Home Worship 3rd July

Service for Worship at Home, Sunday 3rd July 2022

Lectionary readings:

Isaiah 66: 10-14
Psalm 66: 1-9
Galatians 6: (1-6) 7 – 16
Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20

A gathering prayer

Holy, holy, holy Lord, I rejoice in all that you have done. I come to praise you
and to reflect on how I can play my part in your work.
Holy, holy, holy Lord, be with me now –
inspire me, enrich my worship and encourage my mission, in Jesus’ name.

A prayer of approach

I come to this place, this moment in time,
I come to worship you, O God.
I come knowing you and yet seeking to know you more, to offer you my prayers and praises, and to receive your blessing.

Hymn  (StF 364)

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honours of thy name.

Jesus – the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks; and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain;
His soul was once an offering made
That all may heaven gain.

In Christ, our Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel, your sins forgiven,
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Charles Wesley (1707-88)

A prayer of adoration

Creator God, you are my all, you created and crafted me. God of the journey, you are my journey, my aim, my purpose, my goal. God of welcome, you receive each of us, no matter who and what we are.
God of peace, you give me peace, and you call us to be one in you and to share that peace. Amen.

Bible reading: Luke 10.1-11,16-20

10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.
“When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.’
16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

About this Bible passage:

It’s hard to remember when and where we learned to say ‘Bless you’ when somebody sneezes. It’s an automatic reflex reaction for many of us, and I don’t suppose most people think either of God or what ‘bless’ means when they say it. In fact, some people even feel it’s rude not to say ‘bless you’ – whether they believe in God or not. Dr Gail Saltz (a psychiatry professor at a New York medical college) describes it as: ‘An utterance without specific meaning other than a response to a sneeze that is considered to be polite.’ It’s just what you do when someone sneezes. But is that all a blessing is? Is it just an utterance without specific meaning? 

In the same way, most acts of worship end with a blessing of some kind. Is that just a liturgical full stop, words spoken but without any significant impact or meaning? 

Jesus told the 70 that whenever they entered a house the first thing they should say was, ‘Peace to this house.’ Are these empty words? Is this just a fancy way of saying ‘Hi folks’? Clearly it is not, because Jesus goes on to say (Luke 10.6): ‘And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you.’ Jesus describes peace as a unifying facet of our lives. It is as if we each have a portion of peace that we can offer. But this peace can never just hang about in the air. It is either received – and thus enriches the heart of the recipient – or it bounces back to the one who is offering it. God’s Spirit works to enhance the relationship between the one who offers and the one who accepts. 

If you ever have been in a situation of offering to shake a person’s hand and been rejected, you will know that it is an unpleasant and awkward situation to be in. However, in the end you will be at peace with yourself because you stretched out the hand of friendship. You did the right thing even though that which you offered has bounced back, as it were, into your stock. 

Back to sneezing… It is thought that the practice dates back to a time when people believed that a sneeze somehow loosened your soul from the rest of you. It might even have escaped along with the ‘atchoo’. But, by saying ‘bless you’, the soul was restored to its rightful place and the devil was prevented from snatching it away. It’s doubtful that many people would believe that explanation today, whether they believe in God or not, but the idea of blessing someone in response to something physical is interesting. It demonstrates that a blessing is an act of love; it reveals a desire for the other person to be protected, and it is motivated by a hope that they will remain whole. May God bless you.

Hymn (StF 416)

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in his justice
Which is more than liberty.

There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.

There is grace enough for thousands
of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

For the love of God is broader
than the measures of man’s mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

But we make his love too narrow
by false limits of our own;
And we magnify his strictness
With a zeal he will not own.

If our love were but more simple
We should take him at his word;
And our lives would be illumined
By the presence of our Lord.

Frederick William Faber (1814-63)

A prayer of confession and an Assurance of forgiveness

God of blessing and abundance, God of peace and love, you have offered and given me so much, you have revealed so much to me, you have guided and guarded me on our life’s journey,
and yet…I am so often ungrateful.
So often I ignore what has been given.
So often I have failed to see all that you show me. So often I have not sought peace with those around me. So often I have not shared with others your word of love and peace. Forgive me, O God, that your blessings have been squandered,
ignored, misused, abused – by me.
Forgive me, O God, and in the silence of this moment, accept my confession.

Blessed be you, Lord God, for your forgiveness. Blessed be you, Lord God, for your guidance. Blessed be you, Lord God, for your acceptance of me. Blessed be you, Lord God, that I can know my sins, my failings, are forgiven. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Loving God, you call us to bear one another’s burdens, so I seek your discernment in aiding those struggling to stand beneath the ravages of physical and mental ill health. Peace and mercy be upon them.Help me to speak up for the marginalised and the vulnerable burdened by the ever growing onslaught of social media. Peace and mercy be upon them.
Help me to get alongside and bring comfort to those fighting their way through the dark forest of grief. Peace and mercy be upon them.
Lord, with an ever growing population
there is great need of you in the world today. I pray for all those in the field of mission, at home and abroad, particularly for those just stepping out on their journey. Peace and mercy be upon them.May your blessings be poured out to all in need as we journey in step with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

A prayer of praise and thanksgiving

I bless you, Holy God, that you journey with me, that you hold me by the hand and guide me, that you never force me or drag me.
That you accompany me on every step of life’s journey, that you are with me in my waking and my sleeping, that you are with me in stillness and in my doing.
That you are with me in my journeying, my arriving and my departing, that from the moment of my birth to the moment of dying and beyond, you are my God.
I bless you, Holy God, that you journey with me.  Amen.

Hymn  (StF 611)

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I may have the grace
to let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
’til we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you,
let me be as Christ to you;
Pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

                    Richard Gillard (b.1935)

A sending out prayer

Where there is conflict, let there be peace.
Where there is fearfulness, let there be peace.
Where there is anger, let there be peace.
Where there is violence, let there be peace.
May God’s peace rest on our homes
and all who live in them.

Hymns from Singing the Faith
CCCLi 1097839