Reflection – Sunday 07 June 2020

Here is Martin’s reflection for Sunday.

The online worship session at 11.00 will include Holy Communion. If you want to join in just email me – newarkcongregational@virginmedia.com – for details

Mark

London Road Congregational Church Reflection for 07 June 2020

‘Handed to us on a plate’

Call to worship 2 Chronicles 7:14 New King James Version (NKJV)

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Prayer

Father thank you that you have given us the chance this morning to meet with you as your Church. Give us soft hearts to hear your message this morning and a willingness to act upon what you speak to us through what we hear. Give us a stillness to be able to put aside our concerns and focus on you.

Hymn    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sli0N4THnmE    

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Saviour am happy and blessed
Watching and waiting, looking above
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Saviour all the day long

Oh what a Saviour, wonderful Jesus

Death could not hold You, You are victorious
Praise to the risen King
Death could not hold You, You are victorious
Praise to the risen King

Oh what a Saviour, wonderful Jesus
Oh what a Saviour

Wonderful Saviour

Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

Father, we pray this morning:

  • For those in our communities who feel left out or left behind
  • For those in our communities who feel abandoned and isolated
  • For those, who are part of our fellowship but can’t worship with us here today
  • For those who are sick and inform, who suffer both physical and mental health
  • For those who make decisions about their care
  • For those who care for them, and at this time make themselves vulnerable
  • For this church and its ministry in the community

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Reading Isaiah 61 The Year of the LORD’s Favour

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn, to console the mourners in Zion— to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise for a spirit of despair.

So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins; they will restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations.

Strangers will stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners will be your ploughmen and vinedressers.

But you will be called the priests of the LORD; they will speak of you as ministers of our God; you will feed on the wealth of nations, and you will boast in their riches.

Instead of shame, My people will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation, they will rejoice in their share; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.

For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity; in My faithfulness I will give them their recompense and make an everlasting covenant with them.

Their descendants will be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom wears a priestly headdress, as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its growth, and as a garden enables seed to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

Communion and Message

Whilst we have been looking at the theme of God’s resources and toolkit it seems really important to remember something. In the end, everything has been handed to us, like this morning it is being handed – on a plate.  For all our efforts or struggles God has already won. What we are called to do is share in that victory and to establish its reality on earth. Whatever is going on in our society there is already a solution in the mind of God, we just need to seek it and cooperate in it.

Historically we have been a denomination where there have been individuals who have stood up against oppression. I think we have stayed silent enough and not spoken out, have not sought out oppression and stood against it. Jesus didn’t just feel sorry for people, or even spoke up for other people – he looked them out and acted.

Jesus did not call us to feel guilt, he called us to repent – which was to change direction in Old Testament and go beyond that to change our minds and thinking in the New Testament. We have to change what we do and think differently. We need to repent and be a church that acts. If we are going to share a plate and say that we are one, then we need to not only see ourselves as one but act as though we are one.

If we are to build bridges, we need to recognise divisions and injustice and then work to find ways to cover the void. It’s not about making people feel bad, there is anger and ambivalence, on different sides that needs to be repented.

Zoom has moved church outside of physical walls and now we are being challenged to see church as more than racial or age boundaries, social groupings or ethnic types. Ultimately though, God already has a plan and a way of using us, we just need to seek God to find out how.

So, share in this memorial meal, not because of anything you have done or anything you can do, not because you are worthy or have earned it – because God paid the ultimate price by taking on our form, so that we might share in his blessings.

Let’s remind ourselves of what Jesus did.

The apostle Paul tells us of the institution of the Lord’s Supper: “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed Took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

In the same way he also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11.23–26

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Loving God, we praise and thank you for your love shown to us in Jesus Christ. We thank you for his life and ministry, announcing the good news of your kingdom and demonstrating its power by lifting up the downtrodden, and healing the sick, and loving the loveless. We thank you for his sacrificial death upon the cross for the redemption of the world, and for raising him to life again, as a foretaste of the glory we shall all share. We give you thanks for this bread and wine, symbols of our world and signs of your transforming love. Send your Holy Spirit, we pray, that we may be renewed into the likeness of Jesus Christ and formed into his Body. We pray in his name and for his sake. Amen.

Sharing the bread: Jesus said, ‘This is my body which is for you; do this in memory of me’.

Sharing the wine: In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said: ‘this cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.’

Prayer

Your death, O Lord, we commemorate. Your resurrection we confess. Your final coming we await. Glory be to you, O Christ. Father of all, we give you thanks and praise, that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world. Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us, so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind but now I see

Was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far
And Grace will lead us home
And Grace will lead us home

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see

Was blind, but now I see

THE GRACE

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now, and for ever more. Amen.

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