SUNDAY WORSHIP

SERVICE FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29th prepared by SISTER VIVIEN WARD

Call to worship

It is Advent Sunday and so begins a new year in the life of the church and

so begins the Christmas season. 

We ask God to be with us in our worship

to send His Holy Spirit upon us and draw us into His presence and love.

May He help us to welcome Jesus into our lives again this Christmas but also

for us to be ready when He comes again.

HYMN  741 “We pray until the hour”

“We pray until the hour,
that awesome hour unknown,
when, robed in majesty and power
you shall from heaven come down.

O Christ our souls prepare
for that tremendous day,
and fill us now with watchful care
and stir us up to pray.

At last may we be found
obedient to your word,
attentive to the judgement sound.
and looking for our Lord!

To those who shall endure,
Christ gives his promised rest,
we watch each moment to secure
our place among the blest.
Charles Wesley


Prayers

Adoration

We prepare to celebrate once again the birth of Jesus, a baby born some 2,000 years ago, who changes lives today.

We praise You Father God, for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ who existed before the world was created and for the promise of His coming again in glory.

During this time of Advent

   fill us with joy, so that we may be ready to worship You
fill us with hope, so that we may be ready to find You
fill us with love, so that we may be ready to serve You.
Amen

Confession

Though we are not perfect, may we be forgiven
though we are not stunningly effective, may we be faithful
though we are not holy, may we press on in faith
though we are undeserving, may we be accepted by You
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 
Amen
                          

Thanksgiving

We cannot help but see that Christmas is coming
shops and homes are decorated
We’re thinking of Christmas lists for cards and gifts,
children especially, are wondering what it is they will receive on Christmas morning.
We`re hoping that families can get together and enjoy being together.

It`s all very exciting but in the midst of it all, help us never to forget the deep truth
at the centre of Christmas, that You came to share this earthly life with us.
Lord, we thank You that You love us so much that You did all this just for us.

Supplication

  We are unprepared for the coming of Christ:
We continue our everyday, everyway lives, as if , God, we can manage without You or even….. as if You don`t exist.
Yet your promises are clear.
Though we do not know how or when You will return we need to be ready.

May we respond to Your loving presence in our world, with minds open to Your truth,

wills open to every opportunity of service, and hearts open in love and praise

Then with all Your saints on earth and in heaven we shall be enabled to worship and serve You now and be prepared at Your coming, to join You in the world to come.                   Amen

HYMN “We do not look for angel choirs” Tune: ” Repton” `” Dear Lord and Father of mankind`

We do not look for angel choirs
or visions in the sky,
but simply pray that peace on earth
comes nearer through the Christ child’s birth
in Bethlehem for us,
in Bethlehem for us.

We do not look for frankincense
or wise ones at our door
but simply ask our prayers be heard
and that our restless hearts be stirred
by Jesus’ newborn cry,
by Jesus’ newborn cry.


We will not rest until we know
that God makes all things new;
until our search for answered prayer
transforms the lives of all who dare
to put their trust in you,
to put their trust in you.

But still you send us songs of peace
and wisdom whispers near.
You call us to the way of Christ,
that in our living hope will rise
from Bethlehem to here,
from Bethlehem to here.
                               Words: © 2013 Gareth Hill Publishing/Song 
 

Prayers of intercession

As we begin a new year in the life of the Church let us pray together to the God of our making.

Holy God, just as we are we come to You and ask for Your kingdom to come in us. 

Increase our faith and our love for You, so that we may become the lights in darkness

that we are called to be.

Holy God the signs in our world of hate, distrust and greed are shown to us clearly every day.

May we see with Your eyes the signs of hope and victory, the opportunities for loving service, the encouragement, reassurance and thanksgiving.

Holy God, bless the parenting and befriending in all our relationships and increase our love for one another.

Give us humility to accept guidance and warnings, lovingly given, and the courage to uphold one another in the faith.

Holy God, we bring to You in love those who are weary with ongoing pain and weakness and the frustrations of not being able to go out or people to come in.

Those who are frail with age and all who are vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Pour Your living strength into their lives and protect them from all that is harmful.

Holy God we pray that the vaccine that is now available

will succeed to keep us all safe and well and soon.

Holy God we pray for all who have come to the end of their earthly life and for those who lives feel empty without them, thinking especially today of the Tattersall family.

We pray for those thousands of people who have not been able to visit loved ones and not been able to attend funerals and the great sorrow that that has brought.

Give comfort to the bereaved and everlasting peace to all who rest in Your love, pour your love, comfort and healing upon them.

Holy God Your faithful care has brought us safely to this moment. We thank You for Your constant love, forgiveness strength and protection.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ  Amen

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 for ever.

Amen                                                  

Reading Mark  13 : 24 – 37

The Return of Christ

24 “But in those days, after the suffering and distress of that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory in royal majesty and splendour. 27 And then He will send out the angels, and will gather together His elect those He has chosen for Himself from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

28 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: as soon as its branch becomes tender and it puts out its leaves, you recognize that summer is near. 29 Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, know for certain that He is near, right at the door. 30 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, this generation, the people living when these signs and events begin, will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 32 But of that exact day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son [in His humanity], but the Father alone.

33 “Be on guard and stay constantly alert and pray; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. 34 It is like a man away on a journey, who when he left home put his servants in charge, each with his particular task, and also ordered the doorkeeper to be continually alert. 35 Therefore, be continually on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the cock crows, or in the morning— 36 stay alert, in case he should come suddenly and unexpectedly and find you asleep and unprepared. 37 What I say to you I say to everyone, ‘Be on the alert – stay awake and be continually cautious]!’”

Reflection

In this first Advent gospel reading the disciples are called to ‘be on guard’, ‘stay constantly alert’, ‘stay alert’, ‘stay awake’ and ‘be continually cautious’ and ‘pray’. Why?

Because something is going to happen.

Christmas is coming and we do awake to what is going to happen or not happen.  We are alert to the needs of family and friends and of course we watch, especially the little ones with great anticipation. 

Well it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 

Some household have lights in the gardens, round their houses, in their trees,

Santa has been seen to clamber up the sides of houses and even climbing in through windows and scrambling on the roofs and there is more to come.  Yes! Christmas is coming.

But this reading can’t be about Christmas, Jesus’ first coming, even though it’s about Jesus coming because … Jesus is speaking.  So what’s it all about? 

It’s about His second coming.

If we go to the beginning of Chapter 13 we have this incident.

   As Jesus was coming out of the temple grounds,

    one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look

    what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 

    Jesus replied to him, “You see these great buildings?

    Not one stone will be left on another which will not

    be torn down!”

The temple was a magnificent building –  the centre of Jewish worship and I expect the disciple was a little flummoxed at Jesus’ reply.  And then … the reading goes on …

    As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite

    the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew

    asked Him privately, “Tell us, when will these things

    happen, and what will be the sign when all these things

    are about to be fulfilled?” 

Jesus didn’t answer that question directly but told them to be careful and see to it that no one misleads them because many would come in His name, misuse His name or claiming to be Messiah.

“They will deceive you and mislead many”. He said and He told them “Don’t be frightened when you hear of war because that will happen and there will be earthquakes and famines.  Be on your guard”

He said to them that they would be turned over to courts and would be beaten and stand accused before governors and kings for His sake BUT … the gospel must first be preached to all gentile nations and not to worry about what to say but to say what was given you by God through the Holy Spirit who would speak through them.   

“Family members will betray family members because of Me” He said and “You will be hated because of Me but He who endures will be saved.”  

Then He said that when they got to know about the hatred of anguish in the temple the Jews were to run to the mountains, wherever they were and whatever they were doing they were to drop everything and run and never turn back.

He warned them “Deceitful people will come and claim to have seen false Messiahs here and there and everywhere. Take no notice.  Be on your guard”.

So what Jesus is saying is  …  ‘watch out for those who would deceive, watch out for yourselves and watch out during the difficult days ahead.  There will be so much going on environmentally and politically and socially that it won’t be easy to keep to the faith so stay awake, be watchful”.

What Jesus was saying to His disciples was full of O.T. prophesises of which His disciples would have been familiar, and it would seem to them, that He was speaking about things that would happen within their generation.  The things Jesus talked about had already happened and would happen again and again … and the temple ? well! only a decade or so after Mark wrote his gospel, in the year 70, the Romans destroyed the temple absolutely.  

Then Jesus told them a story about a man who went on a journey and left his affairs to his servants each one in charge of what he was most excellent.  He ordered the door keeper to be continually alert because he wouldn’t know when the master would return.

   What is Jesus saying to us?

The second coming isn’t a popular subject BUT Jesus said He would come again and that even He didn’t know when that would be, only God knows.

It has something to say to us now, at this time and at this time in our lives.

All manner of appalling, repulsive and atrocious things are happening in our world and in all sectors of our world – environmentally, politically and socially.

I don’t have to remind you about climate change and the terrible outcome that is, and will continue to have, around the world to human-beings, to animals and insects, birds, trees and plants and on and on and on.

I don’t have to remind you of those world leaders who will do whatever they think necessary to get what they want and not care of consequences to people’s lives either through conflict or by legislation and so called justification and on and on and on.

I don’t have to remind you of the social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects it has, and will continue to have, on people’s lives ALL  AROUND  THE  WORLD or about the break-up of relationships and the consequences that brings and on and on and on.

Jesus is saying to us now, as He has said to every generation through every century, it won’t be easy to keep to the faith. so stay awake, be on your guard, be watchful. 

Some people have given up on God because …….. and they trot out events and incidences as to why.  ‘No’ says Jesus ‘that’s the easy bit.  Keep the faith – be careful – be alert – be on your guard – watch and pray.

How do we do that ? 

Read your Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is full of inspiring stories of people of every circumstance who didn’t give up on God when it would have been so easy to do so.   People who have overcome, as we must overcome, whatever it is that makes us wobble in the faith.  Hold on to whatever is pure and good and true.  Hold on to the God who loves you so much He died for you and who said “I will never leave you, nor abandon you, nor disown you if you keep the faith” 

Is that what He will find in you and me when He comes again?

Amen

HYMN “And I will wait now”

Can be sung to the tune Bunessan which is ‘morning has broken’

And I will wait now,
and in the waiting
feel still more closely
your love for me.
For I’ll be patient
and I’ll be gentle,
touched by your steadfast
humility.

And I will hope now,
and in the hoping
make every action
a gift for you.
For I’ll seek justice
and I’ll love mercy,
each word I speak an
echo of you.

And I will go now,
and in the going
follow your Christ light
so I will see
how I may find you,
holy and human,
your arms stretched open
waiting for me.

Words @2013 Laurence Wareing

               Benediction

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
is with us now.
Amen

    

CORONA VIRUS – ADVENT Submitted by Dottie Pilling

The season of Advent is almost upon us – how glad we must feel as we recollect the miraculous birth of our Saviour Jesus.   It is like a light shining on us at this unprecedented time of Corona Virus when we need God’s peace and joy.

The birth of Jesus was prophesied by Isaiah and in chapter 7 verse 14 we are told a virgin will conceive and bear a son and will call Him Immanuel which means God with us.   In Matthew chapter 1 verses 18 to 23 we see this prophecy fulfilled.   As Christians, we know that God is still with us and will be for ever, it is our experience.

These must have been strange and worrying times for Mary and Joseph but God used angels to give them the reassurance they needed.  

In Luke chapter 1 verses 26 – 31 we see Mary’s visit from the angel Gabriel and in verse 34 she asked how this could happen, because she was a virgin;  then in verse 35 Gabriel explains what will happen and how she will give birth to the Son of God.   Just like God sent the angel to give reassurance to Mary, He will give us reassurance in various ways when we need it, for example through speaking to other Christians or through reading His Word.

Let us not forget Joseph to whom Mary was engaged and for whom the news would be extremely difficult for many reasons including Mary’s safety because of the customs in place in those days.

If we read Matthew chapter 1 verses 18 to 21 we will see how an angel gave Joseph the reassurance he needed in a dream.

Then there was the birth.   Remember Jesus was and is the Son of God and the Jewish people would expect Him to be born in royal surroundings.   In a humble way Jesus was born in anything but royal surroundings.   God is not limited and will work wherever He is needed and in whatever  circumstances or conditions people may find themselves.

During this lovely season of Advent let us spend time with God, remembering what He has done for us in sending Jesus and how this took place.   Let us think on these things as we listen to our Christmas carols, pray and read His Word.   Let us set time apart to spend with Him in thankfulness for our Saviour, His Son.

Our Loving Heavenly Father, we are so thankful to You for sending Jesus into our world.   We thank you for the way you prepared Mary and Joseph with reassurance from the angels and we thank you for the people you use to reassure us and for Your Word where we can find the help we need.

Thank you for His humble birth and for the fact that You are everywhere and our conditions and circumstances are no problem for You because You love us whatever is going on in our lives.   We thank you that at this time of Corona Virus You are there to help us and will listen to us as we pray.

Please help us during this very special season of Advent to draw near to you, to read Your Word, and to worship you in our hearts;  please make us a blessing to others and, even in the midst of the Corona Virus, may they see how much they are loved by You and help them to realise that You can come into their lives and be to them all that they need.   Let us not be afraid to tell them.  

Help us to celebrate with joy as we think about the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ for whom we give You our sincere thanks.   Thank you that we know that You are always with us and will never leave us – You are Immanuel.   AMEN

Order of Service for the circuit North zoom Service

Nov. 29th 10.30 Meeting ID: 291 570 9589 Passcode 841742

Call to worship

Hymn: O come o Come Emmanuel STF. 180

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

(Latin, 18th Century, based on the ancient advent Antiphons translated by John Mason Neale 1811-1806)

Opening Prayers – Renee Turner

Scavenger Hunt

Reading – Mark 13: 24-37

Hymn Soon and very soon

Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King.
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We are going to see the King.

Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King.
Soon and very soon,
We are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, hallelujah,
We are going to see the King.

No more crying there,
We are going to see the King,
No more crying there,
We are going to see the King.
No more crying there,
We are going to see the King,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
We are going to see the King.

Talk

Hymn STF 179 My Lord what a morning

My Lord, what a morning!
My Lord, what a morning!
Oh, my Lord, what a morning
when the stars begin to fall
,
when the stars begin to fall.


Oh, you will hear the trumpet sound
to wake the nations underground,
Looking to my Lord’s right hand
when the stars begin to fall.

You will hear the sinner cry
to wake the nations underground,
looking into God`s right hand
when the stars begin to fall.

Oh, you will hear all Christians shout,
to wake the nations underground
looking into God`s right hand
when the stars begin to fall.

You will hear the sinner pray
to wake the nations underground
looking into God`s right hand when the stars begin to fall.

You will hear the Christian sing.
to wake the nations underground,
looking into God`s right hand
when the stars begin to fall.

Oh, you will see my Jesus come,
his chariot wheels roll around
looking to my Lord’s right hand
when the stars begin to fall.

(African American traditional song)

Prayers of Intercession

Hymn STF 169

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit
raise us to thy glorious throne

(Charles Wesley 1707-1788)

Blessing

Order of Service for Circuit Evening Carol Service

6.30pm November 29th Meeting ID: 291 570 9589 Passcode: 841742

Lighting of candles and call to worship

Hymn 168 Come, Lord Jesus, come

Come, Lord Jesus, com
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Come, Lord Jesus, come
to this world of ours.

Lord we need you now;
Lord, we need you now
Lord, we need you now
in this world of ours.

Fill us with your peace;
fill us with your peace;
fill us with your peace
in this world of ours.

Touch us with your love
touch us with your love;
touch us with your love
in this world of ours.

May we see your light;
may we see your light;
may we see your light
in this world of ours.

(Francesca Leftley b. 1955)

Opening

 – praise/confession/thanksgiving – Ted Pullan

Reading. Isaiah 9:2-7 – Wendy Williams

Reflection 1.   Elizabeth – Deacon Jane

Hymn  169.  Come thou long expected Jesus

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone.
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne

(Charles Wesley 1707-1788)

Reading. Luke 1:26-38 – Margaret Fancy

Reflection 2.  Mary – Susan Wilson

Hymn 186. Tell out my soul

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!
Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;
Tender to me the promise of His Word
In God my saviour may my heart rejoice.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His name!
Make known His might , the deeds His arm has done;
His mercy sure, from age to age the same;
His holy name , the Lord, the Mighty One.

Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might
Powers and dominions lay their glory by;
Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight;
The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

Tell out, my soul, the glories of His Word!
Firm is His promise, and His mercy sure.
Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord
To children`s children and forevermore!

(Timothy Dudley Smith b.1926)

Reading Luke 2:1-20 – Shirley Pollard

Reflection. 3.   Inkeeper – David Philo

Hymn    Longing for light

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.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come!

(Bernadette Farrell b.1957)

Reflection 4. Shepherd – Keith Borwick

Meditation of Sheep – Shirley & William Cormack

Hymn 173 into the darkness of this world

(Lyrics on Screen)

Prayers of intercession – Roy Burley

Hymn 185 sing we the king who is coming to reign

Words on the screen.

Blessing

SERVICE FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd arranged by SUSAN WILSON

A warm welcome to you all.

 It is good to join with you again this morning for our online Service. It is great to worship together ( but  apart)  our Wonderful Saviour , Shepherd and Friend.


Call to Worship


Let the world resound
with the music of hope
and thrill to the harmonies
of reconciliation
Let the whole earth sing
the soothing melody of mercy
until the air is filled
with the voices of thanksgiving
and all life beats
to the rhythm of God.

Our opening hymn is a hymn of praise which focuses attention on Jesus and his power. It is a paraphrase of Philippians 2 v 4-11


Hymn no  317  At the Name of Jesus.

At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
King of Glory now.
Tis the Father`s pleasure
we should call him Lord.
who from the beginning
was the mighty word.

Humbled for a season,
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners
unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious
when from death he passed.

Bore it up triumphant
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead.
to the Father`s breast;
filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.

In your hearts enthrone him;
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true;
crown him as your captain
in temptation`s hour:
let his will enfold you
in its light and power.

For this same Lord Jesus
will return again,
with his Father`s glory,
with his angel train;
all the wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of Glory now.



Prayer of Thanks

Lord we come to worship you this morning to give you thanks and praise.
Whatever our emotions have been this past week, whatever highs or lows, we may have experienced, we come before you this morning to thank you for your amazing love for us.
Lord these are challenging and difficult times, but we know that you are a God who understands our anxieties and reaches out to us in love and so we give you thanks.
We thank you for those who have, and do journey with us and share the mystery, the wonder, the joy and sometimes the pain.
We thank you for the many blessings you give to us each new day.
We praise you for the good news that sets us free to know you as Father, to live in hope, to be full of joy and to share your love.
May you calm our thoughts and fill our hearts with the knowledge of your Infinite Grace.
Amen

As we come to our Prayers of Confession two poets Malcolm Guite and Peter Dainty have given me permission to use their poems  So let us read these two poems either side of our prayers of confession and a time of silence for reflection and our own confession.

I AM the Door of the Sheepfold

( John 10.7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily I say unto you. I am the door of the sheep).
             Not one that’s gently hinged or deftly hung,
             Not like the ones you planed at Joseph’s place,
             Not like the well-oiled openings that swung
             So easily for Pilate’s practised pace,
             Not like the ones that closed in Mary’s face
             From house to house in brimming Bethlehem,
             Not like the one that no man may assail,
             That waits your breaking in Jerusalem.

              Not one you made, but one you have become:
              Load bearing, balancing, a weighted beam
              To bridge the gap, to bring us within reach
              Of you high pasture.  Calling us by name,
              You lay your body down across the breach,
               Yourself the door that opens into home.


(From Parable and Paradox by Malcolm Guite published by Canterbury Press)



    Lord we are your people, not because we are worthy but by your grace alone.
We are sorry Lord for the times when we have failed to show your love, when we have thought more about our ways than your way.
Lord you lead us beside the still waters, where we can rest awhile in your presence. You lead us along paths where we might grow in faith and learn from you. And so in these challenging times we take time now to focus on you, your love for us and we bring our own prayers of confession.
                          Silence

   Green are the Pastures ( Psalm 23)


Green are the pastures of God’s peace;
still are the waters of his comforting.
His streams renew the springs within my heart;
his Spirit satisfies my deepest needs.

Right are the footpaths where God leads;
high are the mountains of his holiness.
Through darkest valleys I am not afraid;
his presence keeps me safe along his way.

Glad is the everlasting home;
rich is the table of God’s welcoming.
My vessel overflows with God’s rich wine:
goodness and mercy now and evermore
Amen
( From The Electric Bible Poems for Public Worship by Peter Dainty published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd).



We sing now a hymn of glory to Jesus
Hymn  354  Jesus is the name we honour.

Jesus is the name we honour
Jesus is the name we praise.
Majestic name above all other names,
the highest heaven on earth proclaim
that Jesus is our God.

Jesus is the name we worship;
Jesus is the name we trust.
He is the King above all other kings
let all creation stand and sing
that Jesus is our God.

Jesus is the Father`s splendour;
Jesus is the Father`s joy.
He will return to reign in majesty,
and every eye at last will see
that Jesus is our God.

Gospel Reading  John 10 v 1-15


Sermon

Have you ever thought how much you are guided in your life? A few recent examples in my life are:
1) I am in the process of moving house and I went to the house I am buying a few weeks ago and the owner showed me around and how everything worked.
2) I had problems with my computer and a neighbour guided me through what to do.
3) I am sure many of  you ,like me over the years have been around castles, museums and historic houses and a guide has shown you around.
4) The ultimate one for me was 18 months ago when I was blindfolded for 7 miles on a sponsored walk and guided through those 7 miles .
         So I suppose none of us truly realise how much we are guided or how we guide people in life in different situations.
   But we all have a wonderful Guide our Lord.
  David begins his Psalm 23 saying The Lord is my Shepherd. David himself was a Shepherd and took great care of the sheep under his charge,  He even fought and killed a bear and lion at the risk of his own life in order to protect the flock. It was with this background that David  inspired by the Holy Spirit came to understand that God cared for him, just as he cared for his sheep.
    God knows us and cares. Sheep obviously cannot voice out their needs. Yet the shepherd naturally knows the needs of each one in the flock. God knows our needs as well as how and where to meet them.
David goes on in the Psalm to say “Your rod and your staff they comfort me.”  The rod has 3 benefits to the Shepherd. First to fight off animals that  usually seek to prey upon the sheep. Second the Crook part of the Staff was used to gently seize the sheep that tended to run away and bring them back to the flock. Thirdly, used to examine the sheep to pull the wool away from the skin to check for rashes and wounds.
All those things that the rod is used for bring benefit to the sheep.
   In our journey with God the rod is God’s Word.
And three major benefits of his Word are
1) It helps us in not making wrong decisions
2) It helps us to resist temptation
3) It searches our hearts
The rod was also used to count the sheep. Counting the sheep is important for the Shepherd if any are lost. Just as God keeps an eye on us and if we stray he brings us back on the right path.
   There is a song entitled Life is a Rollercoaster and I certainly do not need to tell you that that is true. Especially at the moment so many ups and downs. But Walking with God is a relationship, it is a commitment. There are times when you feel great joy and passion for that walk , and there are times no doubt when you are tired and you do not feel as upbeat. However the Bible does not say we should live by feelings but says  ‘ The just shall live by faith’. Walking with God takes consistency.  Enoch was the first man in the Bible to walk with God. He learnt how to commune with him through every facet of life. When the zeal of God captures you it will ignite you with a great passion for that journey and for him to be your Guide.
        Recently I came across the words of Max Lucado:
      ‘ Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see
        Eyes see the prowling lion
        Faith sees Daniel’s Angel
        Eyes see storms
        Faith sees Noah’s rainbow
        Your eyes see your guilt
        Your faith sees his blood
        Your eyes see your faults
        Your faith sees your Saviour’.
In seeing your Saviour it is important that we trust him because as our Shepherd he knows the way. That blindfolded walk that I did was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I put my trust in my guide, Mike, and in my Lord, my Shepherd ,to see me through.
At one point when we were going up a cliff on that walk Mike my guide said ‘ Susan, we are going to the left ,we will go on a slightly different path’. Sometimes we are not aware of his guiding or his change of path. Perhaps you can take time to think of ways in your life that he has guided you perhaps down a different path, but he has been with you on every step. Many of you know about 18 months ago, I felt my Lord was leading me into Ordained Ministry but then late I began to realise that he was leading me down a slightly different path. That was to stay with Local Preaching and perhaps pastoral work. For a time it was a time of uncertainty but I put my trust in him, my Guide and I am now happy and at peace and know he is leading me every step of the way.
    In John 10 v11 from our Gospel Reading, Jesus said   “ I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” and v 15” the Father knows me and I know the Father”. What greater love or greater sacrifice for us the sheep that our Father gave his only Son who died a cruel death for you and me.
    As he guides us it is important for us to have times of stillness and rest with him. ’He maketh me lie down in green pastures’. He wants us to have time of rest to enjoy his peace. We should also be diligent in prayer. Prayer is our personal relationship with God. Jesus was constantly praying,  so if he was constantly praying, how can we do without prayer in our lives ?
      When Lloyd Douglas, author of the The Robe, attended college he lived in a boarding house. A retired wheelchair bound music teacher lived on the first floor. Each morning Lloyd Douglas would stick his head in the door of the professors apartment and ask the same  question ,”Well what is the good news?” The music professor would pick up a tuning fork, tap it on the side of the wheelchair and say “ That is Middle C. It was Middle C yesterday. It will be Middle C tomorrow. It will be Middle C a thousand years from now. The tenor upstairs sings flat. The piano across the hall is out of tune but my friend that is Middle C”.
      You and I have a Middle C in our lives.
An unchanging  Shepherd.  Never ending love.
Let us count our blessings for his unfailing companionship and guidance.
There is a quote that I love, it is ‘ When  faith goes to the market it always takes a basket’.
Keep your basket handy because God may fill it at any time.
Be positive as you walk with and in the light of Christ. It is truly wonderful.
Amen

We  sing  now about our Shepherd and the trust we put in him as our Guide.


Hymn 481   The Lord`s My Shepherd.

The Lord`s my shepherd, I`ll not want,
he makes me lie in pastures green,
he leads me by the still, still waters,
his goodness restores my soul.
And I will trust in you alone,
and I will trust in you alone,
for your endless mercy follows me,
your goodness will lead me home.

He guides my ways in righteousness,
and he anoints my head with oil;
and my cup—- it overflows with joy,
I feast on his pure delights

And though I walk the darkest path—
I will not fear the evil one
for you are with me, and my rod and staff
are the comfort I need to know.


Prayers of Intercession

Lord we pray for those who show the love of God in their work with the young and the elderly, for those whose  loving care and genuine concern for the vulnerable and the innocent, the weak and the frail, is a reflection of your loving heart Lord. We pray for those who work and seek to heal relationships. May they know the strength of your  love.

During this second lockdown we pray for all those on the frontline in so many varying capacities. May they know your strength and power in the days and weeks  ahead.

We ask your  blessing on all those who are suffering at this time from Covid or other diseases and ailments. May they know that your loving and comforting arms are around them ,and we pray for the bereaved. Grant them strength and love in their hour of need.

We pray Lord for other parts of the world , who are not only trying to cope with Covid  but also with varying degrees of conflict. We pray especially this morning for the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. So much suffering, we hope and pray that the situation will improve and that peace will come to Yemen.

And finally, help us to trust you as our Good Shepherd.
Help us to acknowledge that you restore our souls, give us peace and bring us hope each and every day.
Amen


Lord`s Prayer.



It has been a joy my friends, as always to lead you in worship today. I continue to remember you, the people of  Torrisholme and Wesley in my prayers. I look forward to when we can meet again face to face.  Take great care and stay safe.
Every Blessing to you all.

We sing praises to our Lord in our final hymn. It is a firm favourite of many Christians, including myself.


Hymn 548  Blessed  Assurance, Jesus is Mine.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine:
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God;
born of his Spirit, washed in his blood
His is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Saviour all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
visions of rapture burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my saviour am happy and blest.—–
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

Benediction

For every storm, a rainbow
For every tear, a smile
For every care, a promise
and a blessing on each trial.
For every problem life sends
a faithful friend to share
for every sigh, a sweet song, and an
answer for each prayer.            ( Old  Irish Blessing )

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you this day and for evermore.  Amen.

ORDER OF SERVICE FOR ZOOM WORSHIP SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd
CHRIST THE KING
Call to Worship Psalm 95 1-7a

S t F 319 Christ triumphant

1 Christ triumphant, ever reigning,
Saviour, Master, King!
Lord of heaven, our lives sustaining,
hear us as we sing:
Yours the glory and the crown,
the high renown, the eternal name
.

2 Word incarnate, truth revealing,
Son of Man on earth!
power and majesty concealing
by your humble birth:
Yours the glory…

3 Suffering servant, scorned, ill – treated,
victim crucified!
death is through the cross defeated,
sinners justified:
Yours the glory…

4 Priestly king, enthroned for ever
high in heaven above!
sin and death and hell shall never
stifle hymns of love:
Yours the glory…

5 So, our hearts and voices raising
through the ages long,
ceaselessly upon you gazing,
this shall be our song:
Yours the glory…

© Michael Saward/Jubilate Hymns

Prayers of praise, confession and thanksgiving. Lord’s Prayer –          Howard Rogerson

Reading – Matthew 25 31-46 –                 Val Rogerson

STF 251- Jesus Christ is waiting

Jesus Christ is waiting,
Waiting in the streets;
No one is his neighbour,
All alone he eats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am lonely too.

Make me, friend or stranger,
Fit to wait on you

Jesus Christ is raging,
Raging in the streets,
Where injustice spirals
And real hope retreats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I am angry too.
In the Kingdom’s causes
Let me rage with you.

Jesus Christ is healing,
Healing in the streets;
Curing those who suffer,
Touching those he greets.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I have pity too.
Let my care be active,
Healing just like you.

Jesus Christ is dancing,
Dancing in the streets,
Where each sign of hatred
He, with love, defeats.
Listen, Lord Jesus,
I should triumph too.
On suspicion’s graveyard
Let me dance with you.

Jesus Christ is calling,
Calling in the streets,
”Who will join my journey?
I will guide their feet.”
Listen, Lord Jesus,
Let my fears be few.
Walk one step before me;
I will follow you.

©1988  WGRG, Iona Community, Govan, Glasgow G51 3UU, Scotland

Sermon – Jenny Butcher

STF 256 – When I needed a neighbour

When I needed a neighbour,
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a neighbour, were you there?


And the creed and the colour
And the name won’t matter,
Were you there?

I was hungry and thirsty,
Were you there, were you there?
I was hungry and thirsty, were you there?
And the creed and the colour …..

I was cold, I was naked,
Were you there, were you there?
I was cold, I was naked, were you there?
And the creed and the colour…..

When I needed a shelter
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a shelter were you there?
And the creed and the colour….

When I needed a healer,
Were you there, were you there?
When I needed a healer, were you there?
And the creed and the colour….

Wherever you travel,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there.
Wherever you travel, I’ll be there.
And the creed and the colour …

Sydney Carter

Prayers of intercession – Margaret Fancy

STF 185 – Sing we the King

Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain;
Life and salvation his empire shall bring,
Joy to the nations when Jesus is King.

    Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
    Jesus our King, Jesus our King:
    This is our song, who to Jesus belong:
      Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

All shall be well in His kingdom of peace,
Freedom shall flourish and wisdom increase,
Foe shall be friend when His triumph we sing,
Sword shall be sickle when Jesus is King.

Kingdom of Christ, for thy coming we pray,
Hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
When this new song Thy creation shall sing,
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.

(Charles Sylvester Horne)

Blessing

SERVICE FOR SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15th Prepared by Rev. David Philo

All hymns are from Singing the Faith

Welcome A Story of Peace Sought :

A retired couple were under threat of nuclear war and terrorism, so they undertook a study of all the inhabited places of the world. They wanted to find the place which would be least affected by a nuclear war, a place of ultimate security. They worked hard to find that place and eventually they found a small island to call home. They packed up and set up home on their peaceful island remembering to send their minister a postcard. It arrived on the same day that the island was invaded by the Argentinians – The Falkland Islands. 


A Prayer for Gathering

Hymn No 624 Calm me Lord
Calm me Lord , as you calmed the storm;
still me, Lord, keep me from harm.
Let all the tumult within me cease;
enfold me, Lord, in your peace.

David Adams (b. 1936)

Hymn No 639 Through the love of God our Saviour

Through the love of God our Saviour
all will be well.
Free and changeless is his favour;
all, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us,
perfect is the grace that sealed us,
strong the hand stretched forth to shield us;
all must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation,
all will be well.
Christ has purchased full salvation,
all, all is well.
Happy still in God confiding,
fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
holy ,through the Spirit`s guiding
all must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow;
all will be well.
Faith can sing through days of sorrow
all, all is well.
On our Father`s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
then in living or in dying,
all must be well.

Mary Peters (1813-1856)

Reading Psalm 34 : 1 – 14

Comment

This year we have missed the marches and the parades of Remembrance day, it has been necessarily low key and covid secure. Some may have missed it  altogether and in consequence have forgotten the sacrifice of thousands of young troops who suffered for us. We rightly applaud their bravery and sacrifice, yet to achieve peace in the world, it has to begin with us and in us, as the Carol says, “May there be peace on earth and may it begin with me.”

Both our Remembrance Sunday and the approaching season of Christmas, remind us that Jesus` birth brings great tiding of peace – peace in those who believe and have faith, who know the Lord Jesus Christ.


Hymn 723 Who Can Sound the Depths of Sorrow

Who can sound the depths of sorrow
in the Father heart of God,
for the children we`ve rejected,
for the lives so deeply scarred?
And each light that we`ve extinguished
has brought darkness to our land.
upon our nation, upon our nation,
have mercy, Lord.

We have scorned the truth you gave us,
we have bowed to other lords.
We have sacrificed the children
on the altars of our gods.
O let truth again shine on us,
let your holy fear descend;
upon our nation, upon our nation,
have mercy, Lord.

Who can stand before your anger ?
Who can face your piercing eyes?
For you love the weak and helpless,
and you hear the victims` cries.
Yes you are a God of justice,
and your judgement surely comes
upon our nation, upon our nation,
have mercy , Lord.

who will stand against the violence?
Who will comfort those who mourn?
In an age of cruel rejection,
who will build for love a home?
come and melt our hearts of stone:
upon your people, upon your people,
have mercy, Lord.

Graham Kendrick (1950)

Prayer of Confession       

           Lord , I am angry because I am so poor and believe others have too much, that I have to work so hard while other work so little.

Response :

Lord, forgive my jealousy and anger.                   

 Lord I am so sad because all around me are people who suffer so much while others spend away their misfortune .

Response :

Forgive me Lord for my lack of faith.                   

 Lord, everywhere in the world there is war and hatred, refugees and loss yet others who can buy medicine and safety.

Response : 


Forgive me Lord for being blind to the good in rich and poor.               

 Lord, when I feel hopeless because some have so little while others have so very much, angry because thousands lack medical help while others can book time in wealthy hospitals

Response

Forgive me Lord when I forget I have You and so have everything.                                                                                                Amen Amen


Old Testament Reading  Isaiah 9 : 4 – 7


Hymn 706 Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness 

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.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others
shared until all are fed.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless,
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.


Sermon Message : There is a famous painting that hangs in the gallery in Florence, which is called “The Peace”. It pictures the sea during a violent storm, a fierce gale is blowing and up in the sky there are dark angry clouds and lightning is flashing across the sky. There are huge rocks against which the waves are dashing in vain. In the cleft of one of the rocks, there is a tiny piece of vegetation surrounded by wonderful flowers and nestled there is a dove sitting serenely on her nest undisturbed by the wind and the storm.

One of the great things that so  any people seek for, is the serenity of that dove in the cleft of the rock. We think of course of that great hymn, which also speaks and sings of the safety hiding in the cleft of a rock. We all seek peace in a world which is divided and often at war, in fact, it is said that at any one time, there are at least a hundred conflicts being fought somewhere in the world. It is also a sad fact given by the internet, that between 1480 and 1941, 461 years, there were the following: Britain 78 wars; China 11 wars; Germany 23 wars.; U.S. 13 wars, France 71 wars. So what is the peace that we seek and pray for so often? Why is it so difficult to find and almost impossible to keep?

The problem with peace is that it seems a distant hope and a vague dream which is up to God to implement. But in reality, peace begins with us .”Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.” Isaiah 26 : 3 But how does it begin with us and in us? A forest fire usually begins with one lightning strike, a single blade of grass ignited. Peace begins with individuals being at peace with God and so at peace with themselves.

As we can see in that picture of the dove, peace is not the absolute removal of life’s disappointments and problems not the absence of strife, it is the ability to accept that God is on the storm and the sunshine, the ability to accept and respect difference, to live with other cultures and to see the best in our neighbours.

When Christ preached, there were struggles and fighting between Jews and Romans, between the Jews themselves and later between Jews and Christians. Jesus taught the Jewish people and He teaches us now, that peace can be attained even in disagreements, even in war. We would all understand the meaning of the Storm on the Lake Galilee. Jesus clearly teaches that faith and trust do not take away the problems and the difficulties of life but give us inner peace and strength to be able to get through them, to know that God is with us wherever we are and whatever the world is doing. Like the dove, we can be at peace even when the world seems a mad place. Peace has to come from within, to be part of us not an extra bit bolted on. Paul told us in his letters, “The peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” But let’s not pretend that peace is easy. We know in our own lives and communities, even in our own churches, how tempting it is to lash out in temper and frustration. I would love to exercise my anger at the idiots who keep letting fireworks off seemingly all through the year just to frighten my dog. How I would love to collect them all up and throw them into prison., but that sort of anger destroys peace within us.

Christ came to bring peace to all men and women and soon, hopefully we shall sing again as the angels sang at the very birth of Christ, “Peace and joy to all people. Our peace with Christ has to be as prophesied by Isaiah, “…and He will be called Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9 : 60)

Much of Christ’s life and teaching was bringing peace to others, indeed His mission spiritually and physically was one of peace, and Jesus has passed that mission to us. He has appointed me to preach good news to the poor, to release the oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. Luke 4 : 18. This is now our mission. But let’s be clear. The dove was at peace and could ignore a world in turmoil. We cannot. The beatitudes teach us the “Blessed is the peacemaker” not Blessed is the one seeking peace. When we have the peace of Jesus inside us, the Holy Spirit naturally leads us to seek that peace for others and for the world. Blessed are peacemakers for they shall see God . AMEN

Hymn 645 “Will Your Anchor Hold

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides drift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift or firm remain?

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll ;
fastened to a Rock which cannot move;
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour`s love.

Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear
when the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rave, and the wild winds blow
shall the angry waves then your barque o`erflow?

Will your anchor hold in the floods of death
when the waters cold chill your latest breath?
On the rising tide you can never fail,
while your anchor holds within the veil.

Will your eyes behold in the morning light
the city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will your anchor safe by the heavenly shore.
when life`s storms are past for evermore.

Pricilla Jane Owens (1829-1907)

Intercessions.           

 Let us pray for those who suffer because they seek peace, because they love and care for others.

LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 Let us pray for others who grieve for those they have lost through illness and old age. 

  LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER   

We bring to God those who suffer because of their own actions  and addictions.

  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER       

 We seek the safety and wellbeing of our young people and our  youth who live in a difficult and confusing world.

  LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER

   Bless our churches Lord that we may be alight for you, to remind all of Your boundless grace and Love.  

   LORD HEAR OUR PRAYER.  AMEN AMEN

Closing Hymn 693 Beauty for Brokenness

Beauty for Brokenness
hope for despair,
Lord, in your suffering world
this is our prayer.
Bread for the children,
justice, joy, peace,
sunrise to sunset
your kingdom increase.

Shelter for fragile lives,
cures for their ills,
work for all people,
trade for their skills;
land for the dispossessed,
rights for the weak,
voices to please the cause
of those who can`t speak.

God of the poor
friend of the weak,
give us compassion we pray;
melt our cold hearts,
let tears fall like rain;
come, change our love
from a spark to a flame.

Refuge from cruel wars,
havens from fear,
cities for sanctuary,
freedoms to share.
Peace to the killing- fields,
scorched earth to green,
Christ for the bitterness,
his cross for the the pain.

Rest for the ravaged earth,
oceans and streams
plundered and poisoned-
our future, our dreams.
Lord, end our madness,
carelessness, greed;
make us content with
the things that we need.

Refrain

Lighten our darkness,
breathe on this flame
until your justice burns
brightly again;
until the nations
learn of your ways,
seek your salvation
and bring you their praise.

Refrain

Graham Kendrick (b. 1950)

  Now may God bless you and keep you in perfect peace.

  In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit                                                                                                  AMEN

ORDER OF SERVICE FOR ZOOM WORSHIP on SUNDAY, 22nd NOVEMBER
CHRIST THE KING
Call to worship Psalm 95 1-7a

Hymn: S t F 319 Christ Triumphant