31 July: 'Priorities'
Although there is no Worship Service at Kingswood this Sunday (31st), this short act of worship has been prepared for you to use at home by Alan Darlington, local preacher in the Sherwood Forest Circuit. We invite you to spend a few moments with God, knowing that other people across the Methodist Connexion are sharing this act of worship with you.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.” (StF 66, Edith McNeil)
Lord, as we come into your presence, help us to remember that your love and faithfulness endure, and that we can rely on you whatever may come our way.”
Hymn: StF 341 All for Jesus was written by Rev William John Sparrow-Simpson, as part of his libretto for 'The Crucifixion'. The tune was written by Sir John Stainer, who composed 'The Crucifixion' in 1887. It is performed here by the Guildford Camerata and the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra.
Let us pray together
God whose love is steadfast and sure,
We praise you.
God who lays for us solid foundations,
We praise you.
God who can be depended on,
We praise you.
God, the first and the last,
We praise you.
God who shows us the way,
We praise you.
In everything we do, may we praise you. Amen
Today’s Reading from the New Testament Colossians 3:1-11
Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21
Time to Reflect
On the afternoon I had planned to prepare this service, I was in a shop and found that I had lost my bank card. I struggled not to panic as it was the worst time for it to happen. I thought how much chaos the next few days would be thrown into. Fortunately, I found the card and the panic was over. Little things can have a major effect on us.
Today’s passages remind us to think what is truly important to us. Yes, we need money to survive personally and as a church but that is not the be all and end all. So, what do we set our minds on as individuals and as a church? Events over the last few years may have crystallised some of those thoughts. We realise how important friends are when we are deprived of them. We realise how important peace is as we hear of unrest.
Too often, our church councils are full of debates about minor things and people get very agitated about them. Yes, there are practicalities that need dealing with but we should not let them replace what is truly important. Money replaced God in the life of the man in the parable. What replaces him in our personal lives? What replaces him in our church lives? Yes, we need to pay the bills but, more importantly, we need to live out the Kingdom, engage in the mission that God has given us and share his love. Our priorities must be God’s priorities – how else will the world see a better way to live than the man with his barns?
As you read this, I will be helping lead a children’s residential activity. One year as I was planning for such an event, I wondered whether it was really worth the time I was putting in. I felt God say that it was worth it because the activity touched lives and helped build into eternity. Let us not build things that will decay but things that will last – and we can only do that if our priorities become God’s priorities. Let’s not build barns to store things that will decay but lives that speak of God’s everlasting love.
A time of prayer
Let us sit quietly and bring to God those in need of a special touch at this time …
Let’s bring to him those who have messed up priorities …
Let’s bring to him those who can see no further than the next meal …
Let’s bring to him those who cannot see out of their grief and pain …
Let’s bring to him those who are looking for the way to go …
Let's bring to him the folk at Lenton Methodist Church, that they find a fellowship where they will find a warm welcome and a place to grow in God’s love.
Lord, guide, lead, heal, comfort; show those we have brought to you the way ahead. May they build on you.
And may we, in our churches, get our priorities right too. Show us where to go and where to build. Help us to bring your love to those around us. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father ……
StF 447 Jesus be the Centre written by Michael Frye Vineyard Worship UK & Ireland
A prayer of blessing
Let us go into the world and live our lives for our God. May we live our lives for him and experience the spiritual riches he has to offer. Let us share them with those around us.
Original Materials by Alan Darlington, local preacher in the Sherwood Forest Circuit
We are grateful to all the Ministers and Local Preachers from around the Connexion who have contributed to Worship at Home. This resource is administrated by Ministries: Vocations and Worship in the Connexional Team.
This Worship at Home has been put together by Rev Christine Fox and centres around the Lord's Prayer.
StF 8 God with us, creator Father Sung by Victoria Methodist Bristol
Use your own words from verses from Luke 11:1-4. to say your own prayers.
Vs 2a Prayer of adoration
‘Father, hallowed be your name,
Vs 2b,3 Prayers of intercession
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
Vs 4 – prayer of confession
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation
StF 693 Beauty for brokenness Sung by Graham Kendrick
Luke 11: 1-13
Message - Revd Christine Fox
StF 72 Father God, I wonder sung here by Dave Griffiths & Kingsway Children's Choir
SyF 762 our Father who art in heaven - Sung by Frodsham Methodist Church
Generous God, bless us now with your grace that gives and gives again. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen
This Worship at Home service has been produced by Tanya Cook and the Reflection by Tim Baker.
Call to Worship
We come together as one,
united in our common loyalty to Jesus Christ.
We come to worship and praise the God who calls us here.
Let’s open our hearts to one another,
just as Christ has opened his heart to us,
and God will be glorified.
Hymn: StF 110 In the wonder of creation
Prayers of Adoration and Confession:
God who calls and equips, We seek you, not for what we can do for you, but in response to your incredible love in our lives. We celebrate your all-encompassing love and the people who have made you known to us. We recognise that your Spirit has worked through countless people to make your salvation known to us and we take a moment to recognise this. We praise you for God's love made known in Jesus, the One who calls so many different people, in so many diverse ways and in a variety of contexts. We open ourselves to your love and guidance that we may respond to your calling and help others recognise your love. Amen
God of immense love and mercy, forgive us when we try to avoid following you, forgive us when we ignore your calling in our lives, forgive us when our busyness drowns out your still small voice and we attempt to go our own way. Forgive us when our actions prevent others from responding to God's calling in their lives. Help us to make service to you our priority every day of our lives. Amen.
God's love for you is not dependent on what you do. God's love for you does not diminish when you lose focus and lose your way. God's love for you remains as it always has and always will. You are forgiven and held dearly by the loving arms of God. Thanks be to God. Amen
Hymn: StF 463 Deep in the shadows of the past
Hymn: StF 489 All I once held dear
What are your priorities? Where does God fit in?
In today’s Gospel reading we heard Luke’s version of this familiar tale of Mary and Martha. In the context of climate change and the societal breakdown that Amos is warning us about, perhaps we can re-examine our typical interpretations of this passage. We often try to redeem Martha – perhaps out of our desire to defend the Protestant work ethic or even the important role of ‘housework’ which doesn’t always get a good reputation. And of course, there is much work to be done on recognising different calls to ministry, different impulses around caring or listening.
However, perhaps Jesus’ rebuke for Martha is born out of his understanding of timing, of waiting, of reflection – even of lament. In the face of so much social change, is Jesus inviting the two women who are hosting him to just sit with that for a moment? Perhaps what we can hear from this reading is the invitation to pause, to sit at the feet of Jesus, to learn something new, to enter into the pain of the world we live in…and to believe that sitting there long enough that might give us hope.
Perhaps, or perhaps he meant something else all together…
The great joy and challenge of the Christian faith, and of all our work to attempt to make sense of our place in it, is that we do not know. We believe, we hope, we pray, we reflect on and we learn – but we can never know. As we trust in God’s future for this planet, and our own lives, we embrace the uncertainty of Paul in Colossians:
“The glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
May that mystery be true for you, and for all of us. Christ is in us – the hope of glory.
Extract of a reflection written by Tim Baker from The Vine www.theworshipcloud.com
Hymn: StF 531 What a friend we have in Jesus
Prayers of Intercession
Loving God, you call us to be people of faith, but instead of making service to you our priority we are so often people with doubts. Our heads and hearts are full of questions.
We doubt that love can grow again in relationships where anger and bitterness prevail, but you know the strength of love and the power of prayer.
We doubt that peace can come in many countries in our world where there is fighting, war and abuse or where hatred and racism know no boundaries.
You know that peace is possible - help us to be faithful peacemakers.
We doubt that the hungry can be fed in countries that are experiencing drought, war and poverty and that children will continue to perish.
You know that there is enough food in the world; help us to be generous and faithful. We doubt that governments throughout the world can lead their people with justice and fairness. You specialize in impossibilities; you walked on water, you can heal the nations, you forgive sins, you set people free from all that limits them, you set each one of us free from our sin and shame by your death, your glorious resurrection and the gift of your Holy Spirit. Today we pray for all people who are filled with doubt and uncertainty, who wonder whether you exist and whether you are listening to our prayers, who wonder what the Christian community and faith are about.
We pray for people who doubt the meaning of life, who face feelings of hopelessness and despair particularly those who have lost jobs, income and homes as a result of the pandemic.
Even when we ourselves are struggling, give us the wisdom to turn to you.
When our faith is weak or in danger of deserting us, strengthen us and give us hope. Finally, we ask for good news for people in our community and throughout the world, people who are sick, or who are grieving, who need your help in practical ways-- empower us to be your hands and feet and to show that love, your love.
Give us faith, small as a mustard seed, so that we may move mountains, so that we may bring change. May we always share your hope, your love and your justice with this needy world. We ask all these things in his name. Amen.
Hymn: StF 689 Summoned by the God who made us
Go now and make it your priority to tell others of God’s love. Seek to carry one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
Work for the good of all, avoid temptation, and pray that God will send more labourers into his Kingdom on earth.
May God give you grace and peace;
May Christ Jesus give you power over all that would harm you;
And may the Holy Spirit produce within you a rich harvest of joy and love.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
In the name of Christ. Amen.
We all know the story of the good Samaritan – but do you remember why Jesus told it? A man asked him ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ this man was not just anyone, but an expert in the law and we are told he asked it to test Jesus.
Opening Prayers (1)
As I sing and pray,
As I listen and reflect,
As I learn and mediate,
Draw close - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Surround me with your love,
That I might glorify your name,
In these next few minutes and in all that is to come.
1 Written by Tim Baker from 'The Vine at Home' compiled and produced by twelvebaskets
StF 249 Jesu, Jesu - North Ghanaian song adapted by Tom Colvin
Psalm 25 verses 1-20 (*NIV Bible version)
1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
*Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
StF 397 Walk in the light - Words and music Damian Lundy
Luke 10 verses 25-27
Message - Rev Christine Fox
Though our man wanted to test Jesus, when Jesus answered with another question - ‘how do you read it?’ the lawyer’s answer was good, but then tried to qualify it – ‘and who is my neighbour?’ – Fair enough perhaps – or did he want to limit the extent of his loving? What do you think?
– Jesus knows it is easy to love our family, it is possible to put ourselves out for our friends –or to help out those of our community, those of our religion or race – but Jesus adds another group of neighbours to these – by telling the story that we have named the good Samaritan –
How often do you come across someone who you don’t feel a natural affinity with who needs help – and you take the decision to help them?
And I say take the decision because I think that decision to help is the point at which you become their ‘good Samaritan’ and they become the kind of neighbour Jesus is talking about. And with family or friends you don’t even have to think whether to help them or not – but when it’s not family or friends then you might hesitate a moment – the need for a conscious decision arises - it’s a bit harder to cross a kind of line – maybe one we’ve been taught not to cross – for example, as children we were told to be careful of strangers – which is right - for of course Jesus isn’t asking you to stop being sensibly cautious – I bet that Samaritan man was looking over his shoulder when he was picking up the wounded man – in case those robbers came back – But he did make that decision to stop and help someone, contrary perhaps to what people would expect.
And Jesus is commending that decision. And that decision is a sign of the true state of someone’s heart – and God sees the heart.
What must I do to inherit eternal life? Not only be kind and helpful when it is easy or natural but to have a heart open to those who need help no matter who they are – the only requirement being that they need something I can give or can even partly help with. – Even our Samaritan knew his limits but he could get that man off the ground and out of immediate danger – and the innkeeper could do the rest. Do you ever watch the programmes about A&E or the ambulance crews? You realise how much the ambulance crews do before the person gets to hospital – but don’t forget the person who rang 999 in the first place… just as important - that could be you!
Jesus wasn’t just talking about medical emergencies of course when he said love your neighbour as yourself – we know that – your neighbour is anyone you come across who needs a response from you of love in action. Now – is this difficult? God says no – the other reading for today is from Deuteronomy 30: - 10b - 14…. …'obey the Lord… The word is in your heart and in your mouth'.
The key is to remember that for all who have opened their hearts to God, the power of God is then within your hearts and mouths and he will stir your hearts into compassion for others – you only have to take the decision to act on it – and he will speak through you too – his words that are needed at any given moment. Thanks be to God!
A time of prayer
Today is Action for Children Sunday. We begin with a prayer written for today by the team at Action for Children.
Loving, creator God. Thank you for making us all to shine your light. Give us courage and determination to make a difference to children whose stars are dimmed. Bless the work of Action for Children as they seek to protect and reveal the star in every child. Amen
We pray for all those, especially children, who are caught up in the conflicts of our world remembering the people of Ukraine and many others whose lives are being challenged by the conflicts around them.
We pray for the Church of which we are a part, giving thanks for the faith that we share together. May we continue to be inspired by our faith and continue to celebrate the way of God in our world today.
We pray for those who are important to us; our families, friends and neighbours. We give thanks for them and remember them today.
We pray for those in need, praying for those who are ill, those who live with challenging situations, those who mourn and all who seek peace in their lives this day.
We remember those who have died, giving thanks for them and the deep memories we have of them. May we be given the assurance of hope in the eternal nature of God’s love now and always.
A time of silence to add your own prayers
The Lord hears our prayer. Thanks be to God
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father ……
StF 345 And can it be that I should gain written by Charles Wesley
Go out in peace and seek the Lord, who is calling you into something new this day,
something holy, something loving, something peaceful. Go out in peace. Amen.
3 Prayer by Tim Baker from 'The Vine at Home' compiled and produced by twelvebaskets
3rd July-Climate Sunday
Theme from Galatians 6:7-10 – we reap what we sow, and let us not grow weary in doing good.
This worship at home version of this Climate Sunday Service has been prepared for you by Rev Christine Fox.
A time of mutual encouragement in ‘doing good’ for our earth, and raising awareness of the effects of our actions, inspire us in our climate action, with their aim to use growing as a visible sign of a kinder connected community.
Call to worship
A prayer of praise from Psalm 66:1-5 –
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.’[a]
5 Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
Song StF 82 How Great Thou Art (O Lord my God, When I in Awesome Wonder - 3vv) Sung at Spring Harvest
Introduction to Climate Sunday
In regard to the climate - Actions have consequences….burning fossil fuels –coal, oil petrol gas diesel takes the carbon out of the ground so increasing the carbon in the atmosphere – too much carbon dioxide makes a blanket around the earth with other greenhouse gases – global warming melting ice caps, change in climate - flooding people’s land, crops are affected… increasing food prices.
Yes we reap what we sow..
Someone reminded me this week of the well-known saying – do to others as you would have them do to you – Though Jesus used these words, they are the Golden rule that appears in other religions too. Kindness is the life-giving attitude that builds up all people and communities, and our earth.
Today I hope we can encourage each other to be kind through our actions that have wider impacts than we sometimes think.
Galatians 6:7-10 The Message
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, they will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All they’ll have to show for their life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith
Song StF687 One human family God has made,
Your thoughts on the Bible passage? Galatians 6:7-10 –
a) We reap what we sow, -how do we see that in our own lives? (positive and negative)
How do we see that regarding climate change?
b) ‘and let us not grow weary in doing good’ – how can we encourage each other?
Message : Revd Christine Fox
To find out more about 'Incredible Edible' go to the Eco-Church page here.
Song StF 693 beauty for brokenness
Intercession prayers – prayer by Jon Swales
Creator God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You created a world of wonder, And declared it to be good.
Father of Creation, God of Compassion, The earth was formless and void, And you spoke, And life came into being. Trees and plants were raised from the earth, You formed man out of the dust of the ground. The soil and mud Participate in your creative act. And you declared it to be good. And we declare it to be good. For our lives are inexplicably linked with the life of the soil.
From the riches of soil, Crops, vegetables, and fruit grow, which sustain life, of both human and non-human worshippers. Soil is our life support system, For this, we give you praise. Soil provides anchorage for roots, For this, we give you praise. Soil holds water and nutrients, For this, we give you praise. Soils are home to a myriad of microorganisms, And an army of microscopic animals, For this, we give you praise.
In this time of climate breakdown, The soil is our ally, Our friend, Providing a vital role in the earth's interconnected ecosystem. We praise you for fertile soil, From which a symphony of praise grows and is given voice.
Father of Creation, God of Compassion, We have moved East of Eden, We are Homesick Exiles, Creation Groans, The Soil is Dying. We have betrayed our friend, And may well reap what we have sown. We have opened the door to the sin of ecological violence, And it has overwhelmed us. Through the greed of exploitation, The fertile earth is being degraded, polluted and acidified.
We lament that 12 million hectares of once fertile land is lost every year to desertification and drought. We lament that an increase in degraded soil will likely affect food production. We lament for when we have chosen quick profits instead of sustainable agriculture. We lament the use of certain types of pesticides which bring increased yields for the moment but, in the long-term, makes the soil incapable of sustaining life. We hold before God now all peoples whose land is damaged through war, especially Ukraine, and all who struggle to feed their families.
Father of Creation, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your son walked this land of soil and dust, And dreamed a dream of a different world, A Kingdom in which the hungry are fed and the humble are lifted high. May we too, who walk this earth, Tread lightly upon the soil, And, like your Son, May we be Kingdom people, Who Dream, And Act, Who Tend and Keep, Guard and Protect, Plant and Harvest, Sustain and Develop This world that you have made.
May our hearts, as fertile soil, Be the place from which the fruits of the Spirit grow, May we, like Jesus, feed the hungry, And care about the soil from which our food comes. In all areas of life, may we point to the Father of Creation, who loves all that he has made including all those we love.
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, You created a world of wonder, And declared it to be good. To you be all praise, honour and glory. Amen
The Lord’s prayer:-
Song StF 411 May the God of hope go with us every day
Go, in the name of Jesus, the Source of all love and kindness, to sow good seeds that will produce a wonderful harvest.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore.
To find out more about 'Incredible Edible' go to the Eco-Church page here.
These are the Worship at Home versions of the In Person Services, led by our Minister :-
Each Service has the videos of the songs and the Sermon or reflection.
The Song references (StF) are from the Singing the Faith song book.
The videos of the songs are linked to YouTube or vimeo which may have advertising which Kingswood Methodist Church does not endorse.