Weekly Worship

Circuit Worship for the 10th January 2021 offered by Rev’d Kim Shorley

 

Opening Prayer 

Loving God, once more the weeks ahead of us are full of anxiety and uncertainty.  Support us we pray with the presence of your Holy Spirit so that we may place our fear, our grief our disappointment into your care.  

For we know that You are with us, caring for us with constant love.  Speak to us through the life and love of Christ and help us to serve you faithfully as we heed the call to remain in our homes.  

Amen 

 

Tune Great is thy Faithfulness (STF 51)  Words: © Steve Clark

1. Lord God we stand at the start of a new year, 

None of us know what the future will bring;

But we do know that you’ll always be with us,

So it’s with joy that your praises we sing.

     Father we worship you, bow to your majesty

     Jesus we love you, our Saviour and friend;

     Spirit we open our hearts to your presence,

     Grace without measure and love without end.

 

2. Jesus you call us to follow and trust you,

Empty our lives of all selfish desire;

We give ourselves to bear fruit of the Kingdom,

Filled with your Spirit and hearts set on fire.

     Father we worship you   . . . .

 

3. So as we take the next steps on our journey,

Guard us from worry, from doubt and from fear;

Help us to trust you and fix our eyes  on you,

Walk hand in hand with you through this new year.

     Father we worship you  . . . . 

 

Psalm 29 (from Psalms Redux by Carla A. Grosh-Miller 2014)*

Speak of God, children of the Holy:

Speak of God’s glory and strength.

Tell of the power of the Name,

of Word that creates

of Light that enlivens,

of Love that binds and frees. 

Worship God in radiant Splendour

Worship God in shrouded darkness.

Worship God.

Worship God

Whose voice storms the waves and stills them,

Whose whispers shake the living and raise the dead.

Worship God

Whose shouts shatter fear and explode deafness

Whose songs echo the soul’s deep longing and feed the hungry heart

Worship God

Whose justice summons the nations,

Whose mercy lifts the lowly

Worship God

Whose silence speaks louder than any word that can be said.

Worship God

Tell of God’s glory and power.

 

We pray for strength We pray for blessing 

We come together in prayer as we use the words that Jesus taught to his disciples: 

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 this day 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  

the power and the glory                                       power and the glory are

for ever and ever                                                yours, now and for ever.

Amen                                                                 Amen.

Prayer for today 

God of heaven and earth, we gather in the name of Jesus to hear your holy Word and to be immersed in your Spirit.  

Speak to us with grace and truth and pour out your love upon us so that this temple may resound with joyful shouts of glory; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Genesis 1:1-5

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Singing the Faith 393 John L. Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b. 1958) 

1. She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters,

hovering on the chaos of the world's first day;

she sighs and she sings, mothering creation,

waiting to give birth to all the Word will say.

2. She wings over earth, resting where she wishes,

lighting close at hand or soaring through the skies;

she nests in the womb, welcoming each wonder,

nourishing potential hidden to our eyes.

3. She dances in fire, startling her spectators,

waking tongues of ecstasy where dumbness reigned;

she weans and inspires all whose hearts are open,

nor can she be captured, silenced, or restrained.

4. For she is the Spirit, one with God in essence,

gifted by the Saviour in eternal love;

and she is the key opening the scriptures,

enemy of apathy and heavenly dove. 

Mark 1:1-11

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

   who will prepare your way;

the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

   “Prepare the way of the Lord,

   make his paths straight” ’,

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Reflection

What a difference a week makes! Last week with Matthew we were paying homage with Magi from the east, at the home of the infant/toddler Jesus and today we blink and find that Mark is beginning to tell his Good News starting with the Baptism of the adult Christ. 

The opening passage (v1-3) points both backward and forward.  Here at “the beginning” we see the evidence of the Spirit’s work (in which I will follow the Iona tradition of attaching a female pronoun as we have just used in the hymn above) through the prophets from within the Old Testament as hundreds of years earlier God revealed insights about what would one day take place and whilst Mark only mentions Isaiah, but it is plain from the words we find in verse 2 that he is also drawing on Malachi 3:1 as well as Isaiah 40:3 for the rest of the prophecy in verse 3.  

Known as “the immediate” Gospel (Mark uses the word immediately 41 times in his Gospel whilst the word features only 10 times in the rest of the New Testament) Mark is decisive in declaring that God is doing a new thing in Jesus, but that this also fits perfectly within the longer story God has been writing since “the beginning.” Mark’s baptismal story of water and the Spirit echoes a story that had its beginning within the Godhead.  

Origin stories fascinate me, and many a movie franchise has been made by telling the stories our favourite characters beginnings.  Genesis in poetic prose tells us that She is there at the beginning of the creation, freely brooding over the waters.  Here the writer of Genesis connects water with eternity, not because it is static and constant, but because it is dynamic and ever-changing and transforming, and will go on in the verses that follow to interconnect all of creation too, as water is never made new. The water that runs clean from our tap descends from those water which heard God’s voice bringing light from darkness, day from night.  Over millennia it has been transformed, scattered, polluted, cleaned, restored and destroyed. It is the snow and the ice, the rain and the mist, vapor and steam, the devastating flood and the relief from drought. Every drop of water we have today has always existed as water in some form of another; it is intertwined and imprinted within the entire history of humanity and the Earth itself.

This is why the water of Baptism remains such an important a sign and symbol of unity and of fellowship.  Jesus entered into our experience so that we could experience here and now a life within God’s loving fellowship, which are united through the names: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Whilst these names allow us to glimpse the Trinity, they do not fully express the mystery that is God, especially when we consider how through the Holy Spirit each one of us brings a diversity to our own discipleship journey and into each other’s calling as a fellowship of believers.

The book of Acts provides us with a bridge between the Gospels and the Letters, showing us how the Holy Spirted acted in their lives us and empowered their works as apostles.  In today’s passage (Acts 19:1-7) they, like us in this time and place, are trying to work out what it means to live and know the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, which we are reminded in Acts 2:17 is poured out on all people, freely and generously. 

With this reassurance can we affirm that the Spirit was and is active in each of us long before we recognise her or are able name her, John Wesley himself emphasised how the Holy Spirit helps us to realise our need, to come to discover God and then receive the assurance of acceptance, love and forgiveness.  Whatever our personal choices and experience are regarding Baptism, whether infant or adult, let us recognise how it helps parents and ourselves acknowledge that within community the spirit draws us together and into a deeper faith experience.  

However, let us not say that She is ours alone to own; or that her work is completed, for the Spirit continues to reveal herself in many splendid and different ways. 

At her beginnings the Spirit was (and still is) a dynamic force, a presence that sweeps over all and continues to be active through us (and sometimes even despite us), and so my prayer for us reading or hearing these words is that the Holy Spirit will continue to show herself amongst us, even in our COVID-19 distanced worship today, and unite us through time and space with each other and with God who calls us Beloved.    Amen.

Singing the Faith 394  Margaret V. Old (1932–2001) 

Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,

gentle as is the dove,

teach us the truth and help us believe,

show us the Saviour's love. 

1. You spoke to us long, long ago,

gave us the written word;

we read it still, needing its truth,

through it God's voice is heard.

     Spirit of God, unseen as the wind,

 

2. Without your help we fail our Lord,

we cannot live his way;we need your power, we need your strength,

following Christ each day.

     Spirit of God, unseen as the wind 

For contemplation and conversation

God marks the beginning of Jesus’s ministry with a sign of the Spirit and a message of affirmation.  Take some time now, or during the coming week to sit, reflect on that message and ask God to assure you of those same things: that you are Beloved, and with you God is well pleased.

What is God through the prompting of the Holy Spirit calling you towards in your own life, and within your community?

Prayers of Intercession

All-glorious God, maker of heaven and earth, hear us as we pray out loud or in silence:

Give strength, O Lord, and bless us with peace. 

Move again over these troubled waters as we pray for the world you have made…

Where carelessness and violence bring chaos restore order, goodness, and life. 

Give strength, O Lord, and bless us with peace. 

Give to the leaders of all nations the wisdom to know what is good as we pray for the peoples you have created. . . .

Where people are poor and hungry provide justice and daily bread. 

Give strength, O Lord, and bless us with peace. 

Renew in us the gifts of your Spirit and the call to Christian discipleship as we pray for the church you have redeemed. . . . 

Where we are divided, remind us that we are one in you. 

Give strength, O Lord, and bless us with peace.

Bless our families, friends, and neighbours; keep them safe from trouble and danger as we pray for the loved ones you have given us. . . .

Where there is sorrow, sickness, or suffering send your Spirit of comfort and healing.

Give strength, O Lord, and bless us with peace.

All this we pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, whose voice is our strength and salvation, whose breath is the Spirit of peace. Amen.

 

Singing the Faith 397  Damian Lundy (1944–1996)

1. The Spirit lives to set us free,

walk, walk in the light;

he binds us all in unity,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

     walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord.

2. Jesus promised life to all,

walk, walk in the light;

the dead were wakened by his call,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

3. He died in pain on Calvary,

walk, walk in the light;

to save the lost like you and me,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

4. We know his death was not the end,

walk, walk in the light;

he gave his Spirit to be our friend,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

5. By Jesus' love our wounds are healed,

walk, walk in the light;

the Father's kindness is revealed,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

6. The Spirit lives in you and me,

walk, walk in the light;

his light will shine for all to see,

walk, walk in the light.

     Walk in the light, walk in the light,

 

Blessing

So now we leave this space of worship and while so much of the road ahead is uncertain, the path constantly changing, we know some things that are as solid and sure as the ground beneath our feet, and the sky above our heads.

We know God is love.  We know Christ’s light endures.

We know the Holy Spirit this there, found in the space between all things, closer to us than our next breath, binding us to each other, until we meet again.

We go in peace as we share the words of Grace with one another.

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

Amen

 

Words for the hymns are reproduced from Singing the Faith Music Edition. CCLI reproduced under licence No. 941649.

 

* In her introduction to Psalms Redux: Poems and Prayers Carla A. Grosh-Miller writes “Psalms Redux are not meant to supplant the psalms that are the foundation and poetry of our faith.  Rather they are prayer aids for those of us who need a fresh language that guides us into the depths of renewing prayer.”  Used by permission of Canterbury Press imprint of Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd, London. All rights reserved. 

 

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

 

Rev’d Lesley can be contacted on 01933 312778 and Rev’d Kim on 01933 62213. 


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