Song “I will offer up my life”
Song “Just be held”
Song “Bow down”
Song “East and West”
Song “Praise you in this storm”
The world belongs to God
The earth and all its people
How good and lovely it is
To live together in unity
Love and faith come together
Justice and peace join hands
Song “Christ be in my waking”
Let us in silence remember our faults and failings
Christ have mercy on us, and deliver us from our sins and may we amend our lives
Amen. The Lords Prayer in our own language
Song “The Lords my shepherd”
Reading Matthew 18v15-20
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Song “Come thou fount”
Matthew draws together sayings on humility and greatness and the seriousness of causing little ones to sin. He has gathered together Jesus' teachings on membership in the kingdom of God - life under God's authority. It ends with "when Jesus had finished saying these things". When the gospels were written, the sayings and acts of Jesus would have been known off by heart.
Membership of the kingdom of God belongs to those who are dependent on God's grace for their salvation, not their reputation, or their wonderful deeds. It is a godly responsibility not to lead people away from God.
The Beatitudes remind us that the humble are those who inherit the earth, they are the ones who recognize their poverty before God, mourn for their loss of divine standing, thirst for righteousness, and in their yearning are blessed with Gods grace. They bear the fruit of faith, mercy, purity of heart, peacemakers, but are persecuted. On the other hand there are those who think they are God's gift to humankind and exalt themselves. Humility is not modesty, but relying on God.
Matthew here has put together didactic sayings of Jesus. The sayings are about church discipline.
The first saying is often treated as a method for dealing with a sister or brother who has hurt us - sinned against us. This is commonly used in Christian fellowships. Sometimes badly! Someone has wavered in their faith, and their standing before Christ needs to be restored. We must bring them face to face with what is right again.
"If a member of the church sins against you"-the sin is undefined, but given the instructions it must be serious. The context it is the consequence of skandalizw, of having a stumbling block placed before a person. The skandalwn is the cause of the stumbling or entrapment. The outcome for those who are the causes of the stumbling is dire. In our world stumbling blocks are inevitable, but this does not mean that a person has to promote or create them; woe to the person who does.
Back to our person who has been the object of stumbling blocks! Bring the problem to light, do it privately rather than publicly. Have it out with them. If they listen to you have won them over. If s/he doesn’t listen, take a few others, (as witnesses Deuteronomy 19:15 establishing the point that a person cannot be convicted on the evidence of just one person), to confront the problem, emphasizes the need to exhaust every possibility in the effort to win back the person. If this fails shake the dust off your feet and walk away. This however does not mean treat him with contempt or cruelty.
In seeking to restore the brother or sister who has strayed from the faith, the Christian community seeks them out to restore them. Here the authority is given to the Christian community. We are given the authority to arbitrate on matters of God's will. We can condemn or forgiveness. Whatever you loose, abolish upon the earth, will have been loosed.
The second saying is on the authority of the church. The saying can be understood in a number of ways. So, for example, the saying may give the idea that when two or more Christians believe in something in prayer, it will happen. But what about unanswered prayers? The saying probably means that when two or three meet in Jesus' name, God will be present, revealing God's will to them.
Jesus promises that he will be with his people, even when there are just two or three present, to the very end of the age, for ever!
Forgiveness depends on the theology that we all fail! I think it is probably the supreme mark of a Christian that we believe in forgiveness. There but for the grace of God go you or I. Unfortunately, our society does not believe in forgiveness.
But as Christians we cant refuse to forgive someone if they are sorry because they have failed!
The Forgiveness Project shows in a remarkable way how forgiveness changes lives. http://theforgivenessproject.com/
Song “Who am I”
We pray for people and situations we are concerned about including people having to go back to work, school and those still in lockdown, the desperate people crossing the sea in dinghies, continuing deaths from Covid 19, the ongoing unrest in Belarus, Hong Kong and Syria and other places, the rise of fascism, the government, the Rohinga Muslims, Muslims being persecuted in China, protection for key workers and adequate PPE, protection for Black and Asian people, for people on low or no incomes, for those with underlying health conditions and those over 60, care for those who are alone and those suffering with depression, protection for asylum seekers and refugees and ensuring that food is reaching the vulnerable and global warming.
May we not fail you. Amen
Song “Every Praise”
The blessing of God be upon you
On those you love and those you meet
This day and forevermore. Amen
With thanks to the ©Iona Community adapted
歌曲“ Just be hold”
歌曲“ Bow down”