Home Service: Sunday 4 October 2020
Coming to worship
A prayer often used in Communion Services begins… We do not presume to come to this your table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your abundant and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table; but you are the same Lord whose character is always to have mercy.
To “come to this your table” suggests sharing company and hospitality. God, our Father, has given us an open invitation to sit down and share a table with Him. Let us do that as we spend these moments in worship. We can come to Him, knowing that whatever we may think about ourselves, our Father loves us deeply and welcomes us graciously. He blesses us with more than just ‘crumbs’
Father, may we be still now and able to know without any doubt, that you are the Lord God Almighty and our Father whose love is beyond description. May this time of worship be special, holy, heart-warming. May we know the peace only you can give, and will you help us to receive your word that will guide us in right ways. Amen.
The following song might help us to open our hearts and minds as we focus on Him.
Let our praise to You be as incense Let our praise to You be as pillars of Your throne. Let our praise to You be as incense As we come before You and worship You alone. As we see You in Your splendour As we gaze upon Your majesty As we join the host of angels And proclaim together Your holiness. Holy, Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord Holy, Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord
Elijah was a great figure in the history of God’s people. God used him in remarkable ways, but Elijah was not immune from the ups and downs of life. On one occasion he was possibly not feeling like worshipping. He was deeply dispirited and fearful, but then something wonderful happened.
Reading: 1 Kings 19: 11-12
The LORD said (to Elijah), ‘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.
As we pray, let us also listen for that gentle whisper.
Most merciful God, from you comes every good and perfect gift. We give you thanks for all your mercies. Your goodness has created us, your bounty has sustained us, your discipline has chastened us, your patience has borne with us, your love has redeemed us. Give us a heart to love and serve you, that we may show our thankfulness for all your goodness and mercy by giving up ourselves to your service, and submitting in all things to your perfect will. Pause to remember and give thanks for ways you have been blessed. Thank you, Father. Amen
Be encouraged by the words of this next song
Men of faith rise up and sing Of the great and glorious King You are strong when you feel weak In your brokenness complete. Shout to the north and the south Sing to the east and the west Jesus is Saviour to all Lord of heaven and earth. Rise up women of the truth Stand and sing to broken hearts Who can know the healing power Of our awesome King of love. Shout to the north and the south…
We’ve been through fire, we’ve been through rain We’ve been refined by the power of His name We’ve fallen deeper in love with You You’ve burned the truth on our lips. Rise up church with broken wings; Fill this place with songs again, Of our God who reigns on high; By His grace again we’ll fly. Shout to the north and the south…
The song writer describes Jesus as ‘Saviour to all, Lord of heaven and earth’. The Apostle Paul described Him as follows.
Reading: Colossians 1:15-20
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
It is because of Jesus and through Jesus that when we pray, we are not just talking to ourselves. The One who knows us and understands us, is here. Reading prayers can help us say what we feel, but it’s speaking from the heart that matters.
Father, the giver of life, you have promised to be with us every day, peaceful or difficult, in good times and bad. Will you grant us clarity in our thinking, strength in our working, rest as we sleep and peace in our hearts. Be with those who need help and help us to see what we can offer from your love. Pause to remember and share with God the people and concerns that are on you heart. 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.
Some encouragement to keep on praying, especially if limited in activity, comes in this little poem by Elizabeth Rooney.
I stay at home, cannot go out, but all my prayers go round about. This one is blessed, that one is healed. What God will do is not revealed to me. I just stay at home and pray. God does the rest in His own way.
Reflection – The long and the short of it
There is something odd that a long word, abbreviations, (with 13 letters) is used to describe the result of making other words short. We use abbreviations all the time, e.g. 9.00am, Sun 11th Oct. How many was that? Sometimes we shorten words to single letters. Invitations may include RSVP. Years ago, a letter to a sweetheart might have ended with SWALK. In modern times text messages have encouraged even more shortening and not uncommon is the use of OMG. The expression ‘Oh my God’ is also frequently spoken aloud. Its use prompts some questions. Who or what is the speaker’s god? Is OMG a cry of surprise or of thankfulness? Is it a cry for help? A long time ago in the story of God’s chosen people, the name of God was thought too holy to say or to write. In Hebrew writings the characters used for this were Vowels were not used. The English equivalents of these symbols are YHWH and, by adding some vowels, YAHWEH became the ‘long’ name for God. Knowing a short or long name for God is one thing; knowing God Himself is much more important. To know God, as Paul was saying in the letter to the Colossians, get to know Jesus, because ‘the Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.’ (Cols 1:15)
Let us not cut Him short. Let us not think too little of Him and underestimate what is possible in Him. Think big of Jesus. And if we use the expression OMG, let us use it with due reverence and knowledge of the one who is our God.
Praise of God should not and cannot be shortened. At any one time somebody, somewhere in this world and certainly in the realms of heaven, is giving glory to God. That’s the theme of this final song.
Glory be to God the Father, Glory be to God the Son, Glory be to God the Spirit, Great Jehovah three in One. Glory, glory. Glory, glory While eternal ages run. Glory be to Him who loved us, Washed us from each spot and stain. Glory be to Him who bought us, Made us kings with Him to reign. Glory, glory. Glory, glory To the Lamb that once was slain. Glory to the King of Angels, Glory to the Church’s King. Glory to the King of nations, Heaven and earth your praises bring. Glory, glory. Glory, glory To the King of Glory bring. Glory blessing praise eternal, Thus the choir of angels sings. Honour riches power dominion, Thus its praise creation brings. Glory, glory. Glory, glory Glory to the King of Kings
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. Amen.