Service – Sunday 5th July

Three Pieces for Musical Clock by Joseph Haydn
Click here to play the music

Call to worship
Let us worship God today

God has blessed us with life, with faith, and with community.
God forgives us, and encourages us, and loves us.

Because we are God’s people.
Let us worship God.

StF 459 – Hymn – Captain of Israel’s host
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide
of all who seek the land above,
beneath your shadow we abide,
the cloud of your protecting love;
our strength, your grace; our rule, your word;
our end, the glory of the Lord.

By your unerring Spirit led,
we shall not in the desert stray;
we shall not full direction need,
nor miss our providential way;
as far from danger as from fear,
while love, almighty love, is near.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

Let us pray together
Jesus, I come to you to celebrate your love and to receive your word.

You taught that we must worship God in spirit. I long to worship with your people, but I know you are with me, in these difficult times. Amen.

Lord God, I am in wonder at the world you have created and the life you have given me. I thank you for that gift of life and the joy of sharing my life with others.

I have not always lived my life as you would wish. Yet, even as I confess this to you, I know your forgiveness by the suffering and death of your Son, Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Amen.

Lord, we like to be in control, we like taking charge. Sabbath-Taking God, we are not very good at resting. We think we have to be constantly busy, so we have no time for you. We are work so we can be extremely productive, and so we create our harried, stress-filled lives.

Forgive us, Peace-Giving God. Help us to let go of our distractions, so you can act in us; calm our needless activity, so you can re-create us; help us to follow Jesus, not only into discipleship, but into our rest with you.

God invites us to receive the gifts which make it possible to have lives of faithful obedience. This is the good news: God forgives us and takes our burdens from us. We would let go of them and welcome hope, joy, grace into our lives. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Romans 7. v15 to 25a

StF 424 – Hymn – God forgave my sin
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name;
I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name,
and in Jesus’ name I come to you
to share his love as he told me to.
He said:
‘Freely, freely you have received,
freely, freely give;
go in my name and because you believe,
others will know that I live.’

All power is given in Jesus’ name
in earth and heaven in Jesus’ name;
and in Jesus’ name I come to you
to share his power as he told me to.
He said:
‘Freely, freely you have received,
freely, freely give;
go in my name and because you believe,
others will know that I live.’

Carol Owens (b. 1931)

Click here to listen to the Address presented by Rev Mark Barrett

In my teaching days I remember talking to someone who asked me about being a teacher. They asked me what was the stupidest question I was ever asked. I replied that the stupidest question is the one you don’t ask. You see if you are sitting in a lesson/lecture or such, and not completely understanding what is being said then you should ask. Unfortunately, people don’t, they think they are the only one who do not understand and leave the lesson/lecture still unaware of what was taught. If, however you do ask the question you will find that a lot of people suddenly admit that they had the same problem, but if it is only you why should you remain unaware just because of what others may think.

That view that we, and we alone, are the ones who do not know, who are in the wrong, who fall short of the grace of God is problematic. It leads to us devaluing ourselves in so many areas and perhaps not achieving all we really could. It can lead to us believing that God’s grace and forgiveness are for everyone else but us, they all deserve it and we don’t.

Until you read this passage from Romans. Here is Paul, yes Paul. Paul the great Christian, Paul the deep thinker and writer, Paul who had such an experience of the risen Christ. Here is Paul saying (and I paraphrase) ‘I want to good things, but I do bad things instead because I am human and weak willed’. Now I do not want to cast aspersions, but that is probably something a lot of us would chime in with.

Paul tells us that he is not the ‘saint’ people make him or made him out to be. He seeks to follow God’s Law, almost by force of mind and will, but still the human side of his nature makes him prone to sin. He, like us, is prone to sin sometimes not because we wish to sin, but because we are not strong enough in ourselves to resist. As Wilde said “I can resist everything, but temptation.

We are wont to see ourselves as sinners and all others as saints.

We, like Paul, fall to sin sometimes, but we too, like Paul, are saints. Not perfect, but saints all the same.

Saints, in the New Testament, are never deceased individuals who have been canonized by the church and given sainthood. They are living individuals who have dedicated themselves to the worship and service of the one true God as revealed through his Son, Jesus Christ.

One Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for saint means “faithful, kind, godly,” and “holy one” so we see that the use of the word saint essentially means the same thing in both the Old and New Testament and that is “holy ones.”  There is yet another Hebrew word for saint and it is means “sacred, holy, holy one” and “set apart.”  When believers are called and saved we are sanctified or “set apart for holy use” which is what sanctified means. A saint is anyone who has come to God in Christ and then they are set apart for holy use.

It is not that everyone else is a ‘saint’ and we are the sinners, it is as Wesley said ‘ALL need to be saved.’

At my pre-ordination District service in 1996, my then Chair of District used Romans 1:1 as his text and it reads “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” He said of this verse, that Wesley’s note on the first past of the verse (modernised) means we are ‘saints’ called out to serve God’s kingdom and to realise that ‘Whom God has called, God has made.”

God calls us, like Paul, as we are to walk with Him and to show his love to others. We sometimes sin, we may sometimes get it all wrong but God loves and forgives us in and through Christ.  God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

StF 446 – Hymn – I will offer up my life
Click here to play the music performed by Matt Redman (includes introduction)

I will offer up my life
in spirit and truth,
pouring out the oil of love
as my worship to you.
In surrender I must give my every part;
Lord, receive the sacrifice
of a broken heart.
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
to so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
as a praise of your name
for the things you have done?
O, my words could not tell, not even in part,
of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.

You deserve my every breath
for you’ve paid the great cost;
giving up your life to death,
even death on a cross.
You took all my shame away,
there defeated my sin,
opened up the gates of heaven,
and have beckoned me in.
Jesus, what can I give, what can I bring
to so faithful a friend, to so loving a King?
Saviour, what can be said, what can be sung
as a praise of your name
for the things you have done?
O, my words could not tell, not even in part,
of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.

Matt Redman (b. 1974)

We thank you Lord for the gift of your Son: for His life, His sufferings and death and for His Resurrection and Ascension, for the witness, salvation and hope He gives.

We thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit to those who have come to you, and especially for the gift of that Spirit in your Church.

We rejoice in the work and witness of your Church and pray that it may continue to strive to fulfil your work and proclaim your Love.

We pray for the needs of the world, thinking especially at this time of those affected by the Coronavirus, but remembering too all who suffer including those whose plight seemingly goes unnoticed. Be with all those suffering in any way. Especially be with……………(people known to me)

Be with those whose lives impact others: leaders in government, or the workplace, health care workers, teachers, emergency workers and all those on whom people depend. Grant them the wisdom and the strength to know and to follow your way.

We pray for all people, everywhere, both close to us and far away.
O Lord, Christ and Saviour, we pray for people of every race and belief, and in every kind of need: make your ways known on earth, your saving power among nations.
We pray for our neighbours. Whether they are, literally our neighbours, the people who are next to us now in church. Or, our neighbours in other towns, cities, countries. We pray for those who face an uncertain future, both in this country and across the world. May Your love be seen amongst them, Your love be felt in them, and Your hand be seen to be offered in love, through all Christians, everywhere.

We pray today for all who are in trouble, who have money problems, who have no money. We pray for those who are uncertain where their life will take them.

We pray for all who suffer in mind, body, or spirit, and for those who care for them. We pray for the sick; for those who mourn; for those without faith, hope or love.
We pray for any who are in special need of our prayers at this time, especially those known personally to us. We remember them now in a moment of silence.

We remember before God those who have died, those we have lost.

We offer these prayers in and through Jesus our Lord and saviour.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever.

StF 449 – Hymn – Lord of creation
Click here to play the music (includes introduction)

Lord of creation, to you be all praise!
Most mighty your working, most wondrous your ways!
Your glory and might are beyond us to tell,
and yet in the heart of the humble you dwell.

Lord of all power, I give you my will,
in joyful obedience your tasks to fulfil.
Your bondage is freedom; your service is song;
and, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.

Lord of all wisdom, I give you my mind,
rich truth that surpasses my knowledge to find;
what eye has not seen and what ear has not heard
is taught by your Spirit and shines from your word.

Lord of all bounty, I give you my heart;
I praise and adore you for all you impart,
your love to inspire me, your counsel to guide,
your presence to shield me, whatever betide.

Lord of all being, I give you my all;
if I should disown you, I stumble and fall;
but, led in your service your word to obey,
I’ll walk in your freedom to the end of the way.

Jack Copley Winslow (1882-1974)

A blessing
God the Sender, send you;
God the Sent, go with us;
God the Strengthener of those who go, empower you, that you may go to do His will; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Prelude and Fugue in C major by JS Bach
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