Weekly Reflection

We have now  returned to ‘normal Sunday worship’ but the regular ‘reflection’ is still being created that  forms the basis of the Sunday sermon each week.  It is  sent out digitally or as a ‘hard copy’ to our congregation for those unable to attend the services.  It is also printed below.  Please use it for your own personal devotion.

We will continue to post these reflections each week, here on the web-site.  

For those who wish to hear the whole Sunday service that centres on the following reflection, please click on the “Recent Events” page.

Immanuel, 12th February 2023

Deuteronomy 30; 15-20  1 Corinthians 3; 1-9

How do we choose?

How free are we to choose? Day by day we all face choices, and one of the biggest mysteries in life is, why do we choose the way we do? Based on what do we chose? What consequences do our choices have? Last week I referred to the fact that all are part of the community of God’s children. Does this have any impact on our choices? Do we choose only for ourselves? Do we chose for the wider community of which we and our loved ones are part of? And in particular this Sunday when with Churches in Britain and Ireland we remember Racial Justice Sunday, and think of all the racial injustices people suffer, and the people in Turkey and Syria after the earthquake and literally thousands of people dead – can they choose? Of course not! Can they choose differently? Of course they can’t! But those who thrive on hatred and injustice – do they choose. Of course they do! Can they choose differently, of course they can! Some many things involved….how much do we think of all this?

The reading from Deuteronomy is very special– because when asking us to choose, it is inviting us to make a particular choice, the choice that leads to life. And I’m sure we would agree who wouldn’t want to make such a choice. But in the world today, not everybody is free to make such a choice. Too many people are faced with choices that only allow for existence not for life. Often bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. But behind all this we know what God is really talking about.

And when Paul writes to the community in Corinth he is inviting them to overcome the patterns of life they know, based on individualism and selfishness, and to create the sense of sharing and common belonging. We are living in a time of major cultural and social differences, which some people want to push in a divisive way: hatred for immigrants’, mistrust of refugees, rejection of those who live different lifestyles, and strangely enough a certain uncritical acceptance of those whose agenda thrives on dividing us.

Paul reminds the people of Corinth and here at Immanuel, that Christ made different choices: the importance of the weak, the value of those who are different, the hope in repairing broken bridges, the love of stranger, the forgiveness of others. And learning that becomes the challenge to us at this time, we discover we are God’s servants, and we work together. So what are the choices before us and what are we choosing?

Many years later Jesus will remind us of the full meaning of this challenge – choose life: Love God with heart, mind and soul. Care for the poor. Fight for justice. Protect creation. Treat others fairly… creating a world which is better, and where those who for too long have been excluded can now choose life. The essence of this reading is still here before us: “Today I set before you life and death, blessings and curses – Choose life, and that way all may have fullness of life.”

Are these our choices? If not, why not? Amen


Prayer prepared for Racial Justice Sunday

Let us not rush to the language of healing, before understanding the fulness of

the injury and the depth of the wound.

Let us not rush to offer a sticking plaster, when the gaping wound requires

surgery and complete reconstruction.

Let us not offer false equivalencies, thereby diminishing the particular pain being

felt in a particular circumstance in a particular historical moment.

Let us not speak of reconciliation without speaking of reparations and

restoration, or how we can repair the breach and how we can restore the loss.

Let us not rush past the loss of this mother’s child, this father’s child…

someone’s beloved son.

Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while

human lives hang in the balance.

Let us not value a false peace over a righteous justice.

Let us not be afraid to sit with the ugliness, the messiness and the pain that is life

in community together.

Let us not offer clichés to the grieving, those whose hearts are being torn asunder.


Let us mourn Black and Brown men and women, those killed extrajudicially every

28 hours.

Let us lament the loss of a teenager, dead at the hands of a police officer who

described him as a demon.

Let us weep at a criminal justice system, which is neither blind nor just.

Let us call for the mourning men and the wailing women, those willing to rend

their garments of privilege and ease and to sit in the ashes of this nation’s

original sin.

Let us be silent when we don’t know what to say.

Let us be humble and listen to the pain, rage and grief pouring from the lips of

our neighbours and friends.

Let us decrease, so that our brothers and sisters who live on the underside of

history may increase.

Let us pray with our eyes open and our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Let us listen to the shattering glass and let us smell the purifying fires, for it is the

language of the unheard.


God, in Your mercy,

Show me my own complicity in injustice,

Convict me for my indifference,

Forgive me when I have remained silent,

Equip me with a zeal for righteousness,

Never let me grow accustomed or acclimated to unrighteousness.

© Dr Yolanda Pierce

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