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Sharing Our Faith Together

Morning Worship for Sunday 8 November 2020

by Peter Blount 8 November 2020

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


Our first hymn this morning, written by Richard Baxter in the sixteen hundreds, forms a link from All Saints Day last Sunday, to Remembrance Sunday this week.

Sing along with ‘Ye Holy Angel Bright’.

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Psalm 78 : 1 – 7

1 My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.

5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,

6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children.

7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, on this Remembrance Sunday we share words from the psalmist that direct our thoughts to succeeding generations, their contribution to life and their influence on us, they also remind us about passing on vital truth and commandments from God to the next generation. As we give thanks this morning for all the good things that surround us, despite the current temporary problems, we recognise the great debt of gratitude we owe to so many.

We also thank you, Heavenly Father, that through all things you are our constant friend, guide and protector. Bless us this morning not just as we remember but as we also look forward in peace and joy for all that is ahead.

Amen.

Reading : 1 Thessalonians 4 :13-18 - Believers Who Have Died

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Reflection

Remembrance Sunday is never easy for anyone, memories can still be very raw even after the many years now since WW2 and for some, of course, from more recent conflicts. Neither is the scripture to which we are directed this morning, easy to read or to understand. Paul is writing after only a brief visit to the early church of Thessalonica and is, therefore, eager to assure them about many things, including the future of the believers who have died before Jesus returns, the second coming. As such, the words are just as relevant to us today, particularly when lives are snatched away in unpleasant circumstances, as we still wait for Jesus to return as promised.

Personally, I know that my Father was ‘called up’ during WW2 and served in the Royal Air Force. Apart from the fact that he was stationed for most of his national service at RAF Valley on Anglesey and, praise God, he returned to his family, I know nothing of his experiences because he never once spoke about it or discussed it with us. On the other hand, I had an uncle who served in the Army and every time we met was eager to recount all kinds of war stories and share his experiences. On reflection, how accurate they were I couldn’t say!

In later life, I would love to understand more fully why two men who were pressed into the service of their country, went through very difficult times away from home and family, yet reacted so differently after the event.

How one was always ready with a story of danger, excitement and destruction yet the other remained silent. Sadly it is now far too late to question either of them.

Turning back to the reading, often we try to avoid, or skirt round these difficult subjects, but Paul, in this scripture is honest and direct in his approach and the passage concludes with words of encouragement and hope for the future.

In our own Christian lives, we all serve the same God, we have all, at some point, come to the realisation of His saving grace and the fact that he goes ahead to prepare a place for us. But each of us has a different way of sharing that experience, some are bubbling over and can’t stop telling of their joy in Jesus, while some are more reserved and share their faith in other ways using no words at all. Be assured, friends, there is no right or wrong way to share Jesus, simply grasp onto the words of the Psalm 78 we read at the beginning and Paul’s words of encouragement in Thessalonians -

Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.


Listen now, and ponder these words praying that we are able to agree and join in -

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Act of Remembrance

Please look on this image and make your own act of remembrance using the traditional two minutes silence or in whatever way works for you before praying the following prayer -

Heavenly Father, thank you for the sacrifice of so many that gives rise to the safety and security we all now enjoy. May we never forget!


Prayers of Intercession

For our prayers of Intercession this morning I would like to share with you a familiar song with some harrowing pictures that remind of the current day plight of many around the world and some surprisingly close to home.

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A moment to reflect and pray using this next short video

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Heavenly Father, we now pray for each other and ourselves, that we all may find strength to endure the temporary difficulties we now experience, knowing that from beneath the debris of shattered plans and dreams grow the fresh shoots of hope nourished by the limitless grace of our Saviour.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen


Our final hymn ‘Lead Us Heavenly Father, Lead Us’

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The Blessing

May God’s grace, love and peace be with us and with all remembered loved ones on this special day.

AMEN