Sunday 17 July 2022

Sunday 17 July ’22

Welcome!

We know not everyone who is part of Westwood Church is able to be in church on Sunday morning however, we thought it would be good to offer some excerpts from the Sunday morning service. Where we can, we offer parts of the service in text and audio, whichever works best for you. If you want to plug in headphones to your computer, tablet or mobile phone now is a good time to do it ! If you want to offer some comment or feedback just use the comment box at the end of this post.



Scripture

Luke 10: 38 – 42

Colossians 1: 15 – 23


Praise – Immortal Invisible


Prayers of Approach

Creator God, Your story has unfolded through time, from far-flung stars that You set in their places to intimate relationship with those who have placed their trust in you.

Help us, as we gather today to know and see You in new ways,

in our song and in our silence, in friends and in strangers,

give us the courage to face our weaknesses, the places where we feel vulnerable and sit with You, confident in Your presence and love for us.

Like Martha we are troubled by so many things; anxious that we won’t get all our work done, anxious for family and their well-being, anxious that guests will feel let down.  May this time within Your house be a place where we can simply sit at your feet and listen, and be refreshed, and find peace.  In the presence of our God may we find stillness deep within our souls.

Help us also to choose the right thing; learning of you, listening to your words, offering of ourselves to others just as you offered yourself to us and to all people.  And we thank you Lord that we are blessed with resources we can share, they are your gift to us and we offer them back to your service.  We thank you for the years of our living, the very gift of life itself and offer our time back to you that we might have time for others, time to listen, time to care.  And we thank you for our talents, the special gifts you have blessed us with through which we can be creative, just as you are creative.  We offer our talents back to you so that others can witness the creator God at work within this world.

And now we offer back to you the words of the prayer you taught us saying…

Our Father who art in Heaven Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.


Address

Forget the passage of time; the 2000 years between us and Martha and Mary.  This is an everyday story as familiar to us as it was way back then.  A story of making a guest welcome and the women folk doing all the work of preparing the meal and serving the guest.  As Luke tells this story of Martha and Mary there is no mention of a husband or family or even Martha’s brother Lazarus who all lived in the village of Bethany. John’s gospel however brings that family together after the raising of Lazarus when Martha prepares a meal and Mary pours a jar of perfume over Jesus feet.

How is it that sisters can be so different, or brothers for that matter.  Raised in the same home by the same parents, knowing the same people, having lived in the same village all their lives yet, be such different people.

This was Martha’s house.  She was able to make her own way in the world.  Martha had her own means, her own income, her own resources.  She was an independent lady who decided for herself who was or was not welcome in her house.  And there was something about Jesus that fascinated her enough to want to invite him to her house.

And yet, having made that invitation Martha feels under pressure preparing the meal.  If she finds it so much work why did she invite Jesus to her house?  Perhaps she assumed, expected, understood that Mary her sister would of course do her share of the work.

Maybe the fact is that Martha, asked Jesus to her house with a purpose in mind.  Martha wanted to do what Mary was doing. Martha did not want to spend her night in the kitchen cooking and washing up dishes, she too wanted to sit and listen to Jesus teaching and grew annoyed with Mary and even jealous of Mary who sat at Jesus feet.  Worse still Jesus was actually mid-flow teaching those who had come to Martha’s house and the only person who was not getting to enjoy this was Martha because she had put herself under pressure to prepare a meal, hoping to impress her guest no doubt.

You can see how Martha wanted the meal served quickly so she could sit down and enjoy the company.  Martha was growing frustrated with the whole situation; it just was not working out the way she thought it would and her only way to resolve it was to ask Jesus to send Mary into the kitchen to help out.

Jesus can see that Martha has put herself under pressure; he can see the anxiety building; he can see that Martha is an anxious person who lives on nervous energy.  He is not unsympathetic to Martha’s predicament but nor is he giving in to it.  As lovely as it was that Martha should prepare this meal she had also become side tracked from the original intent of having Jesus at her house.  Mary on the other hand was focussed on Jesus and in that moment nothing else really mattered.  Mary had made the right choice.

Maybe the story of Martha and Mary teaches us about doing what’s right rather than doing what’s expected.



Prayers of Concern

Sri Lanka

A few scenes on the news headlines; that’s all.  A few reports on the quiet uprising of the people taking over the Presidential Palace.  Sri Lanka has run out of money; the economy has collapsed. Unable to pay international loans, there is no money to import fuel, medicines or food. The Prime Minister has fled the country and political bankruptcy is on the horizon.  Sri- Lanka struggles with issues dating back 200 years to the British Empire, of land ownership, planation workers, churches complicit in sustaining poverty and discrimination.  Chaos has gripped the life of another nation and we pray that they may find a future where peace is restored, struggles overcome and the injustices inherited from the past are laid to rest.  Lord hear us in our prayers for Sri-Lanka and its people…

For those who need God’s healing

Lord Jesus Christ, you spoke, and you brought hope, comfort and renewal;

You touched, and you brought love, peace, healing and wholeness.

Come now, and speak again, bringing you word of life to all who suffer or are hurting.

Reach out afresh, bringing your touch of love to all whose hearts are aching and who cry out for help.

Where there is despair and turmoil, may your voice renew. Where there is pain and sickness may your hand restore.  Lord hear us as quietly we remember those who need the touch of your healing hand…

Our Own Prayers

Lord Jesus Christ, whoever we are, where ever we come from, whatever we have done or failed to do, we are still loved by you.  You gave yourself fully and freely for the life of the world and for every person living in it.  We know you are Lord and so we come to you in prayer to give our own thoughts our concerns our joys to you.  Lord Jesus hear us as we offer our own prayers to you…



The Grace

And now… May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you and all whom you love, now and for evermore. AMEN.