Sunday preaching: Portadown Baptist Church

Yesterday I was off to a relatively local church for two Sunday services. It was my second time to be at Portadown Baptist Church.

A section of the congregation was missing – the women’s fellowship were in Newcastle for their annual weekend. Apparently on such occasions it is a great success when the men turn up on time and wearing matching clothes! Last year one of the men discovered that he was wearing a jacket and trousers from two different suits. No sartorial disasters to report this time.

I took two stories from Luke 10. I have preached on them both before, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to preach them together (one in the morning and one in the evening).

The morning story was the story of the Good Samaritan. In the light of the news coverage of the Costa Concordia (which I blogged about recently) what are the limits of compassion? What does it mean to live our neighbour?

I’ve written about the story at greater length elsewhere on this site, but the three observations we thought about were that:

  • It is easier to talk about theology than to love people.
  • It is easier to keep rules than to love people.
  • It is easier to avoid people than to love them.

That third observation is very practical: which of us has not walked past?

We’ve seen the foreign national sitting outside the supermarket selling her magazines. And we have pretended we never saw her; we pass by on the other side. Do we know anything about her? Do we assume that she is there of her own free will? What if it’s bandits who have lured her from her own country with all kinds of promises that will never be kept?

If the story of the Good Samaritan is a call to do something, the story of Martha and Mary, which follows it in Luke 10, is a call to be still. Martha assumed that Jesus would be on her side because she assumed that what she was doing was more important than what Mary was doing. Jesus disagreed. Mary had chosen the good portion.

Teach me to hear Your calling,
Teach me to search Your Word,
Teach me to hear in silence,
Things I have never heard.

(Ken Medema)


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