Service – Sunday 10th May

Voluntary in G major by Samuel Sebastian Wesley
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Call to worship
Loving God, Deliverer of our daily bread
we, your children, come before You
hungry and thirsty for the spiritual nourishment
that only You can provide.
For we have tasted that You are good
and we cannot live without Your goodness.
Amen

StF 690 – Hymn – The Church’s One Foundation
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

The Church’s one foundation
is Jesus Christ her Lord;
she is his new creation
by water and the word;
from heaven he came and sought her
to be his holy bride;
with his own blood he bought her,
and for her life he died.

Called out from every nation,
yet one through all the earth,
her charter of salvation
one Lord, one faith, one birth;
one holy name she blesses,
and shares one holy food,
as to one hope she presses
with every grace endued.

In toil and tribulation,
and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation
of peace for evermore;
till with the vision glorious
her longing eyes are blest,
at last the Church victorious
shall be the Church at rest.

Yet she on earth has union
with God the Three in One,
and mystic, sweet communion
with those whose rest is won.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
with them, the meek and lowly,
in heaven your face shall see.

Samuel John Stone (1832-1900)

Let us pray together
Wondrous God
We are blessed that we can come together to praise you despite the restrictions and difficulties in our lives.
We come together to worship you and give you thanks. We celebrate our life together as your people.
Thank you for this delicate but awe-inspiring world we live in; for the opportunities in the world to respond to your call.

Thank you for a world which is full of diversity, where there are many opportunities to worship you and to serve you and those we meet in different ways.

Help us not to use their differences as excuses to build walls that divide. Help us to see each difference as a rainbow of hope and as a pattern where each colour is linked and bound together by your unending love.

God in Christ,
Cornerstone of our fellowship and faith,
we Your living stones come to be built up together as Your house, to Your design.
For we are ready to be chiselled and polished
until we are fit for Your present purpose for us.

Forgive us, loving God, when we do not accept the diversity of the world; when we forget that we are all your people, loved equally and known to you by name.

Forgive us for our foolishness and our thoughtless use of the gifts of your creation,
For our neglect of you, and our failure to care for others,
For our selfishness in prayer and our carelessness in worship,

Moment of silence
Here is good news for all who put their trust in Christ.
Jesus says: ‘Our sins are forgiven.’
Amen. Thanks be to God

Reading:  1 Peter 2: 2-8
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
and,
“A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

Stf 706 – Hymn – Longing for Light
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your Church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your Church gathered today.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your Church gathered today.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your Church gathered today.

 Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your Church gathered today.

Fred Pratt Green

Time to Reflect
Something different this week.
This is a reflection I wrote before lockdown.
Read the verses and see what is prompted for you to respond to. There are questions to consider if you wish to use them
Click here to listen to the Refection presented by Rev Mark Barrett
(use  the space bar to pause & resume play)

Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones.
(a song from Wild Goose of Iona)

Unsure, when what seems bright turns dark
And life, it seems, has lost its way,
We question what we once believed
And fear that doubt has come to stay.
We sense the worm that gnaws within
Has withered willpower, weakened bones,
And wonder whether all that’s left
Is stumbling blocks or stepping stones.

What brought about the time(s) of doubt:
about God?
about self?
In what way did it turn into stepping stones for our future?

Where minds and bodies reel with pain
Which nervous smiles can never mask,
And hope is forced to face despair
And all the things it dare not ask;
Aware of weakness, guilt or shame,
The will gives out the spirit groans,
And clutching at each straw we find
More stumbling blocks than stepping stones.

We have all faced:
Fear of our own failure, and guilt, over actions or words and weakness, (whether physical or spiritual).

In what way have we learned from failure, have we learned from guilt that these have been turned into stepping stones?

Where family life has lost its bliss
And silences endorse mistrust,
Or anger boils and temper flare
As love comes under threat from lust;
Where people cannot take the strain
Of worklessness and endless loans
What pattern will the future weave –
Just stumbling blocks?
No stepping stones?

Where there has been discord with friends or family what have been the causes and did we find stepping stones to reconciliation?

Where hearts that once held love are bare
And faith in shreds, compounds the mess;
Where hymns and prayers no longer speak
And former friends no longer bless;
And when the church where some belonged
No more their loyalty enthrones,
The plea is made
“If You are there, turn stumbling blocks
To stepping stones.”

What in the Church or our own churches we serve has caused most pain and have we been able to use this experience as stepping stones so our church is not a stumbling block for others?

Ah God, You with the Maker’s eye,
Can tell if all that’s feared is real,
And see if life is more than what
We suffer, dread, despise and feel.
If some by faith no longer stand
Nor hear the truth Your voice intones,
Stretch out Your hand to help Your folk
From stumbling blocks to stepping stones.

How great is our passion for the fearful and the lost, is it burning now?

Are we able to be honest in looking at ourselves and recognise where we are stumbling blocks to some and stepping stones to others?

Can we then see how to become stepping stones to all without compromising the gospel?

StF 470 – Hymn – Lord for the Years
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided,
Lord of the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the Word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us,
Lord of the word, receive your people’s praise.

Lord, for our land, in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care;
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world; when we disown and doubt him,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain;
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without him,
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord, for ourselves; in living power remake us,
self on the cross and Christ upon the throne;
past put behind us, for the future take us,
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

Timothy Dudley-Smith (b. 1926)

A time of prayer
God our Saviour,
We pray for those who feel hopeless that they may hear your good news and be freed from their anguish.
Silence
We pray for those who have had their expectation of hope torn away, for those who feel discarded and deceived.
Silence
We pray that the Church will stand together with those who are suffering, working for acceptance and peace.
Silence
We pray for those who are beginning to hope, those who dare to dream of a better tomorrow.
Silence
We pray for all affected during this Covid-19 pandemic. We pray for those who are poor, sick, homeless, lonely, imprisoned, weighed down and powerless.
Silence
May your love reach them and may we all stand together. May your Church reach out to those in need, so that all may come to give thanks to you, and celebrate together.
Amen,

The Lord’s Prayer
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.
Amen.

StF 409 – Hymn – Let us build a house
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Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive.
Built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where prophets speak,
and words are strong and true,
where all God’s children dare to seek
to dream God’s reign anew.
Here the cross shall stand as witness
and as symbol of God’s grace;
here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where love is found
in water, wine and wheat:
a banquet hall on holy ground
where peace and justice meet.
Here the love of God, through Jesus,
is revealed in time and space;
as we share in Christ the feast that frees us:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us build a house where hands will reach
beyond the wood and stone
to heal and strengthen, serve and teach,
and live the Word they’ve known.
Here the outcast and the stranger
bear the image of God’s face;
let us bring an end to fear and danger:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Let us a build a house where all are named,
their songs and visions heard
and loved and treasured, taught and claimed
as words within the Word.
Built of tears and cries and laughter,
prayers of faith and songs of grace,
let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.

Marty Haugen (b. 1950)

A prayer of blessing
We have been chosen with a purpose.
We have been brought out of the darkness
We have been given the wonderful light
So we can help others.
we are blessed
to be a blessing
We are loved
So we can know how to love.
Now the blessing of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Be upon us, those we love
And those we ought to love,
Now and always.
Amen.

Highland Cathedral by Ulrich Roever & Michael Korb
Click here to play the music