Service Link

 

CHRIST CHURCH

29th MARCH 2020

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody. We meet again, in separate homes, but together, worshipping our God together.
  • I hope this morning finds you well.
  • We will have hymns, which can be accessed by the links within this document or access through the links within the email.
  • Prayers – I have included some with responses. You can read it as one, or if there are more of you, you could have one person lead a prayer with the others responding, or whatever you would like to do!
  • So we bring ourselves into the presence of God, knowing that we are surrounded by a host of witnesses across time and space.

 

A Call to Worship

Come and worship the resurrection God,
the Lord of all creation,
who is always present, no matter what.
Worship him today in spirit and in truth.

 

Hymn 644: There is a redeemer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUqfdaCLm0Y

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

Prayers of Approach and Thanksgiving
God of new life,
God of risen hope,
as we gather today,

not in church, as usual, but in our own homes,
may we know your resurrection power in our lives.
May our spirits be renewed.
May our bodies be restored. Amen.

Living Lord Jesus,
let us draw near to worship you.
Let the same spirit that brought Lazarus out of the grave,
and raised you to new life,
dwell in us today. Amen.

Thank you, Lord, for your constant presence.
Thank you for holding us and comforting us.
Thank you for crying with us when we are hurting.
Thank you for weeping with us when we are broken-hearted.
Thank you, Lord, that you never let us down,
that you always give us hope.
God of new life,
we give you thanks and praise today. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession

Lord, forgive us when we don’t always trust you,
when we don’t always trust that you know best.
Forgive us when we think our timing is better than yours,
when we think that we know best.
Forgive us when we demand things from you,
when we want everything now,
and stamp our feet when we don’t get it.
Forgive us when we turn away from you,
when we don’t understand why things have gone wrong,
when we feel let down and hurt,
thinking that you have rejected us and abandoned us.
For you never reject or abandon us.
Forgive us, Lord, and give us renewed hope. Amen.


A Response…

Thank you, Lord,
that you weep with us as you wept with Mary and Martha.
Comfort us as we comfort others.
Bring restored hope to those we hold up before you today.
May they know your resurrection power. Amen.

 

…And an Absolution

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon us, 

pardon and deliver us from all our sins,

confirm and strengthen us in all goodness,

and keep us in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

A Prayer for Today

Gracious Father,

you gave up your Son

out of love for the world;

lead us to ponder the mysteries of his passion,

that we may know eternal peace

through the shedding of our Saviour’s blood,

Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Hymn 637:  The Lord’s my shepherd

  • We are having only one reading this week, and so we will now sing our second hymn.
  • I see this as a sort of anthem for Christ Church – a great favourite with so many of us, and also reminding us of Psalm 23, which is so important all of the time, but especially at this time.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pN4tPkX0MG0

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

New Testament Reading:       John 11: 1-45

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’

But Rabbi,’ they said, ‘a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.’ After he had said this, he went on to tell them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.’ His disciples replied, ‘Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.’ Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.’ Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with him.’

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,’ she said, ‘and is asking for you.’ When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. Where have you laid him?’ he asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, ‘See how he loved him!’ But some of them said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. ‘Take away the stone,’ he said. ‘But, Lord,’ said Martha, the sister of the dead man, ‘by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?’

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go.’

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

 

Reflection

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

How are you all doing? What a strange week it has been! Last week, and last Sunday seemed strange enough, and even since then, we/I can no longer go into church, not even to pray quietly on my own. We are all in lockdown – a new word and a new concept to enter our vocabulary and our experience. Never before have we been called upon to close our churches and to stop church services – usually it is quite the opposite – in a crisis or in a disaster, we open our churches, welcome people in and pray. Now, it is different.

 

This morning our reading is from the Gospel of John. It is a wonderful story about Jesus. It is the sort of account that can speak to us in so many different ways – one of those passages that helps us to explore the living word of God. It is also a story that seems to apt for our own, and our world’s, situation. We, too, are at a loss. Everything that is normal is no longer normal. Even the most trivial things that we have taken for granted are no longer there. We are rethinking our lives in so many ways – even how we shop, and when we can go outside. We suddenly realise, and appreciate, how important it is to us to see one another, to have a cup of coffee, or breakfast, or lunch, or a game with other people.

 

Mary and Martha were facing something that was unimaginable to them – their brother Lazarus was ill, and he was going to die. Their lives were going to change.

 

Their reaction was to turn to Jesus. Mary,

Do we too find ourselves turning to Jesus?

 

Mary, Martha and Lazarus were Jesus’ friends. It was to their home that Jesus often turned for friendship, compassion and love. Jesus did not immediately rush to be with them. He knew that God, his Father, had a plan. His friends, Mary and Martha could not see that plan, but Jesus had it all in control.

Do we believe that Jesus has everything in control?

 

In the meantime, the disciples were worried. Having stayed behind for two days, Jesus was now going to go back. They were worried because they thought Jesus was going to be attacked and stoned by the Jews in Judea. Jesus does not directly answer their question, but talks about walking in the light, and that those who walk in darkness will stumble. Jesus is alluding to so much more than the immediate situation of either Lazarus, or the disciples worry; he was seeing how God, his Father, was at work; how God, his Father, would address the cry of the sisters and the worries of the disciples.

Do we trust Jesus, even when what is happening around us, is beyond our comprehension?

 

Jesus talks about Lazarus, the reality that he has died, but speaks of him as one who sleeps. The disciples take this literally and hear only one level of meaning in Jesus’ words, the one that is most immediately understandable, rather than probing deeper, to find out more fully the answers they seek. They assume that their own understanding is the ultimate understanding.

Do we allow ourselves to explore the depth of Jesus’ words in our questions, and in our ponderings?

 

Then Jesus arrives in Judea, and is greeted with great love and affection by both Martha and Mary. Lazarus is not amongst them, because he has died and has been laid in a tomb. Whilst the disciples have been questioning, the sisters are accepting, and yet believing. Or at least, believing to a point. They fully believed that if Jesus had returned Lazarus would be with them all now. They had no doubt that Jesus would have made the situation better if he had been there. They knew that Lazarus would be raised again, on the last day…. But, for now, he had gone. Jesus spoke into this situation in a new way; a way that had been intimated to the disciples before they all arrived in Judea, and in fact before they had even left on their journey.

Do we believe in Jesus, do we believe he can make a difference to every situation?

 

Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will never die.’ Martha’s response was that she believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come into the world. But, of course, like all of us; and even though she was Jesus’ friend, still had to discover what that really meant.

How do we respond to Jesus’ words? How do we respond to the Messiah, the Son of God, who has come, and who is coming into our world?

 

Jesus wept. What an amazing verse. Jesus, the Son of God, wept; he cried because his friends were hurting and sad. He knew there was going to be a good outcome but he empathised with his friends.

Jesus still empathises with each one of us, and with our world?

 

Those who looked on, some who would have been among those who questioned Jesus, were the ones to lead the questions. Why could this man not save him? Surely he should have been able to do so? They were torn by all that they had seen. Moved, perhaps, by Jesus’ response whilst also wanting to mock, and to prove their point.

Do we sometimes use situations to do likewise?

 

Jesus then went to the tomb, and called Lazarus out. He raised him to life. And of those who saw what Jesus had done, many believed. The light shone out, the good news of Jesus was proclaimed in a situation that seemed impossible.

Does that resonate with us?

 

Jesus, the light of the world, continues to shine in our world, despite these unprecedented and extraordinary times. In the hours that we have at home, pondering and reflecting, let us turn to Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God, the light of the world, the resurrection and the life, our friend who is with us yesterday, today and tomorrow, and for ever.

Amen.

 

 

Hymn 132:  Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAdRk9c1R1o

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

The Apostles’ Creed

  • Together we affirm our faith in God.

 

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary,

suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

The Peace

Christ is our peace.

He has reconciled us to God in one body by the cross.

We meet in his name and share his peace.

 

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you.

 

We would, at this point, share the peace with one another. Of course, today, we are not able to do that. Instead, let us take a moment to think of one another across the Ortons. So,

 

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

 

Hymn 77    Breathe on me, breath of God

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmkzSjs9eAw

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

Prayers of Intercession

  • Normally on a Sunday, our Prayers would be brought to us by one of our congregation.
  • So, this week, Valerie brings us our prayers.

 

Out on a short walk yesterday morning I passed a bus waiting at the Orton Centre stop. Across the side of the bus were written the words YOU ARE LOVED in large letters, and underneath an invitation to Kingsgate Church for their Easter services.  I felt a wave of sadness that all the time, energy and money spent planning this advertising now seemed in vain – no Easter services in church this year for anyone to attend, Christian or seeker.  But then I thought what a wonderful message for people to read at a time when they might be feeling isolated, lonely, fearful ….  That in the midst of all the uncertainty is the absolute assurance that there is nobody who isn’t loved and cared for deeply by God.

 

Father, we pray for your world in which people at this time need more than ever to know your love.  We pray for those countries which are struggling to cope with the demands of Covid-19.  We particularly remember those working in front line services.  Be with them as they put their own lives in danger while helping and supporting those affected by this virus.

May they hear your words

You are loved

 

We pray for the leaders of nations, that they will each make the right decisions for their own countries as they face this disease.  That they will be given good advice and will be humble enough to take it.  We pray, too, for the leaders of the Christian Church worldwide, that they will react responsibly to this outbreak and set a good example in all that they say and do.

May they hear your words

You are loved

 

Father we pray for all those who are anxious about the health of family members, especially the more vulnerable ones.  We remember particularly those with family in other countries – Africa, Australia, Iran, New Zealand ….  We pray for their safety and well-being.  For all who are worried at this time

May they hear your words

You are loved

 

We pray for those who live alone or are self-isolating.  In this time of lockdown help us to keep in touch with each other in whatever ways we can, so that no one need feel truly alone.  And Father, may they especially know your comforting presence with them in their homes.

May they hear your words

You are loved

 

We remember all who are unwell at this time, for whatever reason, and ask that you will bring them your healing.  We pray, too, for all carers and ask that you will give them strength and keep them well.

May they hear your words

You are loved

 

Father, thank you for your deep, unconditional love for each and every one of us.  May we know it in our hearts and take it with us into the coming days.  Amen

 

The Lord’s Prayer

We now say The Lord’s Prayer.

 

Notices

  • Strange times continue! Still no notices as such.
  • Do remember each other, pray for one another, telephone and talk to one another.
  • Compline will happen by Zoom on Friday evening at 9.00pm. Details to follow in the next edition of ‘Nuggets from Christ Church.’
  • Next Sunday – we will have our next Morning Worship service here at 10.00am.
  • Next Sunday – we would often have a Time for God service at 11.30am on the first Sunday of the month. Following our attempt with Zoom for Compline, we are going to attempt to have a Time for God service on Zoom at 11.30pm. Details will follow in the next edition of ‘Nuggets from Christ Church’.
  • Normally I invite you to join us for coffee and refreshments after the service. Today do have a coffee or a tea or something at home.

 

Hymn 474  O for a thousand tongues

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-dEfvz6Vms

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

The Blessing

Lord, open our eyes to your presence,

open our ears to your call,

open our hearts to your love;

that we may give ourselves to you

and walk before you as children of light;

through him who is the Light of the World,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

and may the blessing of God,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among us and remain with us always. Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

 

Closing Music

El Shaddai – Amy Grant

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bon1XtAdzD0

(To access – click on blue link. If there is an advert just dismiss it!  At the end of the hymn click on the back-arrow at the top left of page to get back to the service)

 

 

Sarah