Home Service 8

Home Service: Sunday 3 May 2020

To be used in conjunction with this weeks Read Mark, Learn – 2020-05-03 RML Honesty Avenged

3rd May FlowersCall to worship
Let us hear the words of the Psalmist
Psalm 95:6-7
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

As we ‘bow down in worship’ whether physically or in attitude and spirit, we might make this prayer our own –
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name through Christ, our Lord.

‘Almighty God’ we know to be our Abba, Father and we ‘magnify’ Him in our songs of worship. Perhaps Matt Redman’s song will help us to do this.
Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m378TG0DSA
Let everything that, everything that,
everything that has breath praise the Lord
Praise You in the morning, praise You in the evening.
Praise You when I’m young and when I’m old.
Praise You when I’m laughing, praise You when I’m grieving.
Praise You every season of the soul.
If we could see how much You’re worth,
Your power, Your might, Your endless love,
Then surely we would never cease to praise.

Praise You in the heavens. Join with the angels
Praising You forever and a day.
Praise You on the earth now, joining with creation
Calling all the nations to Your praise.
If they could see how much You’re worth,
Your power, Your might, Your endless love,
Then surely they would never cease to praise.

Home Service 8 (1)Since the early centuries of Church life, Christians have written poems with the purpose of glorifying God. Some very early texts are still used in worship today. One such is the “Te Deum” (to Thee God). This reminds us the greatness of God who is beyond all confines of time and space and any limitations we may imagine.

Reading: Te Deum
We praise you, O God, we acclaim you as the Lord; all creation worships you, the Father everlasting. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all praise, the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide. You, Christ, are the King of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you took our flesh to set us free you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

We give thanks to God for who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus
Almighty God. Our Father in heaven, help us to be still, to know without doubt, that we are your children and not one thing can separate us from your love. Thank you, Father for …      Amen.

We celebrate God’s goodness with another of Graham Kendrick’s songs

Give Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tpxz1wUVS7U
Far and near hear the call.
Worship Him, Lord of all.
Families of nations come
Celebrate what God has done.
Deep and wide is the love
Heaven sent from above.
God’s own Son, for sinners died
Calls again, He is alive.
Say it loud, say it strong.
Tell the world what God has done.
Say it loud, Praise His name.
Let the earth rejoice; The Lord reigns.
At His name, let praise begin.
Oceans roar, nature sings,
For He comes to judge the earth
In righteousness and His truth.
Say it loud, say it strong.
Tell the world what God has done.
Say it loud, Praise His name.
Let the earth rejoice The Lord reigns.

Being deprived of liberty is something Christians have endured for various reasons down the ages. Sometimes remarkable events occurred during these times. The following is part of the story of Paul and Silas spreading the Gospel in the city of Philippi.

Reading: Acts 16:23-34
After a severe beating, they (Paul and Silas) were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to lock them up tight. Upon receiving this order, the jailer threw them into the inner cell and fastened their feet between heavy blocks of wood. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a violent earthquake, which shook the prison to its foundations. At once all the doors opened, and the chains fell off all the prisoners.
The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he thought that the prisoners had escaped; so he pulled out his sword and was about to kill himself. But Paul shouted at the top of his voice, “Don’t harm yourself We are all here!” The jailer called for a light, rushed in, and fell trembling at the feet of Paul and Silas. Then he led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your family.” Then they preached the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in the house. At that very hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; and he and all his family were baptized at once. Then he took Paul and Silas up into his house and gave them some food to eat. He and his family were filled with joy, because they now believed in God.

For some, our present experience may feel like captivity and life may be dark as
midnight. Let us share our cares and hopes with our Father.
Father we bring to you now …. …Father, in Your mercy, hear my prayer. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Home Service 8 (3)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 – Locked down but not out.
Home Service 8 (4)In February 2019 Rev. Kao Chun-ming died at the age of 89. His was an eventful life. Born in 1929, in what we know as Taiwan, he described himself as a wilful child who hated going to church and studying. He came to see things differently after attending night school in Japan, where students from less fortunate backgrounds worked to earn a living by day and studied by night. Witnessing the carnage after the allied forces bombed Japan in World War II, he experienced a spiritual awakening and decided to attend a seminary and then enter ministry.A life-long Taiwan independence advocate, it was said of him “he was a guiding light for Taiwanese democracy and his courage will be remembered forever, as the bush that burned and was not consumed” In the late 1970’s, during the ‘White Terror’ era, Kao became a fugitive because of his activities. Arrested in April 1980, he was sentenced to seven years in prison. During that time of incarceration, he wrote words that have become a source of hope to many who feel locked in and uncertain. I asked the Lord for a bunch of fresh flowers, but instead he gave me an ugly cactus with many thorns. I asked the Lord for some beautiful butterflies, but instead he gave me many ugly and dreadful worms. I was threatened, I was disappointed. I mourned. But after many days, suddenly, I saw the cactus bloom with many beautiful flowers. And those worms became beautiful butterflies flying in the Spring wind.

God’s way is the best way. God surprised Paul and Silas in their prison. He appears to have surprised Kao Chun-ming in his. What surprises does He have in store for us in our time of ‘lockdown’?

Whether we are enjoying liberty or enduring confinement, the words of this old
hymn still have things to teach us.
Praise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wE2P8oMrj3E
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Trust and obey…
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown nor a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
Trust and obey…
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favour He shows and the joy He bestows,
Are for those who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey…
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Trust and obey…

A blessing
May the grace of God the Father grant us peace. May the love of Jesus bring us wholeness. May the breath of Holy Spirit give us life, that we ma love and serve our God
this day and every day. Amen