OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP ON SUNDAY 18 APRIL AT 10:30AM
OPEN FOR MORNING WORSHIP
SUNDAY 18 APRIL AT 10:30AM

Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 21 March 2021 - 5th in Lent

by Peter Blount 21 March 2021

Greetings in the name of Jesus – Joy and peace to you all.

On the 21st March 2020 A 'thought', entitled "We Are The Church", appeared on the Newmount church website.  That was the very first thought to be shared, and who could have possibly imagined on that day that we would be exactly one year on, and still publishing a daily thought due to Covid restrictions and the resulting church closure!! We give thanks for the ministry of this media – I will give more detail on this in tomorrow’s ‘Thought for the day’. 

Welcome to worship with us at Newmount Methodist Church for our online service for the 5th Sunday in Lent. 

We begin this morning with the words of Charles Wesley.  Words that bring us all into God’s presence as each of us declares ‘Behold the servant of the Lord, I wait thy guiding eye to feel, To hear and keep thy every word, to prove and do they perfect will’

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Prayer 
Great God of the universe and saviour of us all, as in the words of Charles Wesley we come as witnesses and servants of our Lord Jesus.  

We acknowledge your greatness, your power and your presence seeking today that we may be blessed and encouraged as we wait upon you. 

Silence

Father this morning, through the scripture and the prompting of your spirit make us ready and eager to do your will, spread the gospel and minister to our community. 

Silence 

Before you Lord we confess our faults and failings and in line with Psalm 51 v 1&2 we ask –
‘Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from sin.

Silence 

Lord, help us to give ourselves completely to your will and purpose that we might grow in wisdom and stature whilst prompted to share your love and grace in all its fullness. 

In your own time offer to God all that you are, all that you want Him to forgive and then ask all that you want Him to help you become – This gentle piano music may help you to pray,

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The Lords Prayer.
Amen  

Reflection  
As you will have noticed Hilary, Andy and I have been following the lectionary readings set for these Sundays in Lent.  

So far we have seen how, right at the outset of Jesus ministry, he was tempted by the Devil (Matt 4 : 1 – 11) and was made to choose between the way of the world, or God’s way.

Next, even as Jesus was starting to gain popularity and His ministry was being heard by many people, He was also predicting what was to come, by way of His death and resurrection. (Mark : 8 v 31 – 38) 

Then the story of how ‘Jesus cleared the temple’ (John : 2 v 13 – 22)  in which He first of all shows anger, then His concern of the people and thirdly He demonstrates His authority.

Last week, we shared the rather complex story of Nicodemus (John : 3 v 14 – 21) coupled with the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, who were hovering between doubt and faith but were directed, as we are, to look beyond our immediate circumstances and see the glories that were to come. 

Today our scripture is taken from John Ch 12 and again, Jesus, clearly carrying the weight of His impending trial, conviction, crucifixion and resurrection predicts His death. 

Reading: John : 12 v 20 – 33    reading today from the NIV

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Before we focus on these particular verses let’s just remind ourselves of the true purpose for which John wrote his account of the life of Jesus, which has been in more modern times, described as a gospel. 

To answer this question we need to turn to Ch 20 v 31, where John states ‘But these (words) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name’.  No argument there then!

The chosen verses begin with a request to ‘see Jesus’ something to which both Jesus and his disciple had become accustomed over the previous three years.  They came to see, to be healed, to be blessed, as a result many were renewed, many were fed physically and all had experiences they would never forget!

However, as in most cases the answer to a simple question was far from straight forward, in fact there wasn’t really an answer at all but Jesus takes the opportunity to talk of his impending death and to question, almost to himself, what was to happen. 

In verse 27 Jesus says ‘now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say’.  Almost as if there was some sort of a choice between ‘deliverance out of’ or ‘glorification through it’. Clearly there was no choice at all, this was the approaching climax of his entire ministry and, no doubt, death and resurrection at an early stage in His life was not by accident but by divine plan from the start. 

Here, Jesus as the human being, is struggling to include the immediate situation with all its horror, pain and suffering as part of a much larger plan which enables, Jesus as the Son of God, to establish His kingdom on earth. See verse 32 ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself’.

As Holy Week approaches we share the grief and pain, the conflict and trial knowing that all this happened so that ultimately we, whose salvation was paid for at the cross, may find peace and strength. 

How then do we approach our personal service to Jesus, do we kid ourselves there is a choice? Can we not find it in ourselves to confront the facts and be prepared, as he to face each day with all its problems and challenges but find the strength to look beyond at the ultimate prize.  For as Paul says ‘It is by grace you have been saved through faith’.  Ephesians 2 v 8

 

Hymn: I Will Offer Up My Life in Spirit and Truth

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Prayers for Others (expand each section in line with the general subjects) 
As we have considered God’s word to us today and have been moved to offer up our lives in worship, praise and service, so we bring our considered prayers and supplications for others. Lord hear our prayers 

We pray for our troubled, tortured and damaged world. Bring healing, refreshment and renewal.
Lord hear our prayers 

We pray for your church in all lands, for its development and expansion.  Give those who serve wisdom, strength and encouragement. 
Lord hear our prayers 

We pray for the political, commercial and physical health of our nation – praying particularly for all effected in any way by the invasion of, and recovery from, Covid 19. 
Lord hear our prayers 

We pray for our church and community that in these difficult times you will show how to be effective for you without the focus of an ‘open’ church building.  
Lord hear our prayers 

We pray for ourselves, our friends and families struggling to cope with illness, suffering, loneliness and continued restrictions.
Lord hear our prayers 

Heavenly Father, make even more aware of your presence and your love for each us.

In Jesus’ precious name we pray.
AMEN  

Our final Hymn, which I’m sure we may sing more than once as Easter approaches describes the suffering Jesus as a  ‘Man of Sorrows’ 

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Blessing 
May the Jesus of the gospels lead us  

May the Jesus of Calvary give us strength 

And may the risen Jesus – bless us all, real good!
AMEN