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URC Daily Devotions

Worship for Sunday 20th September 2020

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Sunday Service from the URC

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Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today's service.   You can either simply read this or you can
 
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Sunday Worship from the United Reformed Church
for
Sunday 20th September 2020
 

 
The Rev’d Anne Sardeson
Introduction
 
Hello. I’m Anne Sardeson and I’m speaking to from my home in Leytonstone East London, where I have been living for 10 years while serving as Training Officer for Thames North Synod. However, when you hear this, I’ll have moved to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex as I return to local pastorate there along with the URCs in Maldon and Southminster. Later in the service we will be sharing communion, so you might want to pause for a moment to prepare what is needed. You might also like to take a few moments to still yourself as you prepare for worship.
 
Call To Worship
 
One:         To all who are imprisoned,
Many:       God says, “Come out.”

One:         To all who are living in darkness,
Many:       God says, “Show yourselves”
 
One:         To all who hunger and thirst,
Many:       God gives food and springs of water.
 
One:         To all who are far away,
Many:       God makes smooth the way home.
                God will not forget us,
                we are inscribed on the palms of His hands.
 
Hymn:      How Firm A Foundation
                Unknown, 1787
 
How firm a foundation,
ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith
in His excellent Word!
What more can He say
than to you He has said,
you who unto Jesus
for refuge have fled?
 
2 Fear not, He is with thee,
O be not dismayed;
for He is thy God,
and will still give thee aid;
He'll strengthen thee, help thee,
and cause thee to stand,
upheld by His righteous,
omnipotent hand.
 
3 When through the deep waters
He calls thee to go,
the rivers of grief
shall not thee overflow;
for He will be with thee,
in trouble to bless,
and sanctify to thee
thy deepest distress.
 
4 When through fiery trials
thy pathway shall lie,
His grace, all-sufficient,
shall be thy supply;
the flame shall not hurt thee;
His only design
thy dross to consume
and thy gold to refine.
 
5 The soul that on Jesus
has leaned for repose,
He will not, He cannot
desert to His foes;
that soul, though all hell
should endeavour to shake,
He never will leave;
He will never forsake.
 
Prayers of approach, confession and forgiveness
 
Giver of Life, Maker of Truth, Way of Wisdom: all glory be to you,
here among us: light in our darkness, hope in our despair,  love in our fear. Grace for our failings, joy for our tears, strength for our weakness. Connection in our disunity, understanding in our confusion,  recognition in our ignorance.
 
Giver of Life, Maker of Truth, Way of Wisdom, we praise you for all that you are and all that you do! This day, let us not offer to you that which costs us nothing. Let us offer all that we have, all that we are. This day they us not be afraid that what we offer  will not be enough. Know that all we are is known to God. Let us offer all that we can carry no longer. The things we regret, the harsh words and thoughtless acts, the lack of trust and over dependence  on ourselves.  Let us offer all to God, giver of life, maker of truth, way of wisdom
 
God knows us and loves us.  In Christ Jesus God dwelt with us, full of grace and truth.  With patience and hope in Christ, God’s love was made known to us.  We are accepted and loved, forgiven and freed.  Let us live with this truth. All glory be to you, Giver of Life, Maker of Truth, Way of Wisdom, this day and evermore. Amen!
 
Prayer of illumination
 
Way of Wisdom, open us now to your living word; that we will know how wonderful you are and find you in your holy place.
 
Readings
 
Jonah 3:10-4:11
 
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.  And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’  And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’  Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.  The Lord God appointed a bush,  and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush.  But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’  But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’  Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night.  And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’
 
St Matthew 20:1-16
 
‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard.  After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.  When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place;  and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went.  When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same.  And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?”  They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.”  When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.”   When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”  But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”  So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’
 
Hymn:      Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
                John Newton (1779) 
                Tune: Jefferson from the Tennessee Harmony 1818
 
Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion city of our God!
He whose word can ne’er be broken
formed thee for His own abode.
 
On the Rock of Ages founded
who can shake Thy sure repose?
With salvation’s wall surrounded,
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.
 
2: ‘Round her habitation hov’ring,
see the cloud and fire appear,
for a glory and a covering,
showing that the Lord is near.
 
Sermon
 
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, our strength and our salvation.
 
There is grumbling in our scripture today. One of the grumblers is Jonah, who is grumbling at God because of the treatment of the people of Nineveh. The story of Jonah is one that is pretty well-known and is always worth telling again. Jonah is called by God to go to Nineveh and preach repentance. Jonah, fearful of what a great task this is, perhaps because he has heard how terribly wicked the people of Nineveh are reported to be, goes in the opposite direction and takes to the sea. Finding their journey stormy, the ship’s crew discover Jonah is fleeing from his God and, surmising that he is the root of their misfortune, they throw him overboard, where he finds himself in the belly of a big fish. After spending 3 days and nights in the belly of the fish Jonah is spewed up on a beach. God sees him there and calls him again, and this time Jonah does as he is told and goes to preach in Nineveh. And then the most surprising thing happens, the thing any preacher might long for: the people of Nineveh listen and take notice. They do indeed repent of their wicked ways and pray for mercy. At which point God responds with mercy and, as we read, Jonah grumbles.
 
The other grumblers are the “all day” workers. They have been hired at a fair wage to work in the vineyard for the day and come the end of the day they go to get their wages. The story is told well and sets us up for the shock at the end, because along with the “all day” workers are the “slightly later” workers, the “half day” workers, the “late afternoon” workers and the “barely got an hour in before we finished” workers. And the workers are paid in reverse order, so that the ones who came last get paid first and the ones who came first get paid last, no doubt with the expectation that they will get a bonus above that which was agreed because they have worked longer than the later arrivals. But they don’t. They get paid what was agreed, which happens to be the same as the rest, regardless of how many hours they have worked. And the “all day” workers grumble because like Jonah they are really rather cross with how things have turned out.
 
And we may well understand the grumblers. We may well, with Jonah, think that the wicked people of Nineveh deserved to be punished. We might also think it only right that people who work for an hour get paid less than those who work for 3, 6, 9 or 12 hours. I am pretty sure that in each of us there is at least a little bit that gets the grumbling and that’s because it’s very natural to grumble when things don’t seem fair. This often happens for us when we read scripture and make it all about us. But what if it is all about God?
 
What if, instead of being the story of Jonah, we call it the story of God and Jonah, or God and Nineveh? Where do Jonah and Nineveh fit into God’s story?
 
It seems that Jonah may well fit into God’s story as someone who was good enough to do an important job, despite being a little bit flakey and rather grumbly. This is quite hopeful really, because Jonah is not alone in having these tendencies. I too have been known to be both. And where is Nineveh in God’s story? News had reached God of the wickedness of the people of the great city and God longs for change and when change comes, mercy is their gift. Because, as the scripture tells us, God has concern for all the people (and animals) of the city. Jonah then becomes a reminder to all of us that we can be quite shocked by God’s mercy and Nineveh becomes a reminder to all of us that we can be saved by God’s mercy. Shocked and saved, all in the one story. Perhaps this might be a good way to sum up something of how we can find ourselves in God’s story.
 
And if the parable of the workers is to be read as the parable of the landowner, what do we discover? We discover a landowner who keeps their word: they pay those who have worked a 12 hour shift the agreed rate for the time worked. We also discover a landowner who seems to subvert usual economics by paying some workers a little more than they are due and others a great deal more than they are due. If we ask where God is, then we might well say that God is this landowner who seems to have a very odd view of how things should play out. This is no way to run a business. But then of course, this is not a business, this is God’s story.
 
If this is a story about people like you and me becoming aware of God’s place in our lives and entering into some kind of relationship with God, we discover that when our story joins God’s story, strange things happen. What we think we deserve will not be what we receive. We may think we are worthy of more than others because we see our relationship with God as being deeper or older or more faithful. But no, we get what we are promised. We may think we are worthy of a lot less than we are offered because we see our relationship with God as fragile or new or struggling. But no, we get what God’s wants to give us.
 
What do we learn of God in our scripture today? We learn of concern, and love, and perseverance, and honour, and passion, and cost, and grace. We learn that in response to a question from Peter about how much he and his fellow disciples have given up and what they might get in return, Jesus reminds them that this isn’t about being given some place of great standing as the ones who were first. This is not about what’s in it for them, this is about where they are in God’s story. Peter, presumably speaking on behalf of the other disciples, has made it all about them. But that is not the case. This is all about God creating a new realm, a new way of seeing the world where it is not about status and reward but about welcome and grace and huge surprises. “Many of the first will be last and the last first” he says to Peter and anyone else who wants to listen, and goes on to tell the story of the landowner and some workers who come, bit by bit, to the vineyard and discover that the last are indeed the first and the first are last.
 
If we think that being a disciple is about getting some great reward for our longstanding faithfulness, then we are as mistaken as Peter and the other disciples. It is not. It is about joining our story with God’s story and finding our way into something that twists the ways of our world that have become our norm, not least that the ones who get up early and work hard get the best bits in the end. If we fear that we’ve come along a bit late, maybe only repented when Jonah reluctantly came and shouted at us about the error of our ways, and we suspect that we don’t know what others seem to take for granted, and worry that God won’t have noticed that we’ve joined our story with God’s story, then we can rejoice: there is no pecking order in God’s realm.
 
Because God is like a landowner who says it doesn’t matter when you join in, you are part of the whole story: my story.
 
So, we care for new ones. We value what is brought, we value what we are together. And we don’t fear if we are a newer one, for we are all precious. We are all part of a big story. A story that has Jonah in it, a big fish in it, the people and animals of Nineveh in it, 12 fumbling (and possible grumbling) disciples in it, lots of people through many ages in it and you and me. There is no first, there is no last, there is simply a story: God’s story, and we are in this story together.
 
Affirmation of Faith
 
We believe in God, creator of all,
whose word sustains the life of humanity,
and directs our history.
God is our life.
 
We believe in God’s Son,
born amongst the poor, light in our night,
first-born from the dead. He is alive.
 
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who gives birth to the new life of God,
who breathes life into the struggle for justice,
who leads us to hope,
who is a living force.
 
We believe in the holy universal Church,
herald of the Good News
which frees people and brings new life.
We believe in the coming of a new world
where Jesus Christ, our Lord, will be all in all. Amen.
 
Hymn:      Amazing Grace
                John Newton
 
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind but now I see.
 
2: ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
and grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!
 
3: Through many dangers, toils and snares
we have already come
‘Twas grace that brought
us safe thus far
and grace will lead us home.
  
Prayers of Concern
 
O God we pray this day for the world that you care for….
For those who struggle this day with burdens that are beyond them.
For lives that are torn apart by war and greed and distrust.
For all we know and all we do not know.
For stories that are heard and stories that are hidden.
For names that are familiar and names that are lost
We pray O God, knowing that you love your world
and call us into love.
 
O God we pray this day for our local communities…..
For those who ask us to pray and those who do not.
For those we love and those we barely know.
For all that is a part of our everyday lives and all that we miss.
We pray O God, knowing that you love our communities
and call us into love.
 
O God we pray for ourselves,
For the fears and hopes that fill our lives.
For the prayers we struggle to utter
And the words that get stuck in our throats.
We pray knowing that you hear us better that we are able to pray,
asking that you will help us to seek, find and fully realise
the compassion that lives within us that they inspire and fill all we do.
 
These prayers we offer, words, silence, deep longings,
In the name of Jesus Christ,
Who taught us when we pray to say together
 
Our Father……
 
Communion
 
These are our tables in our homes, where we sit and eat and drink and chat and learn and play and pray and argue and so many other things……. These are our tables in our homes, and they are also God’s tables.
 
Let us look at our tables and give thanks to God:
For everything that happens round them…..
The food that is eaten, for the things that are shared,
For the people who come, for all that will be.
 
And here at our table let us remember our story, God’s story……
A story of long ago, of a supper, round a table, with dear friends…..
In a time of uncertainty and fear with questions in the air
and a deep sense of wondering.
 
The friends were together, and they didn’t know it would be their last time together.
 
For this was their last supper and soon some of them would run away
one of them would deny their friendship, another would betray their dear friend, and that dear friend was Jesus, there at that table.
 
While they were eating their supper together,
Jesus took some of the bread from the table,
lifting it high and he gave thanks to God:
“all glory be to you O God who made us,
Out of your goodness we have this bread to offer
it is the grain of your creation
it is the work of human hands,
it will be for us the bread of life.
All glory be to you O God for we have this bread.”
Jesus took the bread and broke it.
He offered it to those around the table saying
“this is my body, broken for you, eat and remember.”
After they had eaten
Jesus took a cup of wine, again he lifted it high and he gave thanks:
“all glory be to you O God who made us,
Out of your goodness we have this wine to offer
it is the fruit of your creation
it is the work of human hands,
it will be for us the cup of our salvation.
All glory be to you O God for we have this wine.”
Jesus took the cup and offered it to them all saying
“this is my blood, shed for you, drink and give thanks.”
 
Around our tables we have remembered,
with the words of Jesus we have given thanks.
So we join with your disciples around the world,
with those who have gone before us and those who are yet to come,
in a never-ending song of praise:
 
Holy, holy, holy God,
God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full  of your glory,
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the name of our God,
hosanna in the highest.
 
We take bread and we break it
and take the cup and we lift it high
and we pray that God’s spirit will be upon us and upon these gifts
that they will be for us the bread of life and the the cup of our salvation.
 
We take the bread and wine
 
Prayer after sharing
 
We have shared the gifts of God
May they be a blessing for us
May we be sustained in our living
May we reach out in our loving
May we know we are not alone
May we keep the promise of God within us.  Amen
 
Hymn:      God is Love, Let Heaven Adore Him
                Timothy Rees (1922)
 
God is Love: let heav'n adore Him;
God is Love: let earth rejoice;
let creation sing before Him,
and exalt Him with one voice.
He who laid the earth's foundation,
He who spread the heav'ns above,
He who breathes
through all creation,
He is Love, eternal Love.
 
2 God is Love: and he enfoldeth
all the world in one embrace;
with unfailing grasp he holdeth
every child of every race.
And when human
hearts are breaking
under sorrow's iron rod,
then they find that self-same aching
deep within the heart of God.

3 God is Love:
and though with blindness
sin afflicts the souls of all,
God's eternal loving-kindness
holds and guides us when we fall.
Sin and death and hell shall never
o'er us final triumph gain;
God is Love, so Love for ever
o'er the universe must reign.
 
Blessing
 
The blessing of God who speaks our name
The blessing of God who sits at our table
The blessing of God who knows us
Be with us this day, this week
And forever. Amen
 
 
 Sources and Thanks
 
Call to Worship from Feasting on the Word Year A
Affirmation of Faith from the Reformed Church of France.
All other material from Anne Sardeson.

How Firm a Foundation sung by Maddy Prior.
Amazing Grace sung by Celtic Women.
God is Love from BBC’s Songs of Praise
Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken sung at the Second Ireland Sacred Harp Convention 2012

Opening Music:  Fugue in F Major, Closing Music: Komm Gott Schӧpfer Heiliger Geist (“Come God, creator Holy Ghost”) by Johann Sebastian Bach  (organ of Basilica Santa Maria Dei Assunta, Montecatini Terme, Italy – 2016)  both played by Brian Cotterill briancotterill.webs.com.
 
Thanks to Anne Hewling, David Shimmin, John Young, Myra Rose, andf the choir of Barrhead URC for recording various parts of the service and thanks to Kathleen & Callum Haynes, Elfreda Tealby-Watson & Greg Watson, David & Christine Shimmin, Elizabeth Kemp,  Marion Thomas, Tina Wheeler and Myra Rose for recording, virtually, the Call to Worship and Affirmation of Faith.
 
 
 
  --> Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved.
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762

  Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion Sunday 20th September 2020 Psalm 15

8 hours 43 min ago
96 URC Daily Devotion Sunday 20th September 2020 Psalm 15 View this email in your browser

Daily Devotions from the URC

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Sunday 20th September Psalm 15 


1 Lord, who may dwell within your house
and on your holy hill?
All those who walk a blameless way,
who love the right, who win the day
with truthful words and, come what may,
will speak no word of ill:

2 All those who love their neighbour well,
who hate the way of sin,
who honour all that fear the Lord,
whose promise is a binding cord,
who help, and seek no rich reward
these, Lord, you welcome in.

After Psalm 15, Paul Wigmore (born 1925)
© Paul Wigmore/Jubilate Hymns

you can hear the tune here
https://www.jubilate.co.uk/songs/lord_who_may_dwell_within_your_house

Reflection

Who is worthy? Who can enter the hill, the temple or even the Holy of Holies? The answer back when the Psalm was written was that very few people were considered worthy, and they had to go through the ritual of dressing the right way, saying exactly the right words of the right prayer, and of course they had to adhere to the minutiae of law and be the right gender.

Who of us would have been worthy? But by grace, because of the Cross, through salvation we can all now dwell in the house of the Lord. The Temple curtain has been torn and there is now nothing that separates us from the love of God. All are welcome. 

But to dwell in God's home, to truly remain there we need to think, speak and act in ways that show that we belong. The Psalmist shows that there are expectations of us. We must love what is right and truthful, and be selfless. We don't act to gain acceptance, we are already accepted even with the flaws we have, unlike the temple in the time of Jesus where anything or anyone with blemishes was turned away.

Knowing and feeling this love and acceptance from God surely spurs us on to share this way of living that is so different from the way the world is. The invitation from Jesus to come and share what is prepared isn't just for a future in heaven, it's an invitation (in the words of Belinda Carlisle) to prove that heaven is a place on earth. God's house has its doors open. Our challenge is to demonstrate that there is room for everyone in the house of the Lord.

Prayer

Loving God
You welcome us into your home with open arms.
It is a welcome full of love rather than judgement.
It is an offer of hope instead of fear.
Help us to extend your invitation to dwell in your home
to a world that needs to know your love
Amen
 
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Today's writer

Sam Goodman, Elder, Central URC, Derby Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion Saturday 19th September 2020 Creation 6

Sat, 19/09/2020 - 06:00
96 URC Daily Devotion Saturday 19th September 2020 Creation 6 View this email in your browser

Daily Devotions from the URC

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Saturday 19th September 2020
Creation 6

Romans 8: 18 - 25

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope  that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes  for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Reflection

Lots of us love watching nature programmes on television. We revel in the flora and fauna of Planet Earth; we marvel at the penguins, the whales, and other marine life in Blue Planet; and all accompanied by the reassuring voice of (Saint?) David Attenborough. But where are the pictures of human creatures like you and me in all of those hours of viewing?

We live as though we can see nature (creation) from somewhere else. Consciously or unconsciously, we believe we’re outside (or above) it all. In truth, though, we’re players, not spectators, in the game of life; actors, not the audience, in this planetary part of the “theatre of God’s glory”.

Paul was a practical theologian, not an ecologist. Writing of humankind sharing the groanings of creation, and creation awaiting the freedom of the glory of the children of God, he’s not describing scientifically how we humans can only flourish as part of healthy planetary ecosystems, though that’s true as well. Paul’s point is that God’s intention for human freedom is caught up with God’s intentions for the flourishing of all of God’s creation, and vice versa. We are not outside or above it all, although we may be an important part of it.

First century Christians were not  confronted by catastrophic changes to the planet brought about by humanly induced climate change. Had they been, Paul might have had more to say.  He might have said that we who subject the rest of creation to ecological bondage and decay are living as though we think we can frustrate God’s desire for its flourishing. And being Paul, he would have said that forcefully.

Ecologically and theologically we are all in this together. Better then, to live our lives in ways that anticipate the ‘freedom of the glory of the children in God’, both for ourselves and for everything else as well.

 Prayer

God of all creation,
give me a lively sense of your intentions;
give me desire and the means to journey in those ways;
that the whole world (including me),
obtains your glorious freedom.
Amen.
 
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Today's writer

The Rev’d Trevor Jamison is minister of St Columba’s URC in North Shields Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion Friday 18th September 2020 Creation 5

Fri, 18/09/2020 - 06:00
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Daily Devotions from the URC

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Friday 18th September 2020
Creation 5


Isaiah 24: 4-6

The earth dries up and withers,
    the world languishes and withers;
    the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
    under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
    violated the statutes,
    broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
    and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
    and few people are left.

Reflection

This passage is in stark contrast to that of yesterday, where one could at least glean some hope from the reality of God’s holding the life of every living thing in his hand. It seems that humanity has moved so far from respecting the covenant that the apocalypse has well and truly come to devastating effect. As a later verse puts it, the gladness of the earth is banished.

Some will discern a picture of what might happen if we do not take urgent action to mitigate the effects of climate change, or globalisation, or the attitude of “because you’re worth it”. Covid-19 has focussed our attention on how rapidly events move in a connected world, upsetting complacency and engendering distress. Even deeply entrenched norms can be swiftly superseded, some for the good, others less so.

But therein lies hope. People can change when they are convinced that change is for the better, not necessarily just for themselves, but for the good of others – those at a distance as well as those close to them. People have put much of their own ordered and comfortable lives on hold to reach out to help those in greater need. People are indeed reflecting on what is truly important and what is merely convenient or enjoyable. We are told that an increasing number are discovering something of value in connecting to the various forms of on-line worship which have sprung up, presented by faith groups across the spectrum. Perhaps that too may have a lasting effect.

Expressing all this more theologically – repentance leads to fullness of life.

Maybe these words may seem utterly futile or wildly gloomy depending on what has happened in the interval between my writing this and your reading it. Only one thing is certain. Our God cares for his creation.

Prayer

Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief.
 
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Today's writer

The Rev’d Ron Reid is a retired minister in the Mersey Synod serving as Link Minister at Rock Chapel, Farndon.  He is a member at Upton-by-Chester URC Copyright
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URC Daily Devotion Thursday 17th September 2020 Creation 4

Thu, 17/09/2020 - 06:00
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Thursday 17th September 2020
Creation 4

Job 12: 7 - 10

‘But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
    the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
    and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
    and the breath of every human being.

Reflection

Such are the vagaries of composing Devotions that as I write this, England seems to be on the cusp of either slithering tentatively towards something which might possibly resemble life as it was before the pandemic or, alternatively, sliding back to more lonely and mind-bending social isolation. Hopefully when you read this, the sun will be shining again.

Things were not clarifying for Job nearing the end of the first cycle of debate with his three friends. Why had God visited such trials upon him, a righteous man? Why was he a laughing stock while those who provoked God were secure? Seeking an answer, he turns to the world of nature which seems to suggest that the animals, birds, plants and fish know the answer: “’twas ever thus”. In God’s Creation, it’s just the way of things.

The debaters chew this over for the next thirty chapters.
In the problems facing us in the year of our Lord 2020, some suggest that we should indeed listen to the teaching of the animals, birds, plants and fish. With the enforced reduction in human activity, is not the birdsong louder? Have fish not returned to the canals of Venice and other places? Is the air not cleaner? Are we not able to enjoy more exercise, more time for reading, for music?

All true. But others point out that humans are social animals and without societal interaction, without human touch, without intimacy, mental ill-health increases. In any case such improvements might be merely ephemeral.

Our God is a relational God interacting with our lives in a two-way social and covenantal process. If we pull the balance towards ourselves, the relationship suffers and we suffer. Job perceived the balance to be wrong, so he suffered. For us, the balance between humanity and nature has swung. Resilience is reduced and we suffer.

Prayer

Covenantal God, help us to repair the balance, to listen to what nature and the world is telling us.

Lead us to work for a better world which reflects more nearly our relationship with you. -->

Today's writer

The Rev’d Ron Reid is a retired minister in the Mersey Synod serving as Link Minister at Rock Chapel, Farndon.  He is a member at Upton-by-Chester URC Copyright
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Sunday's Coming

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 11:30
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Daily Devotions from the URC

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Sunday's Coming

Dear Friends,

Sunday’s service of Holy Communion is led by the Rev'd Anne Sardeson who ministers in Essex. Hymn’s include Maddy Prior’s rendition of How Firm a Foundation, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken and Amazing Grace both by John Newton and Timothy Rees’ God is Love, Let Heaven Adore Him.

The service will be sent out, as normal, at 9.45 on Sunday morning for a 10am start.  If you have any problems receiving it please read on for advice.

with every good wish


Andy


The Rev'd Andy Braunston
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URC Daily Devotion Wednesday 16th September 2020 Creation 3

Wed, 16/09/2020 - 06:00
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Wednesday 16th September 2020
Creation 3

Psalm 96: 10 - 13

Say among the nations, ‘The Lord is king!
    The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
    He will judge the peoples with equity.’
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
    let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
 let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
 before the Lord; for he is coming,
    for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with his truth.

Reflection

I was brought up in a liberal Christianity which shied away from judgement and what appeared to us to be a vindictive God.  The climate crisis has made me reassess this tradition.  This Psalm should make us all reassess it.

The Psalmist weaves together the joyful song of the created order with God’s judgement on the peoples. They are not two different aspects of God’s nature, they are one and the same. This may seem odd to those of us who have lived comfortably through this recent, very short, period of human history, in which our minority of the world’s human population has lived a luxurious life with only the occasional reminder of our creatureliness. The vast majority of the human population through history, the majority of the world in 2021, and perhaps all of us in the light of COVID-19, we can no longer forget that we also are mere creatures of our Creator.

To cope with that change we need to hear this Psalm and the judgement on humanity in it. David Attenborough’s series ‘A Life on our Planet’ on Netflix concludes that the havoc wreaked by us comfortable people, in our excessive consumption of the earth’s resources, does not imperil the planet itself. But it certainly imperils humanity.

The Psalmist is right – the forests shall go on singing with joy, the seas will roar, the fields exult and the planet will spin for millions more years. But humanity is bringing God’s judgement on itself by disregarding our place in creation and trying to be like God (rather like Adam and Eve in Genesis 3).

We need to hear this truth – our desire to be gods is a vain pretence. If we don’t realise that very soon indeed, then we will surely reap the whirlwind of God’s judgement.

Prayer

Loving Creator God,
we are sorry that we have tried to keep for ourselves
the song of the trees, the roaring of the sea,
the exaltation of the fields and the rejoicing of the earth
without seeking also your judgement in equity on the peoples.

Turn our hearts,
that like the Psalmist we may rejoice in your righteous judgement
and turn from our evil ways
so that creation’s song may continue as you intended.
Amen.
 
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Today's writer

Revd Gethin Rhys is Policy Officer for Cytun (Churches together in Wales) and a member of Parkminster URC, Cardiff. Copyright
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URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 15th September 2020 Creation 2

Tue, 15/09/2020 - 06:00
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Tuesday 15th September 2020

Creation 2

Isaiah 42: 1 - 7

Thus says God, the Lord,
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
    and spirit to those who walk in it:
I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
    I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
    a light to the nations,
  to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
    from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Reflection

This is the first of four passages in Isaiah which are known as The Servant Songs.  We exist only because God created us.  We breath because we have been given air by God.  As we have read of tens of thousands dying unable to breath because of Covid-19 we must appreciate our breath even more. More than just air to breath we are told by Isaiah that we have the Spirit as well.  

Matthew quotes the first few verses and makes it clear that the servant is Jesus.  It is Jesus who came as a light to the nations.  Writing this during the lockdown when many people feel like prisoners in their own homes it is interesting that many churches have noticed a marked increase in the number attending online during this time.  Are these people looking to be rescued from the dungeon of despair that they are in?  How should we react as Christians as things return to some sort of normality?  We should make sure that Jesus is seen as the light who can brighten the darkness of those who ask for help.  

This light is not just for those who are new to the Church, but it is also for those who have been members for many years.  We all need the same spirit to open our eyes and free us from whatever prison we feel we are in. 

Times will still be different when you read this and the new normal may not be fully clear but what is clear is that the spirit Isaiah wrote about is timeless and unchanging.  No matter what the situation is we should continue to live inhaling God’s grace and exhaling God’s love. 

Prayer

Loving God 
I thank you for all that you are
I thank you for the air I breathe
for the ground beneath my feet
Thank you for your Spirit who is with me today
Thank you for opening my eyes
Thank you for setting me free
Help me to enjoy the life you have given me
Help me to tell others how great You are
Let me praise and thank you in the name of Jesus
Amen
 
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Today's writer

John Collings, Lay Preacher, member of Rutherglen URC Copyright
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URC Daily Devotion Monday 14th September 2020 Creation 1

Mon, 14/09/2020 - 06:00
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Monday 14th September 2020 
Creation 1

St John 1: 1 - 5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Reflection

Now is the season to make a step change.
Now is the moment to invent a new humanity.
Now is the hour to grasp the hand of God and move forward courageously on a different path.

Quantum mechanics has opened up our understanding of the material world being shaped through probabilities.  Theologically this is tremendously exciting and empowering.  The future does not yet exist.  Let me repeat that.  The future does not yet exist.  God’s call to Life, in Christ, is a call to discern together what actions now would be life-giving for the future.  Then to commit 100% to that Way.

Limiting the rise in global temperature and securing a level of biodiversity which can sustain the earth’s ecological systems are key amongst those life-giving actions.

In the beginning - the Word was with God. 
In Jesus - the Word was with those who lived in Palestine 2000 years ago. 
In the Spirit - the Word was, is and will be, with humanity.
In the 21st century - the Word is with us as dependably, as surely, as truly, as creatively and as radically as it ever was.  And as demandingly!

In our Kairos moment let us not be found wanting.

Prayer
 
God who is the Word,
praise, glory and wonder be yours for bringing life into being.
You are our light.
Shine in the gloom and murk of our earth-damaging practices.
Illuminate our possible futures.
Raise us up to choose the life-giving path.
So may we honour your great gift to humanity in Jesus, the Life Giver.
Amen
 
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Today's writer

The Rev’d Gwen Collins, retired minister, member of Avenue St Andrews URC, Southampton Copyright
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A Week on Creation

Sun, 13/09/2020 - 18:00
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A Week of Creation

Dear <<First Name>>

I hope you've found our, long, journey through Exodus has been fruitful.  Like Genesis, it is a book we think we know but are always surprised by.  We leave that book now and spend a week thinking about Creation.

In response to a call from the Ecumenical Patriarch many communions observe a month of Creationtime between September and October.  The Covid 19 pandemic showed us the dangers of abusing animals,  how the planet can start to recover when human activity is scaled down and, despite the postponement of the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, we are still facing a climate emergency. 

For the week ahead we will be thinking of the earth, our fragile home, as part of the majesty of God’s creation and challenge ourselves to embrace, protect, and conserve it and the life which teems here.


with every good wish



Andy


The Rev'd Andy Braunston,
Coordinator, Daily Devotions from the URC --> Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion Worship for Sunday 13th September 2020

Sun, 13/09/2020 - 09:45
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Sunday Service from the URC

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Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today's service.   You can either simply read this or you can
 
to listen to the service and sing along with the hymns.  This will open up a new screen, at the bottom of the screen you will see a play symbol.  Press that, then come back to this window so you can follow along with the service.
 
URC Daily Devotions Service
Sunday 13th September 2020
 
 
The Rev’d Gethin Rhys

Introduction

Bore da - Good morning from Wales – (or if, like us, you listen to this service as you light your ecumenical candle at 7pm – Noswaith dda – Good evening). Croeso - welcome to the study in my home in Heath in Cardiff.
 
I was working late in my office in the city centre on March 16th this year, and heard Boris Johnson tell us that we should start working from home. I collected up my things and since that evening this has been my work place, as I continue to represent Cytûn, Churches Together in Wales (including the United Reformed Church) in discussions with Welsh Government and the Senedd, the Welsh Parliament, not only about Coronavirus, but about all the things in public life with which we as churches are concerned. Fiona, my wife, who will also take part in this service, works in our lounge for Helpforce, shaping volunteering in health and social care. So although we may not often these days get out into the wider world, it certainly comes in to us.
Call to Worship
 
One:         To all who are imprisoned,
Many:      God says, “Come out.”

One:         To all who are living in darkness,
Many:      God says, “Show yourselves”

One:         To all who hunger and thirst,
Many:      God gives food and springs of water.

One:         To all who are far away,
Many:       God makes smooth the way home.
                God will not forget us,
                we are inscribed on the palms of His hands.
 
Hymn:      Dear Lord and Father of Mankind
                  John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
 
Dear Lord and Father
of mankind,
forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in
our rightful mind,
in purer lives Thy service find,
in deeper reverence, praise.

2: 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.

3: Drop Thy still
dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls
the strain and stress,
& let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of Thy peace.

4: 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.
 
Prayers of Approach, Confession and Forgiveness
 
When we are irritated for the seventh time and it feels like 70 times seven… Help us to remember your patience with us.
 
When we are asked to be patient again and again…. Help us to remember your pity for us.
 
When our pity is taken for granted again and again…. Help us to remember your challenge to us.
 
When we challenge unfairness over and over… Help us to remember your love surrounding us all.
 
So knowing your patience, your pity, your challenge and your love, we humbly seek your forgiveness too.

It feels as if we are asking too much, but we know that if we do not ask, we cannot yet receive.

So hear our prayer for forgiveness for the uncaring and selfish things we have done, and the many good things we have failed to do, for the uncaring and spiteful words we have uttered aloud, and the many loving words we never spoke, for the selfish and resentful thoughts that fill our minds and the generous open hearted acceptance that so often eludes us. Loving God, hear our prayer.
 
The Lord says, ‘Your sins are forgiven. Accept my peace.’’
And so, as people touched by the forgiveness of God in Christ,
let us say the words which he taught us:
 
Our Father…
 
Prayer of illumination
 
Loving God, as we listen to the words of Jesus and of Paul this morning, may they challenge our comfort and comfort us in our challenges. Amen.
 
Readings
 
St Matthew 18.21-35 (New International Readers’ Version)
 
Peter came to Jesus. He asked, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
 
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but 77 times.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to collect all the money his servants owed him. As the king began to do it, a man who owed him 10,000 bags of gold was brought to him. The man was not able to pay. So his master gave an order. The man, his wife, his children, and all he owned had to be sold to pay back what he owed.
 
“Then the servant fell on his knees in front of him. ‘Give me time,’ he begged. ‘I’ll pay everything back.’ His master felt sorry for him. He forgave him what he owed and let him go.
 
“But then that servant went out and found one of the other servants who owed him 100 silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he said.

“The other servant fell on his knees. ‘Give me time,’ he begged him. ‘I’ll pay it back.’
 
“But the first servant refused. Instead, he went and had the man thrown into prison. The man would be held there until he could pay back what he owed. The other servants saw what had happened and were very angry. They went and told their master everything that had happened.
 
“Then the master called the first servant in. ‘You evil servant,’ he said. ‘I forgave all that you owed me because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on the other servant just as I had mercy on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers. He would be punished until he paid back everything he owed.
 
“This is how my Father in heaven will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
 
Romans 14.1-13 (The Message)
 
Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.
 
For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ’s table, wouldn’t it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn’t eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God’s welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.
 
Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.
 
What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It’s God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That’s why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.
 
So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I’d say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we’re all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren’t going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:
 
“As I live and breathe,” God says,
    “every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
    that I and only I am God.”
 
So tend to your knitting. You’ve got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.
 
 Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is.
 
 
Hymn:      As Gentle As Silence
                  Estelle White © McCrimmon Publishing Company, Ltd.
 
O the love of my Lord
is the essence
of all that I love here on earth.
All the beauty I see
He has given to me
and His giving
is gentle as silence.
 
2: Every day, every hour,
every moment,
have been blessed
by the strength of His love.
At the turn of each tide
He is there at my side
and his touch
is as gentle as silence.
 
3: There have been times
when I’ve turned from His presence
and I have walked other paths, other ways.
But I’ve called on His name,
in the dark of my shame
and His mercy was gentle as silence.
 
Sermon
 
When I was brought up in Sunday School, just a mile or so from here, Jesus’s multiplication table of forgiveness was one of the teacher’s favourite lessons. It became one of mine, too, because I knew what 70 times 7 was (490 in case you’re interested), and I knew that Jesus was not actually saying we should count to 490 and then stop forgiving.
 
In later life, I am afraid that the lesson has soured somewhat. In church life, this text – and the Christian value of forgiveness – has been misused by abusers to buy the silence of the abused, by oppressors to buy the silence of the oppressed and by manipulative shepherds to buy the silence of the flock. “Forgive and forget” must be one of the most misused summaries of the Christian gospel – and, as we know, the abused, the oppressed and the mistreated flock cannot forget, however, much they believe that they should forgive.

So what say we of this text in the 21st century? Firstly, it’s useful to know that in the version we heard read today (where Jesus says forgive not 490 times but 77 times), he is deliberately referring back to the book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter 4, when God puts a protective mark on Cain, God says that if anyone kills him, 7 lives will be taken in revenge. Five generations later, Cain’s descendant Lamech increases the tariff – if he is killed, 77 lives will be taken [Gen 4.15,24]. As he so often does, Jesus subverts this ancient story of violence begetting violence with one of forgiveness begetting forgiveness. This is the transformation that Jesus brings when he gets involved in our lives.
 
Just as Jesus takes a story from one culture and adapts it for another, so we then need to do the same. I really like this re-telling of Jesus’s parable in John Henson’s Good as New paraphrase of the Bible:
 
There was once the head of a large business who decided to call in her debts from her associates. She looked at the books and found that one was up to his neck in debt, more than would take several lifetimes to repay. She made an appointment to see him and threatened to send in the bailiffs and deprive his wife and children of house and home.
 
The man, with tears in his eyes, pleaded for more time. ‘Give me a chance,’ he said, ‘and I’ll pay it all back!’
 
The woman’s heart melted. She released her associate from his debts and told him not to worry about it any more.
 
But that very lucky man, as he was on his way out, bumped into a member of his club who owed him a small sum, no more than a few weeks’ wages.
 
He grabbed him by the throat and said, ‘Where’s my money?’
The man, shaking all over, said, ‘Please don’t be hard on me. You’ll get your money back. Just give me time!’
 
But he wouldn’t hear of it. He took him to court on a charge of theft, and the poor man ended up in prison. He was also ordered to repay the money.
 
The other club members knew about what had happened and were disgusted. They made sure the company boss got to hear the story. She sent again for her associate.
 
She said, ‘You nasty piece of work! I released you from your debt because of the tears in your eyes. Wasn’t that the cue for you to go easy on your friend?’
 
In anger she severed all business connections with him, ensured that he was completely ruined and called for his debts to be paid in full from his assets. That’s how my Parent will treat you if you don’t in love pass over the wrongs others do to you.
 
John Henson, Good as New: A Radical Retelling of the Scriptures
(O-Books, Winchester, 2004. pp 155-6)
 
John’s retelling helps us realise what a contemporary story this is – and how radical it is. These days, we hear that debt has risen alarmingly during the Covid crisis. While doorstep lending has been much more heavily controlled in recent years – not least because of campaigning by the churches – online payday loans and informal debt are growing. Christians Against Poverty and other debt counselling charities find their caseloads rising and the stories they tell are immensely distressing. People are ruined - and threatened with ruin – every day.
 
But in our story, the head of the large business (the king in Jesus’s original) decides to be magnanimous. It’s probably no big deal – she can afford to take the hit. She forgives the debt. But forgiveness, says Jesus, should multiply – just as revenge multiplied in the time of Cain and Lamech. That is where the one-time debtor gets it so wrong. Instead of multiplying the forgiveness, he multiplies the exploitation of the poor by the rich – which is the very foundation of debt. That is why the forgiveness first offered evaporates. We can choose to multiply forgiveness, or we can choose to multiply revenge. There is no middle way, says Jesus. When revenge takes over it soon runs out of control – and can easily consume whoever started the chain. When forgiveness takes over, a virtuous circle is created.
Paul, in the letter to the Romans, brings this home to church life.
 
Of course, financial debt can be a worry in church, but often what really gets us worked up is our deeply felt moral convictions. Eugene Petersen in The Message, as we heard, helpfully brings this passage too right up to date. In every generation, church debates about food and drink can become very heated. A generation or two ago it was serving alcohol at church events which caused such arguments. In our day, as we become ever more acutely aware of our responsibility to God’s creation, we find ourselves asking - what matters most? Is it reducing food miles or supporting Fairtrade? Should we serve only vegetarian food? Or only vegan? Can we forgive our fellow Christians who decide that it is acceptable to eat meat (by the way, I recommend grass-fed Welsh lamb and Welsh beef)? As Paul says, legitimate and important debate soon becomes a blame game, and – like revenge – blame soon multiplies. Can we replace that multiplication with a multiplication of acceptance and forgiveness? Even in Church Meeting?
 
We deliberately went one verse further than the lectionary today, to hear Paul offer not only his critique of the church in Rome but also his solution. As the Good News Bible translates it, You should decide never to do anything that would make your brother [or sister] stumble or fall into sin. My first concern, says Paul, should not be about whether I am standing on the moral high ground, it should be about how I can stop you from falling.
Which brings us back to the abuse of forgiveness. Manipulating other people into forgiving me is not what Jesus is talking about at all. He is talking about my forgiving others, from the heart, so that they can begin to multiply that forgiveness. It was an abuse of forgiveness which got the debtor in Jesus’s parable into such trouble, and meant that the value of the forgiveness so quickly unravelled. So-called forgiveness which is manipulated out of the forgiver multiplies only fear, guilt and – sometimes – revenge. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what Jesus or Paul had in mind. Indeed, it is the precise opposite.
 
All of this reminded Fiona of a song from her Sunday School days, which she is going to sing for us now. I wonder if you remember it?
Love is something if you give it away,
give it away, give it away,
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.
It’s just like a magic penny;
Hold it tight and you won’t have any;
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many,
they’ll roll all over the floor, for:
Love is something if you give it away,
give it away, give it away,
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.
 
(Malvina Reynolds © 1955 Northern Music Corp, used by permission of Essex Music Ltd; taken from New Life: songs and hymns for assemblies, clubs and churches, Galliard, 1971)
 
We may be living through a time when multiplying pennies will become much more difficult for many of us. But love and forgiveness – they can still multiply today as always.
 
May it be so in our lives, in our churches, in our businesses and on our planet. Amen.
 
Hymn:      Forgive our sins, as we forgive
                Rosamund Herklots (1905 – 1987)  © Oxford University Press
 
'Forgive our sins
as we forgive,'
you taught us, Lord, to pray,
but You alone
can grant us grace
to live the words we say.
 
2. How can your pardon
reach and bless
the unforgiving heart,
that broods on wrongs
and will not let
old bitterness depart?
 
3. In blazing light
Your Cross reveals
the truth we dimly knew:
what trivial debts
are owed to us,
how great our debt to you!

4. Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls,
and bid resentment cease;
then, bound to all
in bonds of love,
our lives will spread your peace.
 
Affirmation of Faith
 
We believe in God, creator of all,
whose word sustains the life of humanity,
and directs our history.
God is our life.

We believe in God’s Son,
born amongst the poor, light in our night,
first-born from the dead. He is alive.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who gives birth to the new life of God,
who breathes life into the struggle for justice,
who leads us to hope.
who is a living force.

We believe in the holy universal Church,
herald of the Good News
which frees people and brings new life.
We believe in the coming of a new world
where Jesus Christ, our Lord, will be all in all. Amen.

 
Offertory
 
Many United Reformed Churches have been displaying the poster which says “Our church is open – it’s only the building that’s closed.” If anything, our ministry has reached more people during the pandemic than when things are supposedly ‘normal’. So much of that ministry is unpaid, and yet there are financial costs incurred in feeding the hungry, tending to the sick and ministering to the dying, and in administering our mission, and your contributions will be put to good use. So, even if your local church building is now partially open again, please take this opportunity to set aside your offering for the work of Christ’s church, whether it be cash, cheque or electronic transfer.
 
Let us pray.
 
Loving God, you have already today accepted our confession and turned it into forgiving love; you have accepted our prayers and turned them into loving purposes; you have accepted our praises and turned them into the song of heaven. Now accept our offerings of money and time and turn them into the tender ministry of the body of Christ in your world today.  Amen.
Intercessions
 
Let us pray to God, trusting in his mercy to all who call upon him in faith. We pray for the Church: guard her, we pray, from too much concern for lesser things, and from placing self-righteousness in the place of forgiveness.
 
We pray for those who work in the world of finance, that they may be just and compassionate in their dealings, especially with those individuals and businesses now facing financial hardship. Give them wisdom, and the grace to use their skill not for their own enrichment but for the welfare of all.
 
We pray for those distressed by debt or financial worry, whether through poor decisions, bad luck or because they never had a chance in life. Strengthen us and our churches to continue to serve those in need, not in smug judgement but in a multiplication of the love and forgiveness we have known.
 
We pray too for the greedy and the unforgiving, for those who exploit vulnerable people or the fragile earth for their own selfish ends. Turn by your grace, we pray, the hearts of those who oppress the poor and needy.
 
We pray for ourselves, that we may share forgiveness and love as we live and work with others. Since none of us can live to ourselves alone, help us to continue to care for our community, and help us so to forgive that we may be forgiven.
 
Loving God, we offer these our prayers to you in the spirit of your forgiveness,  as we trust at the last to be forgiven in the name of Jesus.  Amen.
 
Hymn:      Help Us Accept Each Other
                Fred Kaan  © 1975 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl,
                Carol Stream, IL 60188
 
Help us accept each other
as Christ accepted us;
teach us as sister, brother,
each person to embrace.
Be present, Lord, among us
and bring us to believe:
we are ourselves accepted
and meant to love and live.
 
2: Teach us,
O Lord, your lessons,
as in our daily life
we struggle to be human
and search for hope and faith.
Teach us to care for people,
for all - not just for some,
to love them as we find them
or as they may become.
 
3: Let your acceptance
change us
so that we may be moved
in living situations
to do the truth in love;
to practice your acceptance
until we know by heart
the table of forgiveness
and laughter's healing art.
 
4: Lord, for today's encounters
with all who are in need,
who hunger for acceptance,
for justice and for bread,
we need new eyes for seeing,
new hands for holding on:
renew us with your Spirit;
Lord, free us, make us one.

Blessing
 
Ac yn awr boed i ras ein Harglwydd Iesu Grist, a chariad Duw a chymdeithas yr Ysbryd Glân fod gyda ni oll yr awr hon ac hyd byth. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us all and those for whom we pray, today and always. Amen.
 
 
 
 
 
Sources
 
Call to Worship from Feasting on the Word Year A
Affirmation of Faith from the Reformed Church of France.
Prayers of Approach, Confession and Forgiveness extended from Rachel Poolman’s prayer for today in the URC Prayer Handbook.
Intercessions adapted from Leading Intercessions, Raymond Chapman, bilingual edition, Canterbury Press, 2003
All other material from Gethin Rhys.
 
Dear Lord and Father of Mankind from BBC’s Songs of Praise
Gentle As Silence sung by Kathy Nugent
Forgive us our sins as we forgive by Koiné
Help us to Accept Each Other sung by Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church, Singapore.

 

 

Opening Music:  Procession by Arthur Wills (organ of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice, Italy – 2014) Closing Music Fugue in G Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach (organ of The Spire Church, Farnham – 2020) both played by Brian Cotterill briancotterill.webs.com.

Thanks to Myra Rose, Walt Johnson, Liane Todd, John Wilcox, Ray Fraser, the choir of Barrhead URC and thanks to Kathleen & Callum Haynes, Elfreda Tealby-Watson & Greg Watson, David & Christine Shimmin, Elizabeth Kemp,  Marion Thomas, Tina Wheeler and Myra Rose for recording, virtually, the Call to Worship and Affirmation of Faith.
 

  --> Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved.
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762

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URC Daily Devotion Sunday 13th September 2020 Psalm 14

Sun, 13/09/2020 - 06:00
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Sunday 13th September 2020 Psalm 14

Oh that your salvation and your rescue
would swiftly come to renew your people.

The fools have said in their heart:
“There is no God”: they are corrupt,
their deeds are all loathsome;
not one of them does good.

The Lord looks down from the heavens
seeking for those who understand, any seeking out God;
all have turned aside in conjoint corruption
and fallen short of God’s glory,
and among them not one of them does good.

Will evil doers not learn?  
Greedy, devouring God’s chosen people like they chew bread.
They shall quake with dread 
for the Lord is present in power among all his people.
Yes, the Lord will be our protecting strength.

You can hear v1 sung here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3nNeXyNpRc

Reflection

I am writing this Devotion while stuck at home owing to the Coronavirus, and I daresay that many of us will have cried something similar to the first line of today’s Psalm. ‘Oh, that Your salvation and Your rescue would swiftly come and renew Your people’.  Many of us, I am sure, will call out to God in times of need, and while some will get the answer they seek, some may hear nothing back.

A little while ago, when all of the lockdown measures first came into place, I was involved with a service conducted over Facebook Live, in connexion with a local Methodist church (see the play on words?). The service itself was lovely, and the regular congregation enjoyed it.  The church had paid to boost the post to the local area, and amid all of the positive responses, one gentleman was obviously annoyed with what he saw.  This man was determined that ‘there is no God’.  He made his views clear, he posted comment after comment, and the minister and others politely engaged with him, even offering to meet for a chat after lockdown came to an end.  After a while, it was clear that we were getting nowhere, and the gentleman’s comments were becoming more and more angry, so the minister stopped responding.

Now, I should make it clear that I am not equating the upset commenter with people who are ‘corrupt’, nor am I saying that negative comments are ‘loathsome deeds’.  I would be the first to argue that people are entitled to their opinions and that free speech is the cornerstone of a civilised society.  But at times, we all have to admit when we can do no more. We must, to quote Jesus, shake the dust from our feet and move on.  Eventually, we hope, the Holy Spirit will move in that person/group’s lives, and in the meantime, we can pray.

This may feel like giving in, it may feel like giving up. It may leave us feeling beaten and weak. But we must remember that God is ‘present in power among His people. Yes, the Lord will be our protecting strength’. 

Prayer

Loving God,
Go with us as we labour for Your Kingdom,
go with us as we share Your Word.
Grant us the strength to proclaim Your Gospel anew,
grant us the insight to know when to move on,
and help us to remember that You are always alongside us, 
as our protecting strength. Amen
 
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Today's writer

Michael RJ Topple, Lay Preacher and member of Chappel URC, Essex Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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URC Daily Devotion Saturday 12th September 2020 Moses’ Death

Sat, 12/09/2020 - 06:00
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Saturday 12th September 2020

Moses’ Death

Deuteronomy 34: 1 - 12

Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan,  all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea,  the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar.  The Lord said to him, ‘This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, “I will give it to your descendants”; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.’  Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command.  He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day.  Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigour had not abated.  The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab for thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.  He was unequalled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.

Reflection

So, after 40 years wandering in the desert Moses gets to see the promised land, but dies before he can reach it.  Amazingly, at the age of 120 he has impaired sight and unabated vigour - I imagine plenty of us wish we had those at 30/50/70 let alone 120!  Despite this, you might think he has failed in his life’s work - he hasn’t managed to lead the Israelites into Canaan - but there’s no sense of that in the text.  Rather, it’s seen as a fulfilment of the promise made earlier in Numbers 27, where God said that Moses would not reach the promised land himself, because of his rebellion in the wilderness.

Moses has, however, identified Joshua as his successor, who will lead the people into the promised land.  He’s recognised that the task of leadership is something bigger than he can accomplish in his own life.  How often do we manage to do the same?  Do we encourage other people to grow as leaders and take more responsibility, or do we feel we can’t trust anyone else to do something properly?  People who care for vulnerable relatives are often very careful to make sure there are proper arrangements for looking after their spouse or child after they die - but others of us can sometimes seem to behave as if we are immortal and irreplaceable, which doesn’t do us, others, or the causes we care for any good.

In churches we are often very aware of the saints who have gone before us - even commemorating them in the names of our buildings, for example.  But we should also think of those who will remain after we have gone, and make sure that we are encouraging their gifts of prophecy and leadership, just as Moses encouraged Joshua.

Prayer

Lord, you call each of us to our own form of service.
May we help each other discern our callings, and encourage each other in our journeys of faith.
We pray for those called to be leaders, that they may serve with honour, and know that leadership is a team game, rather than a virtuoso performance.
And may we know how to be followers, as we seek to follow your way.
Amen.
 
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Today's writer

Gordon Woods, Elder, St. Columba’s URC, Oxford Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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URC Daily Devotion Friday 11th September 2020 Joshua Commissioned

Fri, 11/09/2020 - 06:00
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Friday 11th September 2020
 
Joshua Commissioned

Deuteronomy 31: 1 - 8

When Moses had finished speaking all[a] these words to all Israel, he said to them: ‘I am now a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, and the Lord has told me, “You shall not cross over this Jordan.” The Lord your God himself will cross over before you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you shall dispossess them. Joshua also will cross over before you, as the Lord promised. The Lord will do to them as he did to Sihon and Og, the kings of the Amorites, and to their land, when he destroyed them. The Lord will give them over to you and you shall deal with them in full accord with the command that I have given to you. Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.’

Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel: ‘Be strong and bold, for you are the one who will go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their ancestors to give them; and you will put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’

Reflection

This reading caught my eye as I was looking through the choices as I’m a great fan of Joshua and his story.  It then struck me that today (11th September) is our 27th wedding anniversary so I was reminded once more how God does indeed move in mysterious ways. And the passage today is certainly mysterious.  First of all, Moses doesn’t get the ’happy ending’ he must have hoped for to his long and exhausting journey – he will never get to enter the Promised Land he has spent so long leading the Israelites towards.  Instead, Moses must hand over that responsibility to his younger colleague Joshua.
 
It's challenging enough not to be able to fulfil our dreams, no matter how God-given they might appear to be, and surely it’s even worse to commission someone else to fulfil that dream instead. I think if I’d been Moses all those years ago, I certainly wouldn’t have been so gracious or so compassionate in word or action.  But Moses understands that God is always generous in love and deed, and he commissions Joshua in the same way that God originally commissioned him – that is, with love and confidence and the knowledge that God will always be with him.  Because it is God Himself who chooses and directs our path and works out what is best for us and not we ourselves. In this way, the imposing of limitation is as much a blessing as liberation.  Both can be gifts.
 
Prayer
 
Dear God, help us to trust in You and Your plans for us. Help us to understand and accept Your divine will, no matter where it leads us or where it does not. Amen.
 
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Today's writer

Anne Brooke attends Elstead URC in Surrey. Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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URC Daily Devotion Thursday 10th September 2020 Choose Life

Thu, 10/09/2020 - 06:00
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Thursday 10th September 2020

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30: 11 - 20

Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe. See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God  that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them,  I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live,  loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Reflection

Choices – every day we make choices: some of us are blessed with so many options that we get confused: what to wear, what to do, what to eat and drink; others long for such an opportunity of choice and feel their lives confined by unavoidable restrictions – but his experiences in Nazi concentration camps led Victor Frankl to write, “Everything can be taken from a person but one thing, the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way!” Man’s Search for Meaning.

Our writer today presents the most vital of choices with characteristically Semitic starkness; the issues are clear and the consequences of choice are made clear.  Later understanding of God’s ways moved on from presenting those consequences in materialistic terms, though it is easy to be tempted to want virtue to be rewarded in material ways.  Choose life and live on God’s terms, or reject God and go your own way; there are no intermediaries, each person needs to choose. God does not punish the wrong-doer but such people bring the consequences on themselves.

Although this passage in Deuteronomy is set within the context of God’s covenant with the people we should recognise, as Frankl wrote, that each individual has to make her or his own choice. The consequences of that choice will affect others, perhaps the whole community, but each person has an individual responsibility to live, “loving the Lord your God, obeying him and holding fast to him” so finding fullness of life which is developed when Jesus said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John, 10.10. Jesus also said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” Luke 10.27. 

Prayer 

Gracious God, give us the insight to know what choices we should make and give us the strength we need to make those choices, Walking the Way of Jesus, in whose power we pray: Amen
 
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Today's writer

The Rev’d Julian Macro, retired minister, member of Verwood United Reformed Church Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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Sunday's Coming

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 11:30
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Sunday's Coming

Dear Friends,

Sunday's service is led by the Rev'd Gethin Rhys who works in Cardiff as a policy officer for the Welsh Ecumenical body Cytûn.  Hymns include John Greenleaf Whittier’s Dear Lord and Father of Mankind, Estelle White’s As Gentle As Silence, Rosamund Herklots’ Forgive Our Sins As We Forgive and Fred Kaan’s Help Us Accept Each Other.

The service will be sent out, as normal, at 9.45 on Sunday morning for a 10am start.  If you have any problems receiving it please read on for advice.

with every good wish


Andy


The Rev'd Andy Braunston
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URC Daily Devotion Wednesday 9th September Shine Moses Shine

Wed, 09/09/2020 - 06:00
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Wednesday 9th September

Shine Moses Shine

Exodus 34:  29 - 35

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him.But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterwards all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Reflection

Moses had been on the mountain and having a conversation with God.  This changed his physical appearance so much that his face shone.  This might remind us of the time when Jesus met Moses and Elijah.  Matthew 17:2 tells us that Jesus’s face shone like the sun.  Moses was unaware of this change to his appearance, but the people were afraid of him.  He had to summon them to approach him and Moses told them what God had said to him on Mount Sinai.

Do we all reflect the glory of God in our day to day lives or do we leave it for Sundays?  Perhaps more importantly does our relationship with God change every part of our lives?  Moses’s face shone to show that he had been in God’s presence and he wore a veil to hide it from other people but removed the veil when with God.  

Do we do something similar; do we hide our faith when with non-churchgoers?  We should let others see that we have this.  We live in times when many people are unsure about the existence of God, a time when they doubt many things.  We need to let the love of God shine through us into the dark places that many people inhabit.  We can do it in so many ways, supporting organisations such as Commitment for Life or Christian Aid are examples.  Kind words to strangers and simply telling friends how our personal faith helps us every day can show God’s glory shining from us.  There is much being said about a “new normal” will we as Christians all make sure that our new normal includes God in every part of it?

Prayer

Loving God, 
shine through me,
make me a beacon for you
where there is darkness let me bring light
where there are feelings of hopelessness or despair, let me bring joy
in Jesus name, Amen
 
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Today's writer

John Collings, Lay Preacher, member of Rutherglen URC Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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URC Daily Devotion Tuesday 8th September 2020 Covenant Renewed

Tue, 08/09/2020 - 06:00
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Daily Devotions from the URC

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Tuesday 8th September 2020
 
Covenant Renewed

Exodus 34:  10 - 28

He said: I hereby make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform marvels, such as have not been performed in all the earth or in any nation; and all the people among whom you live shall see the work of the Lord; for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.

Observe what I command you today. See, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Take care not to make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land to which you are going, or it will become a snare among you. You shall tear down their altars, break their pillars, and cut down their sacred poles  (for you shall worship no other god, because the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God). You shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to their gods, someone among them will invite you, and you will eat of the sacrifice.  And you will take wives from among their daughters for your sons, and their daughters who prostitute themselves to their gods will make your sons also prostitute themselves to their gods.

You shall not make cast idols.

You shall keep the festival of unleavened bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.

All that first opens the womb is mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem.

No one shall appear before me empty-handed.

For six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in ploughing time and in harvest time you shall rest. You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of wheat harvest, and the festival of ingathering at the turn of the year. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you, and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times in the year.

You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven, and the sacrifice of the festival of the passover shall not be left until the morning.

The best of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring to the house of the Lord your God.

You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

The Lord said to Moses: Write these words; in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel. He was there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Reflection

The God who had made Himself known to Abraham delivered His people from bondage in Egypt, sustained them through the wilderness years and guided them to the land He had promised their forebears.   The covenant theme binds together promises made and the fulfilment of those promises in the life and death of Jesus Christ. In so doing Exodus becomes the catalyst upon which Biblical history is assured and fundamental truth is based.  At the heart of the Exodus narrative is the focus on the divine name, the nature of His presence and the significance of the sacrificial Passover lamb.

September, of course, for the Methodist Church marks the beginning of a new year; a time when new ministers and church treasurers take up their appointments and when the regular cycle of committee meetings at church, circuit and district level begins again, the occasion very often being celebrated on the first Sunday with the annual Covenant Service, in memory of the first covenant with God.

September, for us too, heralds a new beginning in our thoughts and plans for the future. One of the most important things for any believer is to be able to discern where God is leading and, having discerned, to respond and follow.

When someone asked the British photographer and pioneering director William Friese-Green, what was the most creative aspect of making films, he answered, “The frame”. Not the fabulous locations, the scripts or working with great actors - but the frame. When we are surrounded by so many opportunities and able to see so much potential for what lies ahead, it is vital that we discern where our own path lies. Discerning, and accepting, what we believe we are called to do gives us clarity and freedom and allows us to focus our energies.  We all need to listen for that “still, small voice.”  That goes for us all, you and me.

Prayer

Do not give up...When you first begin, you find only darkness and as if it were a cloud of unknowing. You don't know what this means except that in your will you feel a simple, steadfast intention reaching out towards God...reconcile yourself to wait in this darkness as long as necessary, but still go on longing after him who you love. (The Cloud of Unknowing - 14th. Century)
 
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Today's writer

The Rev’d Ian Gow Minister, Eltham URC Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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URC Daily Devotion Monday 7th September 2020 New Tablets

Mon, 07/09/2020 - 06:00
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Daily Devotions from the URC

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Monday 7th September 2020

New Tablets

Exodus 34: 1-9

The Lord said to Moses, ‘Cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you broke. Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain. No one shall come up with you, and do not let anyone be seen throughout all the mountain; and do not let flocks or herds graze in front of that mountain.’ So Moses cut two tablets of stone like the former ones; and he rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, ‘The Lord.’ The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed,

‘The Lord, the Lord,
a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,
yet by no means clearing the guilty,
but visiting the iniquity of the parents
upon the children
and the children’s children,
to the third and the fourth generation.’

And Moses quickly bowed his head towards the earth, and worshipped. He said, ‘If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.’

Reflection

Today’s reading starts part-way through a conversation between God and Moses. On one level, it is about how God will renew the covenant made at Mount Sinai (10 Commandments) with Israel following the Golden Calf incident.

In living memory, the people had witnessed God’s visible acts of power in the Exodus, at the Red Sea and being fed in the desert, yet their impatience at Sinai waiting for Moses turned to idolatry. 

This is another example of how important patience is, and God is not to be hurried by our timetable. Throughout the Bible, we see God always giving humankind another opportunity to be reconciled.

Our reading ends (vv.8-9) with Moses interceding on Israel’s behalf and not for the last time. Ultimately, we know that God completed this work Himself on Good Friday through Jesus’ death on the Cross. 

Verses 1-3 complete God’s practical instructions; verse 4 returns to the narrative, but what is going on in verse 5? To answer this, look to Exodus 33:18, where Moses asks to see God’s “glory”.

God answers that He will show Himself, and Moses will see His back (a unique experience in Scripture); but, more importantly, Moses will witness God’s goodness, grace and compassion (Exodus 33:19).

The Golden Calf was a hollow idol with no substance; however, God shows Moses and the people what really matters, and it is not appearance. The Golden Calf may have looked pretty, but it could not offer mercy, grace, love and faithfulness.

Hebrew scholars are not sure of the origin of the name of the Lord, often written as “LORD”, but most agree it has to do with the verb “to be”. 

God’s very being offers us these noblest qualities, and it is these qualities which God would have us take in and become part of ourselves, that we might show mercy, grace, love and faithfulness in our lives.


Prayer

Merciful God, forgive us: 
guide us to show mercy to others.
Gracious God, we thank you for all that we have: 
guide our generosity to others.
Loving God, You love us with a power stronger than death: 
guide us to love those we find difficult to love.
Faithful God, You promise to be with us always:
guide us to remain faithful to the Gospel.
Amen.
 
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Today's writer

Walt Johnson, Ordinand at Northern College and Member at Wilbraham St Ninian’s URC in Chorlton, Manchester Copyright
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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URC Daily Devotion Sunday Service 6th September 2020

Sun, 06/09/2020 - 09:45
96 URC Daily Devotion Sunday Service 6th September 2020 View this email in your browser

Sunday Service from the URC

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Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today's service.   You can either simply read this or you can
 
to listen to the service and sing along with the hymns.  This will open up a new screen, at the bottom of the screen you will see a play symbol.  Press that, then come back to this window so you can follow along with the service.
URC Daily Devotion Service
for

Sunday 6th September 2020






The Rev’d Mike Shrubsole and the Rev’d David Coleman
 
Introduction
 
Good morning, I’m Mike Shrubsole, minister of four churches in the Ringwood area, and also one of the Green Apostles working across the thirteen Synods of the United Reformed Church.  Today is Climate Sunday and this Sunday Worship has been prepared by myself and
by David Coleman, Les Parker and Alex Mabbs, representatives of the whole church network of Green Apostles. We offer you a creation celebration and environmentally concerned time of worship which was planned to help lead us towards COP26, the next United Nations climate conference originally due to be hosted in Glasgow in 2020. Now we begin a longer run-up towards a rescheduled COP26 now planned to be held in the year 2021. Our hope and prayer, shared with you in this Climate
Sunday Service, is that these longer preparations might result in more ambitious carbon reduction targets being delivered at that COP26.
 
Call To Worship
 
One:         To all who are imprisoned,
Many:       God says, “Come out.”
 
One:         To all who are living in darkness,
Many:       God says, “Show yourselves”
 
One:         To all who hunger and thirst,
Many:      God gives food and springs of water.
 
One:         To all who are far away,
Many:       God makes smooth the way home.
                God will not forget us, we are inscribed
                on the palms of His hands.
 
Hymn:      All Things Praise Thee, Lord Most High
                George William Conder (1821-1874)
 
All things praise Thee, Lord most high,
Heav’n and earth and sea and sky,
all were for Thy glory made,
that Thy greatness thus displayed
should all worship bring to Thee;
all things praise Thee— Lord, may we!
 
2: All things praise Thee—night to night
sings in silent hymns of light;
all things praise Thee—day to day
chants Thy power in burning ray;
time and space are praising Thee,
all things praise Thee—Lord, may we!
 
3:  All things praise thee; round her zones
earth, with her ten thousand tones,
rolls a ceaseless choral strain;
roaring wind and deep-voiced main,
rustling leaf and humming bee,
all things praise thee: Lord, may we.
 
4: All things praise Thee—high and low,
rain and dew and sparkling snow,
crimson sunset, fleecy cloud,
rippling stream, and tempest loud;
summer, winter, all to Thee
Glory render— Lord, may we!
 
5: All things praise Thee—gracious Lord,
Great Creator, powerful Word,
Omnipresent Spirit,
now at Thy feet we humbly bow;
lift our hearts in praise to Thee;
all things praise Thee—Lord, may we!
 
Prayers of Approach, Confession and Forgiveness
 
Creator God, You made an awesome world, stars beyond our imagination in size and distance infinitesimally small particles of immense power. You entrusted the care of the world and all it contains to us,  Your human children.  Through greed and over-consumption we have taken more than our share, abused and destroyed the animals, plants and land. And we have broken the trust that You gave us. We have ridden roughshod over the needs of  our local and global neighbours, the wonderful wildlife which is all around us and which we see on our TVs, and future generations including our own children and grandchildren.
 
We want to say that we are sorry. Sorry for the bad decisions we have made, for the hurt we have caused, for the damage we have done. We ask for Your forgiveness and for Your help to change. Thank You that Your powerful Christ-life still flows in all Creation to heal and to make anew. Thank You that even in this time of a global pandemic  we have rediscovered that healing power. We can now hear the birds and see the mountains and the stars. Help us to work with You to bring healing to Your world and to all our neighbours, those nearby and those in distant lands. Your world is a creative, abundant and beautiful home. Help us to work with You to be as creative and abundant and to produce the good fruit of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. As the trees share their resources for the benefit of all their neighbours, may we share all of the blessings we receive with gratitude. Amen
 
Prayer of Illumination
 
Gracious God, we do not live by bread alone, but by your living Word.
Through your Word open our eyes that we might see, and be thankful
for all your gracious provisions. Amen
 
Readings
 
Exodus 12.1–14
 
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:  This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.  Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.   If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbour in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.   You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.   They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.   They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs.   You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.  This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.   For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the LORD.   The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
 
St Matthew 18.15–20
 
‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax-collector.   Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’
 
 Hymn:      For the Beauty of the Earth
                 F S Pierpoint (1835 – 1917)  arr by John Rutter
 
For the beauty of the earth,
for the beauty of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies.
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of praise
 
2: For the beauty of the hour,
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon and stars of light.
Sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of praise
 
3: For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild
for all gentle thoughts and mild:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our joyful hymn of praise
 
4: For each perfect gift of thine,
to our race so freely given,
graces human and divine,
flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n:
Flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
this our joyful hymn, of praise.
 
Sermon
 
It hasn’t taken long for me to become rather  irritated by the notion of “the new normal”, which has crept in like a cuckoo to the nest of Christian environmental awareness this year. 
 
“Normal” reassures, perhaps at a time when the most  effectively reassuring pathway, for faith and all that follows from it, is that which allows that the road ahead will be bumpy, twisty, deceptive. 
 
This  year has been a crash course in the supreme value of faith, in the sense of the trust in God that sustains and accompanies us through the unexpected, the unpredictable, the inevitable, and even the end of life as we have known it. 
The stressful stop-start of city traffic, and the achingly long lead-in to turning an oil tanker are some of the metaphors of the fossil fuel era that help us grasp that any normal view of  ‘normal’  gets us nowhere.  The climate emergency continues apace, even if out culture has shown a lamentable disinclination to multi-task. It’s  as if all we needed to be bothered with was the virus. Which, of course, did not come out of nowhere. The evidence is growing that  our abuse of nature is ever more likely to unleash such things. And has done so in the recent past.
Then we encounter, in our reading of Exodus, these regulations for the festival, the season, the Special Sunday of  Passover:  that most completely Hebrew, and therefore  strangely all-inclusive feast (visiting foreigners must be invited to share it) which though it aims at the conservative momentum of a perpetual ordinance, is nonetheless a feast of urgency, responsiveness  and alertness, which  is incidentally,  precisely the best we should hope for from Climate Sunday.
 
The times of the year - and festivals like harvest - vitally give shape to our lives as they are repeated year after year.  The temptation is significant, to empty these things of contemporary relevance out of  misguided  loyalty to their enduring beauty.  To set aside the emergencies for which they prepare and nourish us, as if the week-to-week conduct of our faith could happen in an alternative Creation.  Yet “heaven and earth”, sky and soil, are one Creation. Both already  wonderful, both  to be  cherished, healed, made new.
 
It is significant, though, that these  ancient regulations are so clearly designed to mitigate against conservative complacency: the tradition is observed by the trappings of urgency, rather than or relaxed reassurance.  There is no escape into deceptive stasis.
 
Early Christianity, born out of persecution and  the experience of oppression, lost no time in reappropriating this life-sustaining aspect of identity: ‘Wake up sleeper, be alert....’ - and crucially not offering or anticipating  that any sort of  wider, global  upheaval might be averted, but rather, tapping into  the Passover experience: not only how to live through it, but how to be yourself through it. 
 
Our situation is one of a human and natural world now obediently ‘filled’  [cf Genesis 1:20 & 1:28 ] to the point where even God’s people have nowhere else to go.  Reconciliation and forgiveness,  persuasion rather than annihilation,  peace, rather than victory, become all the more life-giving.
 
Egypt and the Promised Land are close or identical. Blood on the door, even as a waste-free sign of faith, grants no immunity. Perhaps we live or die with Pharoah, and Moses, or his successors in communities of faith need not to let up on the dialogue, for the sake of all concerned.
Matthew 18, which is offered in the first instance as a practical guide to transforming conflicts within church communities  now gains additional meaning, where we have no room left for anything like  the ‘blame game'.
 
The value of responsible witnesses, as well as of seeking to avoid the escalation of divisive situations is placed before us here.
 
Climate science offers a testimony which we can take note of or ignore.   When we take notice,  then  our neighbours might still have to be convinced. There’s also a sting in the tail  for the complacent here, in the instruction to treat offenders" as a Gentile and a tax-collector” - that is, as those in particular need of support to change their mind and ways. The aim is always reconciliation, not exclusion. Globally, we don’t have anywhere else to go; no to send  our offenders away to. And might we be these offenders?
 
So what is to be vitally prioritised  in the observances of faith,  to the Christian heap of “Specials”  to which Climate Sunday and the following weeks of Creation Time and the Season of Creation are adding?
Faithfulness, obedience, devotionalism, piety, are now characterised in this:
 
Readiness to shift -  and shift everything -  the schooled decisiveness to cash in the chips of all that has been  set aside for a rainy day, yes, the wisdom to be ready  to blow your reserves and leave nothing behind, these are the defining virtues these ancient ritual instructions aim to inculcate, and by their repetition, indefinitely to refresh, rather than, tediously, to embed.  It’s a feast and a fulsome one, and as good as you can make it, but a feast with no waste and no leftovers.
 
This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the LORD.
 
For us, the time has come: never mind “normal”, new or old : the faith of our cultures in indefinite growth and a reliable future has become hollow, and our reliance on it - because that reliance  holds back necessary change - deadly. 
 
Not just for ourselves, but first and fastest, those people and places who have contributed least to the crises we may, perhaps, still mitigate, but not avert. The time is now. so, says God, let’s celebrate! Let’s feast, because that’s the hopeful alternative to creeping back into a hole and giving up. 
 
And  the  concessionary trust in intermediates: that new fossil fuel investment approved because it is marginally more efficient than the previous one locks you in for a generation, when time has already run out.
Without exception, the greatest impact of today, and of the weeks and months ahead that you might devote to deepening your spiritual awareness of Climate emergency and the place and purpose of your faith as we encounter it, will be in transforming yourself, your spirituality, your prayer life, and the ways in which, until now, that might have excluded the voice of the Earth, just as the voice of the poor has been so easy to sideline, though  Jesus in Matthew 25, again most sternly makes clear that how they are treated is an absolute measure of faithfulness to him, to God, to goodness.
 
The Exodus story introduces the deeply relevant concept of “plague” as a catastrophe that need not have been so, and that might have been avoided through justice, compassion and wisdom, though one  over which you may not have determinative power.  Decisions are made elsewhere.  The wildlife and the ecosystems suffer, because of the all-too-human injustice of the pharaoh.  We are reminded, that all life shares the fate we choose. The sheer spiritual poverty of anthropocentric salvation - that is, the teaching that Christ is given for people alone, and that all other life, however lovely,  is expendable - this makes  no sense other than on some distant planet B other than our own, where no one need yet be confronted with the absolute facts of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life,  be they predators or prey, fauna or flora.
 
Yet in addition to this fact of  infinite mutual utility, Christianity has, in its saner moments, also added a value, an original goodness which goes beyond any visible usefulness to ourselves. That too, is a matter of faith. And one reinforced as we remember Jesus’ most stern rebuke of those who dismiss a sister or brother as ‘good for nothing’. [Matt 5:22, e.g. NAS]. For what is that but a dismissal of God, who made them.... and you!
 
Be awake, be alert, be ready, and remember, as a matter of faith, to celebrate, to nourish yourself, your faith, your community.  The world needs your commitment  now, more than ever. In prayer, in action, in being what God made you to be.
 
Hymn:      Creation Sings the Father’s Song
                Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend © 2008 Thankyou Music
 
Creation sings the Father’s song;
He calls the sun to wake the dawn
and run the course of day,
till evening comes in crimson rays.
His fingerprints in flakes of snow,
His breath upon this spinning globe,
He charts the eagle’s flight,
commands the
new-born baby’s cry.

Hallelujah! Let all creation stand and sing:
“Hallelujah!” Fill the earth with songs of worship,
tell the wonders of creation’s King.

2: Creation gazed upon His face;
the ageless One in time’s embrace,
unveiled the Father’s plan
of reconciling God and man.
A second Adam walked the earth,
whose blameless life
would break the curse,
whose death would set us free
to live with Him eternally.
 

3: Creation longs for His return,
when Christ shall reign upon the earth;
the bitter wars that rage
are birth pains of a coming age.
When He renews the land and sky,
all heaven will sing and earth reply
with one resplendent theme:
the glory of our God and King.
 
Affirmation of Faith
 
We believe in God, creator of all,
whose word sustains the life of humanity,
and directs our history. God is our life.
We believe in God’s Son,
born amongst the poor, light in our night,
first-born from the dead. He is alive.
 
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
who gives birth to the new life of God,
who breathes life into the struggle for justice,
who leads us to hope. Who is a living force.
 
We believe in the holy universal Church,
herald of the Good News
which frees people and brings new life.
We believe in the coming of a new world
where Jesus Christ, our Lord, will be all in all. Amen.
 
Offertory
 
We invite and encourage you to remember churches and charities and all those in financial need at this difficult time. Let us not selfishly hold the blessings we receive, but lovingly share, so that blessings and thankfulness may abound. Amen.
 
Prayers of Intercession
 
Liberating God, your Spirit sighs as creation groans, you hear the cries of the poor and afflicted, you deliver those in distress and set captives free:
 
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us as we cry to you, as earth heats, and weather changes, and habitats become inhospitable: for animals and plants struggling to survive, for refugees from drought, flood, and heat, for every soul seeking a home where they can flourish in peace:
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us as we cry to you, as costs rise and prices fall and those who work the land are squeezed by injustice: for farmers and producers at the mercy of market forces, impoverished, but wanting to do their best
for the land and the creatures in their care:
 
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us as we cry to you, as changes in nature and society out-pace conventional wisdom: for leaders of Government and business, for buyers and voters, for justice and peace for the poor, the disregarded, and all the Little Ones of Creation:
 
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us as we cry to you, as disciples of Jesus seek his path of faithfulness and loving service: for Churches and Christian agencies as we embody the love of Christ for all Creation:
 
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us as we cry to you for those we carry in our hearts today (silence)
 
God, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Hear us, merciful God; hear the cries of every tribe and language and people and species, that all Creation might be set free, and all things made new in Christ. In that glorious hope, in the unity of the Spirit, and in his name we pray. Amen.
 
The Lord’s Prayer
 
Hymn:      Sing of the Lord’s Goodness
                Fr Ernest Sands © 1981 Ernest Sands. Published by OCP Pubs
 
Sing of the Lord’s goodness,
Father of all wisdom,
come to him and bless his name.
mercy He has shown us,
His love is for ever,        
faithful to the end of days.
 
Come then all you nations,
sing of your Lord’s goodness,      
melodies of praise & thanks to God.
Ring out the Lord’s glory,
praise Him with your music,
worship Him and bless His name.
 
 (repeat first verse and chorus)

2: Power He has wielded,
honour is His garment,
risen from the snares of death.
His word He has spoken,
one bread He has broken,
new life He now gives to all.
 
3: Courage in our darkness,
comfort in our sorrow,
Spirit of our God most high;
solace for the weary,
pardon for the sinner,
splendour of the living God.
 
4: Praise Him with your singing,
praise Him with the trumpet,
praise God with the lute and harp;
praise Him with the cymbals,
praise Him with your dancing,
praise God till the end of days.
 
Blessing
 
Now may you know God’s blessing:
The Creator’s blessing on that that has been made,
The Saviour’s blessing on all that is loved,
The Spirit’s blessing active in and over all.
As you have been blessed, so may you bless. Amen.
 
 Sources and Thanks
 
Call to Worship from Feasting on the Word Year A
Affirmation of Faith from the Reformed Church of France.
Prayers of Approach written by Les Parker.
Prayer of Illumination, Offertory, and Blessing written by Mike Shrubsole
Prayers of Intercession written by Alex Mabbs.
 
All Things Praise Thee sung by the choir of Christ Apostolic Church, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.
For the Beauty of the Earth arranged by John Rutter sung by the Vocal Arts Academy of Milwaulki directed by Emily Crocker
Creation Sings the Father’s Song by Keith & Kristyn Getty and Stuart Townend, from the album 'Awaken The Dawn'
Sing of the Lord’s Goodness recorded by Jazz Church.

Organ Pieces: Liturgical Prelude by George Oldroyd (organ of The Spire Church, Farnham – 2020) Nun Danket Alle Gott – Marche Triomphale (“Now thank we all our God”) by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (organ of All Saints’, Odiham – 2020) played by Brian Cotterill http://briancotterill.webs.com

 
Thanks to James Whately, John Young, Lorraine Webb, Karen Smith, for recording various parts of the service and to the choir of Barrhead URC for recording the Lord’s Prayer, to  Kathleen & Callum Haynes, Elfreda Tealby-Watson & Greg Watson, David & Christine Shimmin, Elizabeth Kemp,  Marion Thomas, Tina Wheeler and Myra Rose for recording, virtually, the Call to Worship and Affirmation of Faith.
 
  --> Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved.
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762

  Copyright © 2020 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.


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