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Worship

Sunday 29 August 2021

We prepare ourselves with a time of quiet.

 

Opening Prayer

Loving God, we thank you that you hold us in this time and for all time, that you know our comings and goings, and are intimate with the innermost thoughts of our hearts. Because of this we can come to you in confidence and in trust. So, entrusting ourselves to you, we pray that you would enable us to worship you, in Spirit and in truth.   AMEN.

Hymn: STF 508 Purify my heart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKfuZVWr-8I

Purify my heart, let me be as gold and precious silver.

Purify my heart, let me be as gold, pure gold.

 

Refiner's fire, my heart's one desire is to be holy,

set apart for you, Lord.

I choose to be holy, set apart for you my master,

ready to do your will.

Purify my heart, cleanse me from within

and make me holy.

Purify my heart, cleanse me from my sin,

deep within.

Brian Doerksen (b. 1965)

Let us pray together

Loving God, we must acknowledge before you that your thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are your ways our ways.

You see in us what we cannot see, in our neighbours what we are blind to, seeing the unrefined gold, the unpolished diamond, the beauty and potential in each of us.

HELP US TO SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES, TO CATCH WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART.

You see the end from the beginning and hold all time in your hands. We are too often impatient looking for instant results, making no time for watching or waiting.

HELP US TO SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES, TO CATCH WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART.

You walked the way of the cross before us, calling us to follow, even when we falter and stumble you call us on.      HELP US TO SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES, TO CATCH WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART.

And so we come, asking that you free us from our worst tendencies, and tasking you to liberate our best selves, praying for your grace and pardon.             

HELP US TO SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES, TO CATCH WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART.

Help us to hear your word: You are new creations, you are precious and honoured in my sight. Help us to receive your affirming and transforming love.

HELP US TO SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES, TO CATCH WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART. Amen.

Reading: Mark 7: 1-8, 14-15,21-23

Time to Reflect

Over the last 19 months (plus) we have been instructed again and again to observe the ritual of washing our hands, in bathrooms everywhere, in restaurants, and cafes, and even in our churches signs appeared telling us not only how to wash our hands but also how long for, there have been some creative suggestions, from singing Happy Birthday to reciting the Lord’s Prayer as we carry out what for many of us has now become a frequent ritual, and something we do not just before we eat a meal.

Yesterday I visited my daughter, and was shown by my almost 2-year-old grandson how clever he was pulling his stool up to the sink and carefully washing his hands without help before we ate lunch. Interestingly neither mum nor grandma did this!

As I reflect upon that I can almost feel the shock of the Pharisees and scribes who noticed with horror that Jesus disciples were eating without taking part in the ritual of handwashing, thus rendering them defiled. This handwashing along with the washing of pots and cups and more were an integral part of life, showing an outward devotion to God, to the wider community and in some senses to themselves.

Jesus however is not concerned by his disciple’s actions (or should I say inactions). He points to ritual for rituals sake as being wholly inadequate. To honour God with outward signs whilst having hearts and minds set upon other things was not enough, the ritual, like our sacraments should have been what we often refer to as an outward sign of an inner grace, a reminder, as our baptism service records, that God has indeed accomplished “All this for you”.

Jesus wants something deeper than outward signs, he wants people to live lives focused upon the goodness and grace of God, people who are living lives centred upon love, to become visible signs of the grace of God at work. He wants us to be clean, to reflect holiness both inwardly and outwardly.

Now I am not suggesting that you should stop washing your hands in these pandemic times, (I make a note for myself there), but perhaps you might use this ritual as a chance to pray, to turn your attention to God, to allow those moments to become an opportunity to examine your heart, or simply to allow the love of God to wash over you as the water washes over your hands. Just as Brother Lawrence found the opportunity to worship God in what he saw originally as menial kitchen work, peeling potatoes and washing pots, thus redeeming it, maybe we can find opportunities every day to find, worship and celebrate God in all things.

Take some time to reflect

A time of prayer  Loving God, in Christ you came and walked this world with engagement and humility. We reflect upon the stories he told, using illustrations from everyday objects and from nature, revealing your presence in even the smallest flower or the lowliest bird.

Help us to live as your holy people. Help us to trust you in all things. MAY YOUR LOVED BE REVEALED.

We pray for the world, we notice the struggles, not only of the way the pandemic has swept across it, but also the needs of those afflicted by war, famine and other diseases, those fighting for the reality of climate change to be constantly on the political and global agendas.

Help us to live as your holy people. Help us to trust you in all things. MAY YOUR LOVE BE REVEALED.

We pray for the church in these ever-changing days, for wisdom and for integrity, for a deep sense of your peace, purpose and mission to be our reason for reaching out. For the courage to let go and to move on when that journey is needed.

Help us to live as your holy people. Help us to trust you in all things. MAY YOUR LOVE BE REVEALED.

We pray for those we care for and care about, those who might be struggling, those awaiting a birth or a death of some other event that will transform their lives (you may wish to remember some specific people or needs at this point).

Help us to live as your holy people. Help us to trust you in all things. MAY YOUR LOVE BE REVEALED.

Finally, we pray for ourselves. You know us through and through, our concerns, our hopes and our desires. Help us to be signs of your kingdom, through the love and grace you have shown us, and will continue to show us.

Help us to live as your holy people. Help us to trust you in all things. MAY YOUR LOVE BE REVEALED.   Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: STF 345 And can it be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlwDCmTkRhM

And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour's blood?

Died he for me, who caused his pain?

For me, who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

 

'Tis mystery all: the Immortal dies!

Who can explore his strange design?

In vain the first-born seraph tries

to sound the depths of love divine.

'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,

let angel minds enquire no more.

 

He left his Father's throne above --

so free, so infinite his grace --

emptied himself of all but love,

and bled for Adam's helpless race.

'Tis mercy all, immense and free;

for, O my God, it found out me!

 

Long my imprisoned spirit lay

fast bound in sin and nature's night;

thine eye diffused a quickening ray --

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light,

my chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

 

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus, and all in him, is mine!

Alive in him, my living Head,

and clothed in righteousness divine,

bold I approach the eternal throne,

and claim the crown, through Christ, my own.

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

A prayer of blessing

From where we are to where you need us LOVING GOD LEAD ON

From the security of what we know, to the wonders you will reveal LOVING GOD LEAD ON

May we be signs of your grace, revealing your mercy.

LOVING GOD LEAD ON. BLESS AND KEEP US WE PRAY.Original Materials by Sally Coleman All   Hymns reproduced under CCLi 1144191.  Local Churches  CCCLi No here3382 / 761


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