The only meeting at Chatham at Chatham yesterday was led by Major Karen Smith who began the worship with one of the great church hymns, ‘Guide me, O thou great Jehovah’.
A corporate declaration, spoken by the whole congregation, was based on Ephesians 2:18 and Hebrews 4:16 and stated ‘I have full access to the Father and can fearlessly, confidently and boldly draw near to His throne’. Prayer time included the song ‘Open our eyes Lord’ and scripture from Matthew 15:29 – 16:4 followed.
The time for the children included the contribution from the Singing Company (children’s choir)(Zephaniah 3:17) and a brief message asking the question ‘What does love look like?’. This time was concluded with the song ‘Have you ever stopped to think how God loves you?’
A further song, ‘He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater’ introduced the ministry of the Songsters (adult choir) (Would you know) and Major Karen preached on her theme ‘A glimpse of the heart of God’ saying (summarised):
This is only a glimpse because our understanding of God’s compassion is so feeble (no offence meant).
There are so many wonderful things about the precious word of God (the scriptures) as it reveals God himself to us. Jesus is an exact replica of God’s glory (Hebrews 1:3)! Amazing! At this point Major Karen used maps on the screens to illustrate the geography of the Holy Land showing that Jesus had been in the very north of the country a week before the events outlined in our scripture today where he had carried out miracles..
By the time of this morning’s passage he had walked to Galilee and found himself amongst the Gentiles where he showed his compassion by feeding 4000 men plus women and children, not Jews as in his previous feeding of 5000 plus. He showed his compassion to all people equally. Interestingly, there was no teaching involved but much healing of people with various disabilities. This amazed all these Gentile people and they praised ‘the God of Israel’.
Through Jesus, God poured out his compassion upon them. He also told the crowd to ignore the ‘blind guides’ (the Pharisees). He called the disciples to him and spoke of his compassion for these people. There was no discrimination because they were Gentiles. As in the previous event Jesus took what was available and blessed it. It became enough to meet the need of those present. God can do this for you if you give him all you have, however little it is. Wonderful!
By this act the disciples became conduits of God’s grace and the same can be true for us. God’s grace has no limitations, it is for everyone. This is the heart of God; compassion, grace and mercy for all, not just for those we consider worthy.
After this Jesus was tested by the Pharisees and Sadducees who were asking for a further sign. They had not recognised what they had witnessed because it had been done for the Gentiles. They wanted proof that it was for the Jews only. Jesus declined to give another sign saying that they had missed what had happened right in front of them. They had missed it because it did not meet their expectations.
Jesus has infinite love for all mankind and we must show that same love to all around us whatever their status or position in life. Let us all try to be like Jesus.
A prayer song, ‘To be like Jesus’ allowed time for people to review their own spiritual condition and a ‘YouTube’ clip, God of Justice’ brought the worship to a close.
Next Sunday afternoon will include a family picnic at Manor Park Country Park (ME19 6PE). All are invited (BYO) from 1.00pm onwards.
God bless you all and thank you for taking the time to read our reports. Have a great week.