Our worship today is being led by our friend Dr. Scott Wheeler.
Welcome to our Sunday worship. After the long diaspora of the COVID
lockdowns, I know that many of you are looking forward to the day when
you can meet as a congregation, and together lift your hearts to the
Lord in prayer and song. Today we are going to think about why
congregations are important, and what can divide them.
We open with some words from Romans 14:4:
“Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own
master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to
make him stand.”
We sing: Immortal, invisible, God only wise ….
Now let us pray:
Our reading is 1 Corinthians 8:1-13:
8:1 With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that “we all have
knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If someone
thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he
needs to know. 3 But if someone loves God, he is known by God. 4 With
regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol
in this world is nothing,” and that “there is no God but one.” 5 If
after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as
there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God,
the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one
Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we
7 But this knowledge is not shared by all. And some, by being
accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol
sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak, is defiled. 8 Now
food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse if we do not eat
and no better if we do. 9 But be careful that this liberty of yours
does not become a hindrance to the weak. 10 For if someone weak sees
you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his
conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols? 11 So by
your knowledge the weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is
destroyed. 12 If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way
and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 For this
reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat
meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.
We sing: Brother, sister, let me serve you:
Sermon by Scott:
Now we bring to God our prayers for the church and the world:
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven.” Keep us from being preoccupied with money and
worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit
the earth.” Help us to strengthen the faith of others, not weaken it,
and help us to unite as congregations of Christians supporting and
working with each other.
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be
comforted.” We ask your blessing on those who have lost family and
friends through COVID, or are waiting for a call from the hospital to
say a last goodbye.
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
justice, for they shall be filled.” We ask your protection for the
United States as it handles the dangerous transition to a new
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall
receive mercy.” Show us how to help those around us: the poor, the
hungry, the homeless, the lonely.
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall
see God.” Free us from our senses and our evil desires, and help us to
fix our eyes on you.
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be
called children of God.” Aid us to make peace in our families, in our
congregation, in our country, and in the world.
Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the
sake of justice, for the kingdom of heaven in theirs.” Make us willing
to suffer for the sake of right rather than to practice injustice; and
do not let us discriminate against our neighbours and oppress and
We ask your help in our lives, and in the lives of those around us in
We ask for your help for our concerns for this world, and particularly
for those things that are beyond our own ability to change. We ask
that the Chinese government cease its persecution of the Uighurs. We
ask that the new COVID vaccines will bring the spring of hope that we
look for, and that once again we will be able to meet without fear. We
ask that our current vaccine disputes with the EU will be resolved,
and that we may remain friends. We ask your blessing on Henley, and on
this congregation of the faithful. In your name, we ask these things,
trusting in your love and your care. Amen.
Let’s close by saying the grace together:
You are most welcome to join us for coffee after the service via Zoom – the link will be live at 11.30am :
Meeting ID: 860 5992 9130