Home Service 11th December 2022

Call to Worship

Strength is commanding the wind and sea to obey, Strength is wielding a slingshot in the face of a raging giant. Strength is accepting vulnerability from inside the boat, Strength is standing in solidarity with the powerless. Strength is turning a cheek, Strength is loving an enemy.

We come to worship a God who redefines our vision of strength.


Prayer of Confession
O God, sometimes we are like David, and sometimes Goliath:
forgive us for our two-sided nature.

We face the powerful with righteous anger,
but cling to any sense of power that we attain.

We are grateful when grace is extended to us,
yet remain absent-minded of this when others have wronged us.

We treat our own as family, yet ignore sisters and brothers
whom we see only from a distance.

As people of paradox, we long for oneness with ourselves and others,
with Christ and creation,
so that justice and love may flow freely.

Assurance of Pardon

With Christ as the uniting element,
God’s grace washes upon the turbulent shores of our lives;
and we are forgiven to begin again
to live at peace with ourselves and others,
with Christ and creation,
allowing justice and love to flow freely through our lives.

Please read 1 Samuel 17:1-51

A recent school assembly…

Rev Jim: “David was a brave young boy. He fought Goliath because he wasn’t a nice person. David knocks Goliath out with a stone to the forehead” – the end.
Sam (aged 8 ¾) “You missed the bit about David decapitating Goliath – with Goliath’s sword. His brains spilled out everywhere and he made a dreadful sound. David then took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem… on a stick!
It’s interesting to think about why this part of the story is left out of the official lectionary readings and usually left out of School assembly stuff.

So I’m not going to talk about the horror and violence of this narrative. I’m just going to talk about the part of the story we know and love: the little shepherd boy overcoming the mighty giant. Even people who have never set foot in a church know about David and Goliath. The pair has become a metaphor for the small and weak overcoming the big and strong.

I’ve heard this metaphor used when employees take on multi-nationals, when individuals stand-up to corrupt government, when people fight a powerful disease such as cancer.

There is something very appealing to us in this story about a simple shepherd boy defeating a 9 foot tall giant with a smooth stone from the stream.

In fact, it seems that stories of giant-killing were very popular in ancient Israel:

· Joshua takes on the giants of Canaan
· In 1 Chronicles we read about the killings of two giants (one of whom is Goliath’s brother)
· In 2 Samuel, 4 of David’s men (David now commander of the Israelite army) kill four giants (one of whom is poor Goliath again! who is killed this time by Elhanan!)

David is a hero despite his small stature; despite his lack of armor; despite his civilian status. It’s fascinating how these “despites” get interpreted differently in secular and religious circles.

In secular circles, the narrative is all about the underdog (I grew up on Karate Kid!) In religious circles, the narrative is all about God standing alongside of the outcast, or the over-powered or the intruded upon.

Just what you need when things aren’t going your way and the world seems to have turned upside down.

Going out prayer

Put obstacles in no one’s way,
but rejoice in purity, knowledge, patience, kindness,
holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech,
and the power of God.

Go in peace.

Recommended reading Upside Down (Jack Johnson) – www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqUdI4AIDF0

Oh Lord, All The World Belongs To You Song – www.youtube.com/watch?v=T13JYd_oi54 He Who Would Valiant Be – www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBSPvatOtvo

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