Spiritual discipline – week 1: an overview

Take away the love of sinning

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 13th January 2019

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Starting at the end, there is a line in our last song of this week’s service that stops me dead every time. Take away the love of sinning, Alpha and Omega be, is a line from the hymn Love divine all loves excelling. It’s a great song, finishing where we hope to end up, lost in wonder love and praise. This deserves to be sung out loud from every rooftop. But first, there is the problem of the love of sinning. It’s like the hymn writer, Charles Wesley, had me in mind when it was written.

But he didn’t write it, he wrote Take away our bent to sinning. That’s even more like me, and more scriptural, because sinning, which is basically putting ourselves before others, is the way we are. We are all naturally selfish egotists. But that’s not being like Jesus.

That is just my thoughts on one line of one song in one service. It is just my view and is not based on anything else that happened this week.

Back to that service: In the sermon Curate Steve said that Jesus achieved for us is more than just forgiveness, it goes well beyond that to being made like Jesus. We had heard, in the Bible reading, from John’s Gospel chapter 15. Steve summed it up like this:

  • Verse 2 says: Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • Verse 4 says: As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
  • Verse 5: Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
  • Verse 8: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
  • Verse 16: I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, 

So what is it about, he asked. Silence.

It is not a rhetorical question. he said. More silence.

  • Verse 2 says: Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
  • Verse 4 says: As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
  • Verse 5: Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
  • Verse 8: By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit.
  • Verse 16: I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, 

So what is it about, he asked.

Bearing fruit the congregation replied.

We were told that the reason for the spiritual disciplines we are going to be hearing about over the next few weeks are ways to spend more time with Jesus and become more like Jesus.

-o0o-

My mood at this service was subdued, this was the first service we had attended since my wife’s mother, Betty, who had until recently attended this church with us, had passed away last Sunday afternoon. The reaction of the clergy and congregation was great, we felt loved and supported. Thank you all.

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