Service for 12/07/2020

Posted by Barbara Nadin on 10 July 2020

Dear Friends,

Here I am again! Another month, at least, has passed. I do hope you are keeping well? Not, of course, just in a physical way but also spiritually. I know you all are connected by telephone conversations, email, and other forms of internet platforms. The telephone is often busy when I ring Margaret, it makes me smile as I know that she will be chatting with one of you. The line is a like a spiritual prayer exchange, as our church family shares news and has, I’m sure, conversations about daily life and the way forward.

Places of worship are now being allowed to open which is good news but there are very strict guidelines. These need to be introduced for everyone’s safety and welfare. From what I can see it results in a very different way of worship, not just a getting back to how it used to be, but finding a new way forward that brings together prayer, praise and well-being. Working out how to weave these strands, respectfully, into a gathering is a task being worked out by many. It will take time. After consideration I have decided to change my usual way of being ‘rent-a-vicar’, by taking less services and being a little more grounded in one place at a time. This will result in me not spending my Sundays rushing around visiting my extended Church families throughout the day, which I love, but seeing them a little less often. I’ve decided not to be down about it, because it is a necessary step, but I will relish and delight in the time I am with those I love. And my aim is to keep in touch in other ways, yet to be confirmed.

Since I last wrote to you I have been suffering with sciatica – too much gardening it would seem! I’ve never had this before, and I can assure you, I don’t ever intend getting it again. It has meant three weeks of being in pain, at various levels, and not getting much sleep. This has been so difficult for Barry, bless him, because I have been very grumpy and very mardy. It has taught me this though don’t take your health for granted, and channel your ‘grumpiness’ into praying for those who are in constant pain, for those who are restless, for those that suffer every day. My pain, God willing, and with the help of my physiotherapist, is getting less, and will pass but not for others.

In one of the suggested readings for today, St Paul writes about how when we focus on the ‘flesh’ it can distract us from the spiritual. The ‘flesh’ in this case is worldly things, those things that can be counted, measured, and owned. Where individual gain and pleasure is at the centre. To direct our hearts towards the Holy Spirit, brings gifts such as love, kindness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and these are for sharing. They fulfil the individual, but they also inspire and encourage others.

When I was feeling worn down by my grumpiness last week, I asked Barry to drive me to Melbourne. It was uncomfortable to sit in the car but it cheered me up. That is what the Holy Spirit does it brings us closer to each other even though we can’t see each other. A very close friend brought me a birthday present many years ago, and it means so much to me, it says this, ‘Good friends are like angels, you don’t have to see them to know they are there.’

Thank you for being there!

God bless you always

Julie Ann

07801 467348 – julieannheath@pottersmaze.co.uk

 

 Morning Worship                                                                                Melbourne URC – Sunday 12th July 2020

Hymn: Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965)

Morning has broken like the first morning;

Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.

Praise for the singing!

Praise for the morning!

Praise from them, springing fresh from the Word!

 

Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,

Like the first dewfall on the first grass.

Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,

sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

 

Mine is the sunlight!

Mine is the morning born of the one light

Eden saw play!

Praise with elation, praise every morning,

God’s re-creation of the new day!

 

Opening prayers you may wish to use:

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;

let us pray with one heart and mind.

 

(Take a moment to rest in God’s love for you..)

 

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,

so may the light of your presence O God,

set our hearts on fire with love for you;

Now and for ever.

 

 

Almighty God,

from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed:

kindle, we pray, in the hearts of all, the true love of peace

and guide with your pure and peaceable wisdom

those who take counsel for the nations of the earth

that in tranquillity your kingdom may go forward,

till the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

Matthew 13: 1-9 The Parable of the Sower.

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told many things in parables, saying: Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

 

Matthew 13: 18-23 The Parable of the Sower Explained.

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the words and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and 

when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

 

Hymn: Edward Joseph Burns

We have a gospel to proclaim,

Good news for men in all the earth;

The gospel of a saviour’s name:

We sing His glory, tell His worth.

 

Tell of His birth at Bethlehem,

Not in a royal house or hall

But in a stable dark and dim:

The Word made flesh, a light for all.

 

Tell of His death at Calvary,

Hated by those He came to save;

In lonely suffering on the cross

For all He loved, His life He gave.

 

Tell of that glorious Easter morn:

Empty the tomb, for He was free;

He broke the power of death and hell

That we might share His victory.

Tell of His reign at God’s right hand,

By all creation glorified;

He sends His Spirit on His Church

To live for Him, the Lamb who died.

 

Now we rejoice to name Him king:

Jesus is Lord of all the earth;

This gospel-message we proclaim:

We sing His glory, tell His worth.

 

Romans 8: 1-11 Life in the Spirit.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law – indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

Reflection:

‘All I once held dear, build my life upon, all this world reveres, and wars to own, all I once thought gain I have counted loss; spent and worthless now, compared to this: Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You, there is no greater thing. You are my all, You’re the best, You’re my joy, my righteousness, And I love You, Lord.’

We are not always very good at expressing how we feel about each other. It is usually because of a mixture of things. It could be that we can’t find the right words, or we are cautious of saying how we feel because we are afraid of being rejected. These words, from the song ‘All I once held dear’ written by Graham Kendrick, articulated exactly how I felt about Jesus when I first realised that I could have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus was interested in me. Jesus loved me.

 

Love is the essence of life. To love is to be fulfilled. To be loved is the greatest gift we can receive. Deep down we all know this. Some characters believe that if they have stated their emotions once that is enough to last a lifetime. What need is there to keep repeating a sentiment when, as far as they are concerned, nothing has changed? Love for them is maybe seen as a contract or an agreement. Once the contract has been made that’s it – job 

done! There is, of course, two meanings to the word contract. Contract can also mean to diminish, or to shrink, or even wither, just like the seeds planted on rocky ground. It was too hard, there was not enough comfortable ground for them to sink their life-giving roots into. They got scorched. Just like my willow tree did a few weeks ago. When I bought it from the garden centre it looked great. I’d found the perfect pot, and it was put outside our front door. When the sun arrived recently, although watered, the leaves of willow tree withered in the heat. The constant harsh rays of the afternoon sun pouring down didn’t suit the willow. The willow was moved to the back garden in semi-shade. It was well looked after, and all the dried leaves eventually fell to the ground, and once again it flourishes, and is in fact, looking happier than when I first bought it.

 

We can often spend years looking for our right place, and we can often spend decades looking for the right people to share our life with. Along the way we do get scorched, and we can wither, like weeds, others can push us out, or we find ourselves competing for status, influence, and recognition to justify our worth. We can gather stuff like money, possessions, and property, and we aim for independence and self-sufficiency as the answer to the hurt we have experienced or witnessed.

 

The willow needed another to lift it up and carry it to the shade of the garden. The willow relied on the rain, and the watering of another to survive. The willow needed another’s help to remove the scorched leaves, to make way for new life to grow. 

 

Jesus does that for us. He helps us find our place, and he asks us to help him to help others to find theirs. It is not a contract, it is an inter-dependent relationship, and it is driven by the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Love. We may not be comfortable confessing our feelings to each other but Jesus is. Jesus thanks his Father constantly. “I thank you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes Father, for such was your gracious will.” And He shares this love for His Father with us. ‘Pray then in this way; Our Father……we will say the rest later. ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.’ Jesus tells of his love. He shares his feelings, he weeps, he values his friendships, he has compassion, he encourages, and affirms. Those around him flourish. They find their place.  

 

‘And I love you, Lord’

Graham Kendrick finishes the chorus of his song with a confession. A confession of love. I, for one, intend to spend every day doing the same – will you join me?

 

Prayers of Intercession.

Let us now take a short time to pray for the world and those we know to be suffering, and to also give thanks for those dear to us.

 

Lord’s Prayer.

 

Other prayers you may wish to use to conclude:

 

Heavenly Father,

by your Holy Spirit you have made us one

with your saints in heaven and on earth:

grant that in our earthly pilgrimage

we may ever be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer,

and know ourselves surrounded by their witness

to your power and mercy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Almighty God

who called your Church to witness

that in Christ you were reconciling the world to yourself:

help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,

that all who hear it may be reconciled to you

through him who died for us and rose again

and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

 

The Grace.

 

Hymn: Stuart Dauermann and Steffi Geiser Rubin

You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace,

And the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you.

There’ll be shouts of joy and the trees of the field shall clap, shall clap their hands,

And the trees of the field shall clap their hands,

And the trees of the field shall clap their hands,

And the trees of the field shall clap their hands,

And you’ll go out with joy.

 

©Church of England Common Worship Services & Prayers

©Mission Praise

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