that was an important location on the
Roman road from Pergamos to Laodicea. The city hosted a major cult of the
pagan god Apollo (son of Zeus). The city was famous for its dyeing and was a
centre of the indigo trade.
It is to the Church in Thyayria that John is told to write. Again, the good
news is that their love, faith, service and perseverance and they are
doing more than they did at first. It seems that they are growing in all of
these things and again a good community of faith it would appear to
belong to.
But we are getting used to the Good news/bad news of all of these
Churches.
The bad news for the Church at Thyatira is that they have let Jezebel
who calls herself a prophetess mislead them in her teaching. She still
holds to idols and practices of the past.
The Church is in spiritual danger and is called to repent and come back
to God.
Their sin is not that they themselves have followed these practices but
that they have tolerated it and not dealt with those who have fallen into
the false teachings.
Today it is easy for us to think that we have no idols and no practices
that are similar to those of this time. An Idol is something that we focus
on love and revere.
Before lockdown there were so many celebrities and idols for people to
focus on. The internet gave us a glimpse into the lives of these so-called
celebrities. Lives that were so vastly different to those who watched and
wanted to be like them. Money, fame, the designer clothes and all the
trappings being sold as what was important in this world. Folks used this
a measure in life and compared and tried to be like this.
Even the Church got caught up in this. Looking to see what others were
doing and trying to do the same.
But our call is to be the people God called each one of us to be and that
every person is needed with their gifts to form the community of God for
their time and their place.
It’s what the Church in Thyatria are being called to think through. What
things do they tolerate that they should think about and need to review?
And how do they relate to the world around them in a relevant way but
keeping to the ways of their faith.
Another good thing for us to think about in our situation today.
At this time in our history as communities of faith we have the
opportunity to speak into this time. To look at what is relevant in faith
and life. Who will be the prophets of our time.
When this is over will we still watch celebrities and study their lives, or
will we have a new narrative on what is important in this world.
We hear:
26-28“Here’s the reward I have for every conqueror, everyone who keeps at it, refusing to
give up: You’ll rule the nations, your Shepherd-King rule as firm as an iron staff, their
resistance fragile as clay pots. This was the gift my Father gave me; I pass it along to
you—and with it, the Morning Star!
Jesus tells us that those who overcome and refuse to give up will have
the Morning start and the world to rule over.
But it is how we will rule. Will we rule with the ways of the world or will
we rule in the ways of God?
Walter Bruggeman in his book Reality, Grief, hope three urgent
prophetic tasks says this:
“The dominate culture has, in its chosenness, failed to love neighbour
and so has failed to regard the weak,poor,vulnerable as legitimate
members of the community. The elite have manipulated the markets,
paid low wages and managed the economy in their own interest to the
detriment of others.”
Bruggerman is cautioning us on how we see ourselves as God’s people
and that when we deal with others and that we treat them as God has
asked us, to love our neighbours , as we love otherselves and as God
loves us.
Jesus has left the church with the command to overcome in the world
but to not be exclusive. The people of faith are to be the change in the
world and to build the kingdom of God in the world around them.
It’s been a challenge to read about the Churches in Revelation at this
time in our world. We can use this time to think about what kind of
Church are we, what kind of Church will we be when we return. For
there have been so many changes and we can’t go back. Every day is a
school day and we need time to think through the things we have lost
and our new reality. We can’t meet as the people of God Physically. But
there have been plenty of encouragement for us in coming together
online and over the phone. What things will we take with us I asked
last week.
You saw me out walking in the village, up on the hills near my house. In
the stillness and the beauty of nature around me. For me a place to
draw near to God. In this time when we are cut off for all that is familiar
and the future seems so uncertain, I was reminded this week of the
importance of community and being with people. That communities
shape people and that it is in this time that new communities and new
stories are being written. God speaks to us in these times and we
share our story and God’s story by all our interactions in this world.
The Church in Thyatria had been commended for doing more that they
had at first, their love,faith,service and perseverance had grown, the
one thing they had let creep in was tolerating things that were not good
for those around them and they had the opportunity to come back to
God.
Hosea 12:6
“ But as for you, return to God,
Hold fast to love and justice
And wait continually for your God.”
Our challenge this week, to hold fast to God, to be faithful to our
calling, not to anyone else’s and to wait for God who will honour our
call and be faithful to us.
To God the Father
God the Son
God the Holy Spirit
Amen
Blessing(Morag)
May the peace of God which is beyond all understanding
Guard your heart and your thoughts in Christ Jesus
And the Blessing of God Almighty
Father,Son and Holy Spirit
Be with you and all those you love
Now and forever more
Amen.







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