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Virtual Worship - 12 September 2021

 Education Sunday 



Hello and welcome to worship. Prepared today by Peter Jackson, Lay pastor at Baildon.
Today is Education Sunday and from our Bible readings we will discover that Peter learned something very significant and the writer of the letter headed “James” also learned a thing or two. – but that’s for later.

Song

Hymn StF 28 Jesus calls us here to meet Him. The words of the hymn TELL us that Jesus calls us to meet Him, to talk about Him to join with others from different cultures or backgrounds. This is a learning process from which we all can gain a wider understanding of Gods love shown in Jesus.

A Collect for today

Spirit of God open our minds to be receptive to your teaching. Help us to think through those concepts that challenge us. Encourage us to be open to your word which may come to us in many ways, styles, and forms so that we may learn more of your love and your will for us, AMEN

Reflection

Education is more that just being taught. “It’s a good day when you learn something”
As I prepare this, we are in the week when A level and GCSE results are published - the confirmation of formal teaching and learning processes and their effectiveness. But what about our Education in a wider context? Irrespective of our age or life experiences we are all capable of learning.

My personal experience of formal education went from disaster at what was “O” level - 1 pass in English language – nothing else; which was not surprising as I coasted through Grammar School . But I was lucky enough to get a job as an engineering apprentice and suddenly I found that all the academic, uninteresting maths and physics of grammar School had a meaning and an application at work and at Technical College where, in my exams, my marks were at distinction level all the way through my apprenticeship.

We all, if we reflect will be able to recognise that we have capacity , whatever our age, to learn Think -who showed you how to do something better than you have done before? “It’s a good day when you learn something”

Song

Turn to Hymn StF 531 If you have no YouTube you can probably sing this anyway! What a friend we have in Jesus – wen we can sing this with conviction we have learned something.


Reading

Reading from the letter by James in Chapter 3 verses 1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Address

Usually in a service of worship we would hear the Gospel reading first, because the content of the other new testament books are reflections or actions or advice and encouragement , based upon the teaching of Jesus. But today, I want us to think about these words written by someone called James. Commentaries suggest that it is probably James the brother of Jesus who is the writer, but this is by no means certain, and the conclusion is that the message in this book is more important than knowing who wrote it!

The message from James in this chapter - “Let not many of you be teachers, ” Teaching is a high-level office in the church. In 1 Corinthians 12:28, Paul lists it third (after apostles and prophets) in a list of eight offices or gifts. The office of teaching is important because :a) it requires hard work to be good at it and b) because teachers can and do sway others minds. The aspiration to be a teacher might well be for the wrong reasons!

Because, says James, small actions can have major impacts - the small bit in a horses mouth can make a powerful animal change direction. The rudder on a massive ship has the influence to move left or right . so teachers need to be skilled and speak with care in case they do harm to those who they might influence.

But there is a wider influence and a point for each of us – because we may teach or instruct without realising that we do – how do I get a shiny finish on a door when I paint it? How do you get tulips to stand straight in a vase? How do you make Roasties so light yet so crisp? And we all can answer questions such as these. But we need to be careful, because using the wrong tone or word can result in :-

Saying things that offend unnecessarily.
Saying things designed to wound another person.
Saying things intended to deceive.
Saying things that would lead another person astray.

As parents we teach, as neighbours we teach, as brothers and sisters we teach, as members of our church family we teach and so we all must do it with care and love. Because that is the example of Jesus.

Reading

And now the Gospel Reading from Marks Gospel Chapter 8 verses 27-38

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
The Way of the Cross
34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my dis-ciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life[b] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in ex-change for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Address

This passage is preceded by examples of teaching by Jesus and learning by his disciples -they learned by being involved with feeding 4000 people, they learned by watching Jesus heal a blind man – not learning how to heal miraculously , but learning what Jesus their master and teacher could do.

And we pick up in the conversation with Jesus when he throws out a question – “Who do people say that I am?” and what had people learned from what they had seen and heard – Jesus might be John the Baptist or Elijah or another of the prophets …. And then Jesus throws in the curved ball and asks “Who do YOU say that I am?” - Peter says “YOU ARE THE MESSIAH”
Who taught him this? How had he learned this? Peter had experienced the same things that other people had – but his answer to Jesus is SO different, this was the Holy spirit at work - Peter had not worked this out for himself.

And then we get this Strange command – do not tell others what you have been given - the disciples needed more teaching before they could cope with this, so Jesus explains about all the things that He must suffer and Peter leaps in , not understanding the full implications of his total support for Jesus – He needs to be careful what he says – Jesus calls him Satan! And then we get from Jesus “ If anyone will follow me they must take up their cross - be prepare to suffer.
Perhaps James had all this in his mind when he warns of wanting to teach without thinking through the implications of being a teacher

Prayers of thanksgiving and intercession

God of love, we thank you that you do love us and that in Jesus we know the fullest extent of your love, shown in the sacrificial death of Jesus as a sacrifice for our shortcomings. We thank you that through the power of your spirit we can see beyond the limits of human understanding to the wonders of your love in action.

We pray that your world, made perfect in creation , may become a place where love is the standard in teaching and learning. That all in international influence may work together in love.
We pray for people – those we love and who need extra care and support at this time
We pray for people across the world who live in situations where love is discarded for political and military self interest.
We pray that we will be moved to respond to the Holy spirit in our lives so that what we do, what we say, in all situations will be Spirit influenced so that as we teach and learn from each other we do this following the example of Jesus and become Jesus Shaped.
Amen

Song

HYMN StF 382 Holy Spirit come confirm us 


Our learning of Gods love, the sacrifice made once for us by Jesus and the power of the Spirit that Jesus promised, is not by mathematical equation, result of experiment, or flair for words and grammar. But like Peter, our learning is by FAITH and the confirmation of learning is by PRACTICE in our lives.

Blessings

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The love of God
And the fellowship of the Holy spirit
Be with us all evermore
AMEN


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