Sharing Our Faith Together

Worship for 28 August 2022

by A Local Arrangement prepared by the Church Stewards 28 August 2022
Welcome to worship today. This will be last full Sunday service and week of daily postings. From next Sunday we will be posting a weekly devotion refreshed each Sunday. There will also be a link to the daily devotion “Word in Time”.

We begin with a call to worship from Hebrews 13:15
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

So, we offer our praise as we sing ‘Father, make us one’ followed by ‘Filled with compassion for all creation’.

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Opening prayers

Heavenly Lord, your name is glorious and wonderful. Everyone on earth and heaven sing about your wondrous works. You are the king of all, and we worship you, our Saviour. We gather in your presence in the unity of our faith to ask that you bless us. Without your power and grace, we can do nothing. We pray that your glory continues to fill and radiate within our lives as we seek to do your will.

Lord, we want to move forwards with you. Forgive us those times when our thoughts and actions have not been of you. Remind us constantly that you died for us before we even knew you.
 We want to move forwards with you, Lord, but we are held back by the burdens we carry, afraid to let go, lessen the load, let ourselves become vulnerable, to be loved and in turn love, to receive and in turn give.
Open our hearts to forgiveness, and let it touch the hearts of others,  that all might be blessed and in turn become a blessing. Amen

We give you our offering today. With it we give our whole selves to you. Please now take it and use it for your kingdom and your glory. Extend and multiple its reach and influence we pray. We ask all this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 136:1-9 & 26 
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
Who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.|Who made the great lights— His love endures forever.
The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Song: Give thanks to the lord, our God and King. (Forever)

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Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8

A reflection and response on the reading based on a mediation by Eddie Askew
I feel a bit uncomfortable when people who have been Christians for years insist on telling their conversion experiences. It’s not the stories themselves that make me uncomfortable, but the thought that they ought to have something much more recent to communicate about their Christian life. A poet commented:
‘Your holy hearsay is not evidence:
Give me the good news in the present tense.

The living truth is what I long to see.
I cannot lean on what used to be.

Show me how the Christ you talk about is living now.’

The good news in the present tense. Something seen, not in the experiences of half a generation ago, but in those of today. Let’s tell people what happened yesterday, or better still, today, because that’s the living faith of our relationship with Christ now! The Christian life is for living, not just for remembering.

It’s an experience of the immediate - not in the sense of being without thought or discipline, but in living with Christ today rather than with the memory of what used to be. That’s not to decry history, as it can help us make sense of what’s happening today - but we can’t live our lives on history. 

Yes, the Christian faith is founded on an historic event, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the history of God dealing with the men and women recorded in the Old Testament helps us to understand it, but life is NOW!

The remembrance of past blessings can strengthen us as individuals, but for others Christ is relevant if he is shown as the One who changes lives today. That’s what the poet pleads for in that short excerpt we heard earlier:

Show me how the Christ you talk about is living now.’ A picture of  Jesus changing the lives of those who preach him. I am sure many a preacher has prayed “Lord help me live up to my sermons”. 

We all fall short, of course we do, but the only relevance in our lives is the love we show reflecting the love of God in Jesus Christ. It is that which people recognise, however dimly, and it is that alone which authenticates both our claims and our living. More, it is that love which Christ will recognise in us. Not a fading old photograph’s reminder of a reality long gone, but the immediacy of the here and now - and that’s what sometimes scares us. We remember yesterdays when we lived usefully and well. We can make promises for tomorrow, but what about today and the Good News in the present tense! Amen

We pray
Lord of today, I’m here, waiting.
Today, like any other day, yet like no other day that ever was. 
Unique, as I am unique. Different.

The routine, the well trodden path is there.
Yet each day is punctuated by small surprises.
And today brings its share of smiles and sudden laughter, of irritation and surge of anger.
Fast moving clouds and sunshine bursts scudding across the landscape. Light and shadow.

Lord, today is your gift to me. Help me turn it into my gift to you.

Each day pushes back the past into history, and in the long perspective I can see your hand at work. For good. For my good. And from that view I can turn to face the prospect of today.

Tomorrow is still obscure. But from that lookout point of past memories, I can leave it, again, in your hands. Knowing that you are the same, yesterday, today and forever.

Today is my concern. Good news in the present tense. Not just for me, Lord, although in all honesty that is often where our interest begins - but for those with whom we work and talk.

Make us instruments for good. A small focus of your healing in a worried world.

 We thank you for yesterday. we leave tomorrow in your hands. Today is yours and mine both as an individual and  as part of your family here at Newmount..

Song: Faithful One, so unchanging

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Today we have considered our God the same yesterday, today and forever, but how our Christian experience should remain relevant in the present day. Last week we explored how the Sabbath has changed and how we would like it to look. This little video was used in a morning thought posted online last year and shows the experience of one church who were not quite so open to the unexpected as they might have hoped .

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Prayers of intercession
Bring your concerns for the world, local community and church life to the Lord in the certain knowledge that he hears our prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: Lord thy church on earth is seeking 

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Prayer for Vision
In anticipation of the vision meeting on 22 September, we use the following prayer to help us seek God’s will for Newmount.

Loving God, 
We desire as a church to take hold of the vision you have for us and pray that you will lead and guide us in the direction that you would have us go.
Help us in the days and weeks ahead to discern the vision that you have for Newmount Church and prevent us from substituting our own ideas for your plans and purposes.
We pray that the church vision that emerges in our hearts, will have been prompted by the Holy Spirit and will bring you praise and glory.
And we pray that we may be strengthened in our faith and draw closer to each other and to you, as we seek your vision in prayer.  For we ask all these prayers in Jesus’ name.  Amen

The grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen