Sunday Worship 22nd March 2020 – Mothering Sunday

Sunday Worship 22nd March 2020 – Mothering Sunday

These notes are my speaking notes and are provided as an accompaniment to the recording. Please accept that they are not intended to be a published grammatically correct essay. I do hope and pray however they help you move towards Jesus.

Now onto the content…

Welcome

Welcome to our gathering for the 22nd March 2002

Church Family Notices

St Thomas’ on Bidbury lane is open during the week between 10am and 4pm for private prayer.

I have heard of some churches during these virtual services placing pictures of the congregation on the pews.  Though that was fun. So if you want to do that why don’t you email me a headshot  of yourselves and we will see what we can do. Email a picture to Max@bedhampton.church.

Also during these little services we will still be praying and reading from the Bible. If you want to you can email me prayer requests.

Better still if you want to be the one doing the prayers. Why not email me and let me know you would like to. Then you can simply film it on a phone and send them over to me for inclusion in our service. Equally if you would like to be the Bible reader email me and let me know if you would like to do that and I will send you the reading for the week.

We are in this together.

Gathering

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, for your name’s sake.

Amen.

Psalm

Psalm 23 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3  he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil;  my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.


Sung Worship

The Lords My Shepherd. (Stewart Townsend)

Saying Sorry to God

(Make a fist) 

We are sorry for the times we have got angry with other people.

(Point away from yourself with your finger)

We are sorry for the times we have blamed others and seen things wrong in others without seeing how much is also wrong in us.

(Put your hand close to your heart)

We are sorry for the times we have kept things selfishly to ourselves and not been prepared to give to those who need our help.

(Put your hand in front of your mouth)

We are sorry for the foolish words we have spoken which have hurt other people.

(Point to your eyes)

We are sorry that we have deliberately chosen not to see the good things we could have done to help other people.

(Put your hand over one ear)

We are sorry for the times we have not listened to the cries of those who are poor or who suffer injustice.

We Receive God’s Forgiveness

Jesus says, ‘If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest’. So we bring all that we are to Jesus – all our mistakes, sins and our failure to love. Thank-you Jesus that you died for us so that we might be forgiven and start a new life in the power of your Holy Spirit.

If we admit our sins – make a clean breast of them – He won’t let us down. He’ll forgive our sins. Amen.

Bible Reading

Ephesians 5:8-14 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’

Reflection

I didn’t want to preach a sermon today as such, but I did want to briefly reflect on our readings from today, because they really are relevant for our times.

Our current sermon series, which we are calling Practicing the Way of Jesus, is so fundamental to our future as a church that I have decided for the time being to put that on hold.

For that reason I turned to the lectionary for today’s readings. The lectionary are the readings that Anglicans across the world use every Sunday indeed every day. Today’s readings for this Mothering Sunday 22nd March 2020 include both Psalm 23 that we heard and the excerpt from the book of Ephesians.

You couldn’t have made it up, could you. This first Sunday when we are not meeting we are reminded that The Lord is our Shepherd and that we are children of light. That we are called to be different because we are apprentices to Jesus.

On this Mothering Sunday I am reminded of my own Mum.

She sits at home alone at the moment with her four boys staying at a distance because she has an underlying lung condition. Like many of you she isn’t worried about herself in this pandemic, but instead is concerned for her children and their families. That is just what you Mum’s do isn’t it?

You know my Mum could always see straight through me not only as a child but also as an adult. She could see through me when my shame was there in secret disobedience. And she could also see through me when I put on a brave face when I felt like the darkness would overwhelm me as I walked through the valley.

Her response was most often not one of chastisement but more often was one of gentle correction and shepherding. One of reminding me that I was to be different to those others who spread darkness. One where her love and her goodness towards me would overcome the darkness and go with me as light into my life and indeed into my adulthood.

I am well aware that not everyone has that same experience of a loving mother. However everyones has the same opportunity to receive that same love from their God.

We don’t often talk about the motherly attributes of our God mostly because we use the title Father. But the Bible does speak of God in motherly terms.

Deuteronomy 32.18 says

You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.

And we are reminded of God in motherly terms from Isaiah 49:15

‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

On this Mothering Sunday at this time in our nation’s history I have been picturing God looking at me, looking at you, through the eyes of a mother.

The same eyes that see inside us and expose the fear in our hearts. Fear that drives us to want to hoard for ourselves and those we love. Fear that encroaches upon us in the darkest of moments.

His motherlike eyes look into ours and say gently.

you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.  

You are better than this he would say, you are to be different.

But those words would come with the truth that his love comes with us as we walk through this valley as a nation and as individuals.

So friends be different, you are called to be different. Walk in the light, shine that light into others lives through the help you offer and the different way you react to this valley of a pandemic.

Take this opportunity to walk with Jesus and when the brave face slips, hear the words from your God, in tones of a gentle mother, As I believe he says to you.

‘Wake up, [child], rise from the [fear], and [Jesus] will shine on you.’

Prayers 

Gracious God, give skill, sympathy and resilience to all who are caring for the sick, and your wisdom to those searching for a cure. Strengthen them with your Spirit, that through their work many will be restored to health;

Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayers.

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light;

Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayers.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,
accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sung Worship

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me (CityAlight)

Blessing

The Lord bless you and watch over you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord look kindly on you and give you peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

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