Sermons



Julie Knight
20th January 2019
One Church, One faith, One Lord

Having been bought up in a fairly musical family with hymn singing being at the forefront of things, it is hard for me when I read Ephesians 4 not to think of that wondrous hymn by E H Plumptre Thy hand O God has Guided. The end refrain talked directly from Ephesians 4 verse 5 “one church one faith one Lord” The hymn tells of God’s faithful guidance, the church hearing the call to continually proclaim the kingdom and the foundation on which the proclamation will stand firm. One God – father, Son and Holy Spirit. Here is the first verse:

Thy hand, O God, has guided
thy flock, from age to age;
the wondrous tale is written,
full clear, on every page;
our fathers owned thy goodness,
and we their deeds record;
and both of this bear witness:
one Church, one faith, one Lord.

So how can we fit that into both our scripture readings today? Can we use it as a catalyst to explore our two reading today? What can we take away in encouragement to ourselves and others?

Let start with the first four lines:

Thy hand, O God, has guided
thy flock, from age to age;
the wondrous tale is written,
full clear, on every page;

Here I think we could look at Samuel, The Old Testament is a great wealth of wonderous stories, showing God’s Guiding hand from the very being of time from Adam to Noah, Moses, Joseph all tell of God’s power and his leadership as well as faithful and humble following of those called. In Samuel we have another example, a very clear one of God calling to service. Samuel, as it says at first did not recognise the call of God. It was the prompt from Eli that recognised, discerned if you like, that it was God speaking to Samuel gave Samuel the push he needed.

I maybe giving to much away here but I don’t know if you have ever had that experience when you think someone has called your name but they haven’t. It can be quite disconcerting. Your walking through Redhill and you are sure you heard someone call your name but you look around and no one is there! I think I must of done it quite a lot as a teenager because, after one such incident, I remember distinctly a family member stomping up the stairs to my room with a bible in hand open at Samuel 3 saying “I think you should read this it might help you” I am sorry to say that I did not react in the same humble way as Samuel did in trusting Eli and responding to God’s call at the time, it took St Matthews church and a lot of costa coffee to get me anywhere near the dedication Samuel showed in his faith and lifelong service to our Lord. But it does not have to be that way for you. For God is calling each and everyone of you. He is calling you to a Life of Love, humility and work with others. As in Samuels case it will not always be easy sometimes there will be conversations we don’t want to have with others, sometimes we will wonder if we are on the right path. Which is why we must always keep listening ear open for when he calls.

…And just maybe he is calling you to be like Eli too, maybe you have noticed someone who needs encouragement, who is hearing a call but has not yet discerned it, maybe God wants to use the gift of your Maturity, a person that with life’s ruggedness and disappointments can still stay steadfast to God’s will, who has the ability to encourage and nurture. Love God with your whole heart and love one another as you love yourselves, a full, clear statement, written into every page.

So, to the next two lines of the Hymn:

our fathers owned thy goodness,
and we their deeds record;

We move onto what was recorded in The New Testament, and the encouragement in the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. Here we are given more instruction on how we can live out God’s call for us and I think reassures us of the solid foundation from which that call is given.

I like to read different versions of the bible, you can gain different insights and perspectives sometimes, when I was preparing this sermon, I happened to read The Message it’s simple language on this occasion struck a chord in me.

“I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run! — on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.” From Ephesians 3: 1-6

In the body of Christ, we are one, but as a body has different parts, we have different giftings and it is the collaboration of those different giftings in conjunction with The One God who is present in all that keeps the whole body, as it were, working.

As a young Nursey Nurse in training many moons ago it was very much drummed into me that the children needed a role model, if there was something that needed to be done in a certain way or there was a certain expected behaviour you modelled it to the children, showed the way or you engaged in the activity with them. When I was slightly disappearing earlier this week at some of the behaviour of our parliamentary candidates and what appears to be their lack of ability to work together. A thought popped into my head that maybe there is a calling on the whole church to model that love and unity that comes with belonging to the body of Christ. Maybe we need to take that maturity out and show that working together, using everybody different gifts can provide a rich and juicy fruit crop.

So as the song ends so do I. For all generations God’s hand has guided those who heard the call, as is written and recorded in this great book. And we, as the body of Christ continue to bear witness to God’s Presence and power and love in the sure foundation of “One Church, One Faith, One Lord.”

 
 
1 Sam 3:1-20
Ephesians 4:1-16