Blessings are a sign that God touches and enriches our lives – in lots of different ways. This is not about
having material riches but in celebrating God’s generosity to us (which we don’t deserve) and which
we receive in different ways.
Call to worship
“And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6 v 8)
. StF 136 – Morning has broken
Prayer of thanks and forgiveness.
Loving God, we praise you for your generosity of spirit.
Thank you for your ever-open heart and hands,
swift to forgive and to bless,
to feed our souls and to unburden our spirits.
Thank you for your nurturing nature,
enfolding us in compassion and encouragement every day.
We praise you for having all the time in the world for us,
even when we don’t make time for you.
Day by day, may we grow in love and grace,
learning from you and becoming more like you, we pray.
Loving God, we thank you for your assurance of forgiveness
even when we have wandered far from you,
when we have failed to be open to others;
when we have neglected to show hospitality.
Thank you for all your blessings and for forgiving and nurturing us always.
In the name of Jesus Christ your son.
Part 1 How blessed are we?
There is an old song with familiar words: ‘Count your many blessings, name
them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done’.
In the service we will discuss 3 questions (try to answer these questions for
1. In what ways do you feel blessed in your life? Make a (mental) ‘list’.
2. Has anyone been surprised by what is in this ‘list’?
3. What does your ‘list’ say to you?
Blessings are a sign that God touches and enriches our lives – in lots of
different ways. This is not about having material riches but in celebrating God’s
generosity to us (which we don’t deserve) and which we receive in different
In today’s readings we will think about what it is that God requires of his
people, and how God blesses us. Later, we will think about how we might
share those blessings with others.
StF 78 – Give thanks with a grateful heart
Reading – Micah 6 1-8
6 Listen to what the Lord says:
“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
let the hills hear what you have to say.
2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3 “My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”
6 With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Matthew 5 1-12
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
The BeatitudesHe said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you
because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same waythey persecuted the prophets who were before you.
StF 161 – Speak, O Lord, as we come to you
Part 2 – Micah and the Sermon on the Mount
‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to
walk humbly with your God.’ Micah 6, v.8
It seems to me that there are many practical guidelines in the Bible as to how
we should live; todays readings are no exception. The prophet Micah is
described by theologians as a ‘minor prophet’, but that nickname seems to
underplay the power of his message. Micah was around in the kingdom of
Judah about 700 years BC. He was a contemporary of Isaiah and followed on by
This dramatic passage starts with a complaint from God to his people; ‘O my
people, what have I done to you?’ Look at how I helped you to escape
from Egypt; look at the leaders I gave you like Moses. And yet you are still
letting me down.
The people feel guilty and respond with extravagant offers of worship and
sacrifice. But Micah brings them down-to-earth with a reminder of what God
really wants from them.
‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to
walk humbly with your God.’
It’s not extravagant worship or sacrifice that are required, but the
responsibility to follow a faithful day-by-day lifestyle which reflects God’s
values and shows reverence towards him.
Three values – to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. Three
attitudes of moral seriousness which reflect God’s graciousness and purpose,
and which Micah wants them (& us) to adopt in daily life.
So, it seems appropriate to follow Micah’s words with a reading from the
Sermon on the Mount. Jesus describes eight qualities or commitments that
overlap and expand these three attitudes of Micah. And, as we know from our
reading of the Bible, Jesus lives out these qualities in his ministry, his death and
Earlier in the service we thought about the blessings that we enjoy. But you
would have to live on a desert island to realise that life is not exactly blessed
just now for everyone.
We only have to hear the news to see what is going on in the world; or to focus
on things happen in our own lives or in the lives of those we care about to
know that things are difficult. War & environmental challenges, energy costs,
wider cost of living pressures, health challenges all too often impact our ability
to recognise God’s blessings.
So how timely the words of Micah and Matthew seem, as they remind us that
the blessings of God, which value justice, mercy & humility, remain a constant.
And those blessings invite us to walk humbly with God, wherever we go and
whatever circumstances we might face.
The way that Matthew presents his gospel suggests that Jesus teaching was of
primary importance. Today’s passage is preceded by an urgent description of
Jesus touring the Galilee area teaching, preaching and healing those who
presented themselves to him. His reputation had clearly spread with the result
that he was followed by large crowds – of gentiles as well as Jews.
On Mt Sinai Jesus sits to teach, and I assume that his teaching would radiate
through the crowd. Who might those people in the crowd be?
I think we can surmise from the language and subject of Jesus teaching that he
was mainly followed by those who were poor and powerless, those who
struggled with their situations, those seeking healing and peace in their lives.
and who didn’t have the means to rise above their circumstances. But like
Micah, in so doing he is also warning the rich and the self-satisfied. So, Jesus
words were intended to be both encouraging and challenging, as he directly
addresses expectations which mark the Kingdom of God.
Jesus takes them and us to the heart of what God’s blessing is about, and in so
doing he turns accepted wisdom on its head. He declares that God’s blessing is
for the poor, the hungry, the persecuted, and those who weep, as well as
those who are merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers. Their blessing is to
consider themselves to be part of the kingdom of heaven.
This must have been a revolutionary message for those bound by the strictures
of the Jewish religion, or suffering the oppression of Roman occupation, or for
those Gentile outcasts. Here is Jesus telling them that they were each valued
by God. And, that in Jesus (who was sitting in front of them), God was assuring
them of their value.
So, how might we understand this idea today? Who will receive God’s
blessing? Nadia Bolz-Weber, who is an American Lutheran pastor and writer
offers us a contemporary take on Jesus words. She writes:
‘Maybe the Sermon on the Mount is all about Jesus’ lavish blessing of the
people around him on that hillside who his world—like ours—didn’t seem to
have much time for: people in pain, people who work for peace instead of
profit, people who exercise mercy instead of vengeance. Maybe Jesus was
simply blessing the ones around him that day who didn’t otherwise receive
blessing, who had come to believe that, for them, blessings would never be on
Indeed, when we truly understand the blessing of God, and that we are all
truly blessed by God, then we can set aside our obsession with stuff, with self,
with status, and reputation, and focus on how we can enter the Kingdom &
share God’s blessing widely.
And how can we share God’s blessing widely? Think about the following 2
questions for a few minutes.
1. How are we a blessing to each other and to those around us – as a church
and as individuals? Write a list.
2. What more could/should we be doing to be a blessing to others?
This is not an attempt to pat ourselves on the back, but to encourage us all to
continue and grow this vital work which points towards the Kingdom of God
and its values, and which offers others the opportunity to find that peace,
wholeness, and value for themselves.
And finding that wholeness within themselves means that they can find peace
with God, and with those around them, and perspective perhaps for the
circumstances that they face.
In Jesus name. Amen
StF 251 – Jesus Christ is waiting
Prayers of Intercession & Lord’s Prayer
Loving God, you tell us: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven.” We pray for those whose spirit fails them, that they might be
strengthened in their faith; for those whose poverty is physical, that they
might have an equal share in the fruits of your kingdom; for those whose
outlook on life is poor, that they might have a glimpse of hope and purpose.
You tell us: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We
pray for all who are cast down by grief – from recent losses or a deep-seated
sorrow over many years – that they might know the comfort of hope, the
comfort of love, the comfort of new life. And we give thanks in our prayers for
all those we have known and loved who are now with you. You tell us:
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” We pray for
leaders and followers, for big people and little people, for the proud and the
humble, that by your grace, we might work together for the good of all.
You tell us: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for
they will be filled.” So, we pray that we, who seek to live in righteousness,
might indeed be filled with wonder and joy.
You tell us: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Help us to
forgive others so that we know and understand the true meaning of fforgiveness.
You tell us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” So, make our
hearts pure so that we can truly know your love.
You tell us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children
of God.” We pray for all who work for peace: peace in relationships; peace in
communities; peace in politics; peace in places of conflict; peace for our
bodies, minds and souls ... so that we can see ourselves and others as God’s
You tell us: “Blessed are those who are persecuted ... for theirs is the kingdom
of heaven.” We pray for the broken and despised, the marginalised and the
downtrodden, the victims and the dispossessed, the refugees and the
homeless ... your kingdom on earth, our precious kingdom, belongs to them
too. As we pray for others now, we pray that you will draw us always close to
you. We ask all these things in the name of your dear son Jesus. Amen
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
StF 673 – Will you come and follow me
Go, today, knowing that you are truly blessed as you journey with all God’s
children on earth. Go now, with the blessings of God the Father, Son and Holy
Spirit, now and always. Amen
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 a transcript of 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.