Worship at Home

Worship for 17th May 2020

A short act of worship for Ascension Day (Thursday 21st May) will be published here on Tuesday.

Sunday 17th May 10:30 AM

(or whenever you wish)

This week’s message has been prepared by Deacon Richard Beckett.

This short act of worship is for use while we are unable to attend church.  Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.

Download the Service Sheet
Download the Family Activities

Opening Prayer

Spirit of truth, come close to us.
Unite us into the body of Christ.
Enable us to worship God in Spirit and in truth.
Help us to support and encourage each other.
Help us to love as we are loved.
Spirit of truth, come and abide in us.
Amen.

Hymn: (StF 503) Love Divine

Sing / read / pray / proclaim the words or join in with it here:

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down,
Fix in us thy humble dwelling,
All thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesu, thou art all compassion
Pure, unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
Into every troubled breast,
Let us all in thee inherit,
Let us find that second rest;
Take away our power of sinning,
Alpha and Omega be,
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty

Come, almighty to deliver,
Let us all thy grace receive;
Suddenly return, and never,
Never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray, and praise thee, without ceasing,
Glory in thy perfect love.

Finish then thy new creation,
Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see thy great salvation,
Perfectly restored in thee:
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
8 7 8 7 Trochaic 

A Prayer of Praise and thanksgiving:

Loving God, You make yourself known to us, and you are present in our lives even though we do not always recognise or acknowledge you.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God.
You do not leave us orphaned,
but embrace us with parental love that encourages and comforts us.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God.

You ensure that we are not alone
by filling us with your Spirit of truth, that inspires and empowers us.
For all that you are, we thank you, loving God.

Amen

A prayer of confession

God of love, we are sorry
that at times our love for you falters;
that we have wrong priorities;
that we overlook your guidance.
O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.

Loving Saviour, we are sorry
that we disobey your commandments;
that we fail to love;
that we walk by on the other side.
O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.

Spirit of truth, we are sorry
that we disregard your presence;
that our thoughts and feelings are unrighteous;
that we follow the world’s way.
O God, forgive us. O God, renew us.

May your presence abiding in us lead us in the right way, in the name of Jesus.
Amen.

Bible Reading

Acts 17:22-31 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship – and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 ‘The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 “For in him we live and move and have our being.” As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.”

29 ‘Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.’

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Click on the orange Play button to listen to David Suchet read this passage.

Hymn: Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me (STF 395)

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Daniel Iverson (1890-1977)

Bible Reading

John 14:15-21 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
Jesus promises the Holy Spirit

15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Click on the orange Play button to listen to David Suchet read this passage.

Richard reflects:

I think Thomas’ initial response when Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them was a practical one. “Lord we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? (John 14:5)

And in the rest of the chapter from v15 on, Jesus assures his followers that when he goes away – the Spirit will be with them.

There is no doubt that at this point, the disciples are in a state of huge consternation and deeply disturbed.

So Jesus is talking to a group of people who:

Have left everything to follow Jesus only now to be told that he is leaving them;

Will be even more disturbed by events in a few short hours when the crucifixion of Jesus is done and they are dealing with the grief that follows;

Are crushed by the news that Jesus will no longer to be with them physically and will never again know the warm companionship of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

We have not known Jesus’ presence with us physically in the same way as the Disciples had so when Jesus says to his followers “I will not leave you orphaned” (Verse 18) what resonance does that have for us?

It’s very easy at the moment to see everything in the context of the current Coronavirus crisis. It’s unavoidable and we have to find some sort of coping mechanism. At the beginning of this last week I found it really helpful to write down some of my feelings: I wrote: Frustrated, restricted, uncertain, and grieving for what (and who) has been lost, anxious…

In the light of those feelings we can easily relate to Jesus’ reassuring words about not being left on our own. (Orphaned or abandoned as some translations put it) and we can live full in the knowledge that the promise of the Holy Spirit is for us in times like these.

The promise of the Holy Spirit brought hope and comfort to the disciples in their confusion and pain, as it does to us but let’s not limit the Holy Spirit’s power just to that of comforter because this is the same Spirit which inspired and guided Paul to stand and preach in front of the Jewish council; the same Spirit which reveals the meaning of scripture; reveals truth; empowers in mission and brings the gift of new birth and renewal.

Prayer:

Gracious God, in some ways we are ‘Post Pentecost people’: those who live after the age in which your Spirit was given.

So we forget what it’s like to be anticipating, expectant, excited because your Spirit is given for every age.

Instead we are fearful, anxious and worried and need your Spirit to be comforter, advocate and friend.

So remind us again that in times like the present, we also need your Spirit to move among your people called church, to challenge, disturb, renew and refresh us.            

Amen

Praying and reflecting further on the passage
Open your Bible again at John 14.15-21

Take some time to dwell on the statements of Jesus in the passage:

“If you love me, you will keep my  commandments.” (v15)

Pray: Gracious God you revealed yourself to us in Jesus so that with our minds, bodies and hearts we can respond in love to love you more. Then may our natural response be to keep your commandments to love and care for others and for ourselves.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever.” (v16)

Pray: Generous God your gift is everlasting but we hold before you those things which seem to halt the flow of the Spirit such as disease, famine, inequality, abuse and all things which limit your purposes.
May your Spirit be active amongst us and all who seek to bring healing, sustenance, justice and care.

“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you” (v18)

Pray: Loving God, Jesus promised that his followers would not be abandoned but there are many in our world who feel this way. Help us to be channels of your Spirit to those who feel alone and without support. We give thanks for the work of Christian Aid and other charities supporting children.

We pray that as we seek to be part of your mission the Spirit will break down barriers so that all people
might know of your purposes.

Amen

Bible Reading Repeated for Reference

15 ‘If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you for ever – 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Amen.

Hymn: The Spirit lives to set us free (StF 397)

The Spirit lives to set us free,
walk, walk in the light.
He binds us all in unity,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

Jesus promised life to all,
walk, walk in the light.
The dead were wakened by his call,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

He died in pain on Calvary,
walk, walk in the light,
to save the lost like you and me,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

We know his death was not the end,
walk, walk in the light.
He gave his Spirit to be our friend,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

By Jesus’ love our wounds are healed,
walk, walk in the light.
The Father’s kindness is revealed,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

The Spirit lives in you and me,
walk, walk in the light.
His light will shine for all to see,
walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light, walk in the light,
walk in the light, walk in the light of the Lord

Damian Lundy (1940–1997)

A Prayer of Blessing

May God the Father bless us;
May Christ take care of us;
May the Holy Spirit enlighten us all the days of our life.
The Lord be our Defender and Keeper of body and soul, both now and for ever, to the end of ages.
Amen.                                                       

(The Book of Cerne, 9th century)

The message and order of service leaflet compiled by Deacon Richard Beckett. Some prayers: Roots for Worship and Singing the Faith Plus.

A short act of worship for Ascension Day (Thursday 21st May) will be published on Tuesday.

You might like to listen to the second episode of our One Voice Podcast which was published last week.