10th May

Week Commencing Sunday 10th May 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are keeping well. This week’s update includes a piece written by Lorna Sivyour entitled ‘Faith or Fear?’ I have also included wording for a Communion service. So you might like first to prepare some bread and drink (possibly Ribena or wine), to represent Christ’s body broken and His blood shed for us.

Hymn

 

Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Chorus:

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name


Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
 

Chorus

Bridge:

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
 

(Beth & Matt Redman)

 

Call to Worship

‘For God did not give us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ 2 Timothy 1:7.

‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love’ 1 John 4:18.

Faith or Fear?

‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews 11:6)

‘Faith, which is trust, and fear are opposite poles. If a man has the one, he can scarcely have the other in vigorous opposition. He that has his trust set upon God does not need to dread anything except the weakening or the paralysing of that trust’ Alexander MacLaren.

How is our faith today? Are we coping with the enormous pressures of living in such a surreal world of lockdown? All the stress and strain of COVID-19?

‘It does not matter how great the pressure is, what really matters is where the pressure lies, whether it comes between you and God or whether it presses you nearer to His heart.(Anon)

In this unprecedented time are we drawing near to Him? Are we building our faith or is fear overwhelming us?’

Let us look together at this two sided coin- one which is fear and one is faith.

Fear is the dark room where negatives are developed. When we are fearful we are not in faith. When we are afraid it is because we are looking at ourselves, all that is happening around us. Fear poisons our inner peace.

There are few more crippling or debilitating conditions such as fear- fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of death, fear of the future. Soon it will be Pentecost when we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit releases Christians from their fears and gives us the blessed assurance that whatever we are going through God is with us. Do you remember we went through the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ in January 2020? One line of which states ‘Whatever befall, still be my vision, o ruler of all.’

God is with us. He is our Rock. He is our strength. He is always faithful. So what is the antidote for fear? There are four:

First of all there is prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. We need to soak ourselves in prayer. Whenever that fear comes to mind, let’s turn our eyes on Jesus, away from the circumstances (Hebrews 12:2).

Second anchor in God’s Word. God’s prophetic Word serves as a light that shines in a dark place. (2 Peter 1:19). His Word is a beacon in turbulent times. At times like this we need God’s Holy Word (Psalm 23). Psalm 91 is a Psalm of protection. John’s Gospel helps us dig into the treasures of Scripture.

Third worship God. Praise Him for who He is. Find the A-Z of God’s character: He is Almighty. He is the Bread of Life. He is the Comforter. He is the Deliverer. Stand firm in the unchanging character of God.

Finally thank Him. Yes! Even in times like this. Every day is a gift. Ephesians 1 has a list of spiritual blessings. The Lord lavishes His unconditional love on us. We are chosen. We have a glorious inheritance to look forward to. Read through those blessings and thank Him for each one.

So what is Faith? The dictionary says it is reliance, trust in- belief founded on authority. What greater authority have we than God? Faith is like a muscle. It grows with exercise, gaining strength over time.

Let’s take a model of faith as recorded in Hebrews 11. Moses. The nation was in fear as they approached the Red Sea. The enemy was behind them. The situation looked hopeless. Exodus 14:10 describes how the people began to panic. But Moses had faith. He knew God would stand by His promises to deliver them and guide. In verse 14 he told the people that God would rescue them. God turns the sea into a carpet.

Faith is not a last resort when all else has failed. It is a way of life. Are you sceptical? Call out to God in your pain, in your anguish. He is listening. Seek Him as David did (Psalm 63):

Please do explore Christian web sites: The Alpha website (associated with Holy Trinity Brompton) is helpful. They are running on line Alpha courses. Alternatively get hold of a copy of Nicky Gumbell’s ‘Questions of Life’ which has all his talks from the course in book form. Ex barrister Nicky has also written an excellent booklet entitled ‘Why does God allow suffering?’ as part of his book ‘Searching Issues.’ We studied this booklet through a series of Wednesday evenings two years ago.  If you did not receive the booklet then and would like one please ask our Minister Rev David Barnes, and he will give you a copy free of charge. Answers in Genesis is another website with biblical answers to help you in your searching.

Get hold of a copy of the Bible, or New Testament in modern English (Such as New international Version, or a paraphrase like Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Message’) and read one of the Gospels. There is a TV series called ‘The Chosen’. It has its own App and you can view its episodes on YouTube. It is an excellent exploration of Christ’s life as depicted in the Gospels.

Have a look at Christian books about prayer. This will help introduce you to, and develop your relationship with, the living God. Helpful titles include: ‘Listening to God’ Joyce Huggett, ‘Prayer’ (subtitled ‘Finding the heart’s true home’) Richard Foster, ‘Prayer’ (Subtitled ‘Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God) Timothy Keller, and ‘A Call to Spiritual Reformation’ (Subtitled ‘Priorities from Paul and his prayers’) D. A Carson. ‘God on Mute’ by Peter Greig is a helpful look at ‘engaging the silence of unanswered prayer.’1

God longs to have you as His own, but it is your choice. Only Jesus will give you the rich fulfilment in life you are looking for.

Seek the truth and The Truth will set you free: To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31, 32                                                         

(1 For recommended resources in these 3 paragraphs please speak to DB)                                                         Lorna Sivyour   

                                                                                                                                           

Coral Barwell has written the following appropriate words for her hymn ‘I Woke Last Night.’

Hymn

I woke last night Lord, and my heart was aching

With worries, cares, all bearing down on me

The darkness held me, and my fears oppressed me

There’s no way out, no way to set me free

 

There is no way Lord, there is no solution

All has been tried and all has come to nought

Where can I go to seek some consolation

Some stillness, rest and peace, respite from painful thought

 

Come to me child, I thought I heard you whisper

There is no pain or grief I cannot bear

Cast all on me, my power and grace will strengthen

You’ll walk in light the path that you now fear

 

I woke tonight Lord, and my heart was aching

Not with pain, but with such love of Thee

Surrendering all to you, I found the answer

Your perfect love, such love, the love of God for me.

 

(Words Coral Barwell. Tune Londonderry Air).

 

 

Reading. Mark 14: 12-26.

 

Communion:

Greeting. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Prayer: ‘Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, so that we may truly love you and worthily praise your holy name: Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen’

A prayer of humble confession (make your own privately)

Then these words may be used:

‘Hear the word of God. His love is shown for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us’

Prayer: ‘Prepare our hearts and minds, Lord, to accept your word. Silence in us any voice but your own, that hearing, we may also obey your will through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen’

We shall affirm our faith in God's love for the world and its people:

‘God so loved the world
that he gave his only Son,
that whosoever believes in him
should not perish
but have eternal life.
God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but that the world through him
might be saved.’

This is our faith.
Lord, help our faith to grow.

The Communion:

The words of Invitation: ‘This is the Lord's Table. Our Saviour invites those who trust him to share the feast he has prepared.’

It is our delight, God of the universe, to give you thanks through Jesus Christ.
You said, 'Let there be light', and the light came, to shine on in our darkness. For you the earth has brought forth life in all its forms. You have created us to hear your word, to do your will, and to be filled in your love.

It is right to thank you.
You sent your Son to be for us
the way we need to follow
and the truth we need to know.

Your Son came to give us life
and to set us free from sin.
His cross takes our guilt away.
You send your Holy Spirit
to strengthen and to guide,
to warn and to revive your Church.

Therefore, with all who love you, who surround us on every side, countless as heaven's stars, we praise you for our creation and our calling, with loving and joyful hearts.

Holy God, holy and merciful, holy and just,
glory and goodness come from you.
Glory to you, most high and gracious God.

The Words of Institution (taken from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26):

We remember Jesus who took bread in his hands, broke it, gave it to his friends, and said, 'Take, eat, this is my body which is for you. Do this to remember me.'

We remember Jesus who took the wine cup in his hands and gave thanks for it. He gave it to them and said, 'This is the new covenant sealed by my blood. When you drink from it, do this in memory of me'.

God of the past and the present,
with this bread and wine
we remember your Son.
We thank you for his life,
his death and resurrection.
We look for his coming in glory
and in him we give ourselves to you.

The bread is broken and the wine is offered. (Please eat and drink at this point)

Hymn

 

  1. I will sing the wondrous story
    Of the Christ Who died for me;
    How He left His home in glory
    For the cross of Calvary.
    • Refrain:
      Yes, I’ll sing the wondrous story
      Of the Christ Who died for me,
      Sing it with the saints in glory,
      Gathered by the crystal sea.
  2. I was lost, but Jesus found me,
    Found the sheep that went astray,
    Threw His loving arms around me,
    Drew me back into His way.
  3. I was bruised, but Jesus healed me,
    Faint was I from many a fall,
    Sight was gone, and fears possessed me,
    But He freed me from them all.
  4. Days of darkness still come o’er me,
    Sorrow’s path I often tread,
    But His presence still is with me;
    By His guiding hand I’m led.
  5. He will keep me till the river
    Rolls its waters at my feet;
    Then He’ll bear me safely over,
    Where the loved ones I shall meet.

 

 

Prayer. ’Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you with all our heart for your mercy and grace. Give us now and in the days to come a living hope in you; and as we serve you in the world, help us look and work for that day when at your name every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess you Lord to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Blessing. ‘And the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with you’