Worship at Home
Worship for 5th July 2020
“Yoke of Oxen” flickr photo by Just chaos https://flickr.com/photos/7326810@N08/8192442354 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
Sunday 5th July 10:30 AM
(or whenever you wish)
This week we return to the set readings from the lectionary. We welcome Jenny Brooks to lead us.
Let’s settle our hearts & minds to worship.
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“He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do and to love kindness
and to walk humbly with your God?”
(Micah chapter 6 v 8 NRSV)
StF 161: Speak, O Lord
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your holy word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
All Your purposes, for Your glory.
Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of power that can never fail;
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.
Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
As the earth is filled with Your glory.
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
touch this day with your presence,
this worship with your love.
Speak to us, that we may speak for you.
Live in us, that we may live for you.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
16 ‘To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the market-places and calling out to others:
17 ‘“We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.”
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He has a demon.” 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.’
The Father revealed in the Son
25 At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
27 ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28 ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
I want to focus on the last 4 verses of this reading. They are profound and important to us. Matthew tells us in chapter 3 of his gospel , after Jesus baptism by John, that the Spirit of God comes down like a dove and says that “this is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased”, this gives us an acknowledgement of Jesus relationship with God. Through the next 8 chapters, when Matthew gives us the teachings of Jesus and the sending out for mission of the disciples as well as some healing miracles, this relationship is implicit in all that Jesus says and does. Chapter 11 feels like it has a different tone; Jesus sounds reflective – he praises John the Baptist and criticises some places that are unrepentant, wonders about “this generation” being like children arguing in the market place. Then he speaks the words we hear in this reading; he again claims the role of Son of God, followed immediately with an invitation to everyone – because who doesn’t feel weary and carrying a heavy burden? If we learn from Jesus, take on His “yoke”, we will find rest for our souls.
The image of a yoke would be familiar to those listening to Jesus, it is a shaped wooden bar used to link oxen together so that they can more effectively pull heavy loads. Jesus was a carpenter, he would know all about the need to make a yoke that fitted the animal, so that it was not painful , or caused broken skin and the oxen could make the most of its strength. Yoke was also commonly used as a metaphor for the religious law, which had become burdensome, especially for the poor. Their lives felt restricted and they were sometimes expected to give goods and money, that pushed them further into poverty
Jesus seems to be telling his followers and that includes us, that life is not without work and effort, but that Jesus discipline is ultimately about love and whilst that is very difficult to achieve in human terms, the grace of God available and sufficient for us all.
What strikes me particularly about these few verses is that a yoke is not for one animal, but 2 or more. Whatever we do as an individual Christian, we need to give consideration to each other within that community, be prepared to travel together, listen and work alongside each other.
Not being able to meet face to face during the last 3 months has lead me to reflect on what is really important to me in my faith journey, I’m sure many of you will have done the same. Perhaps as restrictions begin to lift, we need to continue to reflect on what is essential to our faith and church community and what might be a burden that we can lay down.
Jesus asks the people he is speaking to in Matthews gospel to “learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls” I pray that all of us, together, will be able to learn from Jesus as we follow His way of Love.
Lord Jesus, you call us to be your church.
Not just some of us, all of us –
from different traditions,
with varying patterns of worship
and contrasting doctrines;
but sharing the same faith,
Serving the same Lord.
Worshipping the same God.
We cannot pretend
that there is nothing that divides us,
but we know there is much more
that unites us.
We know that you want us all to witness to your love, by the love we have for one another.
Help us to hear your word,
respond to your Spirit,
become the people you would have us be
and reflect your love out into all the world.
The Lord's Prayer
Please use the version that you prefer
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.
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.
Save us from the time of trial
And deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours
Now and for ever.
StF443: Come let us sing of a wonderful love
Come, let us sing of a wonderful love,
Tender and true;
Out of the heart of the Father above,
Streaming to me and to you:
Dwells in the heart of the Father above.
Jesus, the Saviour, this gospel to tell,
Came with the helpless and hopeless to dwell,
Sharing their sorrow and shame;
Seeking the lost,
Saving, redeeming at measureless cost.
Jesus is seeking the wanderers yet;
Why do they roam?
Love only waits to forgive and forget;
Home, weary wanderer, home!
Dwells in the heart of the Father above.
Come to my heart, O Thou wonderful love,
Come and abide,
Lifting my life, till it rises above
Envy and falsehood and pride,
Seeking to be
Lowly and humble, a learner of Thee.
The God who called us here
Is sending us out,
To turn words into deeds,
Worship into service
and vision into reality.
If you have missed hearing the sound of a pipe organ after worship, click on the play button below to listen to
Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring
Park Avenue's current God Spot
Order of Service & Reflection by Jenny Brooks -Local Preacher
All prayers from “2000 prayers for public worship” by Nick Fawcett
Leaflet formatting – Rev’d Phil Snelson
Webpage – Paul Deakin