The Mash Potato Christians

Lenten Lunch – Holy Souls 19th March – An ecumenical soup and roll lunch with an act of worship for Churches in North Scunthorpe (CINS)

 Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12   By saying this scripture out loud we proclaim it to the world and into the heavenly realms.  (aside – We might consider who we are speaking it too, who we are speaking it with and who, or what, we are speaking it against.  This is spiritual warfare.)

52:13 See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

14 As the crowds were appalled on seeing him – so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human-

15 So will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him, for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before.

53:1 ‘Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of the Lord been revealed?’

2 Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground.  Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes;

3 A thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces, he was despised and we took no account of him.

4 And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried.  But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God and brought low.

5 Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins.  On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and the Lord burdened him with the sins of all of us.

7 Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.

8 By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause?  Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death.

9 They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

10 The Lord has been pleased to crush him with suffering.  If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

11 His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content.  By his suffering shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.

12 Hence I shall grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for sinners.

 

Brief Word

At the cross we see the great gift of salvation that Jesus has given to us and all that it cost him.  Once we receive this gift no-one can take it away from us, whatever the world might try to do or throw at us.  We have a new-found freedom in Christ.  How might we become better disciples of Jesus Christ?  Better “followers of the way” as those early Christians called themselves.

Here’s an extract from the book “Disciple” by Juan Carlos Ortiz a South American Pastor.  This is what he has to say about unity.

We are in many groups. We are Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals of many kinds, Nazarenes, Salvation Army, Episcopalians, Plymouth Brethren, Baptists of many kinds, and others as well.  (Catholics, Anglicans and Congregationalists)

God is regrouping us.  He has already begun.  He is not using our categories however, God has only two groups – those who love one another and those who don’t.

But listen – God is doing even more than regrouping his people.  He is uniting them.  I can illustrate this with potatoes.  Each potato plant in the garden has three, four or five potatoes under it.  Each individual potato belongs to one plant or another.

When the harvest comes, all the potatoes are dug up and put into one sack.  So they are regrouped.  But they are not yet united.  They may say, “Oh, praise the Lord!  Now we are all in the same sack.”  But they are not yet one.

They must be washed and peeled.  They think they are closer yet.  “How nice is this love among us!”  they say.

But that’s not all.  They must be cut in pieces and mixed.  They have now lost a lot of their individuality.  They really think they are ready for the Master now.

But what Jesus wants is mashed potatoes.  Not many potatoes – one mashed potato.  No potato can stand up and say, “Here I am!  I’m a potato.”  The word must be we.  That’s why the Lord’s Prayer begins, “Our Father….

 

What is my take on this?  Even within our separate denominations we can, and do, acknowledge each other as Christians – followers of the Way.  Mash potato Christians with mash potato love, a force for good in the world, in Christ.

 

Intercessions

Lord of Lent, come to your church and ask your hard questions. Are we proclaiming the Gospel faithfully? Are we showing in our life together the justice of your kingdom? Have we welcomed the weak and given help to the poor?

Come to our church to spring clean our ways. Point out the cobwebs and the dirt. Create in us a clean heart and a right spirit.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of Lent, come to our country and all the nations and challenge our idolatries. Spring clean the sordid cupboard of this world’s false gods. Sweep out the false pride, the self- seeking, the deceit, the corruption and lies. May the nations of this world seek justice, peace and the integrity of creation. May the rulers of this world be drawn to the common good as a lark to the dawn.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of Lent, help us to remember what you have taught us, that everyone needs good neighbours, especially those in broken homes, in scattered families, and those who are living alone. We pray with particular concern for the young and very young. Bring our youth to a hatred of knives and weapons of violence. Grant all young people a sense of being needed, being worthwhile and loved. If not by those around them then most certainly by you.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of lent, look upon the bereaved and the injured in Christchurch, New Zealand. Give them healing and peace. Change the hearts of all those who would carry out such dreadful acts of murder and disruption. We ask you to deliver this earth from bigotry and prejudice.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of Lent, in the face of these terrible things help us continue as faithful disciples, following the way of love and having forgiveness ready for all who ask for it.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of lent, turn your healing love towards those who are sick and in pain today.   We pray for Father Neil who is recovering from back surgery, may he be with us again soon.

May they all receive a healing touch from You.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of Lent, lord of compassion and source of all goodness, in the order of things we all must die. We remember those who have recently reached this stage in their pilgrimage.  Grant that they may join you in your eternal kingdom where there will be no more sorrow, or crying, nor any more pain. May they rejoice in your presence.

Lord, in Your mercy.

Hear our prayer.

Lord of lent, we pray that you will renew our churches, renew our world and renew our hearts.

 

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.  Amen.        (From the Divine Mercy Chaplet of St Faustina).

 

Book ref) Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz, Publisher- Lakeland, Marshall Morgan and Scott 1978.  ISBN 0 551 00586 6

 

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