Worship @ Home: Second Sunday after Trinity
Good morning and welcome to this Sunday’s ‘Worship at Home’. Let’s begin with a moment of stillness and quiet as we prepare to meet with the Lord Jesus in our worship this morning. Either be still and quiet and allow your mind to empty of any distractions or if you looking at this on-line take a moment to listen to this music from ‘SaltOfTheSound.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus: https://youtu.be/-dFfLt2Bd3o
And now pray these words of praise and honour and thanksgiving to Jesus. Let us pray.
Lord Jesus, we come to give you honour and praise.
We thank you that you fill our hearts with hope
and our lives with a sense of expectation;
we thank and praise you that your touch heals our wounds and wipes away our tears;
that you excite us with your grace and overwhelm us with your mercy.
Above all we praise you
that through the Cross and by your resurrection
you have demonstrated your victory over death and despair
and given us the assurance that nothing,
can bring an end to your loving-kindness towards us
or separate us from your love.
Thank you that you bring us through every time of pain,
brokenness and anxiety;
that we can speak to others of your love in total confidence of its reality
and its power to make all things new.
Thank you for your peace, hope, joy and courage
with which you have filled our lives
and for the gratitude with which you have flooded our hearts.
we thank you and we praise you and we worship you,
for you alone are worthy.
And we ask now that,
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
you will take all that we have brought to our worship –
our hymns and songs, our words and our prayers –
and transform them into joyful celebration that is worthy
of the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
In your name, Lord Jesus, we pray! Amen
And let’s remain in prayer and take a moment now to reflect - on the good we have done and on the harm we have caused. Mindful of God’s grace and love, let’s make our confession, first in a moment of silent prayer.
Please read slowly through this prayer, taking time to think about what it says and means and so making this prayer your own.
Heavenly Father, when we stand in your presence,
all our pride and self-sufficiency,
our self-interest and our self-satisfaction
are exposed as the self-delusions they are.
Heavenly Father, when you come to us,
our superstitions, our lies, our half-truths and our self-deceit
crumble like dust before you.
The selfish way we make use of each other,
the way we look down in contempt on other people,
our vanity and our self-righteousness
are shown up in all their poverty and emptiness.
Heavenly Father, we come now to seek your forgiveness
and resist your life-renewing Spirit no longer.
Lift us up and enable us to celebrate your love
made known to us in and through the Cross and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
And now we pray
O God, our gracious Father,
we confess that we have sinned against you
and done many things to grieve you:
we have often been selfish,
we have sometimes forgotten to pray to you,
and we have not loved you as we should.
For these and all our other sins forgive us, we pray,
through him who died for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord’s Prayer, is then said
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
We’re going to praise Jesus again now. We’re going to praise Him because He has walked where we walk, he has stood where we stand and he has faced what we face and been tempted just as we are. And he never changes. He is always mindful of us and He will never let us down. And because He knows what our lives are like we can trust that He’ll always give us the strength to stand even in the darkest moments. And that deserves our Praise!
Please listen using the link, or read or sing aloud - https://youtu.be/_7TTCu4WKVs
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus;
His the sceptre, His the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph,
His the victory alone.
Hark! The songs of peaceful Zion
thunder like a mighty flood;
"Jesus out of every nation
has redeemed us by His blood.
Alleluia! Not as orphans
are we left in sorrow now.
Alleluia! He is near us;
faith believes, nor questions how.
Though the cloud from sight received Him
when the forty days were o'er,
shall our hearts forget His promise,
"I am with you evermore"?
Alleluia! Bread of angels,
now on earth our food, our stay.
Alleluia! Here the sinful
flee to Thee from day to day.
Intercessor, Friend of sinners,
earth's Redeemer, plea for me
where the songs of all the sinless
sweep across the crystal sea.
And as we come to our prayers of intercession, let us pray.
Father, we come in Christ to pray for the church and the world.
We pray for all Christians everywhere,
that they may come to you in the sure and simple way
that Christ came to his Father’s house.
Be there, we pray, for those who seek you
with heart and soul and mind and strength,
with those who worship you with heart and soul and mind and strength
and be with those who go in your name
to love their neighbours as themselves.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Lord, make us your witnesses.
So fill our lives with your love and your truth
that others will know we have been with Christ.
Lord, we know that so many of those around us in this world,
and many of those we meet, are living small, cramped, empty lives.
They are existing when you intended them to live;
they are hanging on by the skin of their teeth
when you are offering life in all its fullness.
We pray that what we say and how we say it,
what we do and how we do it,
will enable those who do not know you and have never loved you
to be caught up by the wonder of your love for them.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Lord, make us your servants.
So touch our lives by your Holy Spirit
that we may be equipped
to care for the careless,
love the unlovable
and enable the ungrateful to give thanks.
Lord, call us to be your servants
to those whom life treats harshly,
those overwhelmed by grief and loss,
those who are finding life hard to cope with,
those who are crushed or defeated
by the demands and expectations of others or themselves.
We pray for those who are poor, hungry, homeless
or lacking the skills necessary to live in our modern world.
Save us from patronizing others with our words
and fill us with love that is genuine.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Lord, make us your channels of hope and healing and wholeness
to those who are broken and defeated by life.
We pray now for any we know personally to be in need of God’s healing touch. (Pray now for any known to you personally who need our prayers)
Lord, we think of all of those who are ill,
those who are lonely or afraid,
those who are dying and those who watch with them,
those filled with regrets or remorse,
those who do not know which way to turn,
those for whom their world has seemingly fallen apart.
Lord, fill us we pray with your Holy Spirit,
that the light of your mercy may reach into the darkest corners of life.
Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
And finally Lord, we pray for ourselves.
Keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the source of all faith, hope and love.
In him, bring our faith to perfection.
By your Holy Spirit, may it come to full bloom.
May we feel your touch in every part of our lives.
And now in the quietness of this place and at this time,
we open our lives to you and to your will.
By your Spirit, may our lives honour you and our dying glorify you
with praise that never ends for all eternity
Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please read this passage from Matthew’s Gospel. From chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel is continues Jesus’ second discourse (sermon) about mission – our call to continue Jesus’ work.
Matthew 10:24-31 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
‘The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.25 It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 ‘So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Reflection: written by John Crutchley
A little boy had a part in the school play. It was just a small part. Just one line. One line that read: “It is I; be not afraid.” But on the night of the first performance he came out on to the stage and said: “It’s me...and I’m terrified!”
We might suppose that the most often repeated command in the bible would have something to do perhaps, with praying more often. Or maybe, improving our behaviour? Even, giving more money away! But it’s none of those. The most often repeated command in the bible is the command “Do not be afraid.” Apparently, it occurs 365 times in the bible – which as someone else has noted, is once for each day of the year! A thought for us all to hold on to in these challenging times, and most especially a thought to hold on to if you’re facing something in the week ahead that fills you with fear. Hear those words again. Hear them this morning: “Do not be afraid.” Friends, God says it so often, he clearly wants us to grasp it, and not to live in fear!
And of course, three of the occurrences of that command are in the short passage that we’ve just read from Matthew chapter 10: in verses 26, 28 and 31. They are offered to us in the context of mission. Because that’s the subject of this second ‘discourse’ (as it’s called), this second sermon from Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel. Mission: the continuing of Jesus’ work. We touched on this last week and when we were looking at the closing verses of Matthew chapter 9 and in our thoughts about ‘the Lord of the Harvest’. But moving on from that, and indeed throughout chapter 10, Jesus gives his disciples really comprehensive teaching as he prepares to send the Twelve out on mission, giving them authority to heal sickness and disease, to care for bruised and hurt lives and to drive demons out of those who were possessed. But also teaching them - and teaching us who are called to follow them - to be bold. “Do not be afraid” says Jesus, “Do not be afraid...for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known” (verse 26). In short then, the truth will out, Jesus’ triumph is certain, so just be bold and share everything that he has told you and shown you. Reveal his truths and leave it to him in due time to reveal your integrity.
At least, that’s what I think Jesus is saying in this passage (vv. 24 – 25). That, and that we are to remember always that doing this may well be tough; that there may well be some rejection, some outright hostility even; name-calling perhaps. I mean, to call Jesus Beelzebul was akin to likening him to Satan – it was about as deadly an insult as his enemies could muster! This was the top of the pile when it came to name-calling. And “a disciple is not above his teacher, nor is a servant above his master. It is enough if the disciple can become like his teacher, and the servant like his master” (verse 24 – 25). So, when we step out in mission, when we try to share with others something of our love for Jesus, when we try to live in accordance with his commands, we can expect some abuse. We can expect the sort of contempt that is so often the response of our culture nowadays to those who proclaim the counter-cultural teaching and message of Jesus. But, ‘don’t let them worry you’ says Jesus. ‘Don’t be afraid of these people. Expect to be given a very rough ride by some. But tell them everything. Reveal the truth. That is the mission.’
I’d never really thought about it, until I was looking at this passage this week, how it is that in the Apostles Creed, which is thought still to include the essential teaching of the Twelve, the same ‘Twelve’ who were being sent out on mission here in chapter 10 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus’ earliest followers, how in their teaching in the Apostles Creed they subsume the whole of Jesus’ earthly ministry between his birth and his passion under the single verb “suffered”. That’s it. That’s what they saw as the hallmark of Jesus’ earthly experience. It was suffering. And Jesus’ followers can expect no better. So, we’re to shout the good news of Jesus from the rooftops. We’re to broadcast the truth of Jesus to the world. We’re to proclaim it openly – expecting always to be greeted with hostility. But we are not to be afraid; “Do not be afraid” says Jesus (vv.26 – 27).
Of course, overcoming fear when it comes to sharing the good news of Jesus with others is helped if we have a deep conviction that God has given us something to say that our audience needs desperately to hear. Think of it like this, perhaps. You’re walking down the street and you notice a large building that is hosting a large (pre-lockdown!) gathering of people. And then you notice that smoke and flame is pouring from the top of the building. Wouldn’t you immediately run in and tell the people to get out? There would be no fearful thoughts or hesitation. Why? Because you would know that they need to hear what you have to say. So, how convinced are we that people need to hear a word from God? How convinced are we that people need to hear the truth of the saving love of God in Jesus Christ? To me, the need is just as urgent. Fear seems to be all around us right now; fear of the virus; fear of a reoccurrence of the virus; the fear that parents have in sending their children back to school – should we or not? The fear of those who haven’t had that appointment for tests that they should have had a few months back – but now? Well, who knows when? The fear about jobs, about the economy. The fear of those communities who rightly feel that they get a bad deal in this country, an unfair deal. And the fears of those in other countries who feel that they are the victims of a justice system that is too quick to blame and even quicker to pin them to the ground with a knee on their necks. I’d say the fire is burning and we need to run in and shout for all we are worth! I’d say that we need to be crying out about the only one who does deserve to be feared.
Openness and fearlessness run through this passage. And so that terrifying warning of judgement in verse 28, of “the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” is balanced with another “Do not be afraid” in verse 31 and then by one of the most detailed and striking promises about the love of God in the Bible. Not only God’s love for the sparrows but for every hair on our heads. Jesus is saying that God cares for even the humblest members of his creation. That they are numbered. Which means in effect, watched over. And when they fall, well, the best translations tell us that even then they are never apart from the Father. In other words, he not only knows or determines their fall he even accompanies them. What great love is that!
Sparrows come cheap. Two a penny! But they matter to God – and so, how much more then do we matter to him? Nothing, not even the hairs on our head are insignificant to our Sovereign God, who has knowledge of even the most unimportant pieces of information about us, who accompanies us in everything, who loves us through everything and who follows us with a level of attention that means nothing is too great for him to do and nothing is too small for him to care about. What great love!
And that, it seems to me, is a message that so many need to hear again right now. So, get up! Shout it from the rooftops. Speak it out aloud! Proclaim it in the streets! At the very last, tell everyone you meet. “Do not be afraid.” Just trust in the love of God in Jesus Christ.
Let’s praise God https://youtu.be/WqOnjmr9Ah0
Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways;
reclothe us in our rightful mind,
in purer lives thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.
In simple trust like theirs who heard
beside the Syrian sea
the gracious calling of the Lord,
let us, like them, without a word
rise up and follow thee.
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
where Jesus knelt to share with thee
the silence of eternity,
interpreted by love!
With that deep hush subduing all
our words and works that drown
the tender whisper of Thy call,
as noiseless let Thy blessing fall
as fell Thy manna down.
Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
thy coolness and thy balm;
let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!
Let us pray
Lord, we commit ourselves to continue the song of praise
that we have shared together,
and to live in the spirit of thankfulness that we have declared.
We commit ourselves to be the people of prayer
that we have sought to be,
and to be open to your Word every day of our lives.
We ask that you will so fill us with your Holy Spirit
that our changed hearts,
our transformed lives
and our declaring the love of God
may lead others to place their faith in you
and give you all the glory.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
And may the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Be amongst us and remain with us
and those that we love,
this day and always. Amen
Bible Quotations: Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Prayers and Liturgy: copyright © The Archbishops' Council of the Church or England