Webteam: May 2020
Service for 17th May 2020 (See note beside Prayer of Confession, before starting)
Opening Prayer (Miriam Stevenson)
You are the one in whom we live,
in whom we are and move
Our voices blend with the music of all creation
Echoing the song of the angels
Forever praising your creating Love
God among us, Jesus our brother,
Sacrificial Lamb and Risen Lord
We call out to you, wounded Saviour
We offer our thanks and our lives
In response to your redeeming grace
Spirit of holiness, sacred energy
Renewer of hearts
Your power and beauty
are beyond words
Your Love is beyond measure
Together the whole church adores You
and looks to You
Eternal, Ever-living God
You created us in love
and Your Love has made us who we are today.
Today we focus on Your Love
We remember and celebrate it
with all on earth and in Heaven
May we sing of Your Love forever.
Hymn StF 455 All my Hope on God is Founded
Prayer of Confession (Christian Aid Service 2020)
You may wish to move to your sink to pray this, or bring a bowl of water, some soap and a towel to where you are at worship. Or simply join in this prayer. (You can say it in 20-30 seconds.)
As we turn on the tap
we turn our hearts
towards you, O God.
As we wet our hands
renew our thoughts,
so we might be transformed.
As we lather soap
and over all our hands,
purge from us
all that brings us harm
and might harm others.
Remove the invisible
guilt and shame
that so often keeps us from you.
As we rinse our hands,
we trust in your
making all things new.
Bible Reading: Psalm 31: 1-5, 15-16 www.oremus.org
1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
15 My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your steadfast love.
Video for Christian Aid Week -
SAYING YES (Christian Aid Service 2020)
Reader 1 Because we are God's people, Response: We will care for each other.
Reader 2 Because we are part of God's creation, Response: We will care for the earth.
Reader 1+2 Because we are loved by God, Response: We will share God's love with everyone.
Reflection (Christian Aid Service 2020, excerpts). See https://bishopstreetmethodistchurchsundaystuff.wordpress.com/ for a reflection on Acts 17: 22-31 prepared by Miriam Stevenson.
The psalmist prays, as we do now, for the refuge and fortress of God to protect us and for deliverance from everything that is hidden and invisible to us but would threaten our very lives (verses 3 and 4). While written as an individual's prayer, the psalmist inspires our collective prayer for the global community: God, incline your ear to us; rescue us speedily. Be a rock of refuge for us, a strong fortress to save us. In your mercy, hear our prayer. In these days of isolation, when we have had to retreat to the fortress of our own homes, may we seek a new understanding of God as our fortress, the place of security and safety we turn to in this time of trial. God is not a fortress that barricades, but one that strengthens and reinforces, enabling us to look out for our most vulnerable neighbours, near and far — albeit with the help of computers or from a safe distance. There is something refreshingly honest about these prayers of lament which tell God how things really are, and this shows that God is interested in our physical suffering and our bodily wellbeing. That's important to remember these days. Jesus also turned to the psalms for strength and courage when enduring suffering. It is verse 5 of this psalm that Jesus quotes on the cross: 'into your hand I commit my spirit'. This verse takes on particular poignancy as we face the reality that coronavirus has and will lead to the end of life for many of our neighbours, near and far. It is into the hands of God that we entrust them to God's eternal keeping.
Christian Aid Week has always been about how we can be good global neighbours. Asking ourselves how we can extend the love that never fails to our neighbours near and far has never been more important than it is this year. When our own hands and the hands of others have become something of a threat, and when many are no longer experiencing the reassuring touch of a hand on a shoulder, or no longer being comforted by the embrace of a hug, the references to hands in verses 5, 8 and 15 are also particularly poignant. It feels particularly relevant to pray, with the trust of the psalmist, that our times are in God's hands and also for deliverance from hands that might harm us, including our own. As we wash our hands more carefully and more often, we can pray to God to hold in his care all those we have held hands with, carried and hugged. We can also pray for those who we have never had the opportunity to physically embrace, but who we have reached out to with generous hands, giving what we could through our envelopes during many previous Christian Aid Weeks. We at Christian Aid are incredibly grateful to all who have delivered and collected Christian Aid Week envelopes by hand over these past 60+ years. And for all the hands that have made soup for church lunches, poured cups of tea and coffee, made toast for Big Brekkies, put up posters and bunting advertising events, sorted books and art for sale, and of course counted and returned the money collected. Thank God for the hands that have put love into action.
The world's poorest people are the most vulnerable to this crisis. They are less resilient, have less access to healthcare and will be less able to weather the economic impact. Thanks to your support, we have been standing alongside them for the past 75 years. We'll continue to stand with them through this crisis and will be with them afterwards. Now more than ever, please share your love for your vulnerable neighbours by giving at caweek.org/payin
Beatitudes for a Global Pandemic https://cartoonchurch.com/content/cc/beatitudes-video/
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession (based on Christian Aid Service 2020)
God of abundant life,
we see your goodness all around us and
we thank you for every part of it;
We pray that in this time of climate
crisis and ecological emergency,
you may help us to rediscover your
love of creation and to reflect that in
our own lives.
God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.
God who speaks through unexpected
We thank you for contemporary
prophets who are challenging us to
act on climate change;
We pray that you will help those in power
to hear their prophetic voices
and give them wisdom and courage
when they face difficult decisions.
God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.
God of second chances,
we recognise the damage we have
done to the earth
and the injustice we see in society
We pray for the coming of a better
world with justice, kindness and
humility at its heart.
We ask that you guide us to be
co-creators of this new world.
Give us confidence to follow the
So that together,
in your strength,
we can stand against injustice to people
and to planet.
God, in your mercy
hear our prayer.
Hymn StF 418 We have a Gospel to proclaim
Blessing (Adapted from ACT Alliance)
May God bless us with wonder at creation's glory.
May God bless us with fury at creation's spoiling.
May God bless us with courage at this critical hour.
And may the blessing of God, Creator, Son and Holy Spirit,
rest upon us and on all creation, this day
and for the future to come. Amen.
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