Reflection – 05 July 2020

Here is Martin Frost’s reflection for Sunday 05 July.

If you would like to join our online service, which starts at 11.00 WET/BST then send an email for joining instructions to newarkcongregational@virginmedia.com

This week’s service will include Holy Communion

Mark Taylor

Sunday 05 July 2020 – A Reflection

Meeting God coming to us.

The theme for the next two months is focusing on ‘leaning into God’. By that, I mean really pushing into God to deepen our relationship with Him. As we look to renew our commitment to the Church it makes sense to renew and examine our commitment to God.

Call to Worship Psalm 42:1-2

As a deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul for you O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God and see the face of God?

Prayer

Father create in us this morning a heart that desires to experience your presence amongst us. Give us a soft heart to receive you afresh and a will to surrender to you. Pour out your spirit upon us this morning and draw near to us. Help us to draw near to you and not hold back.

Amen

Hymn: Refiners Fire – Brian Doerksen

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold, Lord

Purify my heart
Let me be as gold and precious silver
Purify my heart
Let me be as gold, pure gold

Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire

Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Purify my heart
Cleanse me from within
And make me holy
Purify my heart
Cleanse me from my sin
Deep within

Refiner’s fire
My heart’s one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will

Ready to do Your will
Ready to do Your will

Reading 2 Chronicles 15:1-12

The spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, and he went to meet King Asa. He called out, “Listen to me, King Asa, and all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord is with you as long as you are with him. If you look for him, he will let you find him, but if you turn away, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel lived without the true God, without priests to teach them, and without a law. But when trouble came, they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel. They searched for him and found him. In those days no one could come and go in safety, because there was trouble and disorder in every land. One nation oppressed another nation, and one city oppressed another city, because God was bringing trouble and distress on them. But you must be strong and not be discouraged. The work that you do will be rewarded.”

When Asa heard the prophecy that Azariah son of Oded had spoken, he was encouraged. He did away with all the idols in the land of Judah and Benjamin and all the idols in the cities he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He also repaired the altar of the Lord that stood in the Temple courtyard.

Many people had come over to Asa’s side from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, and were living in his kingdom, because they had seen that the Lord was with him. Asa summoned all of them and the people of Judah and Benjamin. They assembled in Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year that Asa was king. On that day they offered sacrifices to the Lord from the loot they had brought back: seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep. They made a covenant in which they agreed to worship the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul.

Every now and again it seems a good time to reassess, to just pause and think about things. The lockdown has been one of those times. The reading spoke about how people had been distracted from God and had lost sight of him, also they had started to allow other things and ideas to come into their lives which perhaps weren’t what God wanted.

I’d like this time for us to be a time when we consider our relationship with God, in particular are we as focused on God, are there things which have taken His place – either in attitudes or priorities – do we need to seek God afresh and commit ourselves to Him.

Prayers

Reading Psalm 84

How I love your Temple, Lord Almighty!
    How I want to be there!
    I long to be in the Lord’s Temple.
With my whole being I sing for joy
    to the living God.
Even the sparrows have built a nest,
    and the swallows have their own home;
they keep their young near your altars,
    Lord Almighty, my king and my God.
How happy are those who live in your Temple,
    always singing praise to you.

 How happy are those whose strength comes from you,
    who are eager to make the pilgrimage to Mount Zion.
As they pass through the dry valley of Baca,
    it becomes a place of springs;
    the autumn rain fills it with pools.
They grow stronger as they go;
    they will see the God of gods on Zion.

 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty.
    Listen, O God of Jacob!
Bless our king, O God,
    the king you have chosen.

 One day spent in your Temple
    is better than a thousand anywhere else;
I would rather stand at the gate of the house of my God
    than live in the homes of the wicked.
The Lord is our protector and glorious king,
    blessing us with kindness and honor.
He does not refuse any good thing
    to those who do what is right.
Lord Almighty, how happy are those who trust in you!

Do you remember your first date, a time early in your relationship where your love for your partner was strong and just being with them was a joy. Do you remember a time when your love for God was equally strong? I want us to have one prayer this month, that God creates in us a heart that longs to have time with Him, to speak with Him to know him more. Even just the words – increase my love for you O God.

Reading  1 John 4:17-19

Love is made perfect in us in order that we may have courage on the Judgment Day; and we will have it because our life in this world is the same as Christ’s. There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.

We love because God first loved us. 

This morning is communion, and we cannot forget that our love for God is made possible because he first loved us. His sacrifice enables us to have a relationship with him and love Him. God looks on the cross and not our sin, as an obstacle between us.

Prayers

Because of your love for us we draw to you those who you have cross our path and those who you have extended our hearts towards:

Bring to God those who need and would benefit from our prayers.

Let us finish with the Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: Reckless Love – Cory Asbury

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me
You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve…

Communion

Let’s just have a moment of quiet to reflect on what God has done for us and let’s remind ourselves of what Jesus did.

Jesus shared a meal with a group of men who he knew would desert him, who would deny him and who would betray him. Despite this he broke the bread, gave thanks 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.” Despite everything I am going to establish a new agreement that covers everything for all time – I love you that much.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Father thank you for loving us so much that you meet us where we are. When we are downtrodden, when we are sick, when we are angry, when we have given in, when we don’t love or sometimes even like ourselves you love us regardless. Thank you for the cross and all that it stands for as a means of overcoming our shortcomings. Thank you that in Jesus being raised from the dead you give us hope of life in its fullness with you. 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.

Blessing

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the love of God

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Be with us all, now and forever more.

Amen.

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