Weekly Worship

Service for 28th February

Call to worship:  

SING (x2) quietly as our opening prayer: Soften my heart Lord  505 SoF  [Graham Kendrick]

To hear play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYFfVKjkzmA

Soften my heart, Lord, soften my heart.  From all indif’frence - set me apart.

To feel Your compassion - to weep with Your tears,

Come, soften my heart, O Lord, soften my heart.

PRAYERS OF WORSHIP & CONFESSION

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, we praise You for the hope, joy and peace with which You fill our lives and overflow our days.  We live in a world where things change so rapidly - where things we have taken for granted are swept aside and our assumptions are questioned.  Again and again we are reminded of our frailty, our mortality and the fickleness of human nature.  We praise You for our Saviour, for His life death and resurrection upon which our thoughts will dwell much in this period of our year and for assurance and certainty that we can rely upon the rock which is the foundation of our faith, for in the midst of the chaos that we call life He is for ever the same, the one through whom we have confidence to enter into Your presence that He will lift us when we fall and comfort us when we are hurting.

Forgive us the lack of trust and faith, the same mistakes made again and again and enable us to journey this week with courage, strength and certainty that we can walk with Him as we join in the prayer He taught His disciples:

Traditional                                                        Contemporary 

Our Father, who art in heaven,                           Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;                                       hallowed be your name,

Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done;                  Your kingdom come, Your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.                                  on earth as in heaven

And forgive us our trespasses,                             Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who trespass against us         as we forgive those who sin against us. 

Give us this day our daily bread.                          Give us today our daily bread. 

And lead us not into temptation                           Save us from the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.                                      and deliver us from evil.        

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the         For the kingdom the power and the glory are

   Glory for ever and ever. Amen                         yours now and forever.     Amen         

                                

 

HYMN:  I, the Lord of Sea & Sky  830 SoF or 663 StF  [Daniel L Schute]

To hear play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgLwH5RdtPk

1.  I, the Lord of sea and sky,

I have heard My people cry;

All who dwell in dark and sin

My hand will save.

I who made the stars of night,

I will make their darkness bright.

I will speak my word to them.

Whom shall I send?

2.  I, the Lord of snow and rain,

I have borne my people’s pain;

I have wept for love of them –

They turn away.

I will break their hearts of stone,

Give them hearts for love alone;

I will speak My word to them.

Whom shall I send?

Chorus

Here I am, Lord.  Is it I Lord?

I have heard you calling in the night.

I will go, Lord, if You lead me;

I will hold You people in my heart.

3.  I, the Lord of wind and flame,

I will tend the poor and lame,

I will set a feast for them –

My hand will save.

Finest bread I will provide

Till their hearts are satisfied;

I will give my life to them.

Whom shall I send?

 

READINGS from Genesis 17: 1-7 & 15-16

17  1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. 2 Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”

3 Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, 4 “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. 5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. 6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

15 God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. 16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”

And from Romans 4: 13-25

4  13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed - the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

HYMN (x2) Jesus, Lover of my Soul 873 SoF  [Paul Oakley]

To hear play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcGEK3GHqgc

Jesus, lover of my soul, all consuming fire is in Your gaze

Jesus. I want You to know I will follow You all my days -

For no one else in history is like You, and history itself belongs to You.

Alpha and Omega, You have loved me, and I will share eternity with You.

It’s all about You - Jesus - and all this is for You - for Your glory and Your fame.

It’s not about me, as if You should do things my way;

You alone are God, and I surrender to Your ways

READING from Mark’s Gospel 8: 31-38

8  31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life  will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

REFLECTION

How goes Lent for you ?  Are you enjoying our journey through the Psalms ?  They are disjointed but yet give us insights into the heart of God and His love and care for us

We spent time last Sunday considering Jesus’ time in isolation in the wilderness - this week our Gospel passage takes us to Him being back “in the thick of it”.  He has cured many, walked on the water and fed thousands.  Central to His message is the simple fact that He is the Messiah but he knows that to proclaim this fact too specifically, without explanation would result in matter progressing not as God had planned.  The Jewish people had been taught that the coming Messiah would bring irresistible conquest - the re-installation of their nation as supreme.  Jesus teaches (His Disciples first), that they have to give this vision a major “re-think” - the ‘Roadmap’ for the release from bondage is not to be as the expect and perhaps not as they want.  To bolding proclaim to all that “I am the Messiah” would lead to civil unrest, conflict with the Synagogue & Temple authorities and to revolution against the Roman Rulers.

Jesus connects His Messiahship with a differing path - one which will include suffering and death.  His statements are to the Disciples both incredible and incomprehensible and this explains Peter’s blunt rejection of what Jesus is saying - it is totally disillusioning one of Peter’s fundament beliefs and hopes as held since he was a child.

Jesus knows that Peter is wrong and He reacts sternly to rebuke Peter’s well-meant way “paved with good intentions”.  This coincides so much with the temptations given to Him in the Wilderness - do it this way (the easy way - turn stones into bread - do something spectacular to advertise Your presence and ‘sell it’ to everyone so that they flock to worship and follow You - take political power over the nations).  There was no easy way - God’s way was the only way and if that involved suffering and death then that was the Way.

It is strange that we are sometime tempted by well-meaning voices - how many of the adverts on our television screens for gambling emphasise the ‘low cost’ the ‘community’ and of course the ‘rewards’.  Equally we can be the well-meaning ones who ‘water down’ God‘s message - it is unfashionable to preach that those who reject God are condemned and that folk need to heed the preaching of John the Baptist and Jesus and repent and have their sins forgiven - we need to ensure that we are not misleading folk because we are afraid that we may offend. John Wesley said “the faith through which we are saved is the only way of saving human beings from eternal death that they may be holy, redeemed, wise and right with God”.

Jesus makes no promise that this will be easy (nor does He say that it will necessarily be hard) but we know from our own experiences that He is with us in all these circumstances as God was with Abraham & Sarah in their ‘impossible’ journey to foreign lands, to have a family, to understand what God’s plan for them entailed and to learn to trust and we as heirs of that promise can be assured by our relationship with the same Living God through Jesus, just as Paul re-assured the early Christians in Rome.

No one can ever say that Jesus ‘hoodwinked’ them into becoming a follower - there are no ‘Introductory Offers’ or ‘Special Discounts’  or ‘Buy 1 get One Free’s.  Simply: “follow Me and you will be given eternal life - not necessarily an easy life – there will be ‘crosses’ to bare, but it will be a fulfilled life!  Let us therefore encourage one another, not be afraid the speak with those who are frightened in present times and have no hope for the future, let us encourage them to speak to God - to accept His Offer of Salvation

FOR DISCUSSION and/or REFLECTION:

1. How do you think Peter reacted to Jesus’ rebuke ?

2. How can we be not afraid to speak to others ?

PRAYERS:

Father we pray for:

Those who mourn the loss of loved ones, whether due to Covid, other illnesses, old age, accident or violence.  Comfort them - surround them with Your loving arms

Lord – hear our prayers

The people of Myanmar, the people of The Yemen, the people of Afghanistan and all people wherever they are who are oppressed, hungry, deprived, exploited

Lord – hear our prayers

Those who today will not have “three square meals” - who awoke hungry and will go to sleep hungry – who will sleep on the streets of cities around the world - who will queue at soup kitchens and have little or no shelter when it rains or snows - those families needing the support of Foodbanks

Lord – hear our prayers

 Those in the Media Industry - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Newspapers - Radio - Television

Lord – hear our prayers

Those who serve us - in shops - who empty our bins - who deliver our post & parcels - politicians - the Medical Profession in all its guises 

Lord – hear our prayers

Those Christians, both within our Circuit and those in other denominations - for those in countries where to be a Christian is not easy

Lord – hear our prayers

The releasing of the ‘lock down’ regulations - that all will be guided respect the slight relaxation and not insist on ‘rushing’ to full freedom putting others at risk – that the number of ‘covid’ related incident in our area as reported to the Police may drop

Lord – hear our prayers

Ourselves this week as we cope with and face its joys, difficulties, problems and marvellous opportunities

Lord – hear our prayers

 

HYMN Have Thine own way Lord 156 SoF  [A A Pollard 1862  1934]

To hear play:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEYoOI2zbBo

1.  Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Thou art the Potter, I am the clay –

Mould me and make me, after Thy will,

While I am wating yielded and still.

2.  Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Search me and try me, Master today.

Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,

As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

3. Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Wounded and weary, help me, I pray.

Power, all power, surely is Thine;

Touch me and heal me, Saviour divine.

4.  Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way;

Hold o’er my being absolute sway.

Fill with Thy Spirit, till all shall see

Christ only, always, living in me

 

Lord we came to worship as those who were blind, as those who were empty and longed to be filled, we go as those who have been in Your presence and sat at Your feet – we have met with the risen Lord Jesus – we have known the infilling of Your Spirit – we go in Your light, fearing no condemnation, strengthen, sustained an upheld by Your Good News – Jesus Saves !

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and forever.  Amen

Hymn words reproduced under licence no. 1759067.

 

Please be assured that we are still here if you need anything at all during this time.

Lesley Dinham can be contacted on 01933 312778 Kim Shorley on 01933 622137.

 


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