Sunday 24th May 2020
Good morning and welcome to worship here at MPN, wherever you have joined us from this morning I hope that you feel part of our community here today.
This week has been mental health awareness week and we have been asked to remember and show a bit more kindness. In these times with many people who are unable to get out and about a phone call, a note, a wee surprise on the doorstep is really appreciated. You may open the door like I have and found cake and juice and even eve’s pudding and custard. It hasn’t done much for the healthy eating, but it has been really appreciated. I just need to walk more. But it doesn’t take much out of our day to be kind to those around us.
Our call to worship
Psalm 139: 14-15
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Let us come now and worship God together:
Song: -Be Still
Song: Goodness of God
Reading Revelation 3:7-13 (The Church in Philadelphia)
Talk 2 (Morag)
This morning we head off on our visit round the Churches in Revelation. We have been told the good and the bad news for the previous Churches we have visited and today we find ourselves in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia situated on the slope of Mount Tmolas- vines grew on the fertile slopes around the city. The city built on high ground- 900 feet above sea level. The whole region was volcanic – many lives lost but the fertile surroundings of Philadelphia preserved it from total destruction. The Church there was the oldest Christian Church in all the Greek colonies and the oldest of the Churches in Asia at that time.
We hear this
“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”
The Church in Philadelphia are being told that Jesus opens a door and once he opens a door no one can close it.
We’ve all at times I’m sure said I’ll push this door and see if it opens. Recognising that God opens doors for us in life.
It’s fourteen years since I pushed the initial door to ministry. I have taken the scenic route, through leaving my job in engineering, pushing the door and going to university, before my redundancy came through, a week after starting university it came through…the door opened. Again I pushed the door and applied for ordained local ministry, thinking yes I’ll try and well it’s nearly four years since I was ordained….I have 5 weeks until I have my final review for full-time word and sacrament …I push another door…
The one thing though I have been taught through all of these years of training is that once the door opens and God calls you somewhere, or to do something he fulfils that call and the doors open…even when we think that it is impossible.
I stand here this morning and talk to you all, at the beginning of my training I would never have imagined that this is what I would be doing… push the door and you will never regret where God leads you.
We are told that even when we have little strength and keep to God’s word and patiently endure God will be with us in all the trials and tribulations of life, we are not spared the trials, the storms, the changes in our lives, but we keep holding on and have a great hope for the future.
This is our challenge in these times we live in. What doors do we need to push and where does God call us in this time? What will change for us and the way the world operates and what will have been a pivotal period in the history of our time.
If you are like me there will be more questions than answers and although I am getting better at the waiting for God than I used to, the engineer in me like the plan written down and the steps in place before I begin the task. But in the life of faith we are asked to step out of the boat or off the edge of the cliff or open the door and to go out of the comfort zone and join in where God waits for us to join in with him.
Rainer Maria Reicher says this:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
We live with the questions we have right now and in the future when we look back, we will see that by keeping living, trusting, hoping and believing we will have lived right into the answer.
Jesus tells his friends to not let their hearts be troubled, they believe in God -believe also in him. There is enough room for everyone, and he prepares a place from them. We are told that we know the way and know and have seen his Father and goes on later to say that he will leave a helper, a comforter for us in this world.
This week we had Ascension Day on Thursday, the day we commemorate Jesus earthly body leave this earth, and yet we know that he still lives in us and around us, encouraging us and giving is the strength and courage for all times.
Although at this time we have many questions, we know that we still in faith push the door to the next part of the plan God has for us.
The people of God will still be asked to care and be kind to those around them. Living through the questions and seeing the answers revealed through just living our ordinary lives, lived to serve God.
Do we push the door and never know what to expect and offer our lives or do we settle for what is safe but maybe not what we are meant to be? Philadelphia was the Church who didn’t get the rebuke from Jesus, it received encouragement to grow and to continue to develop in the things that it was already doing. The Church that had opened the door to Christ and continued to have its door open. Our example and our continued challenge.
Today as our physical doors are closed our Church is still open. It’s open in the ways we interact with each other, a phone call, a Zoom other video conferencing is available, a card or a present, just being there for each other.
Keeping the door open…. pushing doors, letting Christ in.
Song: – Jesus Messiah
Jesus show us the way to go,
in us he has planted a seed of faith,
and now we go out into the world,
nurtured by the Holy Spirit,
to fulfil that faith,
to share God’s love
and to live God’s grace.
And the Blessing of God Almighty
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Be with you, and all those you love
Now and forever more