Worship at Home
Worship for the week beginning 26th June 2022
To listen to the sermon and a hymn dial
Sunday 26th June
Local Preacher John Atkin has prepared this week’s message.
This short act of worship is for use from home. Please use this service whenever you like during the week.
Pause to settle yourself in God’s presence, knowing that other people are sharing in worship with you.
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© ROOTS for Churches Ltd www.rootsontheweb.com. Reproduced with permission.
Prayer of Approach:
Loving God, through your Holy Spirit,
Let our hearts be glad and our tongues rejoice. When we walk in companionship with the Lord we are filled with joy in his presence.
Let us praise the Lord.
From Heaven you came (SF 272)
From Heaven, You came helpless babe,
Entered our world, your glory veiled,
Not to be served but to serve,
And give Your life that we might live.
This is our God, The Servant King,
He calls us now to follow Him,
To bring our lives as a daily offering,
Of worship to The Servant King,
There in the garden of tears
My heavy load he chose to bear;
His heart with sorrow was torn,
“Yet not My will but yours”, he said.
Come see His hands and His feet,
The scars that speak of sacrifice,
Hands that flung stars into space,
To cruel nails surrendered.
So let us learn how to serve
And in our lives enthrone Him,
Each other’s needs to prefer,
For it is Christ we’re serving.
Prayer Confession and Thanksgiving:
Following you, Jesus, does not guarantee an easy life. There are challenges and obstacles as the sinful life constantly fights with our Spirit-filled life. We are sorry when our human condition takes over and we fight using our own efforts. We’re sorry for the times we retaliate when others are hurtful to us.
We’re sorry for relying on our own ideas and neglecting the wisdom of the Spirit’s guidance. We’re sorry for all the excuses we offer to get out of things you ask us to do.
We’re sorry for letting you down, for our complacency. We know some things can’t wait. And that you call for action.
Forgive us, Lord.
Help us to centre our life on you,
heeding the urgency of your call.
Some things can’t wait. Such as the need of people in this world to acknowledge and follow you, Lord. For who knows when you will return? We give abundant thanks for everyone to whom you give the cloak of evangelism and leadership.
Our hearts overflow with thanks and praise: for our own salvation; for all who played their part in leading us to faith and nurturing us on our walk in freedom; and that we are no longer drifting in hopelessness, but secure in you.
Your Holy Spirit leads us with incomparable power, strength and wisdom. And our heart’s desire to follow where you lead, with the fruit of the Spirit ripening within us. You have the power, Lord, to change our attitudes and our priorities. Our hearts are full of thanks and praise for the joy we know in you and the inheritance that can never be taken from us.
Lord, we pray for others to know the same.
51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’ 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them. 56 Then he and his disciples went to another village.
The cost of following Jesus
57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’
58 Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.’
59 He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’
But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’
60 Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’
61 Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’
62 Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’
Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Time to Reflect
Luke’s Gospel in chapter 9 verse 51 reaches a major turning point. After Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah earlier in the chapter and the subsequent revelation on the mountain of Transfiguration, Jesus is determined to go to Jerusalem by the quickest way. Through Samaria
The Samaritans, through whose villages he must pass, refuse to welcome a Jewish pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem whose status as a holy place they reject. Jesus will not allow the Jews’ traditional enemies to be consumed by heavenly fire. Here his disciples must learn to set aside age-old prejudices, so that they can appreciate the importance of being open to the faith of others, even those they despise. Soon Jesus will tell of a travelling Samaritan whose compassion provides ample evidence of their neighbourliness. And later on in the journey, Jesus will heal a group of lepers, and the only one to bother thanking him will be a Samaritan.
As I read this passage of Scripture, I ask myself what does Jesus want from us. He wants us to be dedicated to him, not half-hearted commitment, coming up with excuses. If you use a search engine on the internet, you can find wonderful web pages such as ‘23 great excuses to avoid doing anything important’, or ‘19 excuses that are keeping you stuck’. Many of the suggestions will be familiar to us: ‘I don’t have time’; ‘I am not qualified’; ‘I don’t have the right equipment’. Some are just weird – for example: ‘I have to give the hamster a good washing’; or ‘I don’t go out on days that end with the letters ‘y’’. Excuses can be great to use, but they are not so great if you are on the receiving end. We may enjoy putting things off, but we don’t enjoy it when other people delay doing what we want done… now.
In Luke 9 we read of two people making excuses to Jesus. One says he has to go and bury his father, while another wants to say his farewells to family and friends. Were they excuses or were they reasons? It may be that, in the particular circumstances of each case, Jesus knew that they were being unreasonable and that what they presented as an acceptable reason was actually simply a delaying tactic. Jesus’ response is quick and clear. He will take no excuses. He appears to be saying ‘Follow me now or not at all.’ Sometimes an excuse conceals the truth that is ‘I will do this when I have nothing better to do’ or ‘I am going to put this at or near the bottom of my to do list.’
Do you make ‘to do’ lists? Do you write things on a list and cross them off when they are done? Some say you should always put a couple of things on a to do list that you are about to do, and that don’t take long, because that means you will cross them off quickly and it will boost your morale. But why do we put things off? Is it because other things are more important, or because we just don’t want to do them? How would it feel if we put ‘Follow Jesus today’ at the top of every to do list? What would that look like in practice?
It helps if we understand Jesus’ urgency as being motivated by the need for prioritisation. Following Jesus should be a priority. It is too important to be put off. As a priority it demands a sense of urgency and a sense of focus. Jesus encourages his listeners to look to the future, to the kingdom that is to come rather than the past as represented by the dead or those who are being left behind. If the person ploughing does not focus on looking ahead, they are not concentrating and being a follower of Jesus requires at times total concentration. Followers of Jesus should be like those who plough well: with a focused attention, with eyes fixed on what is both important and urgent. Everything else is a distraction.
Prayers for others
Loving God, we pray for those who have difficult decisions to make today: at home, at school, at work, in the community, in government. Holy Spirit, help them.
We pray for those suffering the consequences of bad choices: those in prison, those burdened with guilt, those consumed by regret…Holy Spirit, help them.
We pray for those whose decisions are made for them: the unwell, the elderly, those in places of oppression…Holy Spirit, help them.
We pray for those who are paralysed by indecision: the stressed, the fearful, those whose circumstances keep changing…
Holy Spirit, help them.
We pray for those who, at this moment, are making desperate choices:
whether to flee their homes, whether to go on living, whether to tell the truth…
Holy Spirit help them – and us.
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.
Jesus calls us! O’er the tumult (StF 250)
Jesus calls us o’er the tumult
of our life’s wild, restless sea;
day by day his voice sounding,
saying, “Christian, follow me!”
As of old the apostles heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home and toil and kindred,
leaving all for his dear sake.
Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, “Christian, love me more!”
In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
“Christian, love me more than these!”
Jesus calls us! By thy mercies,
Saviour, may we hear your call,
give our hearts to your obedience,
serve and love you best of all.
May God grant us the wisdom to know what is important.
May God guide us to act, to do what is urgent.
May God help us to know the one we follow better each day.
May God help us to be people who don’t always look back.
May God help us always to be faithful and true.
Justice, Dignity & Solidarity Group
Please watch this short video which introduces the new Justice Dignity & Solidarity Group in the Northampton District
Service prepared by John Atkin
Webpage: Paul Deakin