A Home Service for 25th October ’20

Call to worship

Our God is faithful.
God’s love for us is eternal.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, expressed God’s love in all he said and did. We stand firm in him.
He has chosen us for his own and put his Spirit in our hearts, assuring us that all his promises will be fulfilled.

Please read Mark 2.1–12

Reflection

I’ve been using this passage in school assemblies this half-term. We’ve been talking about the Christian Value of ‘Responsibility’ and the four friends in Mark 2 are taking responsibility for the wellbeing of their friend.

The four friends of the paralysed man are so desperate for his healing that they break open the roof so that he can get to Jesus. It’s been suggested that Mark’s Gospel may have been based on the testimony of Peter, and that perhaps it was Peter’s house; whoever the householder was, he probably had mixed feelings about the episode.

It’s a very powerful image. At one level, it challenges us about our discipleship and our responsibility for those around us. Are we as committed as those four men to see our friends come to Jesus?

The exciting entrance, though, is just the curtain-raiser for the real drama. Jesus tells the paralysed man that his sins are forgiven, drawing outrage from some of his hearers. That’s easy: no one knows if it’s true or not. Anyone could say it. But telling him to get up and walk is different. It’s instantly obvious whether the person saying it is a fake or the genuine article. Someone who says that puts their reputation on the line.

This too is a challenge to our discipleship. It’s true that everyone needs forgiveness from sins. But if that’s the whole content of our gospel message we risk retreating into the realm of abstractions, where we don’t really stand up to be counted. This story invites us not just to be bold in our claims, but to live up to our responsibility to back them up with evidence.

We are left with questions:

  • What difference does our faith actually make? What does it change for good?
  • What leaves people saying ‘We have never seen anything like this!’ (verse 12)?
  • Can we live up to the responsibilities that this account places on us?

PS Many of the children had questions about the roof of the house – How were the friends were able to break through the roof? because it was constructed of ‘Wattle and Daub’ – cow muck and straw! Fancy being able to talk about cow muck in assembly!
Memories are made of this!

Prayer

We pray that we may be channels of your compassionate touch, loving God, reaching out with your love to those around us, because you have set us where we are as signs of your care and provision for all.
We need the compassionate touch of God in our lives, in our faults and failings, our hurts and disappointments and where we have been rejected.
Lord, have mercy.

We ask for the compassionate touch of God to heal those we have hurt or disappointed – those who feel ignored or let down by us.
Lord, have mercy.

We pray for the lost people in our society:
those who have lost hope,
those who are homeless,
those unemployed, or unemployable, refugees, asylum seekers,
those who are unwell,
those who are involved in crime,
and those who no longer want to go on living.
Lord, have mercy.

May we be channels of your friendship and compassionate care.

We offer these prayers in the name of our compassionate Lord Jesus Christ, the friend of sinners.

Amen.

Rev. Jim Williams


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