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The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity – 26th September 2021

September 26, 2021

Thank you for joining our online worship including our Holy Communion and a short sermon. Below them are links to a selection of music (traditional,  modern and prayerful). Thanks once again to Stephanie Woollam for prayerfully choosing such a broad range of inspiring sacred music.

Please continue to share your views on our services.

God bless,

Nigel.

 

Welcome to our Holy Communion, led by The Revd. Lyndy Domoney

Our sermon today, from The Revd. Sue Auckland

Music links (just click on the titles below to be taken to the music hosted by YouTube).

More Traditional:

 
 

More Modern:

 
 
 
Prayerful
 

Sermon Text

Mark 9.38-end

38 John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ 39But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterwards to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

42 ‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell., 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

49 ‘For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’

Jesus says:

We all know what salt is although perhaps we don’t sprinkle it as liberally on our meals as we used to when I was younger. We use it for taste, for preserving things and for bathing wounds; in Old Testament times it was a symbol of preservation or purity and also used extensively in making covenants and treaties between individuals or groups.

But what is Jesus talking about here when he says

Everyone will be salted with fire.  Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:49-50).

Bible commentators come up with various suggestions but I’m going to focus on two ideas that ring true for me.

You and I are modern day disciples in a very different world to first century Israel. As followers of Jesus we have a passion for living the Gospel and honouring God in the way we live our lives. The Gospel is based on God’s love when he sent Jesus to fulfil his ‘salvation plan’ for us and the world; Jesus died on a cross to set us free from all that separates us from a relationship with the living God. So just as salt purifies and cleans and adds flavour to things, we too are called to be salt in our world; called to be people who can make a difference in our world. Purified through Jesus, we need to show that gospel way of living to the world – a way of living based on love, truth and justice. It’s not enough to honour God with our lips but it has to be with our hearts, minds, and our very being as well. And that means sharing that love and showing that love, truth and justice in our relationships and actions other people and everywhere we go. And when we don’t – perhaps that’s when we lose ‘our saltiness’? !

But the other part that jumped out at me wasHave salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other’. One of my great sadnesses is how, throughout history, Christians, have been in dispute with each other. It hasn’t only done great harm at the time but that example has put an awful lot of people off Christianity. Several of my non-Christian friends use ‘the Inquisition’, the treatment of Catholics by Protestants and visa versa in Tudor times and the disputes in Northern Ireland as reasons for not wanting to embrace Christianity!

Us Christians are not all the same! We like to worship in different ways, and some of our beliefs may not gel with all but at the centre of the Gospel is the cross of Jesus, showing God’s love for us and all that that means and what it did for us ! And that is the same whatever Christian denomination belong to. So why do our other differences take over sometimes, allowing division to flourish?

Jesus tells us to ‘Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other’. To me that means – live your life as Jesus did, show the love of God in every thing you do, have positive relationships with fellow Christians, and others – use the idea of the symbolic salt of the Judaean covenant relationship – to be a covenant of peace with each other.

The gospel is the saltiness of the Christian life, it is the gospel which unites one Christian with another. It is selfish preoccupations with things that are unrelated to the gospel which make Christians fight with one another. And when Christians fight with one another, we lose the opportunity to be salt in a world that is consumed with fighting and we lose the opportunity to fulfil what Jesus says elsewhere: “By this will all men know that youre my disciples, that you love one another. So let’s make sure that we don’t lose our saltiness, in fact, the saltier the better!

Amen,

From → Worship

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