“For I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath” Hosea 11:9b
Good morning and welcome to 8am at St Clements. Today we are doing a couple of things at our service. All of which I hope you find helpful, encouraging and above all God, and Jesus, focussed.
The first thing we are going to do is remember those who fought for our freedom. Today is Remembrance Sunday. (You see it a lot on British TV, with people wearing red poppies). It is always on the 2nd Sunday of November and looks back to the armistice which was signed to end the first World War at 11am on the 11th November 1918. The prayer we will use gives thanks to God for those who served as well as for those who serve.
Secondly we will be continuing our series Return to God from the Old Testament book of Hosea. Hosea was a prophet of God called in the 8th century BC to speak (and to act) God’s word to his people. In today’s passage we see that though his people deserve complete alienation, God in his holiness chooses to be compassionate. J. Day in his commentary on Hosea says that this is one of the most moving passages in the Old Testament. Of course we see how this is resolved for us and for God in sending his Son Jesus.
Finally our theme for this Sunday is what the Lord requires of us? We draw rapidly towards Advent and the beginning of the church’s year but are reminded on the way of the requirements of relationship. In our prayers we will be bringing before God our link missionaries Dom and Andrew Gifford in Catalonia (quite a tense part of the world at the minute), the needs of the world particularly the people of the Baptist church at Sutherland Springs, and also our dear sister Shirley Cole. Andrew Cole wrote to me during the week to tell me that Shirley is now at a nursing home in Lane Cove and pretty much confined to a wheelchair. On a cheerier note I also heard from Robert Collier during the week who remembers with great fondness the times he spent at St Clements with his mother and father, Margaret and Richard.
It is an amazing thing that God in his holiness comes near to us. Yet that is precisely what we see in Jesus. In the second hymn for today we sing the great truth that when we turn our eyes on Jesus and look full in his wonderful face the rest of the world grows strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace. May that be true for all of us.