Home Worship 9th August


Let’s light a candle as we be begin our worship

Call to Worship

Come, let us celebrate the forgiving, reconciling love of God.
For once we were lost and felt so far away;
now we have been found and welcomed home.
Know that God’s love is lavished upon you forever.
We rejoice at the news of forgiveness and hope!
Come, let us celebrate and praise the God of Love.
AMEN!

 Nancy Townley 


Hymn 65

Sing of the Lord’s goodness, Father of all wisdom,
come to him and bless his name.
Mercy he has shown us, his love is for ever,
faithful to the end of days.
 

Come then, all you nations,
sing of your Lord’s goodness,
melodies of praise and thanks to God.
Ring out the Lord’s glory,
praise him with your music,
worship him and bless his name.

2 Power he has wielded, honour is his garment,
risen from the snares of death.
His word he has spoken, one bread he has broken,
new life he now gives to all.

3 Courage in our darkness, comfort in our sorrow,
Spirit of our God most high;
solace for the weary, pardon for the sinner,
splendour of the living God.

4 Praise him with your singing, praise him with the trumpet,
praise God with the lute and harp;
praise him with the cymbals, praise him with your dancing,
praise God till the end of days.

Ernest Sands (b. 1949)


Prayer of praise

Praise God for the Lord who loves
Praise God for the Lord who cares
In the midst of my weakness
When I am lost
Unable to find
Even myself
There is One who seeks
One who finds
Me
The lost
And rejoices in the correction of our folly
Rejoices with the angels
Rejoices with song
Rejoices for us
 And with us
Often before we are aware we are lost

“Isn’t it strange how things happen?”
“It was just one of those days”
“I’ve decided to make a change”

These are the words we use
“Rejoice and be glad,
For that which was lost has been found.”

Dan Grace


Bible Readings

Lamentations 3:20-31

20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” 2The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young. 28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace. 31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.

Luke 15:11-21

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

Reflection

In the early days of Hebrew faith, around the time when they were about to inherit the promised land, it was widely accepted that Yahweh would bless the obedient and punish those who ignored or broke the Law.

There was no perception of eternal life, only a shadowy belief in an underworld they called sheol.
To them, if calamity befell them, it was God’s judgement on them for their sin. God was to be feared and worshipped with trembling. When, as often happened, they were invaded by foreign armies, it was seen as judgement from Yahweh for their sin.

As decades passed, thinkers began to question how it was, that known villains could prosper, and righteous and upright folk could by tortured by calamity upon calamity. The parable of Job was written to seek an answer to this question; although we must judge for ourselves if the answers it comes up with, fully satisfy the question.

It was only after the Greeks had withdrawn from occupation of Judea and desecration of the temple, that a deeply devout theological movement called the Pharisee’s grew up. They saw that there was a reward for righteousness, involving eternal life after death, which balanced the righteousness of God, with the devotion of righteous Jews, who were after all His chosen race. Heaven was the promised land eternal; a spiritual promised land.
I can only assume, that by the time of Jesus, the Pharisees had become so knit pickingly hide bound in their theology rules and regulations that they had lost the raison d’e-tre for the movements existence.

Only through the teaching of Jesus Christ, can we see God as truly Our Father, whose very nature is supreme LOVE, who suffers with us in our torments, and rejoices in our joys.

All this love and care allows us to dare to ask the question. “If you love us, why do you let us suffer evils like Corona Virus?” Why allow it to take the lives of countless thousands before their time?

And back comes the answer, I am the Father in the parable of the Prodigal son. I give you liberty, to learn who I am, how much I love you, and what I ask of you as my children.
How many children over the years have suffered broken limbs learning to ride a bike?
As parents we know that we have to let go, to let our children grow up.
God is saying,  
I have tied my hands, limited my power, so that you can have the liberty to learn, to love those around you, to speculate, to reason, to search, to find ME of your own free will, and in this freedom, freely come to love me, and know that you are loved.

But because of this freedom, you are going to make mistakes, to sin, to be stricken by unforeseen accidents and traumas. But your time here is short, and your suffering now, will be more than ever compensated for, when you come home to me, be sure. I am waiting to welcome you when your learning is done.
Jesus will meet you, and bring you, safe home.

If you ask why we have been mauled by this virus, then see it in the context of your freedom; and know, that “Nothing can separate you from the love of God which we see in Christ Jesus.”

So how do we start again?    We can never ever quite get back to ‘Normal.

We need a new culture, a new relationship with each other, and supremely with God.

Perhaps as we ‘Social distance’ we must remember that God will never socially distance from any one the whole world over.
Remember, God, Our Father is omnipresent Love.

This life is time limited, as the lines from the hymns say,
“Here for a season, then above, O lamb of God I come.
Or again, “Teach me my God and King, in all things, THEE TO SEE.”

God be with you, ‘till we meet again. Shalom

Terry O’ Shaughnessy


Prayer of Intercession

Heavenly Father, when our wilderness journey ends and normalcy returns to our lives, remind us to look back and see where you carried us through, deepened our faith, and provided us with your loving care.

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

Holy Spirit, when suffering is the result of our own sin, inspire us to turn around, ask for help, accept your forgiveness, and live a new life in your grace.

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

Holy Spirit, Reconciling God, in Christ make us a new creation, by forgiving our sins and sending us out with a mission to be your ambassadors of love, peace and new life.

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

Almighty God, hope beyond hope, love beyond understanding, forgiver and forgetter of our awful sins, wait for us in patience, but needle us with the memory of your loving self, your loving home.

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

Lord Jesus, as you told parables in order to make the gospel clear, put us in a story of your choosing, and bring us to a deeper faith in you.

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

We pray for those who need to be reminded that there is healing in your presence, and homecoming, because there is a home….

In the day of trial: Be present, Lord.

From every wilderness day, Good Lord deliver us. 
Amen.

 Richard Bansemer


Hymn 461

1 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.

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

3 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.

4 For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.

5 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.

6   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 (1814–1863)


Blessing

May you trust in God’s promises to his people:

Peace
Security
blessings
even when they are difficult to believe.
May you know that God’s news is good news

Nourishing
true
even when people tell you it is not.
And when you encounter doubt,
may you be strengthened by your belief
guiding you in his perfect wisdom and counsel.
Amen