Home Service: Sunday 7 February 2021
The theme for this week’s Home Service is ‘Jesus the Bread of Life and the True Vine’. These thoughts reflect the fact that today would have been a Communion service.
Song: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation. O my soul, praise Him for He is thy health and salvation. All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near. Praise Him in glad adoration. Praise to the Lord Who o’er all things so wonderfully reigneth. Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gladly sustaineth. Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been Granted in what He ordaineth. Praise to the Lord Who doth prosper they work and defend thee. Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do If with His love He befriend thee. Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him. All that hath life and breath come now with praises before Him. Let the ‘Amen’ sound from His people again. Gladly for aye we adore Him.
Reading: John 6:31-37
Jesus compares Himself to bread which satisfies.
The Jews had asked Jesus about the manna which had fed the Israelites in the wilderness in the time of Moses. “Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, just as the scripture says, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ I am telling you the truth,” Jesus said. “What Moses gave you was not the bread from heaven; it is my Father who gives you the real bread from heaven. For the bread that God gives is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they asked him, “give us this bread always.” “I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “Those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never be thirsty. Now, I told you that you have seen me but will not believe. Everyone whom my Father gives me will come to me. I will never turn away anyone who comes to me,
Song: I am the Bread of Life.
I am the Bread of life, He who comes to Me shall not hunger, He who believes in Me shall not thirst. No one can come to Me unless the Father draw him. And I will raise him up, And I will raise him up, And I will raise him up on the last day. The bread that I will give Is My flesh for the life of the world, And he who eats of this bread, He shall live for ever. He shall live for ever. Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man And drink of His blood, And drink of His blood, You shall not have life within you. I am the Resurrection, I am the Life, He who believes in Me Even if he die, he shall live for ever. Yes, Lord, we believe That You are the Christ, The Son of God Who has come into the world.
Bread is considered a staple of our diet. Even Jesus recognised how important bread is to us that He included the request in the Lord’s prayer. Let us pray this prayer now.
Let’s continue in prayer for some moments. As we pray, let us remember especially those who are ill and those struggling with the isolation of lockdown. Let us also remember those who serve in the NHS as they cope with so much in these days when the virus is still spreading, and they are exhausted.
At the Last Supper Jesus told the disciples to take and eat of the bread in remembrance of Him and to drink the wine to remember that He had shed his blood for them to be forgiven.
Reading: John 6:53-59
Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in yourselves. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them to life on the last day. For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them. The living Father sent me, and because of him I live also. In the same way whoever eats me will live because of me. This, then, is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread that your ancestors ate, but then later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.” Jesus said this as he taught in the synagogue in Capernaum.
As gardeners know, plants must be pruned to get the best from them. Careful pruning maximises the yield of flowers and fruit. Old and dead wood must be cut out to allow a good flow of air through the tree to prevent disease spreading. You may know that we have a fig tree in our garden. In fact, there were two, but one was in a corner between a shed and a corner of the wall. The fruits went mouldy very quickly because there was no air flow through the tree, so this year Selwyn cut it down; severe pruning! The good tree in the front garden grows well and produces lots of fruit but still needs to be pruned to remove diseased and crossed branches. Jesus went on to teach about the Gardener, God, and His tending of the Vine.
Reading: John 15:1-10
“I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you. Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
What is the fruit Jesus wants to see in our lives? “But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while 6 waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, selfcontrol. Against such things there is no law. “ (Galatians 5:22, Amplified Bible) Anything in our lives which does not produce this type of fruit, bad habits, unloving attitudes, being grumpy, dishonesty and not telling the truth must be “pruned”.
Our final song expresses our wish to show fruit in serving others.
Song: Brother, sister, let me serve you
Brother, sister, let me serve you. Let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too. We are pilgrims on a journey. We are family on the road. We are here to help each other walk the miles and bear the load. I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear; I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear. I will weep when you are weeping. When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you. I will share your joys and sorrows till we’ve seen this journey through When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, Born of all we’ve known together of Christ’s love and agony. Brother, sister, let me serve you. Let me be as Christ to you. Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.
May God the Father prepare your journey; Jesus the Son guide your footsteps; the Spirit of Life strengthen your body, the Three in One watch over you on every road that you may follow. Amen