7th February 2021 Canvey Methodist Church Worship Services

Canvey Methodist Church Sunday 7th February 2021

 

Complete Service Link: https://youtu.be/9eMQj8C8XcE

 

1). Introduction: Service led by our Worship Leaders. Colin 

Welcome to today’s service on Sunday 7th February 2021. Today’s service is being led by our Worship Leaders as a Local Arrangement. May I thank them on your behalf for leading us in this way with prayers, readings and reflections, with a final quick summing up from me at the end of our devotions.

 

2). Call to Worship: Psalm 147:1-5,7.     Colin. 

1 Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! 3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. 5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;  his understanding has no limit. 7 Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

 

3) Hymn intro: Our first hymn is STF77, His Love Endures Forever. After this Sue Sandling leads our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, adoration and confession. 

4).STF 77.     His love endures forever.    https://youtu.be/gUH_NzfRmbs

 

Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King

His love endures forever

For He is good, He is above all things

His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise

 

With a mighty hand and outstretched arm

His love endures forever

For the life that's been reborn

His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise

Sing praise, sing praise

 

[CHORUS:]

Forever God is faithful

Forever God is strong

Forever God is with us

Forever and ever, forever [2X]

 

From the rising to the setting sun

His love endures forever

By the grace of God we will carry on

His love endures forever

Sing praise, sing praise

Sing praise, sing praise

 

[CHORUS]

 

His love endures forever [8X]

 

Sing praise, sing praise

Sing praise, sing praise

 

[CHORUS]


 

5) Prayers of Praise, Thanksgiving, Adoration, Confession, Lords Prayer: SueS

 

We come before you Lord with thanksgiving in our hearts and we enter your courts with our praise.  This is the day that you have made and we are glad and rejoice in it.  We give thanks and praise to your name.

 Exalted be God our Saviour. 

You are Almighty God, we worship and adore you. As we exalt your name on high may our worship rise high on the wings of our praise.  We ask you to give us your Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that we may know you better.  And we pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened so that we may know the riches of Your glorious inheritance and your great power which is beyond compare. 

Dear Lord we come to say sorry.  We are sorry for the things that we have done which we shouldn’t have done and we are also sorry for the things that we failed to do that maybe we knew you were asking us to do. And, we are sorry for when we have not put you first in our lives.  We ask your forgiveness for this and we thank you that you sent your son Jesus to be our Saviour.   Please help us to draw daily on your strength so that we can cope with whatever comes before us. 

Thank you for your great Mercy and forgiveness. 

Thank you for your steadfast love and the mercies that are new for us each day, we gratefully receive them. You are our refuge, our strength and our fortress, our God in whom we trust.

Thank you for your faithfulness. 

Please bless this service and we ask you to be with us in the power of your Holy Spirit.

As the psalmist wrote – 

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift my soul. 

We pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.   AMEN

 

Now, let’s join together in 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.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, 

For ever, and ever.   AMEN

 

6). OT Reading: Isaiah40:21-31.         Colin

Isaiah 40:21-31 New International Version (NIV)

 

21 Do you not know?

    Have you not heard?

Has it not been told to you from the beginning?

    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,

    and its people are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,

    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

23 He brings princes to naught

    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.

24 No sooner are they planted,

    no sooner are they sown,

    no sooner do they take root in the ground,

than he blows on them and they wither,

    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 “To whom will you compare me?

    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

26 Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

    Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one

    and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of his great power and mighty strength,

    not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?

    Why do you say, Israel,

“My way is hidden from the Lord;

    my cause is disregarded by my God”?

28 Do you not know?

    Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

    and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary

    and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,

    and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the Lord

    will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

    they will run and not grow weary,

    they will walk and not be faint.


 

7.Reflection:    Colin

 

The power of God (40:12-31)- Who rules? God or the Idols of Babylon ?


 

 

Comment:

Have you ever ordered a meal in a restaurant or cafe only to then notice that the dish the waiter is bringing to a neighbouring table looks so much better than the one you have before you on your table. Or maybe you have been out shopping for new clothes, only to see someone wearing a garment that you wished you had seen when you were looking.

It is said that “the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence”. Essentially, this was the tragedy behind the reading from the book of Isaiah that we have just heard. The people of Israel and Judah, having trusted in and been led by God for so many years, had, over time drifted away from Yahweh and had looked to the idols and gods of neighbouring nations for sustenance and help.

Thus it was that in Israel's history, at the end of the “time of their kings”, their nation was sadly attacked and captured by King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. The Babylonian army completely destroyed the temple and much of Jerusalem, and the Israelites then spent seventy years living in exile in Babylon. This period of Israel's history is called the Babylonian captivity or the Babylonian exile. It is significant because it was prophesied about in the Old Testament and it had a big spiritual impact on the Israelites and their faithfulness to God. 

Thus it was, that in this passage from Isaiah 40:12-31, it was to this group of people living in exile that Isaiah wrote his prophetic utterance. Contrary to what we might have expected would be said, this was not a prophecy of condemnation but rather one of confidence and hope for a people broken by, and in exile because of their unwise and deliberate choices.

In writing to his compatriots in exile, Isaiah addressed three concerns: 

 

(1) That the confidence of the exiles in Yahweh had been shaken. With everything that had happened the way it did, they were questioning whether Yahweh was indeed greater than the gods of Babylon. Thus Isaiah wrote to them 

(v.25). “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

 

(2) They evidently also had forgotten their story, which was the history of Yahweh’s relationship with the world in general and with this people in particular. However, because they had a history, Isaiah assured them that they would also have a future (vv.21, 28). 

21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

28 Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God   the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.


 

(3) Some of the exiles believed that God had disregarded them and did not care about their fate. Thus, Isaiah addressed this head on by penning a magnificent poem to lead them back to a position of trusting in Yahweh, who will lead them out of captivity and back home, once again.

(31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.)

 

As we reflect on this Reading from Isaiah 40 today, may the realisation come that we too, have that same promise from God of His presence, strength, guidance and peace to inspire and help us meet all challenges for the future..  Amen

 

8). The hymn, SofF1117-  Who is there like you after which Mary will bring our gospel Reading followed by a reflection by Cathy.

 

Who is there like you.         https://youtu.be/AYkce-EhNuQ

 

Who is there like You?

And who else would give their life for me?

Even suffering in my place

And who could repay You?

All of creation looks to You

And You provide for all You have made

So I'm lifting up my hands

Lifting up my voice

Lifting up Your name

And in Your grace I rest

For Your love has come to me

And set me free

And I'm trusting in Your word

Trusting in Your cross

Trusting in Your blood

And all Your faithfulness

For Your power at work in me

Is changing me

 

9). Gospel Reading: Mark 1:29-39: Mary C

 

Mark 1:29-39 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Heals Many

29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. 30 Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. 31 So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

Jesus Prays in a Solitary Place

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” 39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

 

10. Reflection : Mark 1 v29-39 - Cathy.

 

At the start of the Gospel of Mark, it's entitled 'The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ the son of God'. It's not titled the gospel of Mark. This is also a summary of it's contents. 

The gospel is the news or the tidings and Jesus is the subject of this good news. The gospel covers the baptism of Jesus, the temptations of Jesus and the call of the disciples. It then relates Jesus ministry including the miracles of Jesus.

In our gospel reading we hear of a domestic miracle. It's a rare glimpse into the home lives of the apostles. It occurs in the home of Simon, his wife, her mother and possibly other family members. It's possible that Simon's wife accompanied him on his later missionary travels as she is specifically mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9 v. 5.

It is interesting that Jesus has come from a very public place (the Synagogue) into this private (domestic) scene- the home of Simon and Andrew. 

At Jesus' touch, Simon's mother-in-law was instantly healed and this is a common occurrence in the gospel narrative. Even in this private home Jesus healing is still needed. 

Simon's mother-in-law's healing restores the whole order of the household. This is a small scale reflection on Jesus' impact on society at large. Simon's mother-in-law immediately gets up and serves the guests and humble service such as this is the model for every disciple of Jesus.

Next we hear that after dark (i.e. after the Sabbath was over) people come to Jesus, as they are now able to travel and carry their sick friends and relatives. 

There must have been quite a throng at Simon's door. A desperate crowd bidding to see Jesus so he could heal their pains and diseases. 

Jesus' authority is over every illness and his power is also shown by the fact that he forbade the demons to speak.

Mark shows us the extent of Jesus' power verifying the claims he made for Jesus in the opening verses of his gospel.

It is in the quiet time before dawn that Jesus seeks a deserted place in which to pray- for the Israelites the desert was the place to meet God.

We too can go to a quiet place to pray and study the bible, it doesn't need to be a desert. Susanna Wesley (John and Charles Wesley's mother) used to sit in her chair with her apron over her head to pray. Her 10 children knew not to disturb her at these times as she would be deep in prayer. It doesn't matter where or when we pray just as long as we do.

The disciples find Jesus' absence difficult, they hunt for him to tell him that everyone is looking for him. Jesus tells them that they will go somewhere else, so he can preach in another village and that was why he had come. The gospel was for all and couldn't stay in one place.

The challenge for us is that we too need to keep spreading the good news but also that we need to make time to speak to God, and make time to rest too.

 

11). Thankyou Mary and Cathy. We sing the hymn SofF 738, Go Forth and tell.

11). SofF 738: Go Forth and tell.  https://youtu.be/_UBLGv-U7PU

 

1 Go forth and tell! O church of God, awake!

God's saving news to all the nations take;

proclaim Christ Jesus, saviour, Lord, and king,

that all the world his worthy praise may sing.

 

2 Go forth and tell! God's love embraces all;

he will in grace respond to all who call:

how shall they call if they have never heard

the gracious invitation of his word?

 

3 Go forth and tell where still the darkness lies;

in wealth or want, the sinner surely dies:

give us, O Lord, concern of heart and mind,

a love like yours which cares for all mankind.

 

4 Go forth and tell! The doors are open wide:

share God's good gifts let no one be denied;

live out your life as Christ your Lord shall choose,

your ransomed powers for his sole glory use.

 

5 Go forth and tell! O church of God, arise!

go in the strength which Christ your Lord supplies;

go till all nations his great name adore

and serve him, Lord and king for evermore

 

James Seddon (1915 - 1983)

© The Representatives of the late James Edward Seddon / admin The Jubilate Group

10 10 10 10 Iambic

 

12). Prayers for Others.    Annette.      

 

Dear Creator God maker of all things yet our Dear Loving Heavenly Father we bring to You our prayers for the needs within Your world.  Lord we come as we are, to become what You want us to be.           We come as we are to be made whole and set free,                                our sorrows to be touched by Your grace and to be held in your love.          We come as we are, there is no other way that we can come.               We come as we are to praise You the one who is trustworthy and the one who is Lord.

 

Lord it is knowing who You are that gives us the confidence to enter Your presence, to acknowledge Your glory, and to offer You our adoration, to sing Your praise and to seek Your wholeness.  Lord it is knowing that You are with us that gives us hope of renewal and grace as we come to You in Jesus’ name.

 

Father we pray for the world with all its opportunities, all its resources and all the potential for good.                                              We remember with deep gratitude its beauty and great variety and the essential goodness it has because You are its creator, for every way that it is a reflection of Your grace and love.                                Teach us and all people, we pray, the obligations that You have laid upon us to be good stewards of Your world.

 

We have not treated Your world with the respect it deserves to such an extent that our climate is changing dramatically because we have selfishly put our wants before our needs and we are  needlessly using up too many of the resources of this world without thought for the effect it is having on Your creation.  We have been  too lazy to tidy up the rubbish we make and we are polluting our land and our sea leading to the death and possible extinction of animals and sea creatures.  Our greed leads us to buy unnecessary items that, too, leads to the depletion of the gifts You have given to us.

 

We pray for leaders of all nations and ask that You will guide them to manage this virus wisely and organise their financial dealings in the correct way.  We pray for the leaders in industry and commerce who are responsible for making decisions that affect Your creation.  May they make them with great sensibility.

 

At the time of this terrible pandemic we pray that You will guide us to behave responsibly not just for our own good but also for our fellow citizens of this world.  We owe our thoughtful behaviour not only to ourselves and also our neighbours but most of all to You Dear Lord.  You have shown us a way out of this disaster through the clever work of the scientists but the responsibility is also on us to do our part.

 

Be with all who have been directly affected by this virus, those who have contracted it, those who continue to suffer through long covid and be with those who have recovered from it.  For those who have died - we trust that they are now in Your care.  For those who mourn, fold Your loving arms around them and bless them with Your grace and peace.  Remembering that this virus is affecting Your whole world we are very conscious that we must act responsibly in sharing our resources of vaccines with those in countries which are far poorer than we are.  We urge our government to act on this.

 

At the end of a week when we said goodbye to a much loved centenarian, Captain Sir Tom Moore, we thank you for his life of service and that he was able to do so much to inspire us all in his last year.

 

At the same time we remember the love and dedication of those who work for the N.H.S and all Key workers who have sacrificed so much to keep essential services running at some cost to their own lives.

 

We cannot leave out of our prayers our dear friend Anna who this week returns to the life You have called her to in Lebanon.  Please give her the strength she needs, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually and may she be given the wisdom to sort out her own priorities in serving You.  Our love and best wishes go with you, dear Anna.

 

As our Dear Saviour in His life did we acknowledge that these people have got their priorities right!

 

We hold up to you the members of this fellowship who are finding life difficult and have asked for our prayers to help them get over this stressful time and give them the healing they pray for.  We are reminded that Jesus’ priority, apart from His preaching and His healing, was most importantly His prayer life.  Help us give priority to our prayer life so that we may discern what You require us to do.  May we be Your willing servants, Dear Lord, please help us to be an answer to our own prayers whenever this is possible.

 

There is so much more we would like to talk to You about but we know that You are always available to us and for this we are so grateful.

 

All our prayers we ask for in the name of our Dear Saviour, Jesus Christ our Lord.


 

13). Summing up.   Colin

 

Where is God when you need Him! When you really need Him, like when the Babylonians are invading your land, taking you into captivity, or when, as in more recent history, when Hitler invaded Europe and a World War commenced killing so many, including six million Jewish people, (as we commemorated on Hollacost day during this past week) or when a Covid epidemic has taken root in the population where we live, decimating so many lives. Hard questions indeed!

The answer from our Bible readings today is that in all such eventualities and more, God remains God, in, and amongst His creation, and that He is both with His people in their sufferings and, wonderfully, He also sees them through their trials. 

People of faith are not immune from life’s difficulties. Simon and Andrew had been following Jesus faithfully as his disciples but Simon's mother in law still sadly became ill with the same fever that others in her village must have caught. Their response? They told Jesus about her and he went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up and the fever left her. 

As a church we also know that God is with all of us in each and every circumstance and we also tell Jesus about them, bringing our prayer requests to God for His healing touch upon our lives and situations.

Our readings today address some pretty deep and challenging matters, about where and in whom we put our trust. From Isaiah's prophecy comes the challenge about idols, the things that become so important that they displace God from His rightful place in our lives. What are today’s equivalent to the metal, stone and wooden, hand-crafted idols of Babylon? Comfort, Money, Family, Status, Job, Career, Health, Intellect, Hobbies? Makes you think, doesn't it? All of these things (and more) can, and are, so often elevated into God’s rightful place in our lives. Can they save us in the deepest sense in time and eternity? Are they more powerful than Yahweh? “Absolutely not”, said Isaiah, such idols are fashioned by human hands and minds, out of wood and metal and misplaced motives, and they can therefore never match the creator of all things who made the wood and metal and all consciousness in the first place.

From St Mark's gospel comes both the quiet assurance that Jesus has the power and authority to bring healing and change to the lives of those who place their trust in him, and also that when we do, we should not then be surprised when He leads us on to new places of faith stretching service.

Mark1:37-38- They said “Everyone is looking for you!” 38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

 

As we emerge from this chrysalis of Covid isolation, it may be tempting for us, as a society, to once again look to the idols that gave us security before the epidemic. However, could it be that this unwelcome period of worldwide malady has been a reminder that the things we may have trusted in previously, cannot be relied upon to help us out in every crisis. Only Almighty God can do this. He, unlike them, is always there to lift the heart, dry our tears, and then to point us on into a future time of hope, faith and service when we can rebuild together. Amen

 

Our final hymn is STF 483, We are marching in the light of God.


 

14). STF 483 We are marching in the light of God.  https://youtu.be/yn16ABWn20c


 

We are marching in the light of God,

We are marching in the light of God.

(Repeat)

We are marching, marching,

We are marching, marching,

We are marching in the light of God.

(Repeat)

 

We are living in the love of God,

We are living in the love of God,

(Repeat)

We are living, living,

We are living, living,

We are living in the love of God,

(Repeat)

 

We are moving in the power of God,

We are moving in the power of God,

(Repeat)

We are moving, moving,

We are moving, moving,

We are moving in the power of God.

(Repeat)

 

Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos',

Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'.

(Repeat)

Siyahamba, hamba, siyahamba, hamba,

Siyahamb' ekukhanyen' kwenkhos'.

(Repeat)


 

15). Benediction.   Colin

 

And now 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 forevermore.

Amen.