Sunday 13th March 2022

Service for Worship at Home,

A gathering prayer

Lord, you are my light and my salvation;
my hope in times of fear.
You protect me at times of danger,
and you hear my prayers.
So, Lord, I seek your face,
and I trust in your goodness. Amen.

A prayer of approach

Faithful God, I come to worship you, conscious of my vulnerability but rejoicing in your protective love.
Speak your values into my heart, your energy into my actions, and your integrity into my life, that I may use my time well and wisely, and be part of a church of compassion, conviction and courage.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Singing the Faith (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,
till 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 A.M. Gillard (b.1953)

A prayer of adoration

Eternal God,
I trust you for today. Inspire me to stay focused and to follow your plan for my life. I trust you for tomorrow. Empower your people to protect the vulnerable and to proclaim the truth.
I trust you for every day. Be with me as I journey through life towards your great heart of love in which there is no fear, no failure and no limits. Amen.

Bible reading Luke 13.31-35

Jesus’ Love for Jerusalem

31 At that same time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “You must get out of here and go somewhere else, because Herod wants to kill you.” 32 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell that fox: ‘I am driving out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I shall finish my work.’ 33 Yet I must be on my way today, tomorrow, and the next day; it is not right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem. 34 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets, you stone the messengers God has sent you! How many times I wanted to put my arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me! 35 And so your Temple will be abandoned. I assure you that you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

About this Bible passage:

At that very hour’ (v.31) is at the time when Jesus is teaching that entrance to the kingdom of God will be on a different basis from what many expect: to have shared a dinner table with Jesus and hear him teach will not be enough to claim him as an acquaintance. Meanwhile, strangers from the four points of the compass will be welcomed in. The way in is through the narrow door and we should strive to enter through it. By beginning this narrative ‘At that very hour’, Luke is linking this teaching about the kingdom of God with the suffering of Jesus that is foreshadowed here. ‘Today, tomorrow, and the next day’ (v.33) speaks of Christ’s faithful service despite the risks, and the use of the specific phrase ‘on the third day’ (v.32) immediately makes a link to his death and resurrection. He knows (as perhaps any astute commentator of the time could guess, cf. John 11.16) that his journey to Jerusalem will be a journey to his death, but he does not speak about it in terms of his own courage, nor as a scornfully fierce martyrdom to expose the corruption of Jerusalem. He would far rather gather the people to him to protect them, but they are not (and will not be) willing. While Herod is a fox, wily and dangerous, Jesus describes himself as a hen. A rallying slogan such as ‘I am lion, hear me roar’ is always popular. How many of us would rally to ‘I am hen, see me gather’?

STF 88

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, brothers and sisters draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee:
ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
who with his love doth befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth nourish thy life and restore thee,
Fitting thee well for the tasks that are ever before thee,
Then to thy need like a mother doth speed,
Spreading the wings of grace o’er thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth his light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with his mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, oh, let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Joachim Neander (1650-1680)
Translated by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)
And Rupert E. Davies (1909-1994)

A prayer of confession and an Assurance of forgiveness

Dear God,
Forgive me when the words I speak expose my self-interest. Help me, forgive me, and deepen my faith.
Forgive me when the things I do compromise your integrity. Help me, forgive me, and deepen my faith.
Forgive me when the way I use my resources clashes with your core values.
Help me, forgive me, and deepen my faith. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

As a hen covers her chicks with her wings, so you cover me with your forgiving love:
drawing me into a new beginning, a new way of being, a new way of serving; strengthening, sustaining and surrounding me with your power and your presence each day of my life and beyond. Amen.

A prayer of praise and thanksgiving

I praise you, loving God, that you give me enough time to do all that I am called to do. Take from me the worry of hurry, and enable me to delight in your presence with me, and to share my joy with all who are in need of hope and friendship and courage. In Jesus’ name I pray – thankfully and hopefully.
Amen.

Prayers of intercession

I pray for all who work in stressful situations,
that they may have peace to enable them to make wise decisions. I hold before you especially those who work in the health service, whose decisions can mean life or death.

I remember those faced with the stress caused by poverty – for whom there is a constant fear that there will not be enough, and every spending decision is a challenge. I bring to you those around the world who do not have immediate access to health care and clean water, who take risky actions because it is easier than doing what is safe – or it is the only option.

I ask that you will give wisdom to those who make the decisions that affect my life, and the lives of others – including politicians and all in authority.
May they have vision and compassion to act in ways that are beneficial to all.
In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen

STF 257

Would you walk by on the other side,
When someone called for aid?
Would you walk by on the other side,
And would you be afraid?

Cross over the road, my friend,
Ask the Lord his strength to lend,
His compassion has no end,
Cross over the road.

Would you walk by on the other side,
When you saw a loved one stray?
Would you walk by on the other side,
Or would you watch and pray?

Cross over the road, my friend,
Ask the Lord his strength to lend,
His compassion has no end,
Cross over the road.

Would you walk by on the other side,
When starving children cried?
Would you walk by on the other side,
And would you not provide?

Cross over the road, my friend,
Ask the Lord his strength to lend,
His compassion has no end,
Cross over the road.

Pamela M. Verrall (1915-1996)

A sending out prayer

Teach me, Lord God, to live out my faith; to show courage when things are tough, to show love to those in need, and to be forgiving even when I am hurt.
Help me to follow Jesus. Amen.