Sunday Worship – 17th January 2020

Galliard by Anthony Holborne played by Canadian Brass
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Call to worship
Praise the Lord, my soul
All my inmost being praise his holy name.

StF 330 – Hymn – Joy to the world the Lord is come
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Let Us Pray
Our loving Heavenly Father we come into your presence knowing that You sent your Son to show us your love and to restore us to your presence. We know too that we are unworthy of such love. You created us in your image yet we behave as though we are the masters of your universe, forgive us and renew a right spirit within us and through the power of Your Spirit enable us to live as Your children.
We ask this in the name of Your son Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
Amen

Let Us Pray
The Lord’s Prayer   Matthew  6:5-15

Our Father in Heaven
May your Holy name be honoured
May your kingdom come
May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
Give us today the food we need
Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us
Do not bring us to hard testing
But keep us safe from the evil one

If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.
Amen

BENEDICTUS (The Song of Zechariah)

1 Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,
who has come to his people and set them free.
2 He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
born of the house of his servant David.
3 Through his holy prophets God promised of old to save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all that hate us,
4 To show mercy to our ancestors,
and to remember his holy covenant.
5 This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
6 Free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
7 And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
8 To give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of all their sins
9 In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us
10 To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.  Amen.

StF 186 – Hymn – Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord
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Reading
Psalm 63
Isiah 55 v1 to 9
Luke 13 v1 to 9

Reflection
And I tell you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they did.

This followed the harsh words that are recorded In the previous chapter.” Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No! Not peace, but division” (Luke chapter 12 verse 51).  We are not used to hearing such harsh words from Jesus. He was reminded about two disasters.

The first was the massacre of a group of worshipers who were murdered while offering Sacrifice (equivalent to our communion service). The second incident was the collapse of a tower killing 18 people. At this time it was generally considered that people deserved whatever disaster happened to them. Jesus was being asked for his opinion about whether or not they deserved their fate and if so why. Jesus’s response was to question the relative significance of the events to the victim’s guilt.

Sometimes we consider that we reap what we sow and that what we suffer is our own  fault. This may be after volcanic activity, earthquakes, forest fires. We sometimes take the view that victims have not taken appropriate actions to prevent the tragedy. Jesus rapidly rebukes the questioners (verses 4 and 5).He focuses on not why God allowed the tragedy but on our self-wrong saying repent or expect the same fate. We need to examine our own response to God.

In the story of the Fig tree Jesus is pointing out that we are given the opportunity to change, as the fig tree was given a second chance so are we, but as with the fig tree it is time limited. As pointed out elsewhere we don’t know the day or the hour. This is particularly relevant with COVID. As the gardener sought to persevere with the tree so God preservers with his people, from Moses through the prophets and with his son Jesus.

As we find in 1 John chapter 3 v16

This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us.
Amen

Prayer
We ask that we will spread your love to those we meet. We think especially of those who are suffering the loss of a loved one and of the many who feel lonely at this time. We ask that you will be with those who will be working to enable us to Survive, (hospital workers, and all who maintain the services essential for our comfort).
Help us to feel surrounded by your love.
Open our eyes and ears so that we are aware of those around us who are feeling lonely or desperate. Then through the power of your spirit enable us to respond to their need.
Amen

StF 365 Hymn – Jesus, the joy of loving hearts
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Jesus, the joy of loving hearts,
the fount of life the light men;
from the best bliss that earth imparts
we turn unfilled to thee again.

Thy truth unchanged has ever stood;
thou savest those that on thee call;
to them that seek thee, thou art good,
to them that find thee, all in all.

We taste thee, O thou living bread,
and long to feast upon thee still;
we drink of thee, the fountain-head,
our thirst our souls from thee to fill.

O Jesus, ever with us stay;
make all our moments calm and bright;
chase the dark night of sin away;
shed on the world your holy light.

Ray Palmer (1808–1887)

Blessing
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
The love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
Be with us all.
Amen

Handel in the Strand – Clog Dance by Percy Grainger
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