Live from 9:30 on Sunday morning
19 July 2020
The Meaning of Life: Week One:
Consciously identifying your matrix
The Kingdom of God
O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!
Does the fish soar to find the ocean,
The eagle plunge to find the air—
That we ask of the stars in motion
If they have rumour of thee there?
Not where the wheeling systems darken,
And our benumbed conceiving soars!—
The drift of pinions, would we hearken,
Beats at our own clay-shuttered doors.
The angels keep their ancient places—
Turn but a stone and start a wing!
`Tis ye, ’tis your estranged faces,
That miss the many-splendored thing.
But (when so sad thou canst not sadder)
Cry—and upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.
Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry—clinging to Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water,
Not of Genesareth, but Thames!
by Francis Thompson (1859, 1907)
For Your Prayers this week
Please lay aside all busy thoughts and plans for a time of stillness and peace in the presence of God.
Jesus told the story of the merchant who found a pearl of such great value that he sold all he had in order to possess that pearl. The search for the pearl of great price is what life must be about. If we do not grow slack in our endeavour, we will discover the beauty, value, mystery and glory of God and His Kingdom. The search for God is, in itself, a treasure worth more than all we possess.
Let us thank God for all His priceless gifts to us and ask Him to fill us with gratitude for them and with a constant awareness of their value:
We thank you God of love and compassion that your love flows through each one of us to touch, fill and surround all whom we love.
We thank you for our families, our love for them and theirs for us.
We thank you for the precious gift of friendship. Help us to value this gift and be loving, loyal friends in return.
We thank you for the love of those people who have brought us to you, people through whom we have found the treasure, and we pray that others may find it through us.
We thank you for the beauty and variety of your creation, for the vastness and mystery of the Universe, for the wonders of our planet with its multitude of animals, insects, fish, birds, flowers and plants, for the variety of landscapes and colours and for your steadfast love which sustains all you have made for us. May all people of all nations come to appreciate these natural gifts above material riches and possessions and become better stewards of your creation, ensuring protection of these priceless gifts.
We pray that, in this unusual time in which we live at present, people will reflect on their priorities, on what is of value to them, on the priceless treasures in their own lives and on the One from whom these treasures come.
We confess that we often hold certain things in our lives so tightly, that we are not able to receive what you long to give us. We think of what we have as our possessions but sometimes they possess us. Help us to free our grip on the ephemeral things of this world that we value too much and which prevent us from receiving the lasting gifts that You would give us.
We thank you Lord God that your Kingdom has come to us in Jesus Christ who has shown us that the marks of the kingdom are compassion, justice, love, mercy, peace of mind and heart, closeness to you. These are the treasures of life. We open our hands with gratitude, that you may fill them.
The search for the pearl of great price is what life must be about. If we do not grow slack in our endeavour, it will lead to the discovery of the beauty, value, mystery, power and glory of God and His Kingdom. Heaven will be a moment of the full revelation of the Kingdom and the inner life of God.
The search for God is, in itself, a treasure worth more than all we possess. The search must be our priority. God asks us to show that priority, not as a single act of renunciation, but all through our life, in every decision we take. There is no room for compromises. We must be prepared to let go of what does not matter, lay aside our preoccupations and plans so that God’s way might unfold.
Although the unearthing of a treasure, the discovery of something valuable may make us want to tell others immediately, there will be times when we need to receive God’s word quietly, turning it over in our hearts, valuing it and considering our lives in its light.
The Kingdom of God has come to us in Jesus Christ. The marks of His kingdom are compassion, justice, love, mercy, peace of mind and heart, closeness to God. These are the treasures of life. The pearl is the love of God and the love of people who bring us to God. We thank God for those people through whom we have found the treasure and pray that others may find it through us.
O Lord, we often hold certain things so tightly
that we are not able to receive
those gifts that You would give to us.
We think of what we have as our possessions
but sometimes they possess us.
Help us to free our grip on the things of this world
that we value too much and which
prevent us from receiving from You.
May we open our hands with gratitude
that You may fill them.