Sunday 02 June 2024

Second Sunday after Pentecost


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.


2 Corinthians 4: 1 – 12

Mark 3: 1 – 6

Praise – It only takes a spark


Great and wonderful God, you have blessed us so much and in so many ways, you shower us with love and grace.

Your goodness is greater than we can ever hope to measure, your love is beyond anything we can imagine or even begin to fathom, your gifts are more than we can number, you are other and holy and everything we are not, and yet you are a living reality within our hearts.  You are the one who gives shape and purpose to all life.

So, we come to you with grateful hearts in joyful worship, seeking, as best we can to make a grateful response.  We consecrate this time to pray, to listen, to think and learn of you.  We acknowledge you as our Creator, our Lord, our Father, our friend and we thank you for your incredible and unfailing love.  Accept now our worship, simple though it is and inadequate as our words might be, for we offer it as an expression of our gratitude and a sign of our commitment.

This day we come in thanksgiving for those who have committed their time and energies toward nurturing others, especially those in their youngest years.  In the name of Christ, they have offered guidance and encouragement, offered faith as a way of life, shared their experiences and built resilience.  May your grace be upon them now and always.

This day we place our offering before you Lord.  Here on the table, we present the gift of our resources.  Here in our prayers, we present the gift of our hearts in loving service.  Here in our songs of praise we offer our spirits in joyfulness and celebration.  Father in heaven accept our gifts to the glory of your name.

Hear us as we join in the words of the Lord’s Prayer 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.


Gentle Jesus meek and mild.  The Victorian era has left us with a lasting image of Jesus personality; kind, caring, compassionate.  I’m not denying that Jesus was all of those things but he was so much more than that.  How can we claim Jesus to be fully human, just like you and I, and wilfully overlook all the other human emotions and human traits that define us as human beings.

Jesus wept.  Famously the shortest sentence in the bible.  There are two occasions recorded in the gospels where Jesus wept.  One was at the death of Lazarus in John Chp11, the other in Luke 19 when Jesus weeps over Jerusalem.  The occasions are rather different to each other, the cause of the tears very different and yet we catch a glimpse of normal human reaction to those things that overwhelm us.  Jesus was no different.

Today, Mark’s gospel presents us with another facet of Jesus personality which is again, very human.  Jesus was angry.  Anger is not one of the better human emotions.  Do not let your anger lead you into sin it says in Ephesians 4 and we readily understand the sense of that; and yet, through the Old and even into the New Testament God’s anger is referred to time and time again.  God’s anger that brings down judgement upon those who are sinful and disobedient.  And this is our dilemma; if in Old Testament days God could be understood as being angry, ready to punish his people and judge them, that is not the picture we have of God in Jesus Christ where love, tolerance and forgiveness clearly take priority.  Our understanding of God changed significantly in the person of Jesus Christ even though it is the same God we worship in Old Testament and New.

None of that however changes what we read today, that Jesus was angry.  As is often the case it is context that helps us understand.  On the Sabbath day Jesus and his disciples were walking through some cornfields when the disciples began to pick ears of corn, this was classified as work which was against the Law, the Sabbath was a day of rest.  The Pharisees saw the disciples and challenged them for breaking the Law.  This exchange between Jesus, his disciples and the Pharisees gives rise to a now familiar saying, “The Sabbath was made for the good of man; man was not made for the Sabbath.”  For the Pharisees the starting point is the Sabbath as a day of rest and everyone has to comply through a set of complex rules and laws.  For Jesus the starting point is people and people having the freedom to choose what is good for them.  Letter of the Law and Spirit of the Law.

That Sabbath day conversation in the cornfield spills over into the meeting at the synagogue and Jesus is still keen to highlight this curious way of thinking where adherence to the Law actually becomes more important than the person. Jesus invites a man with a paralysed hand to join him at the front of the synagogue.  Jesus asks a question like this, ‘Is it okay for this man to continue to suffer just because it’s the Sabbath day?  The people gathered in the synagogue known in their hearts that it is not okay.  Yet their adherence to the Law will not allow them to respond to his need.  They sit silent.  They do nothing, which is the worst thing they could do.

No wonder Jesus is angry.  Angry at them for putting the Law before the needs of this poor man.  Maybe angry at himself for not being able to persuade them to see his way of thinking.  And then he throws caution to the wind in a brave or reckless act by healing this man, putting the needs of the man before the letter of the Law.  And they begin to make plans to kill Jesus.

We might admire the Pharisees for their love of the Law; they were good people and faithful and earnestly wanted to express a sincere faith.  But the one thing they failed to see was that God does not love the Law, God loves his people.  For God the Father and for his son Jesus Christ, the starting point is always the person.  It is the person who is loved; and if we ever forget or overlook that simple truth then we have lost sight of the reason why Christ came amongst us and died for us.

Praise – Colours of Day

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Loving God, we thank you  that you are constantly at work striving to fulfil your purpose, not just in the course of human history, not just through the destiny of nations but through the lives of individuals, just like us; for everybody is precious in your sight, every one of us is of infinite importance to you; we each have a place in your plan.

We thank you for the way you have moved in so many lives across the years, even within this community of Westwood and within this church, you have met with individuals, shown them your will, challenged them through your call to discipleship, you have shone the light of your love upon us.  You have done great things and we are glad.  One touch from your hand, one word from your mouth and life is never the same again.

We thank you for the way you change us, however much we may despair of it sometimes – that , despite our lack of faith, our many faults and our sometimes wilful disobedience you are constantly at work within us, nurturing the fruits of the Spirit, making us a new creation. What you have done for us in beyond compare, and we are glad.

We thank you for those who care for the fragile and the vulnerable, those who are in the later stages of life whose living would be intolerable were it not for those who befriend or phone, or drop in past and offer a neighbourly helping hand.

We thank you for those who care for the young; guiding impressionable minds in ways of wholeness and grace, of mindfulness of others, and respect for neighbour and community.  We thank you for those who influence for the good bringing our humanity closer to what our God intended it to be.

Loving God, in moments of quietness we think on those who have influenced our lives for the good, Sunday school teachers, and Youth Club leaders, Girl’s Brigade and Boy’s Brigade officers, teachers at school and leaders in Guides and Brownies and Rainbows.  So many people who each seen our worth.  Lord in the quietness we offer our thanks to you….

Praise – I’l go in the strength

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.

One Reply to “Sunday 02 June 2024”

  1. Alan Wales

    Another moving service Thanks to The Rev Kevin McKenzie for a very uplifting service and readings.

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