Service Link

CHRIST CHURCH

22ND NOVEMBER 2020

 

Greetings

  • Good morning everybody.
  • I hope this morning finds you well and that all your families and friends are well too.
  • Today, we are back to meeting at home, but some of us might be on Zoom for this service. Wherever we are, we celebrate, as always, being God’s people, and part of his family. We come together, in our different places, to worship our amazing God – who never changes yesterday, today and tomorrow.
  • This morning, Lynessa has chosen our hymns and readings and offers to us a reflection. Thank you, Lynessa.
  • So, in our own homes, whether we are on Zoom or not, we bring ourselves into the presence of God, once again knowing that we are surrounded by a host of witnesses across time and space.

 

Call to Worship

We have been called into the pastures of God,
where there is nurture, a place to rest,
safety, and kindness among all.
Let us draw near, in the goodness of God,
to be alongside each other, in our homes,
and to praise the shepherd who has gathered us together. Amen.

 

Hymn 434:  Majesty, worship his majesty

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcbCAq_A7to

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A Gathering Prayer

Lord, we have been a scattered people,
roaming, looking for places to call home.
You have called us home, gathered us in,
given us a land of belonging where all are welcome.
You have sought us out, brought us in,
and held us within your great story. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Adoration

We come to you,
people who are hungry,
people who are thirsty,
strangers, imprisoned, exposed,
knowing that you have come to us, too,
in these same guises.
In our brokenness, welcome us.
And open up our defences as we come to you,
O Lord of many guises. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

Yours is the earth and all in it.
The valleys, mountains, seas and spray;
the land, the pastures, the trees and fauna.
All around us, we see stories of your bounty,
your exuberant goodness, your flourishing provision.
You have made us to live here,
nurtured by this earth, and by work.
We find joy in this vocation, to be your people,
living, working, resting, supporting.
We thank you for the gifts of living,
and for these gifts of bounty all around us. Amen.

 

A Prayer of Confession

We bring ourselves quietly into God’s presence as we say sorry.

Lord, we say to you that we have seen the broken
and have not been moved to compassion.

Lord, we say to you that we have heard people mourning
and have not given them our time.

Lord, we say to you that we have witnessed oppression
and have not raised our voices.

 

Lord, we say to you that we have seen the stranger
and not said a word.

Lord, hiding in all strangers, all around us,
we are truly sorry for what we have done,
and what we have not done.
And we ask you to deepen your welcome in us,
so that we might deepen our welcome around us. Amen.

 

 

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

God the Father,

help us to hear the call of Christ the King

and to follow in his service,

whose kingdom has no end;

for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, one glory. Amen.

 

New Testament Reading:       Ephesians 1: 15-23

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

Hymn 530:  Our God is so great

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFAjGK7MIKQ

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Gospel Reading:                 Matthew 25: 31-46

Jesus said, ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me.’ They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or ill or in prison, and did not help you?’ He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’

 

Reflection – Sheep and Goats

Faithful God,

your deliverance is nearer than we know.

Free us from fear and

help us to find courage in your Word,

Jesus, Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

I start with some verses from Ezekiel 14, the Old Testament reading for today.

Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves any more with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’’ The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, even if these three men – Noah, Daniel and Job – were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.              (Ezekiel 14: 11-14)

 

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul makes three points.

  • He is praying for the people and tells them that they are called and chosen by God;
  • They are Saints being made holy by God who will, therefore, be able to look forward to a rich inheritance;
  • Because of this they possess the ‘limitless power of God’ which is working within them.

 

This is a powerful communication from Paul; who declares:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he [God] has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.    (Ephesians 1: 18-23)

 

Therefore we may perceive the importance of honouring Jesus as Christ the King in this last week before the season of Advent.

 

Let us now look at the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. Who are they and what is the difference?

 

In this morning’s Gospel we hear about this important teaching by Jesus. He sets the scene:

‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.’                     (Matthew 25: 31-33)

 

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, (shepherds being synonymous, by the ancients, as kings and rulers) loved his sheep, fed them, sought out the strays and brought them home rejoicing and defended them from dangerous and life-threatening situations. The shepherd that acted responsibly about his charges would lie down to sleep across the threshold of the sheepfold in order to protect his sheep.

 

What other sheep attributes did Jesus talk of in his Gospels?

 

Pause

 

Knowing his sheep by name and they knowing him...  trusting and compliant with the true shepherd’s instructions?

 

We learn how those sheep on his right are blessed by his Father from their selfless attending to the needs of others in a spirit of generosity, not looking for acknowledgement or acclaim for their righteous actions.  And this caring was extended to not only friends but included also neighbours and strangers – as Sydney Carter in his hymn extolled help went to all who were in need, as he says, ‘and the creed and the colour and the name won’t matter, where you there?’

 

What about the Goats I cry?  What are you?  What am I?

 

Pause

 

‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was ill and in prison and you did not look after me.’                            (Matthew 25: 31-33)

 

To the goats questions about when did they see Jesus in any kind of need:

He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me. Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.’ (Matthew 25: 45-46)

 

I confess I have not always been neighbourly . . .

 

I remember, with shame, when I have not given the asked for cup of water at midnight by a drunken man at my door who lived 2 or 3 floors down from me and my room-mate on the top floor in this five storey building in which we also lived. This was situated in London at the back of Olympia in the late 1960s. 

 

The big issue is that this poor man went to sleep with a lit cigarette and died in the subsequent smoke filled room.  (I found out about his death in the following days). My room-mate and I could not get down the stairs because of thick pungent smoke, and the escape route through the roof was shut fast by the landlord. The only other way out was clinging for dear life with nose to the wall and feet carefully on a 9 inch parapet till we could reach the neighbouring house and smash through their window. It was about 2.00 am.  But we lived to tell the tale.

 

Am I a goat?

 

I certainly wasn’t a neighbour to the man whose name I did not know and who perished that night! This is the same as not being there for Jesus.

 

I do not remember if I ever confessed this episode before God. If not, I confess it now and have faith that Jesus will be merciful to me a sinner.

 

The great and beloved characters of the Bible, on occasion, sinned but afterwards were full of contrition.  The Lord knows us inside out. He knows that we are sometimes weak in faith. He welcomes home his straying sheep to the fold and the angels rejoice. If we, who acknowledge our need of him and follow Christ’s way, study and learn from Scripture his truth and grow in faith while still fulfilling service towards those in need, in a quiet and humble service – why then we also walk his way, and acknowledge our dependence on our merciful Saviour, King Jesus.

 

But the basic promise remains for the stubborn and hard of heart which is uncomfortable, but unavoidable, and so there will be the division between the sheep and the goats. Let me close with a prayer made by God’s servant Daniel:         (Daniel 9: 1-19)

 

O Lord, hear;

O Lord, forgive;

O Lord, listen and act and do not delay!

For your own sake,

O my God, bear your city [Jerusalem]

and your people who bear your name! Amen.

 

Hymn 726:  When I needed a neighbour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fExR7eOhJO0

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We Proclaim our Faith

We proclaim, and affirm, our faith in our amazing God.

 

Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?

We believe and trust in him.

 

Do you believe and trust in God the Son,
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?

We believe and trust in him.

 

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?

We believe and trust in him.

 

This is the faith of the Church.

This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 

The Peace

To crown all things there must be love,

to bind all together and complete the whole.

Let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

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, now, we are not able to do that. Instead, let us take a moment to think of one another across the Ortons. Peterborough, our country and the world. So,

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.

 

Hymn 48:  At the name of Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4d4UXSJXig

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Prayers of Intercession

  • This week, David brings us our prayers.

There is a response.

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you that you promised to hear us when we pray to you in faith.

 

We thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are the King of kings and Lord of lords. Come rule in our hearts and lives today. We pray for all who are working for the coming of your kingdom here, for our Bishops, our Moderator, our District Chair and for Sarah in our parish. We pray for those whom you have called to help bring in your kingdom, for those striving for justice, peace and freedom, for relief agencies and aid workers and for those working with refugees.

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

We pray for the rulers of the nations that they may have wisdom when dealing with this pandemic and that they would govern with integrity. We pray for all who suffer from injustice, for the rejected people of the world, for those who are not free and for those who have lost their human rights. We pray for strength and resources for organisations who are working to help them. We pray especially for Amnesty International and Médécins sans Frontières

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

We pray for our area of Orton Goldhay and Orton Malborne. We pray for all we know who are struggling and who cannot cope with life. We pray for people who are weak, people who are lost. We remember any who are hungry and thirsty, cold, a prisoner or homeless. And we remember particularly the two people in the caravan near the Orton Centre. May your kingdom come for them.

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

We pray for any we know who are ill or who are in need at this time. We bring them to you now and ask for your healing for them. We thank you Lord for the work of doctors, nurses and carers, for their dedication and selfless work for others. We thank you for the work of the scientists who are finding a vaccine and ask that it will be produced safely and quickly.

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

Lord Jesus, King of heaven and earth, in you we have life eternal. We thank you for all our loved ones departed this life and pray that they may be one with you and all your saints in your kingdom. And may we, as we set our hearts and minds on your kingdom, be raised to where you reign for ever.

Lord we want to do your will

Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.

 

Heavenly Father,

accept these prayers,

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Notices

  • I know we say it each week, and we will continue to say it… Do continue to remember each other, pray for one another, telephone and talk to one another. Especially as we are now travelling once again through lockdown.
  • Do join us on Zoom, on a different link, if you would like to just join for ‘Communing over Coffee’, in a few moments time.
  • This evening, we will also have our service of Healing Prayers at 6.00pm on Zoom. Joining instructions are in Nuggets.
  • On Wednesday (25th), we have a Coffee at QD Zoom meeting from 10.30am. Joining instructions are in Nuggets. Do come along.
  • On Friday (27th) evening, we meet for Compline at 8.00pm on Zoom. Joining instructions will be in the next edition of Nuggets.
  • Also on Friday we have a Quiz, which will happen around Compline. It will be divided into two parts – from 7.00-8.00pm, a break at 8.00pm, and continues at 8.30pm. Details are in Nuggets. Or do be in touch with Malcolm - mltrimm75@gmail.com or me.
  • Next Sunday, we will have our usual service at 10.00am, as we come together at the beginning of Advent. A copy of the service will also be sent out as usual. This will also be on Zoom.
  • A Zoom ‘Coffee and Chat’ will also happen, as usual, after next week’s service.
  • We have been doing a monthly harvest since Harvest in September. At the end of each month, we hope to be able to support our Iranian friends with some food and things to help them. This month, we will not be able to bring them to church in the same way. But we will still be collecting. Please be in touch with Valerie, or with me, if you have something that you would like to give.
  • Have a good week everyone, and may you know the joy, the love and the peace, of our Lord through this week. And keep well.

 

Hymn 637:  The Lord’s my shepherd

  • We sing the song that we are singing through this period of lockdown, as a reminder of God who is with us, and in whom we put our trust week by week.

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

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The Blessing

O God of kindness,

send us out with your time and in your time.

Send us out with your generosity for kindness,

so that we will see you within our homes and beyond;

and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

 

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord,

In the name of Christ. Amen. 

 

Closing Music

Of the Father’s love begotten

  • Let us go out into our world with courage.
  • Let us see, and hear, God at work.
  • Let us be ready to respond to those around us, to welcome and to bless them.
  • And, may you know God in faith, hope and love this week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOF9JLJkPis

(To access – keep your finger on Ctrl and click on the mouse. If there is an advert just dismiss it!)