But when it comes to mercy, God is rich! He had such great love for us that he took us at the very point where we were dead through our offences, and made us alive together with the king (yes, you are saved by sheer grace!).
Ephesians 2:4-5, New Testament for Everyone
Continuing the Bible Timeline series: How does God dying on a Cross bring us freedom and forgiveness? When Jesus had a last meal with his disciples, he didn’t give them a theory, he gave them an act to do. Annette helps us look at The Last Supper in Luke 22:14-23. It might well lead us into meaningful Communion together with Steve. The service will be followed by a Bring and Share Lunch. 11.15am Ottery St Mary Parish Church.
Just the audio, I’m sorry to say. Here is Matt Redman singing Great are You, Lord.
It’s nearly nine minutes long!
You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord!
For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.
God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Saviour and rescue it!
John 3:16-17, The Passion Translation
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes:
God loves human beings. God loves the world. Not an ideal human, but human beings as they are; not an ideal world, but the real world. What we find repulsive in their opposition to God, what we shrink back from with pain and hostility, namely, real human beings, the real world, this is for God the ground of unfathomable love. God establishes a most intimate unity with this. God becomes human, a real human being. While we exert ourselves to grow beyond our humanity, to leave the human behind us, God becomes human; and we must recognise that God wills that we be human, real human beings. While we distinguish between pious and godless, good and evil, noble and base, God loves real people without distinction. God has no patience with our dividing the world and humanity according to our standards and imposing ourselves as judges over them. God leads us ad absurdum [into absurdity] by becoming a real human being and a companion of sinners, thereby forcing us to become the judges of God. God stands beside the real human being and the real world against all their accusers. So God becomes accused along with human beings and the world, and thus the judges becomes the accused.–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics
Don’t call him a ‘religious thinker’ or ‘philosopher’. The apostle Paul doesn’t fit into our modern categories, says one of the world’s leading New Testament scholars, Tom Wright, in Premier Christianity magazine.
Imagine you work on the front desk at a television station. The phone rings: it’s somebody wanting to present a programme on the apostle Paul. The caller doesn’t sound like a nutcase; you’d like to help. But which extension will you call to put him through to a producer? Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? ‘Saint Paul’ – that’ll be the ‘Religion’ desk. No question.
Wrong answer. Probably, in our culture, the most wrong of the possible answers.
There are two problems. First, ‘religion’ in our world means something different from ‘religion’ in Paul’s world. For us, ‘religion’ is a private activity for people who want to develop their spirituality, sort out problems in their lives and hope to go to heaven when they die. It doesn’t affect public life, politics or the price of beef. But ‘religion’ in Paul’s world was woven into everything else. Gods and goddesses were everywhere, including the new ‘god’ on the block, Caesar himself. Everybody turned out for their festivals. So our word ‘religion’ doesn’t match the first century reality that uses the same name.
A line from Graham Kendrick’s song The Servant King.
Come see His hands and His feet,
The scars that speak of sacrifice;
Hands that flung stars into space
To cruel nails surrendered.
The words are:
From heaven You came, helpless babe,
Entered our world, Your glory veiled;
Not to be served but to serve,
And give Your life that we might live.
Psalm 98:1, The Passion Translation:
Go ahead—sing your brand-new song to the Lord!
He is famous for his miracles and marvels,
for he is victorious through his mighty power and holy strength.
Something a little exciting at Explore! Tomorrow we’re joined by Alan and Jane Hutt, who left England to work in East Africa, and started The Beehive in Kenya, where Kay and Jessica are currently working. This is a great couple, who have become firm friends of ours. They’re doing something beautiful, come and meet them! 11.15 Ottery St Mary Parish Church. Colin and Annette will host the morning and lead us in worship.