Home Worship 3rd April

Service for Worship at Home, Sunday  3rd April 2022

A gathering prayer

Wonderful God,
thank you for the sensations of sacred breath, your miraculous gift of life to each one of us.
I lift my heart to you. My soul sings with joy. May I know your presence in all my challenges, and may my thankfulness pour out of my life.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A prayer of approach

Giving God,
no money can buy your love,
no words can adequately express my thanks, no actions can fully demonstrate my gratitude.
But as I sing, as I pray, as I listen to your Word, I offer you my best,
and celebrate your presence with me
now and each moment of every day. Amen.

Hymn: Singing the Faith 520

Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart
And a discerning mind;
Give, as I play the Christian’s part,
The strength to finish what I start
And act on what I find.

When, in the rush of days, my will
Is habit-bound and slow,
Help me to keep in vision, still,
What love and power and peace can fill
A life that trusts in you
By your divine and urgent claim,

And by your human face,
Kindle our sinking hearts to flame,
And as you teach the world your name
Let it become your place.
Jesus, with all your church I long

To see your kingdom come;
Show me your way of righting wrong
And turning sorrow into song
Until you bring me home.

Caryl Micklem (1925 – )

A prayer of adoration

Creator God, loving Saviour, living Spirit,
I celebrate your generosity in receiving all that I would give you.
I rejoice in your generosity as you pour out your blessing on all you have made.
I commit myself to reflecting your generosity in my life, by giving the best of all I have and are wherever there is need. Amen.

Bible reading: John 12.1-8

12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, the man he had raised from death. 2 They prepared a dinner for him there, which Martha helped serve; Lazarus was one of those who were sitting at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took a whole pint of a very expensive perfume made of pure nard, poured it on Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The sweet smell of the perfume filled the whole house. One of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot—the one who was going to betray him—said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor?” 6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would help himself from it.

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone! Let her keep what she has for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have poor people with you, but you will not always have me.”

About this Bible passage:

This is one of those stories that can be overlaid and obscured by all manner of applications. For instance, it has been used as a justification for not addressing injustice, by saying: ‘Jesus said that the poor will be always with us, so that’s just a fact of life that we cannot change’. It has also been used as a justification for grand church buildings: ‘Jesus was pleased when the perfume was lavished on him, so he must be pleased when we spend our money on this silver or oak to show how much we love him’. These applications sometimes feel so compelling that we can find ourselves siding with Judas and wanting to object – why was this not sold and the money given to the poor? Why do we have to cope with this irrational and troublesome action?

Perhaps one place to start is to see this as a specific story, happening at a specific time, not a general piece of teaching about wealth. When Jesus says, ‘Leave her alone’ (v.7), perhaps he means exactly that: stop bullying her, and recognise her gift of love as I do. This is not a theoretical discussion of what to do with wealth, it is a moment of inarticulate, lavish, embarrassing love; the action of a woman whose devotion overrides her sense of propriety. The cost of the perfume is hard to estimate in today’s money, but if we take the fact that a denarius is referred to as a day’s wage for a labourer (cf. Matthew 20.2; John 12.5), then 300 denarii is close to a year’s salary at a basic level – a massively extravagant ointment to pour out! Like the pearl merchant who sells everything to buy one pearl, and like the Pharisee who gives up his career, Mary of Bethany gives her all.

Hymn: Singing The Faith 566

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King;
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold;
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart – it is thine own;
It shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At thy feet its treasure-store;
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee.

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-79)

A prayer of confession and an Assurance of forgiveness

Please, forgive me, faithful God,
when I fill the rooms I enter with negativity, not warmth.
Forgive me, and bless me with love like that of Mary.
Forgive me when I justify my reluctance to give and share.
Forgive me, and bless me with love like that of Mary.
Forgive me when I am slow to express gratitude,
and take what I have for granted.
Forgive me, and bless me with love like that of Mary.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Ever-giving God,
I sometimes close my heart to you and to others;
but your heart is always open,
pouring out your grace and love,
filling my life with the fragrance of forgiveness and friendship,
wiping away my fears and regrets,
and receiving the thanks I would offer you.
May the trickle of my praise become a torrent, and may the whole world be filled with your truth.
In Jesus’ name I pray.
Amen.

A prayer of praise and thanksgiving

For the unselfconscious outpouring of Mary’s love:
I praise you!
For the generous receiving of her beautiful gift by Jesus:
I praise you!
For the opportunities we have to give to others:
I praise you!
For friends and family who give to us:
I praise you!
For your love and for the promise of eternal life:
I praise you!
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
I praise you! Amen.

Prayers of intercession

I pray for all who serve their neighbours: remembering those who put their lives at risk in providing emergency services – ambulance, fire brigade, police, coastguard, medical, and others. Uphold and strengthen them, loving Lord.
I pray for all who serve their neighbours: remembering those so often taken for granted – those working in shops, cafes and restaurants. May they know that they are honoured and valued, generous God.
I pray for all who serve their neighbours: remembering those who travel overseas to work for aid agencies and charities. Give them wisdom and compassion, gracious God.
I pray for all who serve their neighbours: remembering those whom you call to serve you in the Church. May they be sustained by your unending love, anointing Lord.
Hear my prayers, in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Hymn: Singing the Faith 94

To God be the glory, great things he has done!
So loved he the world that he gave us his Son,
Who yielded his life in atonement for sin,
And opened the life-gate that all may go in:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son;
And give him the glory – great things he has done!

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God!
And every offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son;
And give him the glory – great things he has done!

Great things he has taught us, great things he has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our rapture, when Jesus we see:

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the earth hear his voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son;
And give him the glory – great things he has done!

A sending out prayer

Amazing God,
we are so thankful for the gift of being alive!
May our thankfulness to you pour out in our actions,
in our choices, in our dealings with other people,
in all that we do. Amen.