OUR CHURCH BUILDINGS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED
CHURCH BUILDINGS ARE CLOSED

Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 6 September 2020

by Peter Blount 6 September 2020

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

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Our First Hymn – Only by Grace can we enter

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Reading - Romans Ch13:8 –14 Love Fulfils the Law

8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”10 Love does no harm to a neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Our next hymn is ‘One more step along the way’ very appropriate for our first day back in the building, I have chosen this particular version of the hymn because of the pictures selected for each verse.

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Reflection

As I have already mentioned and referred to in our prayers, today is a very special day – the day we finally are allowed to tentatively, but officially, open the front door of Newmount and say welcome in. Be it, of course, with a considerable number of restrictions and regulations, but as was said at the church council, we have to start somewhere. What a blessing that is and it remains our prayer that both congregation and community will, once again, be able to make Newmount the centre of activities.

What particularly struck me from today’s reading was a sentence in verse 11 ‘The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber’. Initially because of the re-opening of church, the reference to ‘waking up from slumber’ stood out, but, may be its meaning is wider than that. During these very strange times we have all got used to a gentle pace, comfortable surroundings, and protection from outside influences by virtue of confinement and self isolation.

May be now is the time to ‘wake up from our slumber’, step out into the world and reignite our passion for challenge and danger by sharing our faith with others.

In the previous chapters of this letter, which Paul was writing from Corinth and looking forward, excitedly, to the time he could personally visit Rome, he talks in such a way that we would call today ‘going an extra mile’ in their faith – offering themselves as a living sacrifice in pursuit of a perfect faith and Christian experience. He then takes on the theme of Love echoing similar words’ which also came from his pen, in 1 Corinthians Ch 13 about Love and which end ‘These three remain faith, hope and love, the greatest of these is love. (Not wanting to be controversial, but I think there could be some debate on that!)

So, after discussing, ‘Submission to the Authorities’ (Ch 13 v 1 – 7) Paul arrives at the words contained within our reading. They bring to an already exciting theme, an immediate sense of urgency. The day is near. He reminds his readers of the commandments, urging right and pure living, put aside the desires of the flesh, meaning all kinds of things which distracted from the teachings of the scripture. This concept of ‘distraction’ is equally strong today as it ever was.

In the last verse Paul asks the Romans to ‘Clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ’. On this day, 6th September 2020, whether we are worshipping in Newmount, with others or at home alone, Paul’s urgent request is still to put aside the ways, desires and distractions of the world and clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber’.

Please now take a moment of silence to consider fully the implications and consequences of that request.


Let us pray :-

Heavenly Father as we kneel before you, help us to take that word from the apostle Paul and more strive more earnestly to fulfill his instruction.

Thank you, that by grace you will provide all that we need to keep us safe, embrace us by your love and help us to know your presence each moment.

We give thanks for all who have worked so hard to reopen Newmount today, and pray that your spirit overrules all restrictions and doubts.

We pray for all who continue to struggle with lockdown and isolation.

We pray for those we know who are ill at home or in hospital.

We pray for any who are bereaved.

We pray for the lost, lonely and displaced.

We pray for all who have to make decisions that effect our lives.

We pray for other churches in this circuit who are re-opening their doors for worship, and we pray for all who minister your word Sunday by Sunday.

We pray for ourselves, that you will continue to bless, strengthen and guide us.

We pray that through grace we are able rely on You to magnify our hopes, banish our fears and help us proclaim your love to others.

Lord Jesus – Thank you

Please now pray The Lord’s Prayer in your heart

AMEN


Our final hymn - Tell Out My Soul

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The Blessing

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