Judgeth {thee} not …

You left me in that moment

Though you didn’t move an inch

Eyes glazed over

Ears stuffed shut

 

Judging me in your presence

Watching my words, not soul

My heart shattered

My mouth closed

 

Fragile life hung in balance

Do I take on board your hate?

My soul cried out

The helper salved me

 

Sermon 12 ~~~The Witness of our own Spirit

Wesley discusses our conscience or spirit now, he begins by quoting 2 Corinthians 1:12 and then explains his understanding of conscience, that inward perception that makes us dwell on our actions or past actions.

“This is our rejoicing, the testimony of out conscience, that in simplicity and godly
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation
in the world.”

2 Cor. 1:12
His entire discussion is based around that phrase “we have had our conversation in the world.” We are set aside to live differently to the world, we are not to follow the ways of the world but to show a different way, the Way of the Cross.  Our conscience is no longer lined up with the world but with God.

But it does cause a tension: when in the past we might have acted one way, and God’s way is different. Our conscience knows what we should do (as it is lined up with God’s) but also has that ‘history.’ For example I am struggling in a particular area of my life because my old self would do one thing and that is where my family is at and I want to strike out a new way, but this may cause financial ruin. It is still in that tension and struggling stage with lots of prayer and reflection.

I am not entirely sure which of the possible scenarios is the right thing to do, I don’t know if I am being especially ‘Pharisee’ about it, giving a 1/10th of my herbs or whether it really is the right thing to do. But I don’t know how to explain it: my family thinks I am nuts so won’t the authorities too?

We show the world “The Way” by godly sincerity and “simplicity.” We are not to make things complicated, if we simply live in the Truth then we live by a simple rule. Easy innit!

Sermon 10 ~~~Discourse I {THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT}

Sermon 10
THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
Discourse I
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
Rom. 8:16

We have a spirit within us and in this discussion Wesley points out that even the most enthusiastic of church goers may have the Spirit of God and their own spirit contrived into an unhealthy relationship.

How so?

I think this is what we now call lining God’s will up with our own rather than the other way round. When we get convinced that a certain course of action is “right” no matter what the obstacles in our path and we just plough straight through, hurtling hurt & offended people to the side.

In my own life, I struggled with “is it of God” or “is it of me,” and I was concerned by barriers but I believe I was creating the barriers or they came from within rather than someone standing in front of me and saying “Desist.”

I have done no hurtling through regardless and have been ever mindful of people who may not entirely agree with the path I am trying to take. Tuesday night I gave a eulogy and read scripture for the Mass in the village. Two people who knew the path said they wanted to pop over to Killarney to hear me preach and the person in charge of readers in the RC church wanted me on their list. Another with a prophetic ministry told me it wouldn’t be the last time I would be on that particular altar.

In one particular area I had a very clear vision of how a project could run successfully but the people involved from the beginning had a different view. In the last three months I have been working towards bringing people along with a shared vision. There were a few setbacks last week and I thought it was going to blow up, not just the project but it insidiously blow apart the congregation. I felt like I was just putting plasters over open oozing wounds and they would pop apart at any moment.

I prayed about it, I let the whole thing, the relationships, the personalities, their spirits and mine. I asked for help in how to lose the project without anyone losing face bar me, so that no impact on the congregation could be determined and that life would continue as before. I got the message of reconciliation and peace with less words. There was more, and more to come from other sources that enabled me to think about rerdrafting, renewing, starting again, regrouping, not stopping but changing the way we did it. Today I got more of a message about messages being received, heard and a recommitment.

What could have ended up with a whole bunch of people “doing their own thing” has resulted in a team being born, still in early infancy with teething problems but the man-made obstacles are gone and I truly believe this group could do mighty things with the Lord and there be much Kingdom growth in the Kingdom.

Wesley tells us to examine & discern over and over that we may truly be children of God led by the Spirit and not going our own way. Sometimes our will and God’s is on target, going in the same direction, but often we take a side road. Pray without ceasing that the Lord and His Spirit will guide us to keep on the right path.

and let all thy thoughts, words, and works be a spiritual sacrifice, holy, acceptable to
God through Christ Jesus! [Rom. 12:1, 2]

Spirit and Dance {roadtrip}

We call our mother “mother” because it annoys her. She would like us to address her as Sweet Divinity, the name she chose when she left home to join a commune. We found out years later she was called Mary Winifred O’Connell but we were used to mother by then and much as we would have liked to annoy her with Mary we could never remember it in time. We never really knew mother, just when we thought we understood what she was, she changed becoming more robust, or a little fragile, very political or like an earth mother. Her moods were like shifting sands, when other people were around she was always bright and shining like a beacon of hope. However when they left they snuffed out the spark of hope and we endured dark days, sometimes she didn’t cook for days or even get out of bed.

It was on one such deep black nadir, as long as we had known, lasting more than five days that we went in search of food and changed our lives forever. We could only count up to five and we had done that and eaten all the berries we could find. We weren’t sure about weeks but we knew it was autumn as the leaves were falling from trees, it was getting colder and both of us had put on shoes for the first time that year.

We dressed with care for the occasion of the big walk. Spirit was wearing orange corduroys with a yellow jumper that came down to her knees. Dance was wearing a dress that dragged along the ground made out of heavy crushed velvet. A dark blue matching cardigan two sizes too small finished her outfit.

We now know that we looked wild but back then it seemed natural to have our hair streaming down our back, unkempt with twig and leaf entwined. The clothes we wore were either too big or too small, all given by these transient caravanners as part payment for water and pitch. So on this particularly momentous day in our lives we thought we looked normal and set off down the road. We decided to walk down rather than up because when the people went for a walk in the evening they always went that way and came home cheery, loud and happy.

The first part we skipped as a new freedom descended on us, this slowly gave way to a slower pace until we were trudging. Our clothes were getting wet as rain dripped unnecessarily harshly, they hung down and got heavier and muddier as we marched our slow monotonous walk. The village started abruptly as we turned a bend, cottages on both sides gave way to terraces and eventually we saw a shop. We had brought money in mother’s purse. Although naïve about a lot of things we knew that mother gave money to get things and people sometimes gave money to her for staying with her. We pushed open the door and Dance spoke to the lady, well pointed at things; a packet of jam biscuits, a chocolate bar and bananas. Spirit opened the purse and gave it to the lady.

Honesty was thankfully well imbued in the shop lady and she only took out the £2.30 needed. We left and sat on a bench outside, each item came out of the bag, halved and stuffed unceremonially into our watering waiting mouths. We choked and spluttered our way through the food and with hiccups stood and went in search of something to quench our thirst.

As we turned a corner a group of children were coming the other way. We said hello to them but they laughed, encircling us, they pointed; at our hair, our faces now covered in chocolate and biscuit crumbs, our clothes, they said we smelled funny, we were dirty, and we were stupid. We cowered turning into each other, arm around protecting, not understanding why but aware of danger. The noise must have alerted some adults to investigate because suddenly the chanting stopped and we opened our eyes. A huge man stood over them asking who they were.

Spirit spoke, “I am Spirit. She is Dance.”

“Come on now girls, tell the truth. You have run away and stolen a lot of money. Mrs Hanrahan at the shop says you had more than fifty pounds in that purse. Tell the truth like good girls.”

Dance moved forward, facing him, she craned her neck until she could see his face, “We tell truth, me Dance and she is Spirit, we were hungry so we came for food.”

Spirit dragged her back to be with her and put her arms back around her.

Sermon Thirty Four The catholic spirit

john                                                                  audio clip

 

Denominations, no denominations, my denomination, your denomination. Do they matter? Are the differences the things we think of?

Well Wesley says not. Wesley suggests a very simple formula to reach out across the barriers of denomination to make friends. We are all together the melting pot that is the body of Christ.

If we put aside our differences of ritual and worship practice and look into each other’s hearts then we find this catholic spirit that is borne out of our love for each other. That universal love that is a gift from God because first he loved us. That love that allows us to accept we don’t all think alike but we have a unity of spirit. There are small differences but loads of commonality.

  1. Is your heart right with God?
  2. Do you believe in God?
  3. Do you acknowledge his greatness, wisdom and power, his justice, mercy and truth?
  4. Do you accept His authority governing everything for His glory and the good of all who love Him?
  5. Do you live each day trusting in Him, even though you can see Him?
  6. Do you believe in our Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, crucified for us?
  7. Does he live in your heart by faith?
  8. Have you decided to put your faith in Him, rather than trusting in your own works as the way to salvation?
  9. Do you ask Him for help in living the Christian life of faith which leads to eternal life?
  10. Do you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength?
  11. Does God give you complete happiness?
  12. Do you continually praise Him and give Him thanks?
  13. With God as the centre of all your desires, are you laying up treasure in heaven and counting your earthly possessions as worthless?
  14. Has the love of God conquered your love for earthly things?
  15. Are you working for God?
  16. Are you concentrating on doing His work?
  17. Is all your conversation and business focused on glorifying God in everything, giving thanks to Him in Jesus’ name?
  18. Does God’s love make you want to serve him with respect?
  19. Which are you more afraid of – going to hell or displeasing God?
  20. Do you hate evil?

Simple innit, like.

Wow, that is one tough line of questions, search my heart O God, make me ever true.

But yes, I can honestly say yes to all except nineteen and that isn’t a yes no answer!

What about you?

I am not asking you to agree with me about hymns or prayers or language or style of preaching. Can you say yes to all these questions?

Then no matter what church you go to, we can shake hands, we have more in common to glorify His name than things of difference in the way we worship.

Giving the hand does not mean I will try and convert you to my way of doing things or vice versa. But there is so much “world” and so little “Christian” we have to work alongside each other, not keeping score but helping each other along.

love you pray for you, love me, pray for me, love together, pray together, Christians together.