Notices for Sunday 25th June 2017

All the workers you’ve exploited and cheated cry out for judgment. The groans of the workers you used and abused are a roar in the ears of the Master Avenger.
James 5:4 (Message)

Show us Father God how to treat people fairly and justly, and how to honour our obligations.
Amen.

Welcome to our preacher this morning who is Rev Marian Jones
After service tea hosts Chris and Joan

Our thanks for the flowers which are given by Pat Jones in memory of her mother Dilys Whitley
Organist: Ian Moore. Our thanks to Ian for stepping in and playing for us this morning.

Sunday 2nd July
11.00am          Local Arrangement
Vestry Steward – Ian
Door Steward – Val
Tea Hosts – Val and Barb

Diary Dates

June
Sun 25th       Messy Church in the hall 4.00pm to 6.00pm
Tue 27th      Oasis of Silence – Regent Street at 12.30pm for 20 minutes. Bring lunch to share afterwards
Wed 28th     Midweek Communion at Regent Street, 11.15am
Wed 28th     Circuit Bible Study at Regent Street, James 4: ‘Living for the Lord’. 6.30pm food, 7.30pm study
Fri 30th       Friday Lunch Club 12 noon in the hall £3

July
Sat 1st         Overton Garden Fete Holly Cottage 2.00pm
Mon 3rd        Festival Praise at Llangollen 7.00pm
Sat 8th         Strawberry Tea at Brymbo 2.00pm

Please pray for the following:
Isobel Holroyd
Michael Shipley
Keith and Myra Baugh
Evelyn Taylor
Gwyneth Williams

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.

Confession

At the earlier Methodist class meetings, members were expected every week to answer some extremely personal questions, such as the following: Have you experienced any particular temptations during the past week? How did you react or respond to those temptations? Is there anything you are trying to keep secret, and, if so, what? At this point, the modern Christian swallows hard! We are often coated with a thick layer of reserve and modesty which covers “a multitude of sins”—usually our own. Significantly, James 5:16-20, the original context of that phrase, is the passage which urges, “Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”

Michael Griffiths, Cinderella with Amnesia [1975]

A warning to the rich
James 5:1-6

Greed

In this small section of the letter of James, the writer takes time to denounce the exploiting activities of the rich. He is not denouncing wealth as such, rather he is attacking wealth obtained by corruption. He attacks ill-gotten gains and the motivations that drive us to these ends. So, the passage again exposes unrighteous behaviour, behaviour which is the product of a “useless” faith.

The first decade of the 21st. centaury will go down in history for spawning the fruits of a greed is good philosophy. The Global Financial Crisis, generated by corrupt merchant bankers, most of whom still ply their trade, virtually brought the world’s banking system to its knees. Then, as a consequence, Western governments, weakened by unsustainable debt, and now further weakened by taking over the debts of their banks, were paralysed in the face of a world-wide recession. And all this, down to greed.

Only in the kingdom of heaven will greed no longer drive us. None-the-less, our passage for study has something to say to us for the here and now:

1.                  The stupidity of hoarding, The things of this world are subject to decay, so it is best to wisely use what we have before we have nothing to use.

2.                  The sin of legal theft. It is not a nice situation to find people who proclaim their religion, but who don’t even pay their staff a fair recompense. They do not fulfil their honest obligations because they want to get more of this worlds things. Such behaviour does not go unnoticed by the Judge of the universe.

3.                  The trap of pleasure. As Richard Holloway puts it, “The pursuit of pleasure for its own sake is always ultimately unsatisfying … and becomes addictive.” The reason for this is that if we “pursue pleasure we fail to get it”, and this because you cannot “separate pleasure from the act that gives it.” The person who exploits does so for self-pleasing. Such is selfish greed and, in the end, is not satisfying.

4.                  Exploitation is as good as murder. To manipulate the structures of a society from a position of power, e.g. the legal system, so as to deprive the poor of the little they have to add to the excess of the rich, is as good as murder. In God’s eyes, it is that serious.

It is not easy for a believer to function untainted from the materialism of this world. If we do find ourselves in the greed-trap, willing to exploit for self-pleasing, then we need to humble ourselves before the Lord. “Come near to God and he will come near to you” and “he will lift you up.”

Rev Bryan Findlayson, Retired Anglican Priest, New South Wales, Australia

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