Service for Sunday 10/01/21

Posted by Barbara Nadin on 8 January 2021

SERVICE FOR SUNDAY 10th JAN 2021 MELBOURNE URC DERBYS

 

Dear Friends, Ellen and I wish you all a Happy New Year!  We are all so sad to see the church doors closed once again.  We all now wonder what 2021 is going to have in store for us. We are certainly living in very strange times. Now more than ever, we need to put our faith and trust in God. For it is he alone who will see us through these difficult and dangerous times. Fear not but take comfort in the knowledge that he is by your side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow. 

 

Prayers of Thanksgiving & Confession: 

Lord God, your love for humankind present in the beginning of all things, extends throughout history and touches our lives. 

Your love sees failings and forgives, your love feels pain, and wipes away our tears. 

Your love knows grief and comforts the sorrowful. 

Your love sees sin and still loves the sinner. 

Forgive us when we fail to live lives that reflect your love. 

Forgive us the many times when we take for granted all that you have done for us. 

Transform us through your spirit, and empower us to serve you, this day and all days.

 

May this be a day of hope, of expectation, of relishing each moment as a gift from you. 

May this be a day of freedom, of breaking free, of loosening the chains that still surround us. 

May this be a day of peace, of wholeness, of knowing that our lives are in your hands. 

May this be a day of joy, of blessing, of living in your kingdom as a child of god. 

Amen 

Lord’s Prayer  

Look at the following readings in your bibles: 

READING 1 : Psalm 96 

READING 2: Psalm 100

 

Prayers of Intercession: 

We thank you generous God for the world in which we live. We praise you for the beauty of the seasons with the varied opportunities which they provide to enjoy creation. 

We give thanks for night and day, a time for rest and sleep, and a time to play and work. 

We give thanks for people, all so wonderfully different, yet each created in your image. We give thanks for Jesus, our Saviour, at whose birth in Bethlehem a star lit up the sky, who died on a cross to show your great love for us all. 

Eternal God, in the darkness of winter, and in the darkness of our broken world, the light of Jesus shines to give us courage and hope. Light up our hearts as we praise you, and our minds as we hear your word. 

Give strength we pray to those who seek to bring your light into the dark places of our world. Give wisdom to those world leaders who negotiate to bring about reconciliation. 

Strengthen all of those who work to protect the vulnerable or show compassion to those whose lives have been subject to physical and spiritual distress. 

We pray that your Holy spirit would work in us to help us to serve you day by day. Give us eyes to see you at work in our lives and those around us. May the joy of your salvation burn brightly in our soul that your lost children would be drawn closer to you. 

Hear our humble prayers that we may serve you in holiness and faith and give voice to your presence among us until the day of the coming of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. 

Take a moment now to offer your own prayers and to ask forgiveness of your sins: 

Lord in gratitude, in deep gratitude for this moment, this place, this world, we give ourselves to you. 

Lord accept our lives and accept our prayers this day and every day, you have the words of eternal life, and in you we trust. 

Amen

 

The New Year begins in January. January is named after the Roman god Janus: the god of beginnings and endings. He is always depicted with two faces – one looking forward and one looking backward. 

He was also the god of entrances and exits and of passageways to the future. So at this time of New Year let us too take the time to look back on the old year and look forward to the new. 

And what a year it has been!         A year like no other.          Points to ponder over 2020: 

I think the most useless thing I ever bought was a 2020 planner! 

In 2019 I had decided to stay away from negative people. In 2020 I decided to stay away from positive people! 

The world has turned upside down. ‘Old’ folks are sneaking out of the house and their ‘children’ are yelling at them to stay indoors. 

Does anyone know when we can have showers or should we just keep washing our hands? 

I never thought that ‘I wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole would become a national policy- but here we are. 

And never in a million years could I have imagined I would go into a bank with a mask on and ask for money. 

Seriously though the past year has been at times very difficult, very sad and very trying. 

Although we cannot predict what this New Year has for us we can find hope in God’s word and trust that if we maintain a positive outlook things will get better, although I have to warn you that for many people things are going to get much worse. This is why as Christians, and as a church, we must all stick together and support one another in the year ahead. 

For every negative there is a positive. There have been so many negatives in 2020 but there have been so many positives. Who can forget the efforts of Captain Tom who raised nearly £33 million for the NHS by walking laps of his own garden before his 100 th birthday? 

Would we have even heard of Captain Tom had this terrible virus not taken its hold? Would we have continued to take the millions of people who work in our frontline services for granted? 

Although you will all have your own negatives about the lockdowns I’m sure you will all have your positives too if you really think about it. 

For us it has been turning our attentions to our garden and finishing some of the many jobs there I’ve been putting off for years because I just didn’t have the time. Did I finish them all? No- but I’ve made a very good start, getting rid of a lot of things we decided we no longer needed. 

Some things simply don’t have a place in our lives anymore and just need to go. But we worry that in doing so we are making a mistake, we have a need to hang onto the past. There are boxes in our loft from when we first moved in 29 years ago! We obviously don’t need what the boxes contain, so perhaps they should go. 

But we shouldn’t be afraid to do this. 

St Paul in his third letter to the Philippians said: 

13. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 

14. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 One of the hardest things to do as a Christian is to believe that God is working and not to be afraid of the things that come our way. There are many verses in the bible that talk of having confidence in God and in trusting his timing. I hope that some of them help and inspire you: 

Isaiah 41:13. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. 

1 Peter 5:7. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

Psalm 56:3.  When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. 

Matthew 6:25-27.  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” 

Matthew 6:34.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” 

Psalm 121:1-2.   I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. 

In our readings we gave thanks to God for all that he has done and all that he is to do. 

At the dawn of the New Year let our hearts be filled with hope for what is to come and have thankfulness in our hearts for what has already been. Let us stayed focussed on what we need to focus on this year and let us have a year filled with hope, joy, love and happiness. 

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all, and with those you love, this day and for ever more. 

AMEN 

God Bless you all 

Jon Godfrey

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