Home Service 42

Home Service for Sunday 27 December 2020 ~ Compiled by Louise Ratcliffe
Put your hand in the hand of God

Prayer
Lord, we come before you this morning, looking forward perhaps to the commencement of a new year, a fresh start, putting the old to one aside. May we put our hand in your hand and walk forward with the assurance that you are walking with us, whatever this new season will bring. We have just celebrated
you coming into this world as a tiny baby, which has changed our lives forever. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen

Song:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art –
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
Thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.
Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Reading: John 1 (Good News Translation)
The Word of Life
In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life and this life brought light to people. The light shines in the
darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. God sent his messenger, a man named John, who came to tell
people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. This was the real light—the light that comes into the world and shines on all people.
The Word was in the world, and though God made the world through him, yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own country, but his own people did not receive him. Some, however, did receive him and believed in him; so he gave them the right to become God’s children. They did not become God’s children by natural means, that is, by being born as the children of a human father; God himself was their Father.
The Word became a human being and, full of grace and truth, lived among us. We saw his glory, the glory which he received as the Father’s only Son. John spoke about him. He cried out, “This is the one I was
talking about when I said, ‘He comes after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’” Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. God gave the Law through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is the same as God and is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

Thought
Jesus is God’s message to the world. God’s message, Jesus was human flesh, bone, and blood. God’s message, Jesus came and lived among us. He faced our hardship, got our dirt between his toes, felt our disappointments, struggled with our temptations, suffered our treachery, and bled our blood. Yet living in our world, God’s message, Jesus brought us more than truth; he delivered us from death by God’s grace.

Song:

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

Thought
2020 has been a year full of tribulations and trials for many of us but it’s been incredible to see how we as the body of Christ have swung into action, loving each another, using gifts and resources to serve one another and God, contributing to meeting others’ needs, drawing alongside those who are weeping and struggling. And crucially, pointing people to true and lasting hope, joy and peace that can be found in Jesus, reasons to rejoice that remain regardless of the challenges we face. We pray for each and every one who is grieving or struggling at this time, we ask God to comfort and sustain. We pray that no matter what life is looking like at the moment, that you are able to take time, and focus on the birth of our Saviour and that you will be filled with joy and peace, overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A prayer by Alistair Maclean, from ‘Celtic Daily Prayer.’
Saviour and friend, How wonderful art Thou! My companion along the changeful way.
The comforter of its weariness, my guide to the eternal town, the welcome at its gate.

I have found the lyrics in this next song and the truth within it to be a source of comfort over the last year. Life may not be the way we had thought it would be at the moment, but we can go forward with the
assurance that God is our guide.

Song:

Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and Earth will fade but His word will still remain
And He will do something new today
Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
By a roadway in the wilderness, He’ll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and Earth will fade but His word will still remain
And He will do something new today
Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me
He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way

Reading : Isaiah 43
Israel’s only Saviour
But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Song ‘All the way my Saviour leads me’ by Chris Tomlin

All the way my Saviour leads me
Who have I to ask beside
How could I doubt His tender mercy
Who through life has been my guide
All the way my Saviour leads me
Cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me grace for every trial
Feeds me with the living Bread
You lead me and keep me from falling
You carry me close to Your heart
And surely Your goodness and mercy will follow me
All the way my Saviour leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love
Oh, the sureness of His promise
In the triumph of His blood
And when my spirit clothed immortal
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way
Jesus led me all the way
All the way my Saviour leads me
All the way my Saviour leads me

Reflection
We all pass through rough times, but one thing we can always rely on, is that the Lord will be with us.

When the road is rough and steep Fix your eyes upon Jesus He alone has power to keep Fix your eyes upon him. Jesus is a faithful friend One on whom you can depend He is faithful to the end Fix your eyes upon Him!
What a wonderful promise. If you are climbing a tough path today, keep walking, one step at a time, the view from the top will be worth it! We are not promised an easy life, but we are promised help, strength, light, peace, hope and joy and the presence of the Holy Spirit with us on the way.

New Year – ‘The Opening Door’ from Celtic Daily Prayer
This used to be used as a “first footing” prayer. In Scotland and Northern parts of England, New year is given much importance: folk go from house to house wishing each other a good year ahead and celebrate their good wishes by sharing food and drink. It is often seen as important who should be the first to cross the threshold and” bring in the Year” once midnight has passed.
This song, spoken or sung asks Christ Himself to come and “first foot” for us. The door is opened to welcome him and invite His blessing, whether he comes in silence or in the company of other guests. Will you let Jesus walk with you and be your ultimate guest in your house throughout 2021 and beyond?
This is a new day
This has never been before.
This is a new year,
The opening of a door.
(open the door)
Enter, Lord Christ We have joy in your coming.
You have given us life.
And we welcome your coming.
I turn now to face you.
I lift up my eyes.
Be blessing my face, Lord,
Be blessing my eyes.
May all my eye looks on
Be blessed and bright,
My neighbours, my loved ones
Be blessed in your sight.
You have given us life
And we welcome Your coming.
Be with us, Lord
We have joy, we have joy.
This year is a new year
the opening door.
Be with us Lord,
We have joy, we have joy.

A Prayer for the year ahead.
Dear Heavenly Father, As a new year begins, help us to find space to hear your voice. May we listen and be changed. Help us see beauty in your creation. May we recognise the love that surrounds us. Help us to find peace in the busyness of life. May we rest in you and be renewed. Strengthen us, Lord, to share your love
with the world. Walk with us hand in hand through the next season of life, 2021, whatever it may hold for us. Amen.