Church Anniversary Sunday 9th December

Led by Rev Bill Bentham and Mrs Betty Bentham

Reading: Luke 15:  11-32

Bill asked why the parable of the Prodigal Son for a church anniversary?

Advent is a time to look forward and consider the journey that the church has undertaken. What has happened in the last 12 months, has the church remained the same, moved backwards or continued to move forward? Everyone connected to the church will have their own opinion.

We tend to all have a personal ‘jobs to do list’ and we cannot afford to just stand back and ignore those jobs. Anniversary is not just about the church but about those connected to church, the Congregational Federation and the NE Area.  Churches are closing but we have seen the new church developing in Pickering.

Churches are not just about the members, at Scunthorpe CC half the Samaritan Purse boxes are filled by people outside the church, at Tapton our Advent Wall boxes are being filled by all the organisations using the church. Not a dividing wall but a uniting wall.

There is a dilemma about worship. Why will people volunteer and do favours for the church but not attend worship?

We might consider ourselves a small congregation but Paul on his journeys made a massive difference, seeking out Christian communities and engaging with them.  St Augustine was cent by Pope Gregory to evangelise in Britain but was met by Celtic Priests already here and he went to Canterbury where the church already existed.

Back to the Prodigal Son – this was Jesus telling us we have freedom to make decisions and live by them. We look at happy days and see joy but Jesus reveals the joy is false and will collapse. To the Jews the story of the wayward son is heightened by him working with the pigs!  To the Jew leaving God is deemed to lead to everlasting purgatory, but the love of God wants us to return.

Perhaps the title of the Prodigal Son should be changed to God the Father of the Prodigal Son.

There will always be sympathy for the eldest son who remains faithful to his father but the parable reflects on the returning son and the celebration that will result when anyone returns to God at any time providing it is genuine.

 

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