10th January 2021-Canvey Methodist Church Worship Services

Sunday 10th January 2021  Covenant service.

Complete Link:   https://youtu.be/ObZzt7wjEvI

 

1).Welcome. Good Morning. Welcome to today's service from Canvey Island Methodist Church on Sunday 10th January 2021. At the beginning of each year, whilst many people make resolutions for the months that lie ahead, there is a tradition in the Methodist Church to use this time of new year to commit ourselves afresh to God in a covenant service. Today therefore, our service will follow this covenant theme. May God Bless us all as we offer our worship and renewed commitment to Almighty God in Jesus Christ.

To begin, Sue Sandling brings our Call to Worship from Jeremiah 31.33-34. Thankyou Sue.

 

2) Call to Worship - Jeremiah 31.33-34

 

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

3) We sing the hymn STF443, Come let us sing of a wonderful love.

 

4) StF 443 Come let us sing of a wonderful love-  Robert Walmsley - CCLI 425086

Sing/read /pray /the words or listen to it here www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCSx7ZZ3-2I

 

 Come, let us sing of a wonderful love,

tender and true;

out of the heart of the Father above,

streaming to me and to you:

wonderful love

dwells in the heart of the Father above.

 

Jesus, the Saviour, this gospel to tell,

joyfully came;

came with the helpless and hopeless to dwell,

sharing their sorrow and shame;

seeking the lost,

saving, redeeming at measureless cost.

 

Jesus is seeking the wanderers yet;

why do they roam?

Love only waits to forgive and forget;

home, weary wanderer, home!

Wonderful love

dwells in the heart of the Father above.

 

Come to my heart, O thou wonderful love,

come and abide,

lifting my life, till it rises above

envy and falsehood and pride;

seeking to be

lowly and humble, a learner of thee.

Robert Walmsley (1831-1905)

 

5) What do we mean by Covenant?

From the earliest days of the Methodist Societies, it was John Wesley himself who invited Methodist Christians to renew their covenant relationship with God each year and this practice has continued in the church ever since. The term “Covenant” though, all sounds a bit formal, something that a solicitor or lawyer might be involved in. What do we mean by this word Covenant? The Cambridge Dictionary defines a Covenant as being “A formal agreement or promise made between two people”

However, when the Bible speaks of Covenant it is more than a mere agreement between two equals. Rather, biblical covenant is an offer of love, grace and mercy made by Almighty God to an undeserving humanity.

Thus, in our covenant service today we remind ourselves that it is a privilege for us to be in a relationship with God; That this relationship is one not based upon our goodness, faithfulness or understanding but rather upon God’s goodness,  faithfulness and grace. In such a relationship we find that whatever comes our way, one thing is sure, we belong to God and God belongs to us. This is a Covenant relationship that Jeremiah called “a covenant written on the heart” and which St Paul memorably wrote could not be broken. Romans 8:38; For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Almighty God then, made this covenant originally with the people of Israel, calling them to be a Holy Nation to show his love to others. This covenant was then renewed in Jesus Christ through his life, work, death and resurrection so that in him all people could be set free from sin and find a new beginning in his love and power being obedient to his calling to serve and love others.

This is the covenant we gladly renew today.

We sing again, Frances Ridley Havergal’s well known hymn of commitment,

STF566, Take my life and let it be.

 

6). STF566. Take my life and let it be - Frances Ridley Havergal - CCLI 425086

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https://youtu.be/Gf11rReeWIs

 

1.Take my life and let it be

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days,

Let them flow in endless praise.

 

2.Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

 

3.Take my voice and let me sing,

Always, only for my King.

Take my lips and let them be

Filled with messages from Thee.

 

4.Take my silver and my gold,

Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect and use

Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

 

5.Take my will and make it Thine,

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own,

It shall be Thy royal throne.

 

6.Take my love, my Lord, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure store.

Take myself and I will be

Ever, only, all for thee.

 

Frances Ridley Havergal.

 

7) Let us pray together

Gracious God,

on this day, we and many others seek to renew our covenant with You. Your love is strong and faithful. You never stop loving us. Our love for You is so often weak and fickle and we often fall short of what we have committed ourselves to be and do. Forgive us for our reluctance to follow Christ, our half-hearted worship, our failures in caring, service and witness, and our unwillingness to challenge injustice.

Have mercy on us, O God, and renew in us both the desire and the ability to be people of love.

Thank you for your gracious words:

‘Your sins are forgiven’.  Amen.

 

8) Anna brings today's gospel reading from the gospel of John 15.1-9

9) Today’s Gospel Reading: John 15.1-9

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.

 

10) Time to Reflect

The image of the vine is something of a horticultural picture.  The branches are growing in the vine. They are connected to every other branch through the vine and fruit grows naturally on the branches. The branches, though have no choice but to be there. They are part of the Vine naturally. But when Jesus uses this image he does so emphasising that our relationship with him offers choice and he invites us to offer our full and free participation. We are asked to abide in the vine and so to grow and be fruitful.

Today, in our service, we choose to do this; to once again place our trust in God, to walk with Jesus and to live in the ways of the kingdom.

The Methodist Church, during this past year, has produced a helpful printed bookmark inscribed with a summary of what it means to be a Methodist Christian. The following reflection is based upon this which I hope will be useful to all of us as we respond to Christ's call to abide in his vine and so to grow and be fruitful.

 

11. Reflection:

As far as we are able then, with God’s help:

 

We will offer Worship

By praying daily.

Worshipping with others regularly.

Looking and listening for God in Scripture, and the world.

 

As far as we are able, with God’s help:

 

We will Learn and Care.

We will care for ourselves and for those around us.

We will learn more about our faith.

We will practise hospitality and generosity.

 

As far as we are able, with God’s help:

 

We will offer Service

We will help people in our communities and beyond.

We will care for creation and all God’s gifts.

We will challenge injustice.

 

As far as we are able, with God’s help:

 

We will be part of God's work of Evangelism.

We will speak of the love of God.

We will live in a way that draws others to Jesus.

We will share our faith with others.

Amen.

 

12) The Covenant Prayer.

And so we come to the point in our covenant service where it is just between Almighty God and each one of us as we renew our commitment to Him for the year ahead.

I invite you then to find a quiet place and to say this Covenant prayer with me:

 

I am no longer my own but yours.

Your will, not mine, be done in all things,

wherever you may place me,

in all that I do and in all that I may endure;

when there is work for me and when there is none;

when I am troubled and when I am at peace. Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded;

when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking;

when I have all things, and when I have nothing

I willingly offer all I have and am

to serve you, as and where you choose.

Glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

you are mine and I am yours.

May it be so for ever.

Let this covenant now made on earth

be fulfilled in heaven. Amen

 

13) Prayers of intercession

 

Dear Lord,
As we continue into this new year, we are grateful that we know it is you that holds the future. We also know that it is your plan for us to prosper and not to be harmed and that you give us hope. In these turbulent times we come before you to pray for our world.
We pray for the people of America, that these riots would stop and that there would be a peaceful transition for the new administration. We pray for parts of the world where as well as dealing with Covid they are having to survive famine, fires and flood. We pray for the persecuted Church who have to meet in secret and all the organisations that work with these people such as Open Doors. May truth and justice reign, please give those who are persecuted strength and peace. We pray for your church around the world  that it may be a faithful witness to your love; that both in word and action it may help people to see your glory.  We pray for those in our Church family who have recently had operations and are recovering. We pray for speedy healing and freedom from pain. We pray for those known to us who have Covid that you would be with them and bring healing. Please be with their families in this worrying time. We pray for others who are unwell and in need of healing, thank you Lord that you know all their needs.

We pray for government and the leaders of all nations, that they may act justly and guide wisely. we pray for all who have been those pushed to the margins of society …that they and their gifts may be made welcome.

In a moment of silence we bring the names of those known to us in need of your touch.Thank you Lord that you hear our prayers, help us to be the answer when we are able.
Amen

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Amen

We sing a hymn of commitment  by Charlotte Elliott, STF 556 Just as I am without one plea.

 

14) STF 556 Just as I am without one plea - Charlotte Elliott-CCLI 425086.

https://youtu.be/CxA0TFe3-Uo

 

1. Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
 

2. Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
 

3. Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
 

4. Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

 

5. Just as I am, of that free love

The breadth, length, depth, and height to prove,

here for a time and then above,

O lamb of God I come!

Charlotte Elliott.
 

 

15). A prayer of blessing

May the God of heaven and earth bless us and keep us; may his face shine upon us that we might know God’s peace and live in ways that reflect his love, now and always.  Amen

 

May God Bless you all.

 

Colin

 

Acknowledgment: I am grateful to the “Worship from home” section of the Methodist Church Website for supplying material which has been adapted for today's service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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