Home Worship May 10 2020

  Let us take a few moments to be still before God and then pray:


Loving God,
We seek your presence in the silence beyond words.
Looking to you for comfort,
strength, protection and reassurance,
Breathing with gratitude,
Holding on to hope,
Trusting with faith that you are still God in the midst of turmoil
And that your love reaches to the ends of the earth.
Be present with us now.


Jesu, Jesu Singing the Faith 249


Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
Teach us how to serve,
The neighbours we have from you.


Kneels at the feet of his friends,
Silently washing their feet,
Master who acts as a slave to them. (Chorus)


Neighbours are rich folk and poor,
Neighbours are black folk and white,
Neighbours are nearby and far away. (Chorus)


These are the ones we should serve,
These are the ones we should love,
All these are neighbours to us and you. (Chorus)


Kneel at the feet of our friends,
Silently washing their feet,
This is the way we should live with you. (Chorus)


North Ghanaian Song adapted by Tom Colvin


Let us pray


Love...bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
things. Love never ends.’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)


Gracious God we thank you for your love that never ends and we pray
that you will strengthen our innermost being with your love that bears all things,
even the weight of this global pandemic,
even the endurance of watching for symptoms,
of patiently waiting for this to pass,
watching while we pray, keeping our gaze fixed on you,
and looking out for our neighbours near and far.


Instil in our shaken souls the belief and hope that all things are possible
with your creative love;
for strangers to become friends,
for science to find solutions
for resources to be generously shared
so everyone, everywhere, may have what they need.
May your perfect love that knows no borders cast out any fear and
selfishness that divides.


May your love that never ends be our comfort, strength and guide for the
wellbeing of all and for your glory. Amen .


We read together verses from Psalm 31, the psalm set for today.


In you, L ORD , I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress,
for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Keep me free from the trap that is set for me,
for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit;
deliver me, L ORD , my faithful God.
But I trust in you, L ORD ;
I say, ‘You are my God.’
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.


Reflection

These words, written when the psalmist was feeling under threat,
anxious and afraid seem very appropriate for us today when our future
seems uncertain and many of us are feeling fearful. But they offer hope
and reassurance. The opening lines of the psalm set the tone of trust
using one of the most important words of the psalms which is ‘refuge’.
To take refuge in God means to entrust our life and future to him
particularly in a time of trouble and turmoil. Verse 1 is an accurate
summary of the faith of the psalmist living with a fundamental
dependence on God, trusting him for protection.

In these days of isolation when we have had to retreat to the fortress of
our own homes for refuge, perhaps we can find a new understanding of
God as our fortress, the provider of safety and security, the one we can
rely on in times of trial. But may we also consider that God’s fortress is
not one which barricades and keeps us apart but one which strengthens
and enables us to look out for our most vulnerable neighbours near and
far in whatever ways we can do this at the moment - by writing a letter,
sending a card, picking up the phone, doing some shopping for someone
confined to their home (if we can safely do this), by putting our hands
together in prayer, by making a donation to a charity which can help
others on our behalf.

Jesus turned to the psalms for strength and courage when he endured
suffering. It is verse 5 of this psalm that Luke records him as saying
when he was on the cross on Good Friday, ‘into your hands I commit my
spirit.’ Jesus entrusted his life and future to God, a life which had been
grounded in love and which brought the sure and certain hope of the
resurrection. New life will come; it may be different but it will be and God
is always with us.

God’s hands are mentioned again in this passage, the psalmist says,
‘my times are in your hands.’ In these times when so many are no longer
experiencing the touch of a hand on the shoulder, no longer able to be
comforted by a hug, these verses seem particularly moving. It is
appropriate to acknowledge with the trust of the psalmist that our times
are in God’s hands.

As we take time to wash our hands more carefully and more often, we
can pray for God to hold in his care all those we have shaken hands
with, all whose hands we have held, all we have hugged or touched
gently to comfort. We can also pray for those we have never had the
opportunity to touch but who we have reached out to over the years
during previous Christian Aid Weeks.

This year there will be no hands delivering or collecting envelopes,
helping with Christian Aid Lunches, holding out red buckets but we can
thank God for all these hands which over the years have put God’s love
into action to support the poorest and most vulnerable in the world.
Those who still need our help because the most vulnerable are less
resilient, have less access to health care and are less able to withstand
the economic impact of the present crisis For 75 years Christian Aid has

stood alongside such people and continues to do so with our help.

Let us thank God for all those on the frontline helping to save lives here
and around the world. May their times and the times of those they care
for, be in God’s hands, may God’s face shine upon them all and may the
unfailing, steadfast love of God be a constant strength for us and them.
Before we pray let us take a few moments to look at our hands and
then hold them open before God.

God our refuge, we come to you with open hands,
Some of us with hearts full of questions,
Some of us bruised by bereavement,
Some of us fearful of what the future holds,
All of us stunned by the events of this year.
Draw close to us now in each of our homes,
As we place our honest questions and hopes
Into your open, resurrected, yet scarred hands.
We bring to you our questions or our silence.

( Hold your index finger and, in silence ask the question that most
troubles your heart, or simply sit in silence before God)

Lord in your mercy: hear my prayer
Lord, hear the cries of our hearts for bereaved and anxious neighbours
near and far.
Comfort those who are pained by being apart from loved ones,
Hold close those who are hurting alone.

(Hold your ring finger and pray for comfort for those particularly on your
mind at this time or simply sit in silence before God)

Lord in your mercy:hear my prayer
In this season of Easter, renew us with resurrection hope,
That while weeping lingers in the night,
Joy will come in the morning.

(Hold your middle finger and tell God what you are most looking forward
to in the future or simply sit in silence before Him)

Lord in your mercy: hear my prayer.

On this Christian Aid Sunday, we pray for and with communities around
the world who are most vulnerable to coronavirus;
We pray for people living in refugee camps and city slums, with limited
sanitation facilities, who are unable to wash their hands regularly and
who have little opportunity to isolate from others.
We pray for Christian Aid partners who are working to provide soap and
buckets, communicating clear, accurate information, raising the voices of
the most vulnerable and ensuring they are kept as safe as possible.

(Hold your little finger as you pray for the most vulnerable, those who are
close to God’s heart, or simply sit in silence before God)

Lord in your mercy: hear my prayer
We pray for ourselves, some working from home, some feeling like we
aren’t doing very much, all of us limited in where we can go. Remind us
that we are all doing our part by staying at home.

(Hold you thumb and ask God for what you need or simply sit in silence
before him)

Lord in your mercy: hear my prayer
Lord we pray for wisdom and guidance for all in local and national
authority those who have important decisions to make about the future,
And we pray for all frontline and key workers here in Britain and across
the world.

(Put your hands together and pray for these workers and for Christian
Aid partners working to help others across the world, or simply sit in
silence before God)

Lord in your mercy; hear my prayer.
Lord each Thursday we clap our hands to honour our frontline workers
and now we clap our hands in praise of your glorious creation and with
the hope that the first shoots of a different world are coming into view.

(Clap your hands in praise of God’s wonderful creation and with the
hope of new possibilities for the world).

Lord in your mercy: hear all of our prayers, made in the name of
Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Singing the Faith 705
I

t is God who holds the nations in the hollow of his hand;
It is God whose light is shining in the darkness of the land;
It is God who builds the city on the Rock and not the sand:
May the living God be praised!

It is God whose purpose summons us to use the present hour;
Who recalls us to our senses when the nation’s life turns sour;
In the discipline of freedom we shall know God’s saving power;
May the Living God be praised!

When a thankful nation, looking back, has cause to celebrate,
Those who win our admiration by their service to the state;
When self-giving is the measure of the greatness of the great;
May the living God be praised!

God reminds us every sunrise that the world is ours on lease;
For the sake of life tomorrow may our love for it increase;
May all races live together, share its riches, be at peace;
May the living God be praised!

Fred Pratt Green

May the presence of the Creator refresh us
May the comfort of the Son renew us
May the inspiration of the Spirit restore us
To be love in action, even from a distance,
In our neighbourhoods, near and far,
This day and for evermore. Amen


May God bless you and give you peace today and in the coming week.


Service prepared by Katy Rowe using material from Christian Aid