Home Service 17

Flowers 5th July 2020Home Service: Sunday 5 July 2020

To be used in conjunction with Read mark, Learn – 2020-07-05 Seeing Clearly Mark 8 22-38

Let’s begin with song.
Call to worship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPWq8eM4lu8

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.
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

There are times when we may feel reluctant to come to worship. We would not be alone in this. Some of the great servants of God knew times of despondency and wondered where God was. The prophet Elijah was one such. We read of a time he felt rejected by people, but found he was not forgotten by God.

Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-12
And the word of the LORD came to him: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.’ The LORD said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.’
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. Elijah was feeling bad about things and thought the world was against him, but ‘the word of the LORD came to him’. Let us be still and open our hearts, minds and ears to God.

Father, Whatever our feelings, whatever powerful winds, earthquakes or fires have been our experience, may we find peace as we turn to you now. May the gentle whisper of your word be heard. May we know the reality of your deep love for us. Open our eyes to your glory and receive our praise as we come to you through Jesus our Saviour. Amen

We celebrate God’s greatness and proclaim His glory with song.
Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTZnuPTGWS8
O Lord our God, how majestic is Your name,
The earth is filled with Your glory.
Oh Lord our God, You are robed in majesty,
You’ve set Your glory above the heavens.
We will magnify, we will magnify,
The Lord enthroned in Zion.
We will magnify, we will magnify,
The Lord enthroned in Zion.
O Lord our God, You have established a throne,
You reign in righteousness and splendour.
O Lord our God, the skies are ringing with Your praise.
Soon those on earth will come to worship.
We will magnify…
O Lord our God the world was made at your command
In You all things now hold together.
Now to Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
Be praise and glory and power for ever.
We will magnify…

The immensity and complexity of creation amazes us. Trying to understand and make sense of it all can bemuse us. The Bible’s first words are ‘In the beginning God’ and it is to Him we look for meaning and assurance. One writer (name unknown) has expressed their understanding and hope in the following lines.

Everything holds together, everything
From stars that pierce the dark like living sparks
To secret seeds that open every spring
From spanning galaxies to spinning quarks
Everything holds together and coheres.
Unfolding from the centre whence it came.
And now that hidden heart of things appears
The firstborn of creation takes a name.
And shall I see the one through whom I am?
Shall I behold the one for whom I’m made,
The light in light, the flame within the flame,
Jesus our Saviour, image of my God?
He comes a little child to bless my sight
That I might come to Him for life and light.

Take some moments to reflect that ‘everything holds together’ in Him, Jesus, who lived our life and is ‘the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation’. Pause to remember blessings, joys, and hopes and give thanks.

Lord God, Our Father, Receive our thanks for your goodness and mercy. Thank you for the blessings we have known. For…  Thank you, Father. Amen

Song of Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4gpD66piG8&list=RDi4gpD66piG8&start_radio=1&t=10&t=10
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Give glory to the Father, give glory to the Son,
Give glory to the Spirit, while endless ages run.
‘Worthy the Lamb’ all heaven cries, ‘to be exalted thus.’
‘Worthy the Lamb’ our hearts reply, ‘for He was slain for us.’
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow…

The song reminds us that a reason for praise is that ‘He was slain for us.’ We read about the immense significance of that death in the letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Christians in Rome. What he wrote for his readers then applies just as powerfully for us, now!

Reading: Romans 5:6-11 (GNT)
For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger! We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends.

Father, You have given us so much and called us to yourself. Only in you can we find peace and wholeness. Jesus has taught us to share our longings and cares with you.
So we bring to you… … 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 – See?
The following passage has been published in various places in recent years. It is said to have been used in research that originated in Cambridge. “It deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.” Did you get the message? Could you see the point? Is it right? It is remarkable that we can sometimes make some sense of ‘nonsense’, especially if we have some clues to help us. Making sense of nonsense was something Paul wrote about in the letter to
Christians in Rome. He said, “the message about Christ’s death on the cross is nonsense to those who are being lost; but for us who are being saved it is God’s power.” Two ways of seeing; two vastly different conclusions. Paul also wrote “… what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and what seems to be God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” What we see can be deceptive. Things are not always what they seem. When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he had more to say about ‘seeing’. He wanted his readers to catch a glimpse of the marvels God has in store for them. The Contemporary English Version translates his words as, “What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has
never even entered our minds!” Let that idea sink in by reading it again. “What God has planned for people who love him is more than eyes have seen or ears have heard. It has never even entered our minds!” Later in the same letter he says, “Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face.” What a prospect. No more jumbled words. No more nonsense to unravel. All questions answered. Clear sight. Face to face with our Heavenly Father. Wow!

Seeing and hearing the things of God more clearly, can start now. Our last song is a prayer that expresses a desire for this. It is a prayer we might each want to make our own…

Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDceaG7kFQA
Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
Ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth thou sendest clear;
And while the wavenotes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
Ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me, Spirit divine!
Open my mouth, and let me bear
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
Ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!

A blessing
May we go in the love of God our Father, whose sight is never dim and who knows us by name. May we walk with Him this day and every day, till we see Him face to face. Amen.