Sunday 13th September 2020

An act of worship at home

Reading     Romans 14 vv 1-12

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written,

‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then, each of us will be accountable to God.


My first church after finishing training was in the stockbroker belt of Surrey. The people in the church were lovely, friendly and welcoming to everyone. Sadly the same could not always be said everywhere.

When we first arrived, fresh from college, I had various tasks to do, including choosing the car that the church very kindly provided to me for my ministry. In between unpacking boxes and setting up the Manse I made the mistake of visiting a car dealership dressed in clothes suitable for lugging and unpacking boxes but, I discovered quickly, not suitable for getting served in a dealership used to dealing with oil company executives and celebrities. The result was a very quiet and lonely ten minutes spent waiting to be served by sales staff who looked at me with contempt and kept on chatting to each other. Eventually I got the message and left.

And here was I, a young white thin (at that time) male. How would I have felt if I’d been a black person, or female, or fat…

I think Paul’s words of complete acceptance are wonderful. Acceptance is something that means a lot and makes us feel great, but we’re rejected, for whatever reason, it hurts.

We live in a world that in some ways feels increasingly divided. Sometimes it’s just because we (or “they”) look different, sometimes it’s because we speak differently, or eat different thing, or are have less, or more, or have different political views, or go to church, or the synagogue or temple, or don’t go anywhere, or are young, or old, fat or thin… the list goes on and on.

Paul reminds us not to judge others but to focus on our own relationship with God through Christ.

Through Christ we can know we are accepted by God who knows us better than we know ourselves, who accepts the darkness within us as well as the light and loves us and invites us to truly live our lives following in Jesus’ footsteps.

In a world that needs the love of Christ more than ever let’s live out our thanks that we are accepted and loved and show the same love to all in the name of Christ. Amen.


Lord, we pray for the Church here and throughout the world. May it, may we, challenge those things which separate people from one another.

Loving Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for a world where prejudice and fear dominate and spoil the lives of so many. May all your children grow in tolerance and understanding, patience and kindness. May we become celebrate and give thanks for differences and truly accept and learn from one another instead of allowing them to divide us.

Loving Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for our homes, our families and our communities. May we look and reach out beyond our family, and may our communities be truly inclusive.

Loving Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, we pray for those who are sick, especially those whose illness makes others afraid,

and causes them to be cut off from their loved ones.

Loving Lord, hear our prayer.

O God of all compassion, draw near to those who bear the weight of much sadness, that their load may be lightened by the knowledge of your infinite love for them.

Loving Lord, hear our prayer. In the name of Christ, Amen.


In Christ there is no East or West,

in him no South or North,

but one great fellowship of love

throughout the whole wide earth.

In him shall true hearts everywhere

their high communion find,

his service is the golden cord

close-binding humankind.

Join hands, then, all the human race,

whate’er your nation be;

all who my Father’s image bear

are surely kin to me.

In Christ now meet both East and West,

in him meet South and North,

all Christlike souls are one in him,

throughout the whole wide earth.


May the blessing of the God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us and give us peace. Amen.

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