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Readings and Themes for Worship - May 2024

MAY: THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT 

  

5 May

1 John 5:1-6

One of the great places to learn about love is in music – or is it? 

Love is one of the major themes of contemporary music. Yet, when you listen to the lyrics, what is described as love is often self-gratification, selfish, obsessive, stalking, objectification, and the like. 

This is in stark contrast to the love that John describes Christians as having.

 

Real love is about loving God. He comes first and foremost in the believer’s life. He is the one that holds our attention and demands our allegiance.

  

Love for God requires evidence and that evidence is how we love other people. 

There is no possibility of having a private little faith in God that says you can love God in your heart and then treat people any way you want. No, if we claim to love God then it must show in our actions, behaviour, speech, and thought.

12 May

Psalm 1 

 

My family have very fond memories of two gentlemen who epitomised the righteous described in Psalm 1. 

 

Dr Fred Rothwell was a General Practitioner. He was known for caring deeply for his patients and including their mental and emotional health in their overall wellbeing. My mother remembers well the ways in which he walked with my brother, who endured repeated ill health. My brother would always have the last appointment of the day and Dr Fred would include prayer and Bible Study as part of the consultation. 

Frank Playford was a member of the Uniting Church. He was known for his quiet, gentle faith, his seemingly endless wisdom, and his wicked sense of humour.

  

My mother watched them both quietly and calmly care for their sick, frail wives. Frank did so until his wife passed away, and Fred is faithfully doing this right now. Frank didn’t really want to go into care as he didn’t know what he would be able to do there.  During the day, when he was in a moveable armchair, he would get the staff to wheel him over to whomever needed a listening ear or some encouragement.

 

These two beautiful Christian men really are examples of Psalm 1. 

19 May: Day of Pentecost 

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15, Acts 2:1-21 

 

In the John passage, we read Jesus encouraging his disciples and reassuring them that the Counsellor was coming. It comes towards the end of a long speech given on the night of the Passover, also known as the Last Supper. Jesus has washed the disciple’s feet, exposed that there is a traitor in their midst, spoken a new commandment of loving others in the same way that he had loved the disciples, and claimed that he is the true vine. 

The coming of the Spirit is understood by Jesus to be necessary and a beneficial move of God, that offers people an opportunity to find new life.

 

Jesus’ promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, another celebration of the Jewish faith, which occurs 50 days after Passover.  The disciples, the women, and some other followers were gathered together in a room in Jerusalem. In a spectacular fashion, the Holy Spirit comes upon and fills them all. 

 

Peter, newly filled with courage, speaks to the crowd assuring them that this is the fulfilment, not only of Jesus’ words, but of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. The Spirit of God was being poured out, in order that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord would be saved.

 

26 May: Trinity Sunday 

Psalm 29 

 

Psalm 29 is a majestic song of praise to the Creator of the natural world. 

The Psalm describes the powerful act of a thunderstorm. Water is whipped up and pours down. Thunder rumbles so loud it shakes the earth. Lightning hits with such power and force that fire can start. Wind moves so fiercely it can strip trees of leaves and branches.

 

God is not the storm. God is not the rain, or the thunder, or the lightning or the wind. God is the Creator of all of these. 

 

As such, God deserves to be worshipped and glorified. This is in stark contrast to other religions of the time which worshipped natural phenomena and objects. Being the Creator of all things, God is far more powerful than anything nature can display. 

The only response that the heavenly beings can make, and by extension, humans, is to cry “Glory”.

  

God remains Lord over the flood, over the storm, over the sun and the moon, and all creation. As the forever King he is worthy of worship and praise.

 

David, the Psalmist, requests two things of this powerful creator God. That God might give strength to God’s people and bless them with peace.

 

Dr Katherine Grocott 

This is the Word of the Lord:

Thanks be to God.

This is the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Praise be to You, Lord Jesus Christ.

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