Saturday, 6 September 2014

God in the midst of conflict

Matthew 18:15-20
Reproving Another Who Sins
“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

Where two or three are gathered, God is in the midst
God,in our midst, invites us to this table
A table where we are welcomed
With our conflict
With our differences
With all that makes us less than we might be
God invites us not because of our potential
But because we are loved and made welcome now

Jesus often dined with those whom others rejected.
He gathered up an odd assortment of friends.
And the night he was betrayed, he gathered those friends around him
and set up a memorial by which we would remember him.
He didn't ask them to settle their differences before they dined with him
He didn't ask them to swear undying loyalty, knowing that one would deny him
and one would betray him.
He encompassed them all - and us, when he took bread and shared, saying:
This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.
And as he shared the cup, saying,
This cup symbolises a new relationship made possible because of my death
Do this to remember me.
So now we come, knowing ourselves accepted by the one who died in love.
We do this to remember him.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
Denial, betrayal, violence death.
All of these you met and conquered with the power of love.
God give us faith today that there are ways to resolve conflict
that do not involve violence but that demand sacrifice from us.
Make us willing to sacrifice pride on the altar of tolerance.
Make us willing to sacrifice wealth on the altar of sharing.
Make us willing to sacrifice security on the altar of inclusion
Make us willing to sacrifice supremacy on the altar of peace.
The road you call us to travel is not easy
But you have walked the way before us
And you join us on the journey.
We celebrate all those with whom you travelled
Andrew, Philip, James and John, Peter and Judas too.
As well as the saints who have graced this place with us and before us.
As we gather at your table now, may we be conscious
of all of these present with us, sharing in this great feast
that unites heaven and earth.
May we take our place at the table
knowing ourselves loved, forgiven and blest.
Risen, Lord Jesus, we dine with you now.
Send your spirit on these gifts of bread and wine
and upon us as we share.
May these gifts by which we remember you
fill us with the courage to make sacrifices
to bring about peace
the peace that only you can give
In the name of Christ, Prince of Peace.

The Lord Jesus gathered around the table friends, supporters and doubters
He broke bread and said: Take, eat.
Do this to remember me

He took the cup,offering it around to symbolise the possibility of a new beginning with God
made possible because of Christ's death, saying
Drink this all of you to remember me.

We, friends, supporters and doubters share these gifts to remember him.

Prayer after communion
Lord you have met us on the path where we are
and fed us with holy food
Now take us to where you want us to be
Law breakers, peace makers, world changers
For sake of your kingdom

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