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40 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 15 January 2012

from Morningside Baptist Church, Edinburgh. Led by Kay Cathcart; Preacher: Senior Pastor, Karl Martin.
Praise Band leader: Thomas Dean.
Be thou my vision
Bless the Lord O My Soul
Lord When I Remember
Amazing Grace
Counting on your name



    Opening announcement from Radio 4:
    Now it’s ten past eight and time for Sunday Worship, live from Morningside Baptist Church in Central Hall, Edinburgh. The preacher is the Senior Pastor, Karl Martin, and the service is introduced by Kay Cathcart.

    WELCOME - Kay Cathcart

    Welcome this morning to Morningside Baptist Church Edinburgh. Around 700 of us

    gather here each Sunday, many youth and students, all ages and styles of services –

    but not normally at 10 past 8 in the morning! Our church has recently moved into

    the heart of this beautiful city, surrounded by finance houses, theatres and cinemas;

    schools, small businesses and homes. We are surrounded too by the brokenness of

    our city and we long to be people who bring blessing and hope in this place. God has

    called us in recent times to grow expressions of church all across Edinburgh, looking

    to bring the love and life of Jesus into the communities and networks he’s placed us

    in. He calls us to all of this, not because we are able, sorted or better. Rather

    because we know what it is to be broken and to find our place of healing, hope,

    salvation and life in Jesus. So we fix our eyes on him this morning as we sing ‘Be

    thou my vision’.

    MUSIC: Be thou my vision
    PRAYER (Kay continued)

    Lord Jesus, we thank you that we are welcome in your presence this morning. Thank

    you Father that your mercy and grace are new for us today. Would everything which

    happens here this morning be worship to you. Holy Spirit, would you come and

    bring us your presence now.


    Kirsty will now read for us from Isaiah 61, verses 1-6, where we hear of God’s heart

    for the poor and the broken.

    OLD TESTAMENT READING - KIRSTY Isaiah 61: The Year of the LORD’s Favour

    1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
    because the LORD has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
    He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
    2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
    to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
    the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
    and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
    They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the LORD
    for the display of his splendor.
    4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. 5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. 6 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.

    MUSIC: Bless the Lord O My Soul


    We will now read from John Chapter 20 verses 19-23, where Jesus
    commissions his disciples.
    When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

    Prayers of Response - Kay
    Father, we want to give ourselves afresh to you this morning. Holy Spirit, would you continue to change us and grow us and call us out. Establish us as oaks of righteousness in the places and amongst the people you bring us to, in your strength and grace and for your glory. Amen.

    Our next song was written by our worship pastor, Thomas Dean, and reminds us that there is no better place to be as a child of God than in the presence of our Father.

    MUSIC: Lord, When I Remember

    Sermon: Karl Martin
    Some close friends returned from a trip to the States with a present for our family, it was a 3 inch dry sponge .. 'Grow your own Jesus'. You could tell he was Jesus because he had blonde hair blue eyes and a blue shawl around his buff shoulders. And the idea was that you would place Jesus in a glass of water and leave him overnight to see how much he grew. In the morning Jesus was 8 inches tall: 'it's a miracle'. .. 'You should all get one'. And there are so many cheesetastic parallels I could draw .. I will make only one . .. The central idea of this Christian life thing is that we are all invited into a relationship with God through Jesus, and that Jesus is supposed to increase in us .. To the point that it shows! Your community and mine is desperate for Jesus to grow in us..it might not articulate it in quite that way .. But they are needy for life, love, healing, purpose, hope, compassion, - precisely the stuff that Jesus is made of. Jesus right at the climax of his earthly ministry in John 20 commissions his friends. He says 'as the father has sent me so I send you' .. . In the same way with the same authority . Same anointing, do the same stuff, preach good news, heal the sick, cast out evil, love and include people. The Kingdom is here right now.

    And at the outset of his earthly ministry, Jesus speaks in Nazareth, you will find it in Luke Chapter 4. He takes the passage of scripture from Isaiah that we read earlier “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me,” and he says today this is fulfilled in me.

    This is what it looks like .. to go and be Jesus, to be his body. God is looking for a people he can know, and love, and place at the centre of his divine repair job for this world. At a collision point between a broken society and a loving creator.

    There is no doubt about the depth of the bustedness in our world and in our nation.

    Economic brokenness
    Relational fracturing
    Psychologically we’re damaged. We have this chronic collective identity crisis .. we’re not comfortable in our own skin.
    In debt
    Do drugs
    Know depression
    Deep despair

    And I have to say for me and for many Christians the only analysis that makes any sense at all is that we are a people and live amongst a people who have run away from God. And in amongst all this brokenness is a church which so often forgets its mandate to be the body of Christ.

    And so it is apt this morning that we come around a passage written to a people who themselves had placed God in the rearview mirror and driven away, away from his love, away from his purposes and away from his life, that they’d ignored their calling and they’d end up doing stupid, exiled in Babylon.

    And God’s prophet is inspired to write this incredible hope-filled passage, ‘It’s going to be ok’, he says, because God is doing something huge .. Somebody is coming .. And this prophecy points to a time when God’s liberator king will come and restore everything.

    Jesus of Nazareth says, This is what I am all about and this is what my body is for.

    Good news to the poor . Economically poor .. Spiritually poor .. Those who lack will have God’s life.

    Broken-hearted people will get their hearts bound up and healed ..

    Prisoners will get freed. Those bound by debt and addiction and patterns of destructive behaviour get freed up in this epidemic of the love of God.

    The year of the Lord’s favour .. A year of debts cancelled .. A year of forgiveness .. Now the way to God is opened up .. The prophet says it's coming .. And Jesus says it's here..

    The day of vengeance of our God .. doesn’t sound so good … it just means that God is making stuff right .. He is establishing his rightness .. He is dealing with evil.

    Isaiah says an incredible exchange is occurring .. Beauty for ashes .. Praise instead of a spirit of destroy … God is redoing stuff .. He’s restoring places long devastated . God’s got an urban renewal plan ..

    And the people of God must have been thinking as they were sitting by the rivers of Babylon … Come on!

    So, here's the thing .. God is still up for doing something massive - restorative .. And his strategy admittedly sounds ridiculous ..

    He loves this messed-up world so much that knowing our need of a saviour he sends his only son ... And his only son loves this messed up world so much that he sets his face towards a cross and dies .. and rises again .. And then he sends us..

    God needed a body back then .. God needs a body right now .. we have holy spirit anointing for this.

    And hope for our world will spring only when a people who are orthodox in their belief that they are the body of Christ become passionate in their practice of becoming the body of Christ in their communities. Jesus grows in them, in us.

    God’s master plan is crazy – you wouldn’t necessarily pick it. It’s to do deep transformation in you .. That you in turn get to be real transformation for this world, his plan is that you and I get to know his son, and look like his son and act like his son.

    Broken people like you and I become as the prophet tells us , Oaks of righteousness, a planting for the display of the glory of God.

    It’s clearly poetic but it’s deeply profound.

    Because we live in a society of counterfeit glory and pseudo-righteousness.

    We who were created to live for the glory of God have lived for just about every other glory going. Love and money and stuff and fame; and at first glance it looks like glory, but it isn't. It's transient, and lacking and deceitful, and we find ourselves in a world which is based upon producing these illusions of glory and disabling us in seeking the one for whose glory we were created to live. Quite frankly it’s killing us.

    We’ve got a righteousness problem in this world. We were made for relationship with him, but when we are out of relationship with him we can’t live right – we know that we lack.

    Sometimes friends, the reason that our kids are bored and our marriages fail and our finances stress us out, is that we’ve got a glory problem and we’ve got a righteousness crisis.

    But God is bringing his good news to bear, he’s sending his son, he’s making the world right through Jesus, and in us.

    Church, every time in the power of the Spirit we parent well, every time we include the lonely and bless the elderly... Every time we get involved without self agenda and love the person in front of us. Every time one debt is managed, one addict gets clean, one child is fostered, one marriage is given hope. Every time one group of teenagers are mentored... Every time one lost person gets found with the love of God... Every time we get out more... Every time we create culture and don't just condemn it. Every time we represent Jesus well in a nation that is desperate for him, we plant ourselves and we bear Hope. And God’s kingdom comes just a little bit more, and heaven touches earth and Jesus grows in us.

    So Holy Spirit would you come, and would you help us know Jesus, and would you conform us to the likeness of Jesus, and would you transform our world through us, we pray. Amen.

    MUSIC: Amazing Grace

    Prayers of Intercession: Kirsty
    Let us take some time to lift our heads and our hearts to the giver of life. Let’s pray.
    Father God, we praise you. We lift your name high in this place and declare that you are Lord over all things. We bow in worship before you. We praise you for your faithfulness. Your love. Your presence with us now.
    Father God, you tell us in your Word that it is by grace that we have been saved. We thank you for this truth. We thank you for the freedom that it brings to our hearts today. It is by grace that we have been saved. Lord, we say this morning that we cannot make it on our own, please give us more grace. Father, we say that we have done wrong to you and to our brothers and sisters, please give us yet more grace. Thank you that your grace is bigger than our to-do lists. Thank you that your grace swamps our concerns in peace. Your grace, Lord, is enough.
    God of all comfort. We look to you for reassurance this morning. We look to you for hope. And in the silence of the morning, quietly in our hearts, we give you the things in our lives and situations which hurt us, grieve us and tire us. We lay these things at the foot of your cross Lord Jesus.
    And as we remember you today God, we also remember those beyond these walls. Father, we lift up your world to you.
    You know the economic situation in this land. You know each one who is unemployed, each household that is struggling. We long to see you bring financial justice, Lord God! Bind up the brokenness.
    In areas of conflict and unrest today we cry out for peace – for Syria, for Afghanistan, and for all the places where there is violence and fear. Father for the people of Haiti, 2 years on from destruction and devastation, for those still living without shelter or safety – house them, clothe them, comfort them. For all the victims of the Italian cruise liner accident, give them strength, Father, and aid the ongoing rescue work. Lord, we long to see your Kingdom come in this world!
    Sovereign God, to the poor in spirit, to the broken and grieving ones we ask that you would give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes; joy instead of mourning; garments of praise instead of despair. Where there is pain, war and sorrow in this world would you bring your comfort. As your people Lord, we long to take you to the desolate and the broken. Move our feet, open our mouths, release our hands.
    We turn our eyes to you Lord, we turn our affection to you. Teach us today of your goodness, your hand of provision. That we might give you back all the glory and the praise as you change and transform this world for your good.
    We say the Lord’s Prayer together:
    Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    Forgive us our sins,
    as we forgive those who sin against us.
    Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
    For the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory are yours
    now and for ever. Amen.

    BLESSING - Kay

    Thank you for joining with us during our worship this morning.
    In a moment we’ll close our service with the song ‘Counting on your name’. But first
    a blessing.
    Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the lavish love of the Father, and
    the comfort, presence and power of the Holy Spirit, be ours, be yours now, this
    week and for ever. Amen.

    MUSIC: Counting on your name

    Closing announcement from Radio 4:
    Sunday Worship came live from Morningside Baptist Church in Edinburgh. The service was led by Kay Cathcart and the preacher was Karl Martin. The music was directed by Thomas Dean, and the producer was Mo McCullough.

    And next week’s Sunday Worship comes live from Clare College, Cambridge.

    BBC Radio 4 invites you to take part in a new music commission, The People’s Passion, which will give choirs of varying types and abilities an opportunity to perform a brand new choral work in their communities this Easter. To find out more, enter People’s Passion Radio 4 into any search engine on the internet.


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