Stop, rest, delight and worship

Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield
Sunday 15th November, 2020

East window of Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield.
The east window at Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, lower panel, depicting, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Licensed Lay Minister Bev starting the virtual service in the churchyard showing work that had been done. She quoted Genesis, when God looked at what he had made and said it was good and then rested. Sabbath is a time to rewind.

I could do with a bit of rewinding just now. Church was been busy this week, with the Annual Parochial Church Meeting on Monday on Zoom, where I was elected to the PCC as a Deanery Synod representative. I went into it eyes wide open, I have done this before.

Tuesday was a musical ministry meeting, Thursday the PCC meeting and Saturday a church quiz all on Zoom. This week I shall be Zooming far less. Zoom tires me far more than face to face meetings.

The service had two contrasting views on autumn leaves. “I see decay all around, the leaves, when they are wet they get slippy.” said Bev, but this was quickly followed, after a song video, by a video of children playing in piles of dry leaves. In the last couple of weeks on social media I have seen the statement, “Most people who like autumn are optimists,” it was meant as an insult. I love autumn, I’ll take that.

children playing with dry leaves. slightly worried by the hat being askew, but great concentration. identified.

Leading into the confession, Bev said that God loves to forgive and has a heart for reconciliation.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

The intercessory prayers were next: Praying is leaving a world where we are not able to do things into a place where God is able to do everything. God specialises in the impossible.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have announced November as a day of prayer and have set aside every Thursday for fasting. You could possibly miss a meal. (In our household we are having veggie Thursdays, The cauliflower curry I shall be cooking this week is no hardship.)

Green steps.
Climate change is having a large impact on the poorest people in the world. How to make the world a fairer place. Tearfund’s reboot campaign video was watched… I could not find the video in YouTube in order to link, it starts at about 27:30 on the church You tube service.

The service concluded with Vicar Mike’s sermon, the latest installment on our series on Mark’s Gospel: Mark 2:23 – 3:6. It would be a good idea to read this before continuing,

Mike said: In the past my parents would not allow any spending at all on Sundays. Even on church picnics when other people from the church were queueing up at the ice cream van the answer was no. We did without. For that reason I began to dislike Sundays.

The reading covers three things; the Pharissees, Jesus and the sabbath.

The Pharissees

The Pharisees were really respected by the people and sought to uphold the law and public morality. Layer upon layer of additional laws above those in the Bible that covered everything in life. They had turned what God meant as a relationship with him into religious rules, and as Jesus and the disciples were not strict enough at abiding by their rules they are looking for a reason to trip them up.

“Which is lawful?” Jesus asked them, “To save a life or to kill?” The Pharissees refuse to answer. They wanted to get rid of Jesus, more concerned were they with cold religion than with God. We need to be careful that our hearts remain soft to God and other people


Jesus confronts them not with the law, but with a story. 1 Samuel chapter 21, Davidhas been annoinred King but not yet started ruling. David’s position as king meant that he had authority over the law.

Jesus says that his authority gives him the right to bypass strict adherence to man made rules. Jesus, by extension, says he has authority over the world. He is the coming king they are waiting for.

The sabbath

The sabbath is not made for strict observance. The Sabbath has been forgotten by the church, we have forgotten how to integrate sabbath into our lives. The Sabbath made for man.

God blessed the seventh day, The sabbath is as old as the earth it is part of a rhythm that is built in to the planet. It was never meant to be a burden or a duty.

There is a rhythm of work and sabbath. It is not a day off; a day off is when we work and don’t get paid. Sabbath in Hebrew means delight, it is not legalistic or prescriptive. We should be resting and having fun. The pattern is: Stop, rest, delight and worship.

First we stop. There’s always things that need to be done, but try not to do work. God uses the sabbath to shape our lives so that he can use us.

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