Really good number this morning starting the services with pictures of our young people at Sole Survivors – they seem to have had a brilliant time.
The theme for the morning was ‘The compassion of Christ’. We started with the hymn ‘Give me joy in my heart’ Chloe then did the introductory prayers. Rather than the usual young people’s address Hilary with the help of Annie answered questions that helped the young people – and the not so young – to understand the significance of communion.
This was followed by the act of communion the young people and the junior church leaders going first and then leaving for their own activities. This was followed by the hymn ‘Now let us from this table rise’ Psalm 145;8-9,14-21 was read by Alison Critchley and Matthew 14:13-21 by Norman Lowe. ‘A rich young man came seeking’ was our next hymn leading into the sermon.
Hilary took the familiar story of the feeding of the 5000 as the basis. It starts with Jesus taking a boat and leaving the crowd behind, this was put into context by looking at the previous few verses. This tells how Jesus had been told of the death of John-beheaded on the whim of a revengeful woman. John was only his cousin and also his closest friend. Jesus was surrounded by a demanding crowd and he needed to just take some time out- to be alone. In this Jesus was showing compassion for himself. Something we all should do.
He then showed compassion for the crowd by returning to the shore to minister to their needs. When the time came and the disciples and the crowd were getting hungry rather than send them home as the disciples recommended he again showed compassion for his people and told his disciples to feed them! This was a daunting task with very limited resources but they did as Jesus said and they feed the whole crowd and had food to spare. When God calls us to go beyond the comfortable and respond to people’s needs he will make sure we have the resources to do it. We should not be afraid of showing compassion were ever it is asked of us.
The hymn ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ put this promise into words.
Joe Leighton then lead the prayers of intercession followed with the final hymn ‘I will sing the wondrous story’ It was a truly inspiring service, giving lots of food for thought. Thank you, Hilary.
Kindly written by Joyce Read