The worship had the gospel for the day at it's heart and I preached in three chunks - once in the 'usual place' just after the readings, again before the Peace and again following the Post Communion prayer. The heart of what I said was helping us to realise that we are the rich young man, from the Gospel reading (whether we like it or not) as we own and earn far more than the average wage of $2 a day for much of the Global Poor. In the reading though, I believe that Jesus neither condemns those who are rich, nor is the passage a comment on God's priority to the poor. Rather, in the reading, Jesus reminds us that we may well come close to the Kingdom under our own steam, but there will be things that prevent us from entering, whether that is wealth, family, perhaps even life itself. God looks at us, and loves, and it is God alone who who can transfer us into his kingdom.
Then, as part of our response to the grace of God, over 100 of us in church pledged the Micah Call...
The Micah Call: This is a moment in history of unique potential, when the stated intentions of world leaders echo something of the mind of the Biblical prophets and the teachings of Jesus concerning the poor, and when we have the means to dramatically reduce poverty.
We commit ourselves, as followers of Jesus, to work together for the holistic transformation of our communities, to pursue justice, be passionate about kindness and to walk humbly with God.
We call on international and national decision-makers of both rich and poor nations, to fulfil their public promise to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and so halve absolute global poverty by 2015.
We call on Christians everywhere to be agents of hope for and with the poor, and to work with others to hold our national and global leaders accountable in securing a more just and merciful world.
Barbara led intercessions today using the Millennium Development Goals as a starting point, encouraging each us then and every day, to pray for the justice of God for the world's poor.
The as a response to God's grace shown to us in Jesus Christ, we shared the Eucharist and at the end of the service nearly 50 of us wrote letters to our MP asking him to Stand Up for justice for the Global Poor and against Climate Change, not just this weekend, or next, but every day.
Many of us were deeply moved by what God was asking us to do. He challenged us to step out of our comfort zones, and in a way out of leafy Hertfordshire and to 'sell all we have and to give to the poor' by identifying ourselves with our siblings in the Global Community.
Whilst Micah Sunday and the Stand Up initiative are not until next weekend, they tied in so strongly with the Gospel reading this morning, and followed on so naturally from last weekend's worship, God seemed to be leading us to hear the cry of the poor again and respond in a different way from raising around £700 to aid water projects in Ethiopia.
I am exhausted, exhilerated, challenged, blessed, and called by God's grace to seek justice, and to love mercy as I walk with God in humility.