Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.
Mark 8:34-35 (Message)
Teach us Father God that the secret to life is not strength and power rather than it is vulnerability and love.
We welcome our preacher this morning who is Rev John Wiggall
After service tea hosts Keith and Myra
Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Janet Bradshaw
Organist: Lydia Edwards
Sunday 8th March
11.00am Preacher Rev Richard Sharples (Communion)
Vestry Stewards – Avril and Sheila
Door Steward – Chris
Tea Hosts – Chris and Joan
Sun 1st Circuit Service at Regent Street 6.00pm
Mon 2nd Every Day with Jesus Bible Study in Lounge 10.30am
Tue 3rd Welsh Lunch at Rhosymedre 1.00pm
Sat 7th Heal the Last Stand Folk Concert 8.00pm £5 at Regent Street – Bob has tickets
Tue 10th St David’s Day Celebration Tea at Rhosddu 2.00pm
Wed 11th Midweek Communion at Regent Street 11.15am
Wed 11th Bible Study at Avril’s home led by Lisa Rathbone 7.30pm
Please pray for the following:
All those who care for those in need.
We thank God for answered prayer and ask that he helps us to understand that all things do work together for good.
This evening at Regent Street 6.00pm
Rev Dr the Lord Leslie Griffiths
Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, London
Rhosddu Methodist Church
St David Celebration Tea and Entertainment
Tues 10th March, 2.00pm
The entertainment prior to the tea will be given by the pupils of Ysgol Plas Coch which is the Welsh school opposite the Rhosddu church. They are preparing for the Urdd Eisteddfod so there will be a range of items to be included in the program. Rhosddu are hoping to build links with the school so please come along and support this event. Tickets can be obtained from Brenda Roberts 01978 352401.
The Theory of Everything
I have the Academy Awards on my mind. Actually, One moment of the show helped me articulate what I think is the heart of not just this week’s passage but the whole of the Gospel. It was the song “Glory” from Ava DuVernay’s film Selma, and what struck me was how the song writers John Legend and Common described the march to Selma in the terms of glory.
Think about that for a moment. That march, along with the larger struggle for civil rights, was filled with confrontation and suffering and sacrifice. And yet they sing of glory. Why? Precisely because we find glory – and for that matter power and strength and security – only in those moments when we surrender our claims to power and strength and security and glory in order to serve others.
We know this because each and every time we make ourselves vulnerable to the needs of those around us, each time we give ourselves in love to another, each time we get out of our own way and seek not what we want but what the world needs, we come alive, we are uplifted, we experience the glory of God made manifest. That’s what Jesus means when he invites his disciples – then and now – to take up their cross and follow him because only those who are willing to lose their life out of love will save it.
I’m not taking about – and I’m quite confident Jesus isn’t talking about – a kind of doormat theology where we are to ignore our genuine human needs altogether or see ourselves as not deserving of love, dignity, and respect. And so there is no justification here for enduring abusive relationships or tolerating injustice. Rather, I’m talking about giving of ourselves in love – which is of course quite different than having others take from us. And that giving in love almost always includes sacrifice, denying ourselves and our immediate gratification so as to meet another’s needs.
Connecting to others in order to fashion and nurture community requires sacrifice and the marvellous thing is that when we stop worrying about gratifying our wants and instead look to the needs around us, and others begin to do the same, we find more than we’d ever imagined – more life, more joy, more happiness, more acceptance – because we find a whole community looking out for us instead of only ourselves, just as we are looking out for the community of persons around us.
This, I think, is the Gospel’s theory of everything – that the more we give, the more we receive; the more we seek to be a friend, the more friends we discover; and the move we love, the more we are loved.
It’s not what his disciples expect. They still imagined that the secret to life was strength and power rather than vulnerability and love. And so they interpreted Jesus’ miraculous acts as demonstrations of power rather than manifestations of love. And when Jesus describes the greatest act of love – giving his life for them and the world – they can only object.
But Jesus will not be deterred. He will continue on the path of sacrificial love – and continue to love his disciples even when they misunderstand him or choose not to follow that path – until the very end. And at the end, God takes what looks like weakness and demonstrates strength and transforms what looks like disgrace and reveals God’s surprising, even unsettling, but ultimately life-giving glory.
David Lose, President Lutheran Theological seminary, Philadelphia, USA