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25 April 2021: Speaking Holy Words

Dear Friends

It’s been a funny old day. In the  morning I thought my days of heading to Manchester to watch football were over. But by the evening order has been restored, football is back to being controlled by some incompetent greedy people instead of some super incompetent greedy people and whenever we are allowed to return I might have to do so. So I spent the day preparing for Sunday whilst following the emerging story on the internet. In the passage from Acts that we will look at, Peter has the crowds on his side whilst those in power are looking to silence him and ensure that only their voice is heard. Human behaviour hasn’t really changed much in 2000 years. Sometimes we need to review our decisions and head in a different direction.

We have also had to review our plans for Ball Hill. For a while now our attempts to lease a shop premises so that we could work from there as well as Ansty Road have been struggling. Last week it became clear to the Steering Group that we had to re-think our plans and we have decided that the project on Ball Hill can not go ahead. Hopefully new ideas will emerge in the weeks ahead but for the moment we continue to look forward to being able to meet at church again in a few weeks time. All being well, those plans will not change.

In other news, I’m sure many felt for the Queen sitting on her own at Prince Philip’s funeral. It felt very strange that no one was able to sit with her. But it was a poignant reminder that whatever trappings of power we live with, there are times when we are each one person alone with our own grief. We know that she is a person of great faith and I hope that is sustaining her through this time and whatever years she has left amongst us. 

May our own faith also sustain each of us.

This Sunday our Service will led by myself at 10:30am on our usual ZOOM LINK. 

On Thursday, I will lead prayers in church at 10am, and Isabel will lead Prayers on the Sunday zoom link at 7pm

be blessed, 

Craig

 

Worship for 25 April 2021

Hymn The Lord’s my Shepherd I’ll not want

He makes me lie in pastures green

He leads me by the still still waters

His goodness restores my soul

And I will trust in You alone

And I will trust in You alone

For Your endless mercy follows me

Your goodness will lead me home

He guides my ways in righteousness

And He anoints my head with oil

And my cup it overflows with joy

I feast on His pure delights

And though I walk the darkest path

I will not fear the evil one

For You are with me

And Your rod and staff

Are the comfort I need to know

Stuart Townend © 1996 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)

CCLI Licence No. 1280770

Prayers Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd

as a shepherd gathers their flock

so You have gathered us today

drawing us in to the shelter of Your flock

to feed and refresh us.

Some of us come before You rejoicing,

because our path has led us through green pastures

and You have filled our cup of happiness to overflowing.

Some of us come before You battered and bruised by life,

because our path has led us through dark and frightening valleys

and we need to know Your strength restoring our souls.

Some of us, like foolish sheep, come before You ashamed,

because we have wandered astray instead of following You

and now we come to seek for Your forgiveness.

If we have followed the crowd, doing as others did,

forgetting that we are pledged to follow You,

then, Good Shepherd, set us right.

If we have chosen to do what we want

rather than act out of love for others

and have found ourselves in difficulties,

then Good Shepherd set us right.

If we have been so preoccupied with other things

that we have stopped listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd,

then Good Shepherd set us right.

Bring us back from where we have wandered

and set our feet on the path that leads to life.

Speak Your word of pardon, Lord

and remind us that You said:

“I have come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

May each of us know that we matter to You,

however far away we may have strayed.

May we hear Your voice afresh during our service today

and draw closer to You before we leave.

May we entrust the week ahead to You

and have the courage to follow You day by day.

For we pray this in Your name.

 Colin Sinclair Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.

Bible Acts 3:1-12a, Acts 4:1-12

Reflection The Acts of the Apostles tells the stories of Easter through the lives of the people who had known Jesus and were now looking to follow his example in their own lives. Here we find a man born to be a beggar whose life was changed when Peter offered him more than silver and gold. As a result he was found dancing with joy praising God. Peter could have left it like that, carried on into the temple and completed his prayers. But the crowd needed to hear as well as see good news so Peter took the opportunity to make it clear that this was done in the name of Jesus because good news stories have the power to change lives.

But, “speaking holy words has consequences.” Peter’s actions bring him into direct confrontation with power and in the second part of the passage we find Peter and John accused of heresy and sedition because he dares to call into question the gods of our age – wealth, privilege and self-appointed power. They were questioned, expected to account for their own authority by those who never account for their own power and evaluated by their background, social status, education, gender, ethnicity. However speaking in the name of Jesus,  Peter turns the tables, breaks the power structure and disempowers elites, for he stands with the man healed by the power of Jesus and they can’t comprehend such power nor escape the true judge. 

This is one of the stories we included as part of our Mission Background when we formed Ansty Road. It represents those moments when we celebrate the good news of a life transformed in the name of Jesus. Our aim is to create those moments through regular prayer, by seeing God in action and sharing those stories with our community. It seems that we can’t do that on Ball Hill any more, but we can do it around Ansty Road and in the places where we each live. It’s time to be condemned for good deeds and dance for joy and we do so.

 

Hymn

God is love His the care

Tending each everywhere

God is love all is there

Jesus came to show Him

That we all might know Him

Sing aloud loud loud

Sing aloud loud loud

God is good

God is truth

God is beauty

Praise Him

 

Jesus came, lived and died

For our sake crucified

Rose again glorified

He was born to save us

By the truth He gave us

None can see God above

Sing aloud loud loud

 

Jesus shows how to love

Thus may we Godward move

Joined as sisters brothers

Finding Him in others

Sing aloud loud loud

 

To our Lord praise we sing

Light and life, friend and King

Coming down love to bring

Pattern for our duty

Showing God in beauty.

Sing aloud loud loud

 

Percy Dearmer Public Domain

Prayers

Eternal God,

as Jesus and the early Church cared for those in need,

we pray for all who suffer and are not cared for,

or whom care cannot reach.

We pray for the elderly who die alone,

the young who are neglected, or cruelly treated,

young and old whose weaknesses are exploited

and sensitivities abused.

We pray for all who have grown hopeless

and weary as each day is like the last.

For those who face hunger and homelessness

with no way out;

refugees from war and violence

to whom no-one wants to give a home.

Those whose lives have been wrecked by conflicts

they do not understand

and cannot affect or change,

hounded by economic and political forces

or by the impact of climate change

which take no account of their need.

In this world of so much suffering

we pray too for all who are affluent,

comfortable, warm and cared for,

who do not care.

For those who know what they should do

but do not bother.

For those who close their eyes and minds;

and those who simply find

other people’s troubles and needs

a cross they do not wish to bear.

We pray for those who do care –

Those who accept the pain and disturbance

that knowledge brings but do not see what they can do. 

Those whose consciences are hurt,

who want to help, but cannot see how.

We pray for all who do care –

Who are willing to go the extra mile

time and again, often at cost, in so many ways.

For those who go where trouble, pain and poverty are,

risking life and limb, facing danger and fear.

Father, as we pray, increase the depth of love in us

and in others who have something to give

to the ill, troubled and dying.

Give us such love

that Your sheep, both inside and outside the fold,

may be found, given health, strength, food

and the ability to enjoy life to the full

and the joy to praise You.

We thank You that Jesus is the Good Shepherd

and for Your grace and mercy

that has made us part of His flock.

Thank you that You watch over Your flock. 

You know us by name,

You understand what we are like,

You call us to follow

and You accompany us along the path,

seeking us out when we stray,

keeping a loving eye on what we do.

Lead us into Your future

on the adventure of faith,

for Jesus’ sake.

Colin Sinclair Posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website.

Hymn

Jesus Lover of my soul

Let me to Thy bosom fly

While the nearer waters roll

While the tempest still is high

Hide me O my Saviour hide

Till the storm of life is past

Safe into the haven guide

Oh receive my soul at last.

 

Other refuge have I none

Hangs my helpless soul on Thee

Leave ah leave me not alone

Still support and comfort me

All my trust on Thee is stayed

All my help from Thee I bring

Cover my defenceless head

With the shadow of Thy wing.

 

Thou O Christ art all I want

More than all in Thee I find

Raise the fallen cheer the faint

Heal the sick and lead the blind

Just and holy is Thy name

I am all unrighteousness

False and full of sin I am

Thou art full of truth and grace.

 

Plenteous grace with Thee is found

Grace to cover all my sin

Let the healing streams abound

Make and keep me pure within

Thou of life the Fountain art

Freely let me take of Thee

Spring Thou up within my heart

Rise to all eternity

Charles Wesley Public Domain

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