Resources for 5th July

matthew-11-30

Music before we worship:  All to Jesus I surrender by Robin Mark (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources:  Matthew 11 colouring page    Come to me word search   Come to me activities  (link to sermons4kids)

Call to Worship: Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Hymn:  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers: 

Great and Glorious God

It was not to the rich and famous, the powerful, intellectual or influential that you entrusted your word, but to fishermen, outcasts and sinners, ordinary people like us. And to ordinary people like us you have revealed the things of heaven, that we might also become bearers of good news. So we praise you, Lord, for revelation and the eternal message of your salvation.

Sustaining Lord, When the journey seems long, strength fails and we stumble as we walk, you raise us up, refresh, encourage, share our load. Gracious Lord, travelling companion, precious guide along life’s way, for your presence, strength and help we give you thanks today.

Forgiving Lord, We want to serve you— show your love where love demands to be shown; be your touch where lives might be made whole; speak your word to those who would deny your power; be your light and draw others to your throne. Yet, we confess, we hesitate to speak your name, are daily tempted to listen to this world’s voice and know our lives do not reflect your holiness. So once again we come to you in humility and in faith proclaim, ‘Thanks be to God, who forgives and restores us, through Jesus Christ our Lord!’

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus you brought salvation to our wayward world: draw us into harmony with your will, that we may find all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ.    Common Worship

Hymn: I Want to Walk with Jesus Christ (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

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Scripture readings:

Genesis 24: 34-38, 42-49, 58-67

Romans 7: 15-25a

Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn: I heard the voice of Jesus say (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture

Jesus said ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

But when we hear the word yoke what picture do we see?

yoke buckets

Is it one where we struggle alone carrying a heavy burden.  Life can sometimes feel a little like this.  We go through life encumbered and weighed down by our worries, anxieties and fears.  Never more so than the last few months of lockdown and with its easing we face new worries and concerns.  This is of course when we need our faith most.

But sometimes our faith journey can seem a little like this too.  We find life’s burdens weigh upon our faith, we find ourselves isolated in our faith amid a secular world which underlines the importance of us as a church family in nurturing and supporting the faith of others in our church family.  Even as a church family we can find ourselves feeling remote from society which is why both individually and congregationally we need to accept Jesus’ invitation to take up his yoke.

So what might that invitation look like?  Does it look like this?

yoke plough

Does it look like this, where our journey with Christ is less a garden of roses and more a trudge through a muddy field?  Inevitably in our journey as disciples there are times when we might feel that faith is hard work, we are tempted and distracted by the world around us but just like the picture we are harnessed to Christ.  He is there walking beside us as go through the toil of life.  In many communion prayers we say that we share in the suffering of Christ but if we take up his yoke he too shares in our own sufferings.

Life and indeed our path in faith can seem hard toil, faith isn’t something that is necessarily an easy endeavour, faith does take hard work, it takes commitment, commitment to take Jesus as our saviour, to read and study Scripture and to spend time in prayer.  But the scale of that challenge is eased if we fully embrace Jesus’ invitation to accept his yoke and walk beside him.

If we accept that yoke how will things change, what does it look like?

yoke wagon

Being yoked to our Lord is a source of reassurance that whatever we encounter we are not alone.  That reassurance is found by walking in step with Jesus with him bound to us as we are bound to him through his yoke.  It is a yoke that is there to guide us not choke us.

In accepting his yoke we share each other’s burdens, we accept Jesus’ call to mission, being yoked together his work of salvation and proclaiming the kingdom becomes our work.  We embark on that mission drawing on the strength of Jesus beside us, two oxen yoked together can pull a wagon of much greater size than one.  With Christ beside us we can achieve much more than we can ever imagine.  We can do this because when we are yoked to Christ he is never far from us.

With Him beside us when we take up his yoke, just as his work becomes ours, our lives become his with him leading us, helping us and sharing our burdens.  The worrisome burdens of anxiety and fears are taken up by Christ, with Him no longer do we trudge through life for he guides our path.

In walking beside Jesus our burdens are made light, our lives transformed and in him we shall find rest

Amen

Prayers for others: 

Lord Jesus,
we pray in your name and in the name of peace
for the worn torn countries of the world,
for countries where violence is rife,
for communities where tensions run high.
Lord, hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of justice
for the marginalised people of the world,
for those who are discriminated against,
for those who are trafficked.
Lord hear our prayer 

We pray in your name and in the name of compassion
for the animals of the world,
for those that are hunted,
those that are exploited,those that are endangered.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of gratitude
for those who stand up for the oppressed,
for those who kneel down for the victimised,
for those who speak out for the silenced.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of love
for children and young people.
for those who are vulnerable,
for those with special needs,
for those who are carers for their parents and siblings.
Lord hear our prayer

We pray in your name and in the name of hope
for economic challenges to be overcome,
for opportunities to be embraced,
for changes to be long lasting.
Lord hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we pray in your name and in the name of faith
for your church throughout the world,
for those entrusted with leadership,
for congregations reaching out to their communities,
for one another to live as we pray.
Lord hear our prayer

Lord Jesus, we pray in your name and in the name of thankfulness
for businesses and venues preparing to open again,
for families preparing to meet up again,
for friends preparing to socialise again;
and we pray for all in government as they continue to monitor and measure
the levels of infections around the UK.
Lord hear our prayer,
for you are our strength and our inspiration
and in you we trust. Amen.  (Adapted from material by Revd, David Hinchcliffe)

Hymn: Thy hand O God has guided (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) 

Blessing:

A sung version of the blessing.

The UK Blessing — Churches sing ‘The Blessing’ over the UK (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon us now and forever. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: Matthew 11 colouring page    Come to me word search   Come to me activities  (link to sermons4kids)

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings Burden shared a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass and click here for Paul reading his reflection on video (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 5th July from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Common Worship

Revd David Hinchcliffe

 sermons4kids

https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures

 

Resources for 28th June

glass of water

Music before we worship:  Celtic Worship – I stand amazed  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources:  Following Jesus colouring sheet    Word search   Young disciples talk (link to sermons4kids)

Call to Worship: Some words from Romans 12:11

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Let us praise the Lord!

Hymn:  Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  

We bring our praises, Lord, as we come to you in prayer, trusting in your unfailing love.

We bring our praises, Lord, as we walk with you each day, sharing the blessings that you give.

We bring our praises, Lord, for such amazing grace, poured out for all, to set us free.

We bring our praises, Lord, every moment we have breath, our risen, ascended, glorious Christ.

In the uncertainties of this life you are the one we can depend upon, the one whose love will never leave us, the one whose peace calms our restless souls, the one whose hope is our confidence, the one whose joy causes us to sing, the one who is worthy of our praise. In the uncertainties of this life you are the one we can depend upon and we thank you, Father, Son and Spirit, glorious Trinity.

Whilst we give thanks and praise to God we also bring our shortcomings to our forgiving Lord

Prayer of confession

When temptation takes us into a shadowy place where normally we would not go, bring light into our darkness, dispel our fears and bring us safely home to you. Forgive our tendency for wandering and straying from your path, and place our feet firmly where only you would tread.

Loving God.

In our saviour Jesus Christ we know of your forgiveness. As we confess our sins cleanse our hearts, grant us true repentance and assurance of your forgiveness. Renew and strengthen us. Be with us; guard and guide us, we pray; keep our eyes and ears focused on you, and bring us safely through each day. Restore us that we might live to your glory. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Lord of heaven and earth, you sent your Holy Spirit to be the life and power of your Church. Sow in our hearts the seeds of your grace that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit, in love and joy and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Methodist Worship

Hymn: When I Needed A Neighbour (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

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Scripture readings:

Jeremiah 28: 5-9

Romans 6: 12-23

Matthew 10: 40-42

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn: Brother, Sister let me serve you (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture

When I was younger my family were quite hospitable, I mean that in the sense that we often had visitors, normally for tea, especially on Sunday.  It took me a while to realise that not all were afforded the same hospitality.  Some would be drinking tea out of everyday mugs whereas others would be served tea in the “best” china.  Mugs would be accompanied by a cake and some plates whereas the best china would be accompanied by a dainty cake stand and of course doyleys.

Hospitality it seemed varied on who came calling.

Our Gospel reading from Matthew is of course about hospitality and the reception that the disciples will receive as they go out into the world to proclaim the good news.  In the preceding verses Jesus sets out their task.

He then sends them out on the mission to proclaim the Gospel. He has given them his authority, told them to travel light, told them they are engaged in a spiritual battle and warned them of hostile reception.

Jesus concludes his second mission address not by espousing the importance of practising hospitality but of receiving it. It is addressed to the disciples, and to us. It is summed up in two short verses but it is a mammoth task to accept the hospitality and generosity of others. As Peter showed at the foot-washing by Jesus, it is sometimes harder to receive service than to give it.

It raises one of several questions the passage raises regarding hospitality.

  1. Why is it that we struggle to accept the hospitality and kindness of others rather than us extending it? Is it because extending hospitality makes us feel good, a sense of benevolence and in part power?

Is it because we feel vulnerable even embarrassed if we are in need?  Yet there is an example for us in our reading that the first disciples were commissioned by Jesus to be reliant on others.  Maybe as the hymn Brother Sister let me serve you says, we need to be filled with grace to accept the service of others.

  1. Over the last few months of lockdown what have we learnt about the kindness of others? Rather than reflect on what you have done by way of helping others in their need, materially, emotionally by way of keeping in touch or spiritually by supporting the faith of others consider instead what you have received.  What have you received from others that you give thanks for as a blessing?

We often think of what we have given but there is also a time to reflect on what we have received, a time to be grateful and receive the blessing from others that comes from Christ.  Recalling and counting our blessings has a foundational role in nurturing and growing our individual faith.

  1. You will of course of heard the Government announcement that our churches are set to re-open for worship soon, although much planning and precautions need to be put in place. It is a great time to consider what hospitality do we as church wish to extend?

I am not alluding to a smile and being nice, that should be second nature to all.  Let us go beyond the offer of a cup of tea and a biscuit especially as the guidance is likely to preclude that.  Let us consider what really is the “best” china we can offer?

What greater gift of hospitality is it than to share our most precious gift? The gift of our faith, the untold blessing of God and the victory upon the cross.  What is it that we need, individually and collectively to be able to share that gift?  The disciples in Matthew 10 were instructed and equipped for their mission.  What do we need to be mature disciples delivering our message to make new disciples?  How do we nurture our own faith in order to nurture the faith in others?

  1. The disciples in our reading are not merely to deliver their message. They are to embody the message they bring because they are filled with the life of Jesus. The delivery of our message is not confined to church but pervades every part of our lives because as disciples our lives are filled with Christ. With the lockdown restrictions easing and each of us having more social contact how are we going to identify and respond to opportunities to convey our message?

Are we content in our social interactions to confine ourselves to the everyday mugs and plates of talking about the weather and our ailments or are we prepared to get the best china and doyleys out and share the good news of Jesus Christ.  Are we prepared to step out in faith and share the kindness we have received from others to others?  If we have recalled and counted our own blessings they form part of our own message of hope in these still uncertain times.

Charles Roydon writes the following about our gospel reading.

“If we are to take the commission by Jesus to all his disciples that we should go out and reveal who he is, then we need to consider how we might best do this. If we copy the example of Jesus then we will show the love of God in acts of kindness and speak words of compassion indiscriminately”.

May we respond to that commission with fervour and with love in our hearts.  Amen

Prayers for others: 

Loving God

In long summer evenings when light lingers and sunsets have time to deepen from light pink to deep red – we offer You our thanks and praise.

We remember and hold before You people in your world where the fading of the light brings not only darkness but sadness, fear and discomfort. May they know Your light. When we gather as the social distancing allows and share food and laughter with friends, relatives, and those whom we love  and also when we are content to eat alone –    we offer You our thanks and praise.

We remember and hold before You those who today will share meals tainted with sadness, those who through no choice of their own eat alone, those who are hungry and have little food. May they soon know joy and plenty.  When we have been offered hospitality that was generous or unexpected –we have been blessed and we offer You our thanks and praise.

We remember and hold before You refugees and those who are strangers in a foreign land, those for whom exceptional warmth and hospitality would mean so much .May they know a rich welcome and ongoing support.  When someone who knows us a little, but not well, remembers our names – we offer You our thanks for their care and attentiveness.

We remember and hold before You those who have been forced to change names or those who forget their names – those forced into marriage, those who have been trafficked, those living with dementia .May they know liberation and freedom.

And hear us too as we take time to remember and hold before

  • Those who are sick of mind or body as we recall them in our hearts.
  • Those affected by the violence, unrest and strife so sadly prevalent in our world.
  • Those experiencing grief, loneliness and depression.
  • Those fearful and anxious as the Government relaxes the lockdown.

Minister to their needs Lord we pray.

Ever creating, ever loving, ever encouraging God, we offer You our deep thanks. Use our gifts, talents and skills in the world so that our lives may tell out Your praise and aid those whom we have remembered before You today. Hear our prayers, through Jesus Christ our loving Saviour. Amen      Amended from an original by Rev Allan McCafferty, Church of Scotland

Hymn: Go Forth And Tell! (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) 

Blessing:

We go as individuals to serve as God calls us into a world in need of his co-workers.

We go as a community to serve as God calls us as living witnesses to the kingdom values of right relations.

We go as the people of God to be stewards of his generous giving, and to reflect his triune love in all we do and say.

And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon us now and forever. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: Following Jesus colouring sheet    Word search   Young disciples talk (link to sermons4kids)

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings In my name a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass and click here for Paul reading his reflection on video (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 28th June from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Methodist Worship

https://churchofscotland.org.uk/worship/weekly-worship/monthly/2020-06-june

 sermons4kids

 

 

 

 

 

Resources for 21st June

matthew10_38-39

Music before we worship:  Back To God: Reba McEntrire  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources:  Sparrow colouring sheet Craft activity: How to make prayer jars

Call to Worship: In our wilderness, God comes and says, “Do not be afraid for I have heard your voice.” Out of the shadows of fear and into the light of faith we come, O God. When we ask for a sign of love, God comes and provides all that we need. Out of the shadows of fear and into the light of faith we come, O God.

Hymn: Let all the world in every corner sing (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers: 

Great and Glorious God

Your love is beyond the ability of human words to express, that you could love each one of us enough to bear the cross. Great is your name: And worthy to be praised!

Your peace is powerful enough to still the storms that trouble our lives; you lead us to calmer waters where we can rest a while. Great is your name. And worthy to be praised!

Your joy is the sweetness that brings a smile to uplift a mournful heart, and gives light enough to guide us through when all around is dark. Great is your name  And worthy to be praised!

Thank you for giving us a voice that can be clearly understood above the clamour of this world; a sharpened sword cutting though the confused cries of those who would deny you.

Thank you for giving us authority to speak the truth in your dear name, bringing light to this dark corner; a prophetic voice and the courage to employ it, that hearts might be touched here and now.

Thank you for giving us a voice that can be clearly understood proclaiming your glorious name.

Whilst we give thanks and praise to God we are humbled by our shortcomings as we bring them to the Lord.

When we forget all you have done,

When we forget the love you showed and the wisdom of your words, forgive us, Lord.

When we forget the life you gave and your Spirit in our hearts, forgive us, Lord.

When we forget your call to serve and listen to this world, forgive us, Lord.

When we forget all you have done, bring us to your feet and grant mercy, Lord, we pray. Amen

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Lord, you have taught us that all our doings without love are nothing worth: send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of love, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you. Grant this for your only Son Jesus Christ’s sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Common Worship

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Scripture readings:

Genesis 21. 8 – 21

Romans 6. 1 – 14

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

 

Hymn:  Break thou the bread of life (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

 

book

Gospel reading:

Matthew 10. 24 – 39   (Click the link to go to Oremus NRSV online)

 

Hymn: O for a closer walk with God (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture: by the Revd. Rodney Wood

‘Not Peace but a Sword’

Matthew10.34  “You must not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”

Were these really the words of Jesus, the Prince of Peace? The Jesus who greets his followers with, “Peace be with you”?  The Jesus who makes peace by his death on the cross? It seems to be a hard and harsh saying for the gentle Galilean. We could think of other leaders on whose lips these words would fit more easily than on the lips of the Jesus, who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

I hope it may become clear what he meant when you have finished reading this.

What do you hold most dear in life? Your collections? Your ornaments? Your job? Your home? Your family, friends or loved ones? For most of us family will come at or near the top of our top ten values.

Abraham’s Family was long in coming, although God had promised it. Sarah had proved to be childless so she said to Abraham, “Take my slave-girl. Perhaps through her I shall have a son.” So in this early example of surrogacy, Hagar, the Egyptian, bore Ishmael for Sarah and the eighty six year old Abraham.

Now, again at Sarah’s urging, Abraham is pressed to cast out the slave woman and her son. And Abraham loved his son, Ishmael.

(Old Testament traditions sometimes conflict. “Abraham was 100” at Isaac’s birth so Ishmael must have been in his late teens when he and his mother were expelled – yet the story implies that he is still an infant that Hagar carries: “Abraham set the child on her shoulder and sent her away.” Hagar thrusts the child under a bush and the angel says,” Go, lift up the child and hold him in your arms, for I will make of him a great nation”)

Abraham loved Ishmael and so was upset when Sarah urged him, “Drive out this slave-girl and her son! I will not have this slave-girl’s son sharing the inheritance with my son, Isaac.” Yet he acted against this love, against his natural affections and sent them both away into the desert. It was as good as a death sentence – even with a water bottle.

Why? Why did Abraham act so cruelly? Was he a hen-pecked husband?

No, rather it was because of the promise, “through Isaac shall your descendents be named.” So he let God’s covenant drive a wedge between him, and Hagar and Ishmael. They separated, or rather he drove them away.

Abraham and Isaac presents us with another excruciating story. This time it is not Sarah provoking him into a conflict with his natural affections, but, according to the story, God. “Take your son, your only son, Isaac and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt offering.” Other gods of his day required human sacrifice, why not his?

There is no need to rehearse the story. Again Abraham screws himself up to act against all his fatherly instincts. Yet, as the well of Beersheba saved Ishmael, so the ram in the thicket saved Isaac. And as God promised to make a nation from Ishmael so God promises, “Because you have not withheld your son, your only son, Isaac, I will indeed bless you and multiply your descendents as the stars of heaven or the sand of the sea shore.”

It came out all right for in the end for Ishmael and Isaac, but, if the story was true, what emotional scars the brothers must have borne! What childhood traumas! And the worst was reserved not for Hagar’s son but for Sarah’s.  To be offered up as a human sacrifice by a father he loved, because of a word of God!

Both sons, in their different ways experienced separation from their father at God’s behest.

So to Matthew ten.

The Disciples are the ones Jesus addresses. They also had families. He tells them, “ You must not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword . . .” Now notice how he goes on: “ I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter –in-law against her mother-in-law and a man’s foes will be those of his own household.”

Matthew adds a similar saying. It softens a more original version which Luke preserves: “If any come to me and do not hate their father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters – yes even their own life – they cannot be my disciples.” ( Matthew has ‘love more than me’ for ‘hate’)

Family conflicts again.  The call to discipleship inevitably affects one’s nearest and dearest. And there is potentially a clash of interests and loyalties.

The fifth commandment is “Honour your father and your mother.” Family loyalties run deep. So it would appear to be a quite reasonable request when a would-be disciple asked,  “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus replied, “Follow me and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

The call to discipleship presents a challenge and a choice: Is it to be Jesus? or the law of family duty?

The setting of these sayings in Matthew is one of imminent persecution. Joining the Jesus People meant welcome and acceptance but also risked opposition, imprisonment and martyrdom. Opposition could very well come from relatives; there could be informers in the family.

So what comes first?  Faith or family?

Jesus himself faced the same choice. When his family came to ‘collect him’, he said, “Who are my mother and my brothers? . . . Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

St Paul stayed unmarried for the sake of his apostleship. Spouse or God?

To return to Abraham, in Ishmael’s case, Sarah and God seemed to be saying the same thing. But in Isaac’s case, Abraham knew that Sarah would be in opposition – he knew how horrified she would be about what he felt he had to do. So he “rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey . . .”

Ourselves.

Jesus said, “ I have not come to bring peace, but a sword . . .” A sword represents conflict, wounds, severance; it cuts and frees.

  •             A hymn of Brian Wren’s has the verse:
  •                         “We come with self-inflicted pains
  •                         of broken trust and chosen wrong,
  •                         half free, half bound by inner chains,
  •                         by social forces swept along,
  •                         by powers and systems close confined,
  •                         yet seeking hope for humankind.”

In God’s service there is perfect freedom. Yet the divine call may cause us at some point to go against the family ties that bind us so closely, and the choice may come to us between the interests of faith and the interests of family.

But Abraham! Who would have him as a father? Many a modern would see in him a religious nutter, superstitiously abusing his son. Yet the scriptures uphold him as the father of all who have faith. Paul says, “He is the father of all who believe and who have righteousness reckoned to them.” Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. So you see it is people of faith who are children of Abraham.” (Rom 4.11;Gal . 3.6)

Sin is ultimately “unfaith”. Doubt separates us from God; it holds us back from following the way of Jesus. Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin, says Paul. And faith is trust in God. Trust brings us to our Lord and trust takes us on a journey with him.

By this trusting faith, Paul says in our reading, we are freed from that tyrant Sin; dead as far as Sin is concerned and raised to a new life in Christ.

Jesus required trusting faith from his followers. He said, “No one is worthy of me who does not take up his cross and follow me.” That takes faith.

The Jewish Bereshith Rabba has this sentence: “Abraham took the wood of the offering offering as one who bears his cross on his shoulder.” What costly devotion was spent by Abraham on every heavy step of his way to Mount Moriah! And what costly discipleship is portrayed in history’s pages by those saints whose path took them to martyrdom!

May the Holy Spirit of God strengthen our faith, so that if the time of trial comes and we have to face the choice between faith and family we may be found worthy and not wanting. Amnesty International has so many cases of people being imprisoned for their commitment to the values of God’s Reign (peace, justice, love and freedom). It is a common ploy of dictatorial regimes to threaten to harm their family members in order to extract confessions from them. How terrible the choice then becomes between faith and family! That day is hopefully far away from us – but present for some of our contemporaries in other lands.

Less terrible perhaps but never easy is the choice that comes to us not by such external compulsion but by inner conviction. I think of those nurses and carers who have chosen not to go home to their families during lockdown but have felt it was the right thing to do to stay with their residents or patients in order to protect them from the virus. In other ways the choice between faith and family may come to us through our commitment to the Way of Jesus. Meanwhile, in the Lord’s Prayer we pray, “Lead us not into temptation”, or “Do not bring us to the time of trial.”

Jesus said, “You must not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword . . .to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law and a man’s foes will be those of his own household . . .”                                                                    Rodney Wood

Hymn: My gracious Lord I own thy right  (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:

Let us pray to the Lord,
who is our refuge and stronghold.

For the health and well-being of our nation,
that all who are fearful and anxious
may be at peace and free from worry:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For the isolated and housebound,
that we may be alert to their needs,
and care for them in their vulnerability:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For our homes and families,
our schools and young people,
and all in any kind of need or distress:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our local community,
that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship,
where all are known and cared for:
Lord, hear us,
Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray,
to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.                                         Church of England

Hymn: Lord Jesus Christ you have come to us (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Blessing:

Go in peace, in the knowledge of God’s power.
Go in confidence, in the knowledge of God’s strength.
Go in joy, in the knowledge of God’s love.

And may the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever more. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources:  Sparrow colouring sheet Craft activity: How to make prayer jars

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings When the going gets tough a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass and click here for Paul reading his reflection on video (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 21st June from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Revd Rodney Wood

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

https://www.churchofengland.org

 

 

Resources for 14th June

Peace-Be-With-You

Music before we worship:  May the Peace of God – Kristyn Getty, Margaret Becker, Joanne Hogg  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources:  Peace be with you colouring sheet Make a peace windsock   Peace Like A River (2019) ⛲️Action Songs for Kids! (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Call to Worship: Praise be to you, Lord, the God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendour, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

Yours, Lord , is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honour come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13, NIV

Hymn:  Praise to the Lord the almighty (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  All blessing and honour is due unto you, 0 God; by your unending love we have been born again to a life full of freedom and hope. You have caused the bonds that enslaved us to be loosened through your forgiveness offered in Christ Jesus. You have opened our eyes through his vision of your gracious will.

We see now what it means to care for our neighbour. With his sacrifice made once and for all, you broke down the walls of enmity and strife. We are able to cross lines of hostility, seeking reconciliation and peace. For all that we thank you, as we offer this prayer.

We thank you for the life full of freedom and hope. We pray that what we do will be worthy of your covenant that Christ sealed on the cross. We thank you for forgiveness that opens our eyes to your gracious will. We pray that you will pour out your Spirit freshly upon us,

Prayer of confession: Whilst we give thanks and praise to God we recognise our own failings as we confess our sins.

  • God of love, in the wrong we have done
  • and in the good we have not done,
  • in choosing our way over yours
  • and in trusting ourselves rather than you.
  • For wasting the gifts and bounty you have given us.

 

  • we have sinned in ignorance;
  • we have sinned in weakness;
  • we have sinned through our own deliberate fault.
  • We are truly sorry.

We repent and turn to you. Forgive us and renew our lives through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in you, mercifully accept our prayers and, because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace, that in the keeping of your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.                      Common Worship

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Scripture readings:

Psalm 116: 1–2, 12-19

Romans 5: 1-8

John 20: 19-22

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn: Make me a channel of your peace (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture: by the Revd Andy Twilley

PEACE, PURPOSE and a PROMISE: John 20: 19 – 22

This is one of my favourite moments in the post Easter story. The disciples, shut away, fearful and uncertain about the future. Everything had been going SO WELL… now suddenly: life was turned upside down!  I am convinced that Jesus’ message today is identical to His response then.

FIRST: PEACE: He came alongside the disciples and offered peace. Jesus had previously spoken about His peace: John 14: 27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Notice, the peace Jesus offers is not like the peace the world offers: we might think in terms of peace from financial support offered to alleviate the burden of unemployment or being furloughed. Or increased resources being poured into the NHS: to care for those affected by the virus.

These are all really important but the peace Jesus offers is far deeper and more profound. His peace is about wholeness and well-being: harmony of body, mind & spirit: the Shalom of God. And what’s more: wonderfully, this Peace comes irrespective of what is going on around us.

Today, God says to YOU: Peace be with you.

SECONDLY: PURPOSE: v. 21: as the Father sent me, I am sending you.

WOW! The commission given to Jesus by His heavenly Father is now given to US! Well your immediate reaction is probably: “hang on a minute Andy… we’re hardly allowed to “GO” anywhere!” Well here’s the thing: most of us ARE going out & increasingly so: popping to the shops for food, or out for our daily exercise, maybe even a spot of fishing!

But even if we stay at home, we STILL have a PURPOSE. We can still play a part in bringing hope, comfort & encouragement. To our neighbours, friends, family, even to our complete contact list on Facebook, as we share the amazing love of God, the one who has given us His peace, and offers it to others too.

Or We can do random acts of kindness; we can pick up the phone… call someone we know who is alone, we can call across to neighbours to check they are okay, we could set up online group gatherings… it’s easier than you might think. Our home group has continued meeting using this format and several times, as a family, we have had online gatherings, enjoying chatting and games together. You see: Stars can’t shine without darkness: TODAY is a dark day… TODAY: is our moment to SHINE!

FINALLY: PRESENCE: Jesus breathed on them and said: “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

Here’s the truth: as Christian men and women we have the Holy Spirit living within us, the presence of our risen Saviour with us, wherever we go, whatever lies ahead. As we journey through these days of uncertainty, I pray that you will know the reality of God’s presence, that you will live with the assurance of His presence and that you will know the wonder of His peace transcending your heart, mind and soul.

PRAY: Pause to reflect

Lord… we receive your peace, and as we respond to your word, sending us out to live for you, help us to shine, radiating your glory, empowered by the reality of your presence throughout each day.

And may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Rev Andy Twilley  June 2020

Hymn: In Christ alone my hope is found (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:

God of all grace and compassion

May your peace be healing balm to those who are sick of mind and body as we name them in our hearts may you anointing be on them all.  May your peace protect our family and friends safe in your loving arms.

May your peace be upon those who are mourning lost loved ones whether recently or some years ago, Lord you know of their hurt and loss, be their comfort and strength.  For those who live in anxiety, worry and stress may your peace be the light in their darkness, and for those who live in fear in their own homes may your peace be their refuge and strength.

May your purpose be made known for your church, give us wisdom as we consider how and when we open our churches after lockdown.  Give us renewed focus and purpose, may we hold onto what is good and pleasing to you whilst leaving behind all that distracts us from fulfilling your will.

May the leaders of the world listen to your purpose treading the path of peace and reconciliation.  We pray that your justice be upon a world where all are treated with dignity, respect and equality.

Finally we pray for ourselves that with your grace and peace in our hearts we might fulfil your purpose for our lives in discipleship of your word made flesh, our Saviour Christ the Lord in whose name we pray.

Amen

Hymn: Forth in thy Name, O Lord, I go (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Blessing: May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

And may the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever more. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: Peace be with you colouring sheet Make a peace windsock   Peace Like A River (2019) ⛲️Action Songs for Kids! (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings Roll Call a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 14th June from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Revd Andy Twilley. Training and Development Officer URC Southern Synod

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

James G. Kirk. When We Gather, Revised Edition: A Book of Prayers for Worship  Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

illustratedchildrensministry.com

Teacher Created Materials, Inc.

 

 

Resources for 7th June

trinity stained glass

Music before we worship:  Celtic Worship – 10,000 reasons  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources:  Trinity colouring sheet    Trinity word search   Trinity Craft Sheet

Call to Worship: .Open our lips, O Lord: And we shall declare your praise. O God, make speed to save us. O Lord, made haste to help us. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Let us praise the Lord!

Hymn:  O for a thousand tongues to sing  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  O God of greatness and goodness, not only did you set us apart from the rest of creation, but you made us in your own image.
O Lord, give us grateful hearts and let us rejoice in the presence of our Creator.
O God of might and mercy, not only did you follow your people into the far country,
but you took up the cross to set them free.
O Lord, give us grateful hearts and let us rejoice in the presence of our Redeemer.
O God of consolation and comfort, not only did you bring us together in one place,
but you called us to be your witnesses.
O Lord, give us grateful hearts and let us rejoice in the presence of our Sustainer.
Gracious God, you have revealed yourself to us in more ways than we can recall or recount.
O Lord, give us grateful hearts and let us rejoice in the love that will not let us go. Amen

Prayer of confession

Father, you have come to meet us as we return to you:
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, you died on the cross for our sins.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Spirit, you give us life and peace.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed yourself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and live and reign in the perfect unity of love. Hold us firm in this faith, that we may know you in all your ways and evermore rejoice in your eternal glory, who are three Persons in one God, now and forever. Amen. (Church of S. India)

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Scripture readings:

Psalm 8

2 Corinthians 13: 11-13

Matthew 28: 16-20

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn: O worship the King (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture:

I was queuing up outside the local Co-op the other day (all part of how we live these days) and I must admit I was being a bit nosy, the lady in front of me was twiddling her car keys in her hand and she had one of those joke key rings, it said Mum’s taxi She obviously had a supplementary role to being a mother in ferrying her children around.

It made me think of some of the different instances of me that exist. There is Martin the minister, Martin the husband, Martin the friend, and there is Martin the fisherman.

All slightly different in their expression of me, different roles if you will, sometimes with a different emphasis, a different set of skills and aptitudes.  And yet they are still all me, there can only be one me! (Some of you might well be saying praise be to that statement.

But whatever guise or role I might be fulfilling they all share the same inherent characteristics, the same beliefs, the same values because they are all the same person.

In the same way, a lemon drizzle cake may consist of butter, sugar, eggs flour but it is still a lemon drizzle cake.  After all cake is cake.

And on this Trinity Sunday the same is true of the Holy Trinity, there might read and say, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but there is but one God, three in one.

Some of you who know me well enough wont be surprised that Ive used a cake analogy to help understand the Holy Trinity.

The problem with analogies from human life is that they are inexact. Analogies are at best a path to understanding. But they can help us on the way

The doctrine of the Trinity is never explicitly laid out in the Bible. Yet, in passages like our reading from the Great Commission in Matthew’s Gospel, we read of baptizing new followers of Jesus in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. We read a different Trinitarian formulation in Second Corinthians, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.”

The passages indicate how God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit prove inseparable from the way Christians have always lived, and still live their life in Christ.

Rather than a long detailed exploration of doctrine I would rather focus on the nature of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Or to put it another way as God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

Let us start with God the Father, the motif of God as Parent, as father or increasingly so now also as mother reflects God’s role as creator.  For it was he that brought us into being when he breathed life into Adam.  We along with the whole of creation are the work of his hands, our reading from Psalm 8 reminds us that the whole world reflects God’s glory and majesty yet we are singled out in verse 4 which says, “what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?”

Given that God created us in his own image, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he cares for us, it is the care and love that any parent has for their offspring.  And like a parent God protects us, provides for us by way of his creation.  I am tempted at this point to start singing the line from the well-known hymn that goes “all I have needed thy hand has provided” because it sums up how all our needs are fulfilled by God.

Whilst God protects and provides for us he also does what parents do towards their children, he loves us.  Just think, no matter what we do in life, we are wanted and loved.  No matter what isolation or loneliness we might find ourselves in with covid restrictions we are not alone for God our Father is with us, surrounding us with his love.  How uplifting is it to know that even if we might give up at times, God doesn’t give up on us, he never abandons us, because he loves us as his children

Love is a fundamental tenet to our relationship with God, we are created in God’s image to reflect God’s love for his creation, and the world around us.  That of course comes with responsibilities to respect creation but crucially others too.  I find that often people seem to forget that people are part of God’s creation.  Some folk seem to treat others worse than they would animals. When all God’s creation deserves respect.

With God the Father, we are adopted as his children, in doing so we receive his grace and his love, the love that we his creation receive is embodied in Christ Jesus.

The position of Christ the Redeemer in the triune Godhead is pivotal to God’s loving plan of salvation for his people through the cross.  It is of course a plan that is founded in the very origin of existence as we are reminded in the first chapter of John’s gospel.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God”, and then later in the same chapter “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son”.

Those words from John’s Gospel emphasise Christ’s place in the Godhead and his divinity and humanity.  Christ’s divinity and humanity are not only pivotal to the redemptive power of the cross but crucial to our relationship with God in Christ.

By living amongst us God the Son experienced rejection, persecution, betrayal and suffering; all the negative experiences we too experience, it means that Jesus understands our own suffering and hurt.  It means he has empathy with us.

That understanding and empathy gives us confidence when we pray our intercessions through Him, Jesus witnessed poverty and injustice, he knows what it is like to be ill or to grieve for a loved one.  Jesus knows what we are talking about because he understands us.  With all the things going on in our world right now, we need that empathy and understanding as much as ever.

The understanding that Jesus has of us means he doesn’t expect us to get it right all the time.  Look at the disciples, they said the wrong things, did the wrong things misunderstood what he meant.  Often they failed him or let him down but he forgave them because he loved them for what they were, children of God, his people.

Jesus has experienced human frailty first hand yet he still gave the disciples the commission we read in our Matthew reading.  Despite their failings he had confidence in them because he knew the power of the Holy Spirit in sustaining them.

The Holy Spirit sustains and guides us in our faith, it leads us in walking the way of Jesus.  When our faith falters it encourages us, when our faith wanders it rebukes us, when our faith loses track it guides us.

There are times when all of us need a little encouragement, a nudge in the right direction and a signpost of the way ahead.

Just like the disciples we are commissioned and inspired by the Holy Spirit to go out in the world making new fresh disciples, planting and nurturing faith in others.  That sounds a challenging task, one that of course has taken a different form in the weeks of the lockdown, some of us may even feel that as our Churches are shut that evangelism has ceased.  However the Holy Spirit is at work in our country and our churches, many folk are seeking the comfort of faith and the hope that we have through the love of God in Christ.

Whilst we may be in a state of uncertainty and unfamiliar patterns of life and church, disruptions and changes that are likely to persist for some time, we can take heart that we do not face them alone.  We have a God that cares for us as his children, a God who understands our joys and our fears and a God who guides and leads us.

So may “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you”

Hymn: Meekness and Majesty  (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:

God our Father, we give thanks that we are your children, we praise you for all of creation and ask that you would guide us and the world in stewarding your created world.  That resources would be shared equitably and that the whole of creation would be treated with respect and honour you.

We pray your wisdom and peace upon the world, few lift before you the places of strife, war and unrest.  We pray that love and respect would flow between your people washing clean your world with justice and concord.

God the Son, you know and share our sufferings, we pray your loving healing on those who are sick, for those concerned for love ones who are unwell, for those anxious about cancelled appointments and uncertainty as to treatment.

We are confident of your compassion and grace, we share with you our love and concern for people in a dark place today.  We pray for those leave in anxiety and fear.  For those struggling with the lockdown and those struggling with the lifting of restrictions.  We remember those facing financial insecurity, those worried about their jobs and family. We lift before you those of us who are missing contact with family and friends.

God the Holy Spirit we pray for your church, reassure us in these times of uncertainty, help us to come to terms with what our worship may be like when our churches reopen, give us energy for the tasks ahead in preparing our churches. and wisdom in making decisions as to how and when we recommence worshipping you.

God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we pray for ourselves. Renew in us a sense of joyful thanksgiving that you are our triune God. Strengthen in us a deeper sense of who we are in you. Help us to be aware of your presence each and every day. Make us instruments of love and praise. May our words, actions and lives be living examples of your forgiving, healing, life-giving love. Amen.

Hymn: Glory be to God the Father (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Blessing: May God, the Holy Trinity,
make you strong in faith and love,
defend you on every side,
and guide you in truth and peace;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources:  Trinity colouring sheet    Trinity word search   Trinity Craft Sheet

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Trinity Sunday a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 7th June from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

The Worship Source Book 2nd Edition

Sermons4kids.com

 

Resources for 31st May: Pentecost

WorshipExpressions_004

Pentecost

Music before we worship:  Rend Collective – Build Your Kingdom Here  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources: Pentecost Bible Story video (The link opens up youtube in a separate window) Colouring sheet    Word search   Activity ideas

Call to Worship: Loving Father, be the focus of our lives as we worship your Holy name. Precious Jesus, be the cornerstone on which, step by step, our faith is built. Holy Spirit, be the flame that never dims or gets extinguished in these hearts.

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.  Romans 5: 5

Hymn:  Breathe on me O breath of God  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  Guiding sustainer God. The Spirit came and your church was born, in wind and fire and words of power. The Spirit came, blowing fear aside, and in its place made weak hearts stronger. The Spirit came as your word foretold, with prophecy, visions and wonder. The Spirit came and is here today, to feed the hearts of those that hunger.

Thank you for a gift that enables our prayer, reads our hearts and guides us on our journey. Thank you for a gift that empowers the church and gives it strength to speak your word boldly. Thank you for a gift that builds up your body and makes it a blessing for others. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit, your presence in these hearts and this world.

Holy Spirit, who came as wind and flames of fire, fan into life the gifts and abilities of people everywhere; unite us in a creative love that includes others, celebrates differences, and brings glory to God our Father.

Whilst we give thanks and praise to God, we remember our own shortcomings as we bring them before our forgiving Lord.

We ask for your forgiveness when we forget the power that lies within and trust instead in human strength. Remind us of Pentecost, when so clearly you transformed fearful souls, by your Spirit, into people of power. Renew these hearts, grown cold, with flames of fire as on that Pentecost, that we might be the church that you desire. Amen

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Almighty God, who on the day of Pentecost sent your Holy Spirit on the disciples with the wind from heaven and with tongues of flame, filling them with joy and boldness to preach the Gospel: send us out in the power of the same Spirit to witness to your truth and to draw everyone to the fire of your love, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  Methodist Worship

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Scripture readings:

Numbers 11: 24-30

Acts 2: 1-21

 John 20: 19-23

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn: There’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture:

Happy Pentecost!!

It isn’t something that we tend to say in church as readily as happy Christmas or happy Easter but maybe we should as Pentecost is often viewed as the birthday of the Church.  The scene we read in Acts represents the beginning of the Church and its equipping in carrying out its role of missional discipleship.

What birthday wouldn’t be complete without a gift? Having just had a lockdown birthday I got a dartboard and money for fishing stuff.  Just as I got a gift so too did the fledgling Church and it is this we remember each year at Pentecost.

In our reading from Acts we hear of God sending forth the Holy Spirit to empower and enable the church to fulfil its mission of making disciples of all nations.  Those assembled in the scene in Acts come from far and wide, reminding us that the church has breadth and diversity in terms of geography as well as its people.

That breadth of experience of encounter with the Holy Spirit is reflected in the reading today from Numbers, when in response to the prophesising of Eldad and Medad Moses says “would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”  v.29

All can be filled with the Holy Spirit because it is God’s will, those of us who call ourselves Christians have encountered the Holy Spirit and felt God at work in us, calling us to faith and to live out that faith.

How we live out that faith aided and equipped by the Holy Spirit is revealed if we do what we would with any present we receive, unwrap it and take a closer look at it.  This is most readily done through looking how the Holy Spirit is portrayed in Scripture.

There are many motifs used to represent the Holy Spirit, there is of course the image of it as a dove from Jesus’ baptism and in the flood account in Genesis that represent the call of the Holy Spirit to live out our lives peacefully with each other but also symbolises the inner peace that we can experience if we submit fully to the Holy Spirit at work within us.

There is also of course the association of the Holy Spirit with water and its cleansing life giving properties but I would like to focus on the images depicted in our Acts reading.

  • 1. Wind

Acts chapter 2 begins, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting”.

The image of the Holy Spirit as wind is apposite for just like the wind whilst we cannot see it, we know it exists because we can feel it inside us in just the way that whilst we cannot see love we can experience love.  Indeed the metaphor works further because the Holy Spirit is God’s love poured out into hearts.  From billowing trees to sail boats we can see the effect of the wind and so too we can the work of the Holy Spirit as it directs us like sailing boats on the course God has charted for our lives.

There is also the association with breath, the life giving breath that God breathed into Adam in Genesis 2:7.  That God gives us life, that we are inexorably linked to our living God through the Holy Spirit, that he abides in us and our living.

  • 2. Tongues

The fiery tongues appearing on the heads of the assembled and their ability to speak languages not known to them has me thinking that these days it would be Zoom, Facetime, Facebook and the other new ways we as Church and Christians have had to learn in recent weeks.

The gift of speaking to others about God reminds me of God’s conversation with Moses in Exodus 4.  Moses says to the Lord “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue” he is unsure of how he is equipped to speak for the Lord but the Lord replies in verse 12 “Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.”  Any of us who have preached will have experienced those times when we are so filled with the Holy Spirit that our carefully prepared sermon notes go out of the window and the words come from somewhere else deep within.

The image of the tongues is a reminder that the Church is called to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ, but the passage also reminds us that through the gift to the church of the Holy Spirit we are given the means to do so.  That however takes trust.  It takes faith to fully embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.  There times when we might feel tempted to almost resist the Holy Spirit at work in us because we don’t comprehend its power, maybe it scares us because it means letting go of control, handing control over to God at work within us.  Would we be so reticent to use any other birthday gift?

  • 3. Fire

Like the wind fire affects all around it, echoing the theme in the Numbers reading. Fire cleanses and refines us by burning away our sins.  Just like the green shoots that follow a forest fire our lives grow anew after the Lord’s cleansing of our shortcomings.

Anything that is engulfed by fire doesn’t remain unchanged, it may be consumed, converted, purified, warmed, or steeled—but nothing goes way unchanged just as our encounter with the Holy Spirit cannot leave us unchanged.

That encounter in turn sparks a flame within us, it is the flame of God’s love for us.  He is kindling a fire that gives light and warmth in our darkest and coldest moments and just as we receive both light and warmth from God’s presence we too in turn radiate it out to those around us.

We use the expression fire in one’s belly to express boldness, it is a boldness that we obtain when we receive the Holy Spirit.  It is part of our equipping for mission and evangelism to have fire in our belly, God needs fiery Saints brave and bold in delivering the Gospel message secure in the knowledge that the words will flow from the Spirit.

 

The passage from Acts is considered the beginning of the Church and as things stand we are at a possible new beginning as the Church.  With restrictions on how we currently do church, and even when we can worship congregationally again there are likely to remain measures in place, we should look afresh at how we are God’s Church.

We will need to consider some of the things that we have been doing and whether we continue them.  In recent times more folk have accessed online worship and worship materials than ever came to church before the pandemic.  This blog is read in over 9 countries.

We will also need to look at what we used to do as Church, now is the time to reflect whether it is still relevant, what is our focus and how do we use the gift we have been given to proclaim the Lord to the world around us.  Some of that may be uncomfortable for some of us, but in the Holy Spirit we have been given all we need to accomplish God’s will, all we need to do is trust in Him.

For to Him be the glory! Amen

Hymn: Beauty for brokenness  (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:

We bring before God our concerns for our world:
where there is war we pray for peace;
where there is sickness we pray for health;
where there is despair we pray for hope.
Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you.

We pray that you would be active in health care:
in the work of doctors and dentists, psychiatrists and psychologists, nurses and administrators, pharmacists and researchers.
Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you.

Guide our activity in the church:
may we find ways to grow;
may we always honour you;
may we serve our communities.
Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you.

We hold in your love those whom we love:
those who are sick;
those who are sorrowful;
those who need guidance and direction.
Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you.

Come to us, God of glory.
Hear us, heal us and shine through our lives.
Cast all your anxiety on him,
because he cares for you.
Amen.                                      Revd David Hinchliffe

Hymn: Come down, O love divine (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Blessing: God of power, may the boldness of your Spirit transform us, may the gentleness of your Spirit lead us, may the gifts of your Spirit equip us to serve and worship you now and always. Amen.

And may the blessing of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit remain with us always.  Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources:Pentecost Bible Story video (The link opens up youtube in a separate window) Colouring sheet    Word search   Activity ideas

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Pentecost reflection a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 31st May from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements

Revd David Hinchliffe, Chair of the Channel Islands and South East Districts of the Methodist Church.

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

The Worship Source Book 2nd Edition

Methodist Worship

 

Resources for 24th May

Ascension day Bethany Lutheran hurch

Music before we worship:  I watch the sunrise: Kathryn Crossweller   (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources: Ascension Day Bible Story  Colouring sheet and Word search

Call to Worship:  Gracious Father, may our eyes be opened to the riches of our glorious inheritance, and, through the power of the risen Christ, may we know the hope to which we have been called, and the blessings of being a member of your family here on earth.

 He raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians Chapter 1:20

Hymn:  Crown him with many crowns  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  Sing to the Lord with songs of joy, for he has saved his people from the consequence of sin and, through the cross and resurrection, demonstrated his love and power.

Sing to the Lord with songs of joy, for he has kept his promise and, by the Holy Spirit, empowered his children to witness here and to the ends of the earth.

Sing to the Lord with songs of joy, for he has prepared a place within his glorious kingdom for all who are called by our risen and ascended Saviour, Jesus Christ.

God of heaven and earth, we celebrate the Christ who came to live as one of us. We celebrate the Christ who would stop at nothing – not even death – to proclaim God’s love for all people. We celebrate the Christ who rose from death to show that there is no end to God’s love. And we celebrate the Christ who, in leaving this earth, entrusted to us the task of continuing this work.

Risen, ascended Lord. Thank you for opening our eyes to you. You reveal yourself in many ways to those who seek your grace, and in those encounters on faith’s journey you point toward the truth of cross and resurrection.

Risen, ascended Lord. Thank you for opening our eyes to you. You reveal yourself in many ways to those who hear your voice, and in those conversations on faith’s journey you point the way toward a glorious destination: Risen, ascended Lord, Thank you

Whilst we bring out praise and thanksgiving to the Lord we bring to our shortcomings to a loving forgiving Lord.

Merciful God, you made us in your image, with a mind to know you, a heart to love you, and a will to serve you.  But our knowledge is imperfect, our love inconstant, our obedience incomplete.

Day by day we fail to grow into your likeness; yet you are patient with your people.  For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, do not hold our sins against us, but in your tender love forgive.

The Almighty and most merciful God grant you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for true repentance and amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: O God the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we beseech you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us and exalt us to the place where our Saviour Christ is gone before, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  (Common Worship)

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Scripture readings:

Acts 1: 1-11

 John 15: 16-24

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

 

Hymn: Hail the day that sees him rise  (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture: Revd. Peter Cornish writes:

We are celebrating the Ascension, and Jesus’ return to heaven makes a difference to our praying. A lot of our prayer as Christians is intercession, lifting the people or situations that concern us to God.

In his most famous hymn for the Ascension Charles Wesley wrote:

  • “See! the heaven its Lord receives,
  • yet he loves the earth he leaves;
  • though returning to his throne,
  • still he calls mankind his own”.

Jesus is still concerned for us. Hebrews tells us Jesus “always lives to intercede for” those who come to God through him (Heb. 7:25). Jesus prays to the Father for us. He points back to his death on the cross, where he offered himself for the sins of all humankind. And he can say to the Father for you and for me: “This person is acceptable, despite everything they’ve done and despite everything in their past, because their sin is covered by my sacrifice. No further punishment or condemnation is needed: it’s all been covered and dealt with.”

Which is exactly what Charles Wesley was writing about in another of his hymns:

  • “No condemnation now I dread:
  • Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
  • Alive in him, my living Head,
  • and clothed with righteousness divine,
  • bold I approach the eternal throne
  • and claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

Christ is our mediator, and he prays to the Father for us.

But Christ also intercedes for us with our other needs; he is enthroned in heaven, and we pray through him to the Father. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 16:23). We pray in the name of Jesus: in other words, as he would pray in our place. Not rushing into prayer, but trying to discern what the Spirit of Christ is praying within us and how he is praying to the Father. And that takes time – time to ask: what does God want in this situation? How is Christ praying to the Father about this? And when we’re seeking to tune in like this, prayer is never dictating to God what he should be doing. Instead, we’re asking trustfully and confidently, as we’re praying what Christ himself is praying.

A very dear lady I knew was suddenly struck down in what turned out to be her final illness. The natural thing was to pray for her recovery and her restoration to full health, but I found I couldn’t do that. God’s purpose – as it later turned out – was to take her to himself. That was how she would come to wholeness; that was how Christ was praying she might be healed.

Christ prays for us powerfully because he has shared our human lives and he knows what we need. Our commitment to Christ has its ups and downs, but Christ’s commitment to us never wavers; we can depend on his prayer for us. In Charles Wesley’s words:

  • ‘Still for us he intercedes:
  • his prevailing death he pleads:
  • Near himself prepares our place:
  • He the first fruits of our race.’

Hymn: And can it be that I should gain  (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:

God our protector,

We come before you in prayer for your world, your children and ourselves. We pray for the world that you have made. We thank you for the renewal of creation springing up as human activity has been restricted. We pray that we will learn to value these gifts and to live more gently in the future.

We pray for the leaders of nations making impossible decisions on our behalf. We pray that they will speak and act with integrity and protect those who are most vulnerable.

We pray for our church communities. We bring you our sadness at not being able to meet together and we thank you for the people finding it easier to explore faith at this time. We pray that we will find new ways to reach out to the world.

We pray for the people we miss. Our friends and families and those we long to see face to face. We pray for safety and protection for our loved ones.

We pray for those who have lost someone they love and haven’t been able to say goodbye. We pray that they will know the comfort of your loving presence and that you will show us how to reach out in love and friendship.

We pray for ourselves in these difficult days shared by so many people but also lived in isolation. Help us to know your protecting love and to live in the power of your Spirit.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen  (© ROOTS for Churches Ltd)

Hymn: All hail the power of Jesus’ name (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) (A very different version but I love it: Martin)

Blessing: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon us now and forever more. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: Ascension Day Bible Story Colouring sheet and Word search

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Seventh Sunday of Easter a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 24th May from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Revd. Peter Cornish: Rector and Methodist minister of Sturry and District United Church (Anglican and Methodist) and minister at Herne Bay United Church (Methodist and URC)

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

Picture by Bethany Lutheran Church, Eldon, Missouri

http://www.ichild.co.uk/tags/browse/219/Ascension-Day

http://www.sermons4kids.com

© ROOTS for Churches Ltd (www.rootsontheweb.com) 2002-2020

Resources for 17th May

Raphael,_St_Paul_Preaching_in_Athens_(1515)

Saint Paul delivering the Areopagus Sermon in Athens, by Raphael, 1515.

Music before we worship:  Ladye Love Smith singing “I Will Give You Rest”   (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources: Paul at Athens Bible Story Paul Maze  Paul at Athens colouring sheet

Call to Worship:  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.  When they saw him they worshipped him, but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them:  All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  (Matthew 28. 16 – 20)

Hymn:  Ye servants of God, your master proclaim (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  Glorious God We come before you, our hearts filled with praise and worship for you,t he one true God.  Our Creator, our Father who formed us in your likeness.

We give thanks for the bounty of your gifts. The gift of your created world, the gift of your Word made known in scripture, the gift of the Holy Spirit that sweeps your world.

Gifts that we might know you and your presence and your glory.

We give thanks for your greatest gift of all. The gift of your son Jesus Christ, who suffered and died as a sacrifice for sin, whose victory on the cross grants us the assurance that on your day of judgement through our faith in Christ we may through your grace be granted the gift of salvation.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Whilst we give thanks and praise to God we remember our shortcomings as we bring them before the Lord

Forgiving Lord, You shower upon us great gifts, yet through our own selfishness we sometimes misuse those gifts.

  • When we mistreat your creation.
  • When through our thoughts, actions and deeds we hurt others.
  • When we are focused on the mundane rather than you.
  • When you are not first in our hearts.
  • When we fall short of your expectation.

Forgive us these things and those silently brought to you in our hearts.

Lord we are truly sorry.

Forgiving Lord, Through your Son Jesus Christ we know of your forgiveness, as we confess our sins cleanse our hearts.  Grant us true repentance and assurance of your forgiveness, renew in us your spirit that we may know you, that we might feel your presence and that we might be filled with your love and hope. Amen

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: God our redeemer, you have delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of your Son: grant, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his continual presence in us he may raise us to eternal joy; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord (Common Worship)

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Scripture readings:

Acts 17. 16 – 34

1 Corinthians 2: 1 – 7

 Matthew 11. 25 – 30

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn:  Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart   (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture: by Revd. Rodney Wood

As we are living with social isolation, my sermons are printed out now rather than spoken. It offers me more time for preparation and it offers you more opportunity for reflection and discussion among yourselves. So today in more of  Bible Study than a sermon I am inviting you to travel back in time with me to c AD50, to Athens and the world of St Paul.

This address of St Paul in the Areopagus is Luke’s creation rather than verbatim Paul. It forms a central climax to Acts, being the only full sermon example Luke gives of a sermon to Gentiles by the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Luke is giving his hero a place among the philosophers. Writing for Greek and Roman readers, he would have wanted to give Paul a status among the great philosophers and thinkers so that his readers could see Paul as a companion to Plato.

Paul seeks to make these Athenian thinkers into converts to Christianity. His address sets us an important question: does Paul’s address show us how to do it, or how not to? We’ll look at the case for both.

  1. A model of how to do it?
  • Start with a compliment:  “how religious you are!” says Paul. He gets the audience on side!
  • Start with something visual – the altar. Maybe he could point to it. The visual aid is something beloved of those doing the Church Family Talks and it is often what sticks in the mind when the words have been washed away.
  • Start with what they know – use the issues of the day: the question of an unknown god . The Greeks had many gods with various areas of responsibility: Zeus sky, Poseidon sea, Demeter earth, Hera family, Mars war, Venus love, Apollo the arts, Hephaestus metal working etc. etc. but was their pantheon complete? Usually such altars were to ‘unknown gods’ plural. They were always worrying about the possibility of a god being angry for being ignored, so a sacrifice to unknown gods was like taking out extra insurance cover.
  • Start on common Greek ground –  Greeks were being attracted to belief in one God and their many gods with their squabbles were often seen as unbecoming.

So Paul doesn’t quote the Old Testament, he uses their own thinkers and poets to bolster his case.

In Westminster College Dining Hall, where Martin Belgrove and I have often eaten, hang the two portraits of the College’s founders: Mrs Lewis and Mrs Gibson, who were intrepid ancient manuscript hunters. They discovered a Syriac document which Mrs Gibson translated. Very interestingly it gives us the source of Paul’s quotations from “your own poets”. Mrs Gibson’s translation turned out to be commentaries by Ishodad of Merv (in Turkemenistan fl c 850AD) and Ishodad quotes the following poem of Aratus, (fl c 300 BC in Macedonia). Paul or Luke must have known it to quote from it:

He gives us the context for the first quote, “For we are also his (Zeus’s) offspring”: Aratus wrote, “Let us begin with Zeus. Streets and markets, oceans and harbours are full of him. We all need him and we are his offspring” . . .

Revolutionary stuff – Paul, the Pharisee, happily calling Gentiles ‘the family of God’! Aratus continues about Zeus: But he in his graciousness shows favourable signs to mankind; He reminds people of the necessities of life And thus goads them to activity, he tell them When to plough and when to plant . . .

This thought is taken up by Paul, “God allotted the times (seasons) of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live” (v 26b) – seasons and zones lead to seeking God; the times of year for sowing and harvesting; the fertile areas for settlement.

The second quote ,‘For in thee we live and move and have our being’ has an interesting context. It comes from Aratus again in an address to Zeus by Zeus’s son, Minos. (Zeus means ’Living’ cf Zoe) “The Cretans said in truth about Zeus that he was a Lord, he was lacerated by a wild boar and buried. The Cretans carved a tomb for thee, O holy and high.  Evil beasts and slow bellies! for thou art not dead for ever.  Thou art alive and risen, for in thee we live and move and have our being.”

At the poem’s end:  “Hail, Father, great Wonder, Ancestor of the human race.”

Paul says v 26 “from one he made all nations” – that means from the one God, than from Adam. In other words, the unity of the Godhead implies the unity of humanity.  Notice that Paul’s denial of gods dwelling in temples also applies to Jerusalem!

Paul could have quoted from Seneca (d. AD 65) “We do not need to ask the Temple verger to approach near the idol’s ear as if we should then gain a more certain hearing.  God is near to thee, with thee, yea, in thee. God should not be honoured by sacrifice and shedding of blood but by a pure spirit, a good and moral purpose.  Temples should not be set up to him; we should worship in our own hearts”

Having established common ground, Paul does not argue. He doesn’t condemn them for their sins. He uses the excuse of their ignorance.  But, now he has given them knowledge of the gospel truth, he calls them to repentance and challenges them to change course to the new way. He provides a persuasive answer to their hesitations – revelation by resurrection. The rising of Jesus is what gives Jesus authority over all and the reason for them to change. He proclaims the good news of gospel, Jesus’ resurrection to be Judge of all.

They themselves describe Paul not as another philosopher, but as a ‘proclaimer’. “A proclaimer of foreign divinities”. This “babbler” was “telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.”

So is Paul’s address a model? Or perhaps not.

  1. An example of how not to do it?

The Athens speech is noticeably different from Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament. Besides proclaiming, Luke tells us he “argued “ with the Jews and “debated” with the philosophers, people who like to win an argument. These philosophers were the Stoics, who were idealists, dutiful, virtuous, ruling their passions; and the Epicureans, who were utilitarian, pursuing an enlightened happiness rather than pleasure itself.

The result of Paul’s speech was disappointing. No church was formed at Athens. The headcount of converts was low – only Dionysus and Damaris and some others. (Do statistics count? Should we judge Paul on his results? Is a Church big because it is doing it right? And a church little because it is doing it wrong? Are majorities always right?)

The Goodnews. “What does this new teaching mean?” they asked. It meant a lot of difficult ideas for them. Was it wise to include them all?

There was the stumbling block of the Resurrection. This was a Jewish idea; the Greeks believed in the immortality of the soul, and they would have difficulty with what seemed like the raising of corpses. There is a suggestion that they mistook Resurrection (Anastasia) as a new goddess! “ He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities” v. 18

  • Was it wise to attack a side issue like idolatry, much as the Jews hated it? Mightn’t this have alienated them before he got to the gospel itself?
  • Was it wise to tell people to repent or change their minds i.e. to desert their national religion?
  • Was it wise not to mention Jesus by name and to describe him as a Judge rather than a Saviour?
  • Was it wise to say that God has raised him from death as a proof to everybody?
  • Was it wise to say a fixed day of judgement is coming to people who thought time was circular?
  • Was it wise to omit giving his personal testimony?  The story of Paul’s conversion would have carried weight. It comes three times in Acts and he used it in his defence in his trials. (Perhaps he did and Luke left it out.)

Anyway, it was possible that the good news sounded to them like bad news. Jesus’s good news for poor peasants of Galilee did not easily translate into a persuasive world-view for the Oxford Dons of Athens. This sceptical result reflects a reaction of the intelligentsia of Luke’s day to Christianity.

“Some scoffed and others said, “we will hear you again about this.” (A polite way of avoiding hearing any more – “Come back tomorrow” is a well-worn way to fob someone off. “Another time” is a polite rebuff that we have all used at various times to on the doorstep.)

Paul apparently takes the hint and does not take up the invitation to go back. Instead he travels on the Corinth, (Acts 18) where his reception was quite different. Not many of them “were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.” (1 Cor 1. 26) He stayed there 18 months and we know a lot about the Christian community there from his two letters to Corinth.

In his first letter he recalls how he came to them. Can we hear a reaction to his Athens experience?

“When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come proclaiming the mystery of God to you in lofty words of wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I came to you in weakness, and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom . . .”(2.1ff)

Conclusion  Paul may well have had hesitations about his gospel to the Gentiles, for he relaxed circumcision too. (In Galatians 2.2 some of his hesitation is apparent when he says he went to Jerusalem to lay before the leaders “the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles in order to make sure that I was not running or had not run in vain”).  Paul’s sermon at Athens, whether it was a failure or a success, was leaving the Old Testament mould and breaking the new ground in which Christianity came to be acceptable and to flourish in the Greek and Roman world. His address at Athens may have been typical of his gospel to Gentiles, which blazed the trail for others to follow. Later years would see Christian thinkers like Origen (c 185 -254) merging Paul and Plato, the testaments and Greek thought.

  1. A pointer for today?

As with Paul’s world, we also are in a time of transition today. Paul’s world was changing from classical paganism to Christianity. We are in many ways in a state of flux today; the world has a chance to take stock in these months of lock down. Let us hope we are in the process of changing from an atheistic exploitation of our world.

Let us look at some questions that arise from our look at Paul’s address.

  • Where are people at today? Should we like Paul, use the current ideas and language of our world? For example, can we preach the good news of God’s Reign without using Old Testament terms? (What does talk of ‘sacrifice’ mean today when there are no temples and liturgies of slaughter?) Who are today’s authors that we could quote, the equivalent of ‘of their poets’?
  • Is it an Either/Or to reason or to proclaim? Or is there a place for both?#
  • Should an evangelist only offer what is acceptable or include what is difficult? In other words, be a crowd pleaser or a truth teller? If all that matters is results, then should an Evangelist use focus groups to trial his message? In 1 Cor 9.22 Paul says, “ I have become all things to all people, so that I might by any means save some.”
  • What modern issues of the moment would St Paul use today as starters for gospel telling . . .?  What Visual Aid . . .?

The Greeks thought God’s perfection meant God needed nothing. Seneca said that the gods do not need the lighting of Sabbath lamps or people to sit at temple gates, towels and brushes do not need to be brought to Jupiter for bathing nor mirrors to Juno. Paul said, “God is not served by human hands as if he needed anything.” We live in a secular society. Dietrich Bonhoeffer speculated about a ‘religionless Christianity’; does God need our worship or liturgies?

We are approaching Ascension Day on Thursday. I conclude with a prayer for Ascension Day by Stephen Best in the current URC Prayer Handbook:

As Paul prayed for the Church of his age so we pray for ours, as we find ourselves in very different times.  May we as Christ’s Church be enlightened; not for our own sake, but so we can better understand our calling.

May we as Christ’s Church be equipped; not for our own glory, but so we can better fulfil our potential.

And may we as Christ’s Church be empowered; not for our own protection and preservation, but so we can better risk doing the will of the one who is both our head and our fullness. Amen

Revd. Rodney Wood

Hymn: The head that once was crowned with thorns   (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Prayers for Others:  God of all creation, you hold us in your loving arms.  In Christ we know of your compassion for the world. Loving Father, hear us today as we pray for the people and places on our hearts and for your church.

God of power and might, your broken world cries out from the depths, a world dominated by the darkness of the coronavirus pandemic.  We pray your loving healing on those who are sick whether through covid or other ailment of mind or body.  Father bless them as we lift them to you in our hearts.  May the light of your love be upon them.

God of compassion and grace, we share with you our love and concern for people in a dark place today.  We pray for those leave in anxiety and fear.  For those struggling with the lockdown and those struggling with the prospect of restrictions being lifted.  We remember those facing financial insecurity, those worried about their jobs and family.  We lift before you those of us who are missing contact with family and friends.

Caring God who sent your servant Son to live among us, we pray for those who serve others.  For the critical workers in our society engaged in care, food supply and transport may they know your support and presence.  We ask Lord that you would grant wisdom and compassion upon international, national and local leaders and government that their actions and decisions would seek to protect and care for all in society.

Father we pray for your church at this time, encourage us in finding new ways of caring for each other and sharing the good news of the Gospel.  As record numbers seek you via new technologies we pray that you fill their souls with your wonderful love and light so that they will walk with you in the coming good times as well as these days of darkness.

God of love and hope, we pray for ourselves. Renew in us a sense of joyful thanksgiving that you are our God. Strengthen in us a deeper sense of who we are in you. Help us to be aware of your presence each and every day. Make us instruments of love and praise. May our words, actions and lives be living examples of your forgiving, healing, life-giving love. Amen.

Hymn: Thy hand, O God, has guided (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) 

Blessing: May the God of peace, who raised to life the great shepherd of the sheep,  make us ready to do his will in every good thing, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy spirit be upon us now and forever. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: Paul at Athens Bible Story Paul Maze  Paul at Athens colouring sheet

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Sixth Sunday of Easter a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 17th May from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Revd. Rodney Wood

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

James G. Kirk. When We Gather, Revised Edition: A Book of Prayers for Worship. Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

https://www.biblefunforkids.com/

 

 

Resources for 10th May

In-my-fathers-house-there-are-many-dwelling-places-001

Music before we worship:  Do it again: Elevation worship   (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Junior Church resources: colouring sheet and Maze

Call to Worship:  Risen Lord, be the light that shines upon us, through us and beyond us, that the worship of our hearts might be the worship of our lives, this day and all days.

Hymn:  Lord for the years  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:   Loving Lord, You are the God who calls us to be a chosen people, a living sacrifice, a holy nation. You are the God who calls us to be an Easter people, light to the world, travellers with you. You are the God who calls us to be a servant people, worshippers in word and deed. You are the God we serve!

Loving Christ

You are the Way that we shall follow, the Truth that we shall follow, the Life that we shall follow. You are more than we deserve, and we give you thanks— our Saviour, Redeemer, Healer, Friend.

We come before you in humility, not out of a tentativeness or reluctance of faith, but in the realization that following in the way of Your love requires vulnerability and risk. We rest in the warmth of the Spirit felt deep within us and through our community. We open our hearts to new possibilities of faithfulness.

As we open up our hearts to you Lord we lay before you our weakness.

To whom can we turn when we stray from the path and this world challenges all that we hold dear? To whom can we turn when the walls we have built start tumbling down in the midst of a storm? In you, O Lord, and no other will we take refuge, our strong fortress and deliverer, our faithful God. To you, O Lord, and no other will we bow our knee and humbly ask for forgiveness.

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Risen Christ, your wounds declare your love for the world and the wonder of your risen life: give us compassion and courage to risk ourselves for those we serve, to the glory of God the Father. Amen (Common Worship)

bible(8)

Scripture readings:

Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16

1 Peter 2: 2-10

 John 14: 1-14

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn:  What a friend we have in Jesus   (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jesus’ comforting words come in the context of his impending death upon the cross.  He and the disciples have gathered for the meal before Passover, he has indicated his servanthood to humanity in washing the disciples feet, identified his betrayer and exhorted the disciples to love one another so that others might see him live on, and experience his love for the world through them.  He is taking steps to prepare both the disciples and world for the future.

Facing an uncertain future the disciples are understandably anxious, concerned and afraid.  Jesus is compassionate, he understands their worries and concerns and responds to allay their fears.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Whilst Jesus explains to the disciples that he is leaving them explains to them he it is all a part of God’s wider purpose to change things for the good  Jesus makes it clear that he is not abandoning the disciples, later in the chapter he says “I will not leave you orphaned” rather that he is going ahead of them to prepare a place for them in his father’s house where there are many mansions or more accurately if we translate monai, many dwelling places.  We naturally read those words and think of Jesus preparing a place for the disciples and us in heaven but it is equally true that Jesus goes ahead of the disciples and us in our daily lives.  He is there in the midst of our times of crisis, fear and anxiety.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

As we find ourselves in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic the words “do not let your hearts be troubled” may seem difficult to grasp and hold onto.  We are concerned for the health and welfare of ourselves, our loved ones and our world.  Some will be facing financial difficulty, there will be fears about the effect of easing the lockdown and the whole uncertainty of what the future might look like in a “new normal”.

The situation we find ourselves in has many parallels with the emotions that the disciples were feeling in our passage.  It is imperative that we too listen to those words of comfort, “do not let your hearts be troubled” and seize them for they are offered by our loving Saviour himself.

That exhortation is given pre-eminence by the sacrificial loving nature of Christ. Jesus is fully aware of his impending death yet in the passage we find Jesus not thinking of himself dwelling on his own concerns, but rather giving emotional and spiritual support and comfort to the disciples.  Just as he responds to the anxiety and fears of the disciples so he also responds to ours.  He does so through the enduring compassion of his presence that goes before us in our lives.

Jesus makes it clear that the answer to such anxiety and fears, is to trust, to trust and believe in him.  Worry loses its power when we are in the presence of Jesus.  Through his promise, through his going ahead of us then through our trust in him we are granted hope.  We have hope, even when the world seems hopeless.

So may we, called as Jesus’ people, join with the first disciples in receiving the loving hope and compassion of Jesus our Lord and take comfort from his words as we take them into our hearts with faith, “do not let your hearts be troubled”.   Amen

Prayers for Others:  Living God, In our hour of need we turn again to you, for we have nowhere else to turn.

We put our faith in you, because you have proved your faithfulness time and again. We reaffirm our love for you because you have never let us go.  We thank you that you are not distant from us. but have drawn near, in your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  He has shared our life, tasted our death and defeated it; He understands our worries and our fears. Help us to respond as your children now.

We pray about this pandemic spreading across our world, remembering all who have lost loved ones. and praying for those seriously ill at this time whether through Covid-19 or other illness of mind and body.

We uphold the National Health Service. as it responds to this added pressure on its already overstretched services. We pray for doctors and nurses and all in the caring professions, who work to help and support people as best they can.

We remember those working behind the scenes. testing samples, confirming results, giving information to patients.  We uphold others trying to understand this virus better, working to create an effective remedy.

May this crisis bring out the best in us, not the worst. Help us to live by faith and not by fear; to build bridges not barriers,  May we not forget our responsibility to one another, not least to the vulnerable and voiceless in our communities.

We pray for those who have been laid off as their work disappears; for financial hardship for individuals and businesses; for the impact on the economy and pensions, when austerity has already left its mark.

We remember those. who cannot visit loved ones in locked-down care homes; for the elderly whose social contacts have been severely curtailed; help us to find creative ways of keeping in touch, of assuring them they are not forgotten or ignored.

May congregations find new ways of living though this time. May we not forget our faith, but draw strength from it. So may our worship be heartfelt, our fellowship deepen, and our service increase.

God of grace and God of mercy, hear our prayers at this time. Strengthen us, by your Spirit, so that: we may carry on our lives as best as we are able, looking out for others, showing love in action, being faithful in prayer, and bringing encouragement, hope and peace; always trusting in you, our Rock and our Redeemer.

These prayers we bring to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

(Rt Rev Colin Sinclair, Moderator of the Church of Scotland)

Hymn: God is love, His the care (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) 

Blessing: May the God of peace, who raised to life the great shepherd of the sheep,  make us ready to do his will in every good thing, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy spirit be upon us now and forever. Amen

Additional resources:

Junior Church resources: colouring sheet and Maze

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Fifth Sunday of Easter a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home 10th May from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home.

Acknowledgements:

Church of Scotland: https://churchofscotland.org.uk

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

James G. Kirk. When We Gather, Revised Edition: A Book of Prayers for Worship (Kindle Locations 803-806). Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

The Worship Source Book 2nd Edition

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.

 

Resources for 3rd May

Jesus-the-good-shepherd-wallpaper

Music before we worship:  A mighty fortress is our God   (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)  (Sung by a virtual choir meeting online: a sign of our times)

Call to Worship:  Come as you are. You are the person God loves, and gives life as the Good Shepherd does: healing, holding, loving, feeding, tending, nurturing God. Come as you are to worship, and be folded into God’s green pastures.

Hymn:  Praise my soul the King of heaven  (The link opens up youtube in a separate window)

Opening prayers:  Glorious God, Christ is the open door by which we enter your new order; he is the source of our comfort and the anchor of our faith. Through him you have shown us the way unto the land of your promise, where peace is eternal and grace has no bounds. As we come to worship in our homes may we know you are with us, and give you all honour due your glorious name.

On this, our journey of faith, we trust in you alone, Good Shepherd, guiding us along a path you are familiar with; leading us beside green pastures and quiet waters; feeding us with your word as refreshment for our souls; steering us from that which might tempt and divert; protecting us from that which might harm or destroy. We trust in you alone, Good Shepherd, on this, our journey of faith, and we thank you for your constant care.

Whilst we give thanks and praise to God we recognise our failings.

Almighty God, you have raised Jesus from the grave and crowned him Lord of all. We confess that we have not bowed before him or acknowledged his rule in our lives. We have gone along with the way of the world and failed to give him glory. Forgive us and raise us from sin, that we may be your faithful people, obeying the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules the world and is head of the church, his body. Amen.

Let us join together in the words of the Lord’s Prayer

Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for the Day: Risen Christ, faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep: teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command, that all your people may be gathered into one flock, to the glory of God the Father. Amen (Common Worship)

bible(8)

Scripture readings:

Acts 2: 42-47

1 Peter 2: 19-25

 John 10:1-10

(Click the links above to go to Oremus NRSV online)

Hymn:  All I once held dear   (The link opens up you tube in a separate window)

Reflection on Scripture: by Michael Baybutt (Accredited local preacher Canterbury and East Kent Methodist Circuit)

“He calls his own sheep by name”

One of the most powerful things that we can do when we meet someone is to greet them by name. One of the most challenging things for many of us is to put a name to a face, especially if it is out of context.

Teachers are amongst the most accomplished for remembering children’s names – especially, I am told, those that cause the most trouble! But that can be a challenge for teachers when they have children of their own: choosing a name for your own child is a challenge when the names suggested by so many “helpful” people remind you time after time of those children that you may wish to forget.

Remembering the names of a lot of people is a particular skill, especially if some of those don’t really stand out in any way. We all remember the social, ebullient people that we meet or the ones that we come to know as friends and neighbours over time. But sometimes it can just be a hard slog to even remember that we know the person standing in front of us and where it is that we know them from!

Strangely, it seems that the current restrictions on our movements are actually helping us to get to know our neighbours. How many of us have followed the weekly Applause for Carers by staying outside for a little while and having conversations with our neighbours? I know of one family that lives on a small development with a shared central space that now meets there once a week for socialising – appropriately distanced, of course! But that gathering has enable neighbours to get to know each other much better and has had some spin-off benefits, too. Support is given for shopping or collecting medicines; foodstuffs are exchanged when food boxes arrive with items that one family will not eat; offers of support and care are made and gratefully accepted, where individuals need that support. The family that I know has lived there for only about five years, whilst some have been there for over 40. If the lock down hadn’t happened, perhaps they would still not know each other. Most importantly, they can now greet each other by name.

Our name can mean so much to us, especially our “good name”. How we are known and valued is an essential part of our own personality. We often say that our name gives us our identity – but, of course, our identity is much more than that. The world watches us day by day and others form a judgement of us, even if they don’t actually know much about us. Our behaviour defines us to those around us. So what do people see and experience of each one of us?

Our witness is in and through our daily lives. We live in a way that contributes to the identity of our Church community and our Church fellowship. But how shall we live? We do live as we choose to follow our Good Shepherd and follow in his way: by his example and under his guidance. Of course, the image of the shepherd and the sheep is coloured in our minds by the European methods of driving sheep, pushing them in the way that the shepherd wants them to go. But the biblical image is so much more important to our understanding. There, the shepherd leads the sheep and the sheep choose to follow. That is what we are called to do when we choose to follow Jesus.

And not as part of an amorphous mass, but as each one called by name. We make our own choices and choose our own way. It’s up to each one of us to choose to answer the call and to follow our Shepherd.  Amen.                 Michael Baybutt

Prayers for others: 

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want …

Loving Lord Jesus, so many in the world today are lost and feel alone and abandoned. Help us to understand all that we have and to remember all those that are not in the same position: those facing violence; those forced to leave their homes and livelihoods; those that are hungry or thirsty; those that cannot rely on good healthcare.

My soul he doth restore again …

May all feel that you are close by, as we face our individual challenges. Open hearts and minds to recognise all that is being done for us, frequently by people that we have never met. Help us to understand and appreciate that we are valued for ourselves and that, even though we may be confined at this time, we have our place in our fellowship and the family of God. May we learn to follow you with confidence, and we pray that you will lift our spirits as we need.

Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale …

We place before you all those that struggle as we face disruption to our lives. We pray for those that are finding isolation mentally challenging; for those that are facing illness; for those that have lost loved ones; for those that care for others at great cost to themselves and their families; for those that continue to do the jobs that we seldom notice but that we all rely upon and for the leaders in our society.

My table thou hast furnished …

May we know just how much you have provided for each and all; how much our family and friends love and support us; how much so many are doing t get our society through this time and towards a new “normal”.

We bring all our prayers before you, knowing that, in you, we are secure in the promise of eternal life and so we can say “In God’s house for evermore my dwelling-place shall be.”  Amen.

Hymn: The King of love my shepherd is (The link opens up you tube in a separate window) 

Blessing: God of our salvation,you have restored us to life,you have brought us back again into your love by the triumphant death and resurrection of Christ: continue to heal us as we go to live and work in the power of your Spirit, to your praise and glory. And may the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy spirit be upon us now and forever. Amen

Additional resources:

Video service from St Peter’s Methodist Church Canterbury click here

Lectionary Leanings A Fourth Sunday of Easter a weekly lectionary reflection by our friend the Revd Dr Paul Glass

Daily devotions from the United Reformed Church. A radio-style / podcast service with hymns, readings, prayers and a sermon. Sign up on the page to receive The Sunday Service email which will contain an order of service and words for you to sing along with the hymns.

Worship at home worship at home 3rd May from the Methodist church.   A really great way to follow along at home worshipping with other Christians at home. This week I have uploaded it as a document

Acknowledgements:

Michael Baybutt (Accredited local preacher Canterbury and East Kent Methodist Circuit)

Church of Scotland: https://churchofscotland.org.uk

Birch, John. The Act of Prayer: Praying through the Lectionary. Bible Reading Fellowship. Kindle Edition.

James G. Kirk. When We Gather, Revised Edition: A Book of Prayers for Worship (Kindle Locations 803-806). Kindle Edition.

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/commonworship

The Worship Source Book 2nd Edition

Prayers for All Seasons: Based on the Revised Common Lectionary Year A . Wood Lake Publishing Inc.. Kindle Edition.