Making Space, getting ready: Rev. Elisabeth
Normally we know worship begins when we enter the sacred space of a church building. When we pray at home, we may find it hard to concentrate on worship. So spend a moment in preparation for worship. Create a little “sacred space”:
Have a candle or tealight ready, and set a table with a cross, bible and perhaps a picture or some flowers. Take time to notice and calm your breath. Wait till you are ready, then dedicate this time to God. Reflect on this quote by 19th cent. writer Jean Paul as you listen to the prelude:
“Humanity is never so beautiful as when praying for forgiveness, or else forgiving another.”
Organ Prelude: Arioso - by J.S.Bach - Deirdre Morrell-Ormerod
Call to Worship - A poem: -Rev.Elisabeth
Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It’s what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.
If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
I’m not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I’m so often late coming
back from wherever I went.
Forgive me. Mary Oliver, Blue Horses, 2014, Penguin Press.
“For surely it is not the angels He helps, but the descendants of Abraham.” Hebrews 2:16
So here we are. Perhaps late. Perhaps tired. Perhaps distracted by everyday Holiness. But we showed up. Let us worship God who surprises us every day with beauty.
Sing: “Joyful, joyful we adore thee” Voices United #232
Lighting of the Christ Candle
Light a candle or tealight in your home, saying:
We light this light in the name of Creator who said
“Let there be light” - and there was light.
We light this light in the name of Christ, who said:
“I am the light of the world, whoever walks in my footsteps will not be in darkness
We light this light in the name of Holy Spirit, who is our inner light and the light of God’s presence in the world.
Be still for a moment and become aware of God’s light within you and of God’s presence in all of God’s creation.
Opening Prayer:* (Reader: Noel Gray) *This Prayer written by Beth Merril Neel
Holy God, Creator of all that is, Donor of Grace, and Giver of Life:
Hear our prayer.
There are chasms in our lives, deep valleys that separate us
From one another and from You.
We confess that we have allowed those rifts to grow,
For fear of admitting our part in the separation,
For fear of being rejected when we reach out.
You call us to a reconciled life, to healed relationships,
To a wholeness with each other and with You.
Mend us, we pray, and make us new creations
Through the power and love of Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Prayer for Illumination
Holy Spirit, we struggle with forgiveness, what it means, how to do it, whether we need it too. Illumine our hearts and take us into your divine heart of wisdom and love today, as we hear or read the sacred scriptures and search for your Word for us today. Amen.
Psalm Prayer: 32 (Translation: The Voice) Reader: David Holborn
How happy is the one whose wrongs are forgiven,
whose sin is hidden from sight.
2 How happy is the person whose sin the Eternal will not take into account.
How happy are those who no longer lie, to themselves or others.
3 When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable,
moaning and complaining all day long
so that even my bones felt brittle.
4 Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me.
My strength dried up like water in the summer heat;
You wore me down.
5 When I finally saw my own lies,
I owned up to my sins before You,
and I did not try to hide my evil deeds from You.
I said to myself, “I’ll admit all my sins to the Eternal,”
and You lifted and carried away the guilt of my sin.
Herein is wisdom. Thanks be to God.
A reading from Paul's 2. Corinthians: 2:1-11 (Translation: the Voice) Reader: Noel Gray
2 I finally determined that I would not come to you again for yet another agonizing visit. 2 If my visits create such pain and sorrow for you, who can cheer me up except for those I’ve caused such grief? 3 This is exactly what I was writing to you about earlier so that when we are face-to-face I will not have to wallow in sadness in the presence of friends who should bring me the utmost joy. For I felt sure that my delight would also become your delight. 4 My last letter to you was covered with tears, composed with great difficulty, and frankly, a broken heart. It wasn’t my intention to depress you or cause you pain; rather, I had hoped you would see it for what it was—a demonstration of the overwhelming love I have for all of you.
5 But if anyone has caused harm, he has not so much harmed me as he has—and I don’t think I’m exaggerating here—harmed all of you. 6 In my view, the majority of you have punished him well enough. 7 So instead of continuing to ostracize him, I encourage you to offer him the grace of forgiveness and the comfort of your acceptance. Otherwise, if he finds no welcome back to the community, I’m afraid he will be overwhelmed with extreme sorrow and lose all hope. 8 So I urge you to demonstrate your love for him once again. 9 I wrote these things to you with a clear purpose in mind: to test whether you are willing to live and abide by all my counsel. 10 If you forgive anyone, I forgive that one as well. Have no doubt, anything that I have forgiven—when I do forgive—is done ultimately for you in the presence of the Anointed One. 11 It’s my duty to make sure that Satan does not win even a small victory over us, for we don’t want to be naïve and then fall prey to his schemes.
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Thanks be to God.
Music: Skye Boat Song - Celtic Vibes
Violin - Christina Fraser Guitar - Bill Wrixon Piano – David Holborn, Whistle - Peter Ormerod
Prayer to be part of God’s story** Reader: David Holborn
Your living word is not static
but the unfolding story of your actions in the world. We pray that we would be part of that story
as recipients and participants -cutting across the addiction people have for hype and extremism, revenge and celebrity worship.
We pray that we would find meaning in our lives as we seek and find contemplation, forgiveness of hurt, actions which redeem and save. We pray that we would recognize the many ways of healing brokenness that are all part of your unfolding story
We know there is no single right way
We pray for the companionship of the Holy Spirit
Guiding us, leading us, standing back to let us fall. We know we will make mistakes
We pray the mistakes we make will be mistakes of generosity – of giving too much
As we endeavour to be Christ-like in our living and giving.
We pray that we would be a people saying no to the power, violence, greed of the world. And instead, be active participants in healing the world by doing what we can to enable all to contribute to society with dignity and honour.
Acknowledging, accepting and working with the diversity you have given us. One, valuable person, at a time. We pray that we would be your faithful disciples bringing together whatever has been broken in your world
Living and loving as Jesus loved in whose name we pray “Our Father...”
**Rev. Elisabeth adapted this prayer from a prayer found on worshipwords.co.uk, originally from Australia
Closing Hymn: “Dear God who loves all humankind, forgive our foolish ways..”
Voices United # 608 sing along here in an older version:
Commissioning: Rev. Elisabeth
The path to forgiveness is always open. It is at times thorny, at times steep, at times full of twists and turns, but it is always open. Others have walked it and are walking it right now. Now we take our worship into our weekday world. Go in peace and confidence.
Spoken Blessing: [ More Voices # 218]
May the love of the Lord rest upon your soul.
May God's love dwell in you, throughout every day. May God's countenance shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God's Spirit be upon you as you leave this place.
Organ Postlude : Prelude in C Major - J.S.Bach Deirdre Morell-Ormerod