Ephesians 2:4-10

15th Sunday after Trinity

St Barbara’s 12.09.2021

Rev Tulo Raistrick

Our reading from Ephesians is all about the amazing abundance of God’s love. Paul writes of: God’s great love for us, God being rich in mercy, the incomparable riches of his grace, his kindness to us in Jesus, the fact that we are made by God, and the fact that he has prepared for us good things for us to do

Indeed, he writes, “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

So I thought today you might be interested to hear about what one church did, their good works, which they did in response to God’s love:

This church ended up giving countless hours to caring for the sick and the elderly, some in their own homes, some by visiting, some by getting trained up in medical and nursing skills so that they could work full time in caring for others with God’s love and compassion.

Church members got involved in their workplaces, in commerce and industry, shaping world-views and building kingdom values, standing up for fairness and equality, for honesty and integrity.

They raised thousands of pounds for charities that were making a difference for those in poverty around the world. Also members of the church were involved in providing advice and support via zoom to schools and other community groups in Africa and Asia. Others in the church got involved in supporting churches around the UK in supporting the homeless

They spent hours every week with children and young people and university students – at last count almost 3,000 contacts every week – sharing the love of learning and helping to form positive lives that would make a difference in our world

They spent time getting to know their neighbours, building positive and life-giving relationships with others.

Others provide support and help to families in social crisis

It was a church that loved making music, where members of the church would go out and teach others the joy of music or join in with others in choirs and orchestras and bands to share in the joy and gift of music-making together

Its a church whose members loved gardening, where they shared their love of God’s creation with others in local gardening groups and allotment associations

Its a church where members loved knitting, using their skills to knit for sailors on the high seas

Its a church where its members loved sports (rugby, cycling, table tennis, gymnastics, tennis, running, badminton) joining with others to delight in physical activity and teamwork.

Its a church where members loved reading, often coming together to share what they had read and inviting others to join them too.

A church where its children and young people made amazing contributions to groups in their community – whether it was scouts, or drama groups, or orchestras or sports clubs

It sounds like a remarkable church, doesn’t it. Imagine being part of such a church. Well, as I will be saying to our 10am service later, you don’t need to imagine it. For that church is us.

Think about everyone you know in our church. Think about our children and young people. Think about those who work in industry and commerce. Think about our teachers, our pre-school workers, our university lecturers and administrators. Think about our full-time carers, some paid, others caring for loved ones in their own homes. Our doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers. Think about all those who are good neighbours to others; or loving family members. Think about all those who love music, or sports, or gardening, or reading or knitting, and so much more.

We are a people made by God to do good works. It may be through our work; it may be through our passions and interests; it may be through our relationships. We are made by God to bring his light and love into the world, to use our gifts and who we are to make a difference.

So lets take some time to think: when are those moments when I feel most fully alive? when I think: “This is what I was made for”?

It may be to do with work:

a teacher seeing that “aha!” moment when a student finally gets it

an engineer working on solving a challenging problem

Or it may be to do with your hobbies and interests:

doing gardening, or just being still and appreciating the beauty around you

or playing sport or singing in a choir or going for walks

It may be to do with relationships

being there for children or grandchildren

chatting to your neighbours

And now take time to reflect on how those things have been used by God to benefit others and to give him praise?

And looking forwards, how might your gifts, skills, work, passions (God’s handiwork) be used to do good this week or this month or this year?

Remember, we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.