Weekly Worship

Order of Service – 14th February 2021 (Valerie Anslow)

Let us say together:

The Mighty One, God, the Lord speaks, and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets.

From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.  Our God comes and will not be silent;

a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.

These verses from Psalm 50, call us, to come together, people with a sure faith and people who are searching for meaning, to join Him on the mountaintop, to climb above the problems of this world and spend time with Him.  So, come; come and worship Him, who is constant and just, compassionate and forgiving.

Singing the Faith  24  (Brian Doerksen b. 1965)

Come, now is the time to worship.

Come, now is the time to give your heart.

Come, just as you are to worship.

Come, just as you are before your God, come.

One day every tongue

will confess you are God,

one day every knee will bow.

Still, the greatest treasure remains

for those who gladly choose you now.

Come, now is the time to worship  .  .  .  . 

Singing the Faith 57     George Herbert (1593–1633)

1. Let all the world in every corner sing:

my God and King!

The heavens are not too high,

his praise may thither fly;

the earth is not too low,

his praises there may grow.

Let all the world in every corner sing:

my God and King!

2. Let all the world in every corner sing:

my God and King!

The Church with psalms must shout,

no door can keep them out;

but above all, the heart

must bear the longest part.

Let all the world in every corner sing:

my God and King!

 

I have been on the mountaintop, where it is said that Jesus went with his disciples, Peter, James and John. That mountain, in Palestine, rises up out of the plain, and the view from the top is breath-taking. The dry sandy soil, the olive groves, the dusty roads and in the distance, invisible but none-the-less there, the wall separating Pal-estine from Israel.

I have been to the other mountaintop, where Jesus was tempted to test God and bargain with the devil. That mountain, like the first, has a breath-taking view of the surrounding countryside, and where a person can see the world from God’s perspective.... complete and as one.

On top of the Mount of Beatitudes, I sat and saw below me the Sea of Galilee, the grassy slopes and in the dis-tance the Golan Heights and the shoreline of Syria. 

Again, that mountaintop view was a perspective you do not get when you are at home, among the issues of personal life and bombarded with news of our world which make it fragmented and fractured. 

You do not need to go to Israel and Palestine to be transfigured by the view from above.  Go, when lockdown is over and we can travel again, and visit Derbyshire, Yorkshire, the Cotswolds, and any place where you are able to get above and see a new horizon, literally. 

When mountaineers are asked why they climb, they may say “because it is there to climb.” My answer is to get above and beyond the valley where life can sometimes be a drudge, or where the days seem dark and short. Where the valley sides hem you in and stop you seeing beyond.

Spend a moment recalling to mind a mountaintop vista you have seen in reality or on the telly. Remember the feelings it evoked, the way it lifted your spirits and made worship of Him who is Lord of all, possible, as the worries of the world fell away.

Let us pray together, in our own homes, these words:

Almighty and all loving God,

through the fire of your Spirit you have drawn the hearts of men and women to share in the mystery of your being.

By the power of the same Spirit infuse our lives with your presence, that as you Son was transfigured in prayer, we too may be transformed, and our lives become a flame of self-giving love.         Amen.

Mark 9 v 2 - 9

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.  And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Mo-ses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.)

Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Lis-ten to him!”

Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead

Singing the Faith 228      James Montgomery (1771–1854) from Psalm 72

1. Hail to the Lord's Anointed,

great David's greater Son!

Hail, in the time appointed,

his reign on earth begun!

He comes to break oppression,

to set the captive free,

to take away transgression,

and rule in equity.

2. He comes, with succour speedy,

to those who suffer wrong;

to help the poor and needy,

and bid the weak be strong;

to give them songs for sighing,

their darkness turn to light,

whose souls, condemned and dying,

are precious in his sight.

3. He shall come down like showers

upon the fruitful earth;

love, joy, and hope, like flowers,

spring in his path to birth;

before him, on the mountains,

shall peace the herald go;

and righteousness, in fountains,

from hill to valley flow.

4. Kings shall fall down before him,

and gold and incense bring;

all nations shall adore him,

his praise all people sing;

to him shall prayer unceasing

and daily vows ascend,

his kingdom still increasing,

a kingdom without end.

5. O'er every foe victorious,

he on his throne shall rest;

from age to age more glorious,all-blessing and all-blest.

The tide of time shall never

his covenant remove;

his name shall stand for ever,

his changeless name of Love.

 

Last week in the Circuit Service we heard about the first 100 days of Jesus ministry, where he was busy on his three aims - healing, teaching and encouraging his disciples to be responsive to the needs of others. 

It is little wonder then that Mark, in his Gospel account, then sends Jesus off for some relaxation and reflection with his three best friends - Peter, James and John. They climbed Mount Tabor, or possibly Mount Hermon, which was the highest of the mountains in the area at 9,232 feet above sea level. 

Wouldn’t you like to know more about the trek to the top. How long it took? Was there a path to follow? How long did they spend there looking at the view? But in typical Mark fashion, he wants to get straight to the point - that this was a revelation, an Epiphany, for Peter, James and John. 

Indeed for Peter is was a moment of insight, when he realized again that his friend, Jesus, was special and des-tined to be as great in his eyes as Moses and Elijah. St Matthew in his more detailed description of this event, describes how the disciples were afraid and fell down when they heard a voice say, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am pleased. Listen to him!” And just as Jesus calmed their fears in the storm on the Sea of Galilee, he calmed them this time and told them, “Don’t be afraid. Fear not.”

What in essence that happened on that mountaintop was life changing and ultimately world changing for Je-sus, Peter, James and John. The realization that they each had a mission to fulfil, must have filled their minds and it is only Jesus who is transfigured by it rather than on the floor in fear. 

Jesus grasps his calling with both hands and he knows that once he leaves that hill side and enters the valley below, there is only one way to go, and that is towards Jerusalem. He knows that like Moses and Elijah, those great leaders of the Old Testament, his calling by God, was to endure suffering and ridicule. The ultimate pur-pose of which was unclear to him, but he did it anyway. 

Peter, James and John, were made aware of the task ahead and that, Jesus their friend, was willing to do what it takes to do God’s will. Their fear was for themselves and the impact of this revelation of Jesus, would have on them. Indeed, when they left that mountaintop and continued towards Jerusalem, they were all on their way to suffering and persecution, it is just their time came later. 

 

This event described by Mark, is a turning point in the ministry of Jesus for having ticked off the first three aims of healing, teaching and encouraging, now turns his face to Jerusalem and to suffering and dying so that those who believe in God’s forgiving and sustaining love, may have new life. 

 

It is widely believed that Jesus ministry lasted three years, so the endgame from this point on is probably with-in the year.  We can say that probably the next mountaintop Jesus is taken to, is the hill outside Jerusalem where he is transfigured again, for all the world to see, as he is nailed on the cross and raised up to die.

 

Last week we were asked to think of the time when we began a journey with Christ - the enthusiasm and the motivation to put our newly ignited faith into action. We were asked to consider what to do when we flag and get tired and need an infusion of the Holy Spirit. 

 

Today I ask this question again, for our response to being on the mountaintop and recognising Jesus in all his glory, can make us afraid, or inspired; full of energy and raring to go with him, or holding back and wanting to stay with him there, resting in his presence.

 

Let us pray these words of Psalm 139

Lord you have searched me out and known me;

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You discern my thoughts long before.

You know my journeys and the places I will rest;

You are acquainted with all my ways.

You are behind me and before me;

You have laid your hand upon me. 

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me.

 

Even though the words of psalm 139 declare that God knows all our needs and thoughts, saying them and of-fering prayers for others, is the first step in answering prayer. He puts on our hearts, those in need, those in pain, and reminds us of our joys and thanksgivings. Who has he put on your heart today? 

 

 Sharing our joys and concerns – followed by prayers of thanksgiving and need.

 

The Lord’s prayer.

     Traditional Form                                                              Modern Form

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

hallowed be thy name;                                                        hallowed be your Name,

thy kingdom come;                                                             your kingdom come;

thy will be done;                                                                your will be done;

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

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

And forgive us our trespasses,                                            Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who                                                    as we forgive those who

trespass against us.                                                           sin against us.

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,                                                   For the kingdom,  

the power and the glory                                                    the power and the glory are

for ever and ever                                                             yours, now and for ever.          

          Amen.                                                                  Amen

     

A few years ago, when Greenbelt Festival was still taking place on Cheltenham Racecourse, I had an encounter with God, which I still gives me comfort. It was one of those moments that John Hardy was asking us to identi-fy last week, an inspiration, a testimony. 

On the top floor of the grandstand, the view over one side was of the racecourse bustling with life, and over the other side the windows looked over towards the Malvern Hills. It was like being on a mountaintop.   

There was a labyrinth drawn on the floor, and you were invited to follow the path, slowly, and steadily, as you would climb a mountain. 

Then in the centre of the labyrinth was a space to sit, to be still in his presence. 

I did not want to leave, when I got there. I wanted to stay in that still small space. And if I had been with Jesus, James, John and Peter, on that day on the mountain top, I would have wanted to stay, to build a shelter, and stay away from the world.

But I had to leave that place in the centre of the labyrinth and walk back along the path and out into the noise and activity of the Greenbelt Festival.

And we too, follow Jesus from the mountaintop, into the valley with its concerns, its joys, its pain and its bless-ings. We follow him, through the 40 days of Lent, to the cross and to new life. 

Singing the Faith  563       (John Ernest Bode 1816-1874)

1. O Jesus, I have promised

to serve you to the end;

Lord, be for ever near me,

my master and my friend;

I shall not fear the battle

if you are by my side,

nor wander from the pathway

if you will be my guide.

 

2. O let me feel you near me;

the world is ever near;

I see the sights that dazzle,

the tempting sounds I hear;

my foes are ever near me,

around me, and within;

but, Jesus, now draw nearer,

and shield my soul from sin.

3. O let me hear you speaking

in accents clear and still,

above the storms of passion,

the murmurs of self-will;

O speak to reassure me,

to hasten or control;

Lord, speak, and make me listen,O guardian of my soul.

 

4. O Jesus, you have promised

to all who follow you,

that where you are in glory

your servant shall be too;

and, Jesus, I have promised

to serve you to the end;

O give me grace to follow

my master and my friend.

 

Blessing:

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine upon your face,

And the fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

 

Words for the hymns are re-produced from Singing the Faith Music Edition. 

CCLI reproduced under licence No. 1905000

 

Please be assured that the Circuit Staff are available should you need us. We can be contacted by calling:

 

01933 312778 for Rev’d Lesley Dinham 

01933 622137 for Rev’d Kim Shorley


Printer Printable Version