Sermon and Bible reading by David Ball - Sunday 16 August 2015
Today's Bible reading from King James Bible is Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Chapter 9, verses 35-39
v.35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
v 36: As it is written; for your sake we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
v 37: No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us.
v 38: For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come.
v 39: Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sermon / Address:
What stirring words from Paul. It is hard not to be moved by them. They are so comforting, so reassuring and tell us that nothing but nothing can separate us from Jesus’s love for us.
I came across these words in a Thomas Hardy book I was reading the other day entitled “Jude the Obscure.” In it Jude was expressing his love for Sue, his cousin. But it was misquoted by Jude as he omitted the reference to God. However, the message was clear and on reading the original text from Paul’s epistle it struck me as being poignant for my sermon today.
Paul is telling us to put our trust in God, in Jesus and that Jesus will always be there for us. This applies equally here on earth as well as when we enter the spirit world. Jesus will never desert us. He will not let us down. Having this faith and belief relates to the first of The Seven Principles of Spiritualism, as promoted in our church, namely, The Fatherhood of God.
It can be hard to believe sometimes when we are going through a difficult and trying period, such as illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the breakup of a marriage. But remember Jesus is still there, he never deserts you. Don’t forget, we are not here on earth for some kind of holiday. A former Australian Prime Minister once famously said; “Life wasn’t meant to be easy”. I think we can all relate to that.
Remember, we are here to improve ourselves spiritually through many lives. This we relate to the fourth of the Seven Principles of Spritualism, namely, the continuous existence of the human soul. We won’t improve ourselves by just sitting in a deck chair sipping cocktails all day. Experiencing adversity and successfully dealing with it will strengthen us. It helps us to be more compassionate to others going through hard times. The second of the Seven principles of Spiritualism, The Brotherhood of Man, is about looking after each other. We have to be prepared to take the rough with the smooth but Jesus will be there to help us if we ask him.
In a few minutes our mediums will be giving you messages from your loved ones in spirit. In many cases they will tell you that your loved ones are there with you, to offer support and guidance and to help you through those difficult times that you may be experiencing. These loved ones come from the light where they have access to spirit guides, spirit healers and others to help you weather the storm. This is yet another of the seven principles, namely, the communion of spirits and the ministry of angels. Overseeing them all is Jesus.
Don’t forget that Jesus is there for you. He may not always seem that close to you. But ask him to help you through a difficult period and he will. It may not be the way you expect but, as we know, God moves in a mysterious way.
God bless you.
Sermon and Bible reading by David Ball - Sunday 1st August 2015
Today's Bible reading is Psalm 122 Text is from the King James Bible:
1. I was glad when they said unto me, "Let us go into the house of the Lord."
2. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
3. Jerusalem is built as a city that is compact together:
4. Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord.
5. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
7. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
8. For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, "Peace be within thee."
9. Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek thy good.
Sermon / Address
There are 150 Psalms mostly attributed to King David who lived between 1040 and 970 BC. Many modern day Bible scholars don’t accept that he wrote the majority of the Psalms for they are compositions which span over 5 centuries. The original compilers considered that, by using the name of such a revered person as David, it would lend Divine inspiration and authority to the Book.
The word “Psalm” comes from the Greek meaning to play the harp with vocal accompaniment. They are prayers to God but in a poetic and moving way.
“I was glad when they said to me let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Vivien and I have recently returned from a holiday in England. One of our greatest delights on these trips is to visit some of the world’s most magnificent Cathedrals.
St. Paul’s is my favourite. Built in the Baroque style by Christopher Wren 300 years ago, it is one of the most easily recognised cathedrals in the world. Vivien’s favourite is York Minster. On this holiday we visited Ely, Bury St Edmunds and Worcester Cathedrals.
I marvel at the enormous naves capable of seating many hundreds of worshippers, the soaring towers and the sheer size of the edifices. They are awe inspiring, and yet the builders had none of the modern mechanical and electronic aids that are taken for granted today. No tower cranes, no mechanical diggers or pile drivers, no computers to calculate quantities, stress factors, loading's, etc. It was literally an act of faith. But hundreds of years later they are still standing in all their splendour.
But we don’t have to worship in a cathedral to reach God. Jesus said in Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 18, verse 20; “Where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name, there am I in their midst”.
We have created the right atmosphere of peace and harmony at the beginning of our service today and can be confident that our heartfelt prayers, said in this Church, will reach Jesus. Heartfelt prayers said anywhere, be it at home or anywhere quiet, will be received in Heaven.
The Psalmist is also concerned about his brethren and companions and says; “Peace be within you.” He also prays for them.
This is one of the seven principles of Christian Spiritualism – The brotherhood of man. In other words, look after each other. Give others a helping hand and not just look after yourself.
As Jesus said in John’s Gospel, Chapter 13, verse 34; “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”
In this increasingly stressful and violent world where it is sometimes hard to relax, to switch off and get away from life’s daily pressures; Turning to prayer just for a few minutes will help to calm you and relieve the stress.
Just ask Jesus for guidance, healing, support; whatever you feel you need. He is there to help you. You don’t have to do it in a cathedral.
God bless you.
Sermon and Bible reading by David Ball - Sunday 12th July 2015
Today's Bible reading is from Galatians Chapter 6 verses 1 – 10
The text is taken from Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians and is from the King James Bible:
Brothers, if a man is overtaken by a fault, you who are spiritual, restore such a person in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself in case you are also tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then he can rejoice in himself alone, and not in another.
For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word, communicate with him that teaches in all good things.
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that shall he reap. For he that sows to his flesh shall reap corruption from the flesh. But he that sows to the spirit shall reap everlasting life in the spirit.
And let us not tire in doing well, for in due course we shall reap, as long as we do not faint. As we therefore have the opportunity, let us do good things to all men, especially to those who are of the house of faith.
Sermon / Address:
Paul’s epistle to the Galatians is quite short – just 6 brief chapters. But it is full of helpful advice.
Where is Galatia and who are the Galatians?
It used to be in central Turkey where Paul spent time and was not far from Antioch which became the centre for the newly formed Christian church. The Celts from Gaul settled in the area around 270 BC and were called The Galatians. The Romans called them Gauls whereas we usually refer to them as Celts.
Their home was in northern France through to southern Germany. They spread to eastern Europe and then into Turkey and Britain between the 5th and 1st centuries BC. But once the Romans gained the ascendancy in Europe they pushed the Celts back to western Britain and Ireland in the west and Galatia in the east.
So what is Paul’s message and how can it help us today?
Paul was well aware that none of us is perfect. We all stray from the straight and narrow path from time to time. After all, we are not angels. We are only human. Paul agrees we all have burdens to carry throughout our lives. He should know as he was imprisoned on several occasions.
At times we may well feel overwhelmed by these burdens. But Paul tells us to seek God’s assistance to help you bear that load. He also says: “Help someone who is overtaken by a fault. At the same time, be careful not to get dragged in yourself”. Don’t forget, he says, you can’t deceive God who knows what’s in our hearts. You are deceiving yourself if you think you can.
Paul reminds us of Jesus’s parable of the sower, saying: “Whatever a man sows that shall he reap”. In other words, you say good things about people or do good deeds for people and, generally, you will receive good words and deeds in return. As we say, one good deed deserves another.
But if you say nasty things about people or do nasty things to them, watch out because you can expect the same from them. Paul goes further and warns people about the sins of the flesh and urges us to “sow to the spirit”, so you can reap everlasting life in the spirit. In other words, try to keep your thoughts and deeds on a higher level rather than on the X rated material dredged up on TV and the movies. I am not trying to be a killjoy. Just get things in perspective.
Paul ends on a brighter note requesting us not to tire in doing well. He asks us to help others saying: “Let us do good things to all men” In other words, don’t just think of yourself. Try and help others when they are weighed down with their own troubles. And if you find the going getting tough and that straight and narrow path is getting a bit too narrow ask Jesus to give you a helping hand.
God bless you.