Home Service 10

Sunday 17 May 2020  To be used in conjunction with this weeks Read Mark, Learn – 2020-05-17 Completely Amazed

Call to worship
In many Bibles, Psalm 92 has a heading that says, ‘For the Sabbath day.’ Let us make the Psalmist’s words our own as on this Sabbath day we pause to worship. It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!

O Father whose mercy reaches to the heavens, whose faithfulness knows no end,
may the greatness of your love be known to us, that we may worship you with
wonder, joy and thanksgiving. Amen

Our music making may be quite different to the Psalmist’s. Ten-stringed lyres
and harps are probably not to hand! Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus
to continue ‘making melody in your heart to the Lord’ as the Authorised version
of the Bible has it. Let us offer praise God by whatever means, perhaps by
singing along with this hymn.

Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8EGY-WAkrg
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might.
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
To all life thou givest—to both great and small.
In all life thou livest, the true life of all.
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but nought changeth thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight.
All laud we would render: O help us to see
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth thee.

When Paul wrote letters to the little groups of Christians that made up the ‘Early Church’, he tried to help them know Jesus better. Some who worshipped God as Father, had  possibly not understood who Jesus really was. Here is Paul’s description of Jesus from his letter to the church in Colossae.

Reading: Colossians 1: 15-23 (GNT)
Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the first-born Son, superior to all created things. For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. Christ existed before all things,
and in union with him all things have their proper place. He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the first-born Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven. At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel.

Let’s pause to consider the greatness, goodness and grace of God, particularly
all that Jesus has done for us and give thanks.

Lord God, Our Father, Receive our thanks for… Amen

Let’s continue to give thanks with this worship song.
Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BSjxpiD2DU
Give thanks to the Lord, our God and King
His love endures forever.
For He is good, He is above all things.
His love endures forever.
Sing praise, sing praise.
With a mighty hand and outstretched arm
His love endures forever.
For the life that’s been reborn
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
Forever, God is faithful
Forever, God is strong
Forever, God is with us
From the rising to the setting sun
His love endures forever
And by the grace of God, we will carry on
His love endures forever
Sing praise, sing praise
Sing praise, sing praise
Forever, God is faithful
Forever, God is strong
Forever, God is with us

When Paul was writing his letters, his concern for people was clear to see. He did not just teach and instruct but advised and encouraged. This appeal, though written in a very different age to ours, is nevertheless relevant to all who follow Jesus.

Reading: Romans 12:1-8 (Phillips)
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers and sisters, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all. For just as you have many members in one physical body and those members differ in their functions, so we, though many in number, compose one body in Christ and are all members of one another. Through the grace of God, we have different gifts. If our gift is preaching, let us preach to the limit of our vision. If it is serving others let us concentrate on our service. If it is teaching let us give all we have to our teaching and if our gift be the stimulating of the faith of others let us set ourselves to it. Let anyone who is called to give, give freely. Let anyone who wields authority, think of his responsibility and and let anyone who feels sympathy for his fellows act cheerfully.

Let’s now pause to remember the needs of those around us. The writer of Hebrews 4:16 encouraged his readers with these words, ‘Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need‘.

Father we bring to you now …. Father, in Your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Reflection –
In our Easter Sunday Home Service Peter R drew our attention to mountains; those that we face personally, and the one Jesus climbed for us. We might find the demands of our daily ‘climb’ draining and echo Sadie Patterson’s prayer, “I’m tired Lord, but I’ll lift one foot, if you’ll lift the other for me.” Our upward journey is the subject of a poem entitled ‘Up-Hill’ written by Christina Rossetti many years before our journeys were made steeper by ‘lockdown’. Devout Christian belief influenced her writing, so whilst scholars
have offered various ‘secular’ interpretations of the poem, there is a Christian message of hope to be found in it. The poem imagines a traveller asking questions about the journey they must make. Answers are given, though we don’t know by whom. The traveller is anxious, but the answers are reassuring.

1 Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the
whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.
2 But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
3 Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.
4 Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

We should not try to give each part of the poem a Christian interpretation, but it offers encouragement for the journey through life and assurance of a welcome at its end. Both may be found in Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Perhaps the poet knew that herself and drew strength from texts such as ‘Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to teach them that they should always pray and never become discouraged‘. Luke 18:1 (GNT) ‘(Jesus said) “There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you.”’ John 14;2a (GNT) ‘Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, LORD, for you are with me. Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me‘. Psalm 23:4 (GNT) ‘(Jesus said) “…and I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”’ Matt. 28:20 (GNT)

Let’s be fortified these verses and know that as we continue our journey, in the words of the hymn writer James Montgomery ‘I … nightly pitch my moving tent A day’s march nearer home.’ The idea of travelling on confidently with Jesus is the theme of a hymn that some might think is a children’s song, but there are no age restrictions on singing it!

Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QhV1_y6vVY
One more step along the world I go. One more step along the world I go.
From the old things to the new, keep me travelling along with you.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new,
Keep me travelling along with you.
Round the corners of the world I turn; more and more about the world I learn.
All the new things that I see You’ll be looking at along with me.
And it’s from the old…
As I travel through the bad and good, keep me travelling the way I should.
Where I see no way to go, You’ll be telling me the way, I know.
And it’s from the old…
Give me courage when the world is rough; keep me loving though the world is
Leap and sing in all I do, keep me travelling along with you.
And it’s from the old…
You are older than the world can be. You are younger than the life in me.
Ever old and ever new, keep me travelling along with you.
And it’s from the old…

A blessing
May the love of God enfold us.
May the strength of God uphold us.
May the peace of God fill our hearts.
And the blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be with us today and every step of our way.