Morning Worship 06 Sep 2020

Led by: Mrs Valerie Taylor

 

ENDURANCE

Call to Worship

We have come to meet for worship, we have come with all who are trying to love and serve you and hold to your ways.
We are here together and we are joyful!
We are here together and we are joyful!

Welcome to you all!

Endurance – according to a dictionary definition – undergo, tolerate, to bear – the act or the power to endure!  Well, how many of you feel that’s what you’ve done in the last five months?  Don’t put up your hands – we don’t want to disturb ‘the air’!

But, this morning it’s good to be back together, however strange the way we’ve done it!  We can’t see our friends’ smiles – we can’t sing our praises but we can take comfort from each other’s presence – and also being with our God – and Jesus in our midst!  Alleluia!

Let us pray

Faithful God, you have been with your people through the ages – and we remember that we are called to be a family – here in this place, where we are and just as we are; we are here together – and we are joyful.  Fill us to overflowing with your compassion in our desire to bring each other comfort.  May we, with your help, wrestle with loneliness and become advocates for your everlasting love – a love that knows no bounds.

And now I’m going to say the prayer Jesus gave us – I’ll say it slowly to help remind us of what Jesus promised.

Our Father, which 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,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever,
Amen

 

At this point in the service I’m going to dedicate our monetary contribution to the life of St Andrew’s.

Let us pray

Loving God – We will give you our best not our second best.
We will give you our heart and not be half-hearted.
We will give you our time not our spare time.
We will give you ourselves to become your people.
We bring to you our time, our talents and our treasure and we ask you to
use these gifts in your service and in the service of your people.
Amen

 Our readings this morning I hope reflect our theme of endurance:

Ephesians, ch 6, vv 10-18

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.  Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.  As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.  With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.  To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.

1 Peter, ch 5 vv 8-11

Discipline yourselves, keep alert.  Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.  And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen.

Our Prayers of Concern

Eternal, all powerful and ever loving God, we give you thanks and praise.
We rejoice that at last we can meet again as a congregation to worship in this holy place.
Lord, you have heard our prayers and cries for help and you have brought us thus far through the storm afflicting your people.

We pray for all the peoples of the world, suffering everywhere from the effects of the pandemic virus.  Lord, we have learned that the virus does not distinguish between race, creed or colour, and neither should we.

Bring comfort to all who are suffering and in distress at this time.

We give thanks for the tireless efforts and sacrifice of all who work to care for others in any capacity.  Strengthen them and give them courage that they may do your work to save lives.

We give thanks for the work of our elected leaders, nationally and locally. We know, Lord, that they have made mistakes along the way.  They, like us are only human, but they have tried to do the right things.  Guide and strengthen them to fulfil their tasks and lead us through the crisis.

We think of the homeless, the refugees seeking a home amid the terrors of war, poverty, famine and now the added horror of infectious disease.  Comfort and aid them in their despair.

Father, we pray for our community and for ourselves.  We are weak; we are afraid and powerless and we turn to you, as always to be our refuge and our shield.

We pray for the souls of all people who have died as a result of the virus or other causes arising from it and we think of their families and loved ones at this time.  Comfort and strengthen them and bring them hope.

We pray for all who have died in the faith of Christ, those known to us individually, and those of our number whose years’ mind falls at this time from our memorial roll, naming them as:

John Coull
Amelia Ann Owen
John R.F. Lochrane
Margaret J. Lochrane
James Porterfield
Mabel Jane MacLennan
Rene Cummergen
Mary Milroy Williams
Dennis Forster
Thelma and John Dodd
Dorothy Grandison.

May they rest in peace until you raise them in glory.

Father, the darkness of the world has not yet been lifted from us.  Be with us and remain with us throughout the danger and we ask that all people may emerge from this situation stronger in faith and more able and willing to live as you command.

All this we ask in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Amen

Prayers for the world (Prayer Handbook, page 93)

Ever-present God,
in Jesus, you have given us sure hope.
Yet when the waters are turbulent
and the wind is against us,
we become unsure.

At times we are rendered sightless
by our circumstances,
unable to see you for who you are,
so we mix you in as part of the turbulence:

Yet when we fear the waters are just too much
It is on the waters that you come.

Ever-gracious God,
when we reach out – even in our disbelief –
you are there to hold our hands.

You encourage us to be brave,
to step out on the waters –
for you are there, ready to walk alongside.

Though the waters may threaten to overwhelm us,
and the winds consume us,
and though sometimes we may doubt you,
grant us courage to step out on the waters
with our thoughts fixed on you:

For when we fear the waters are just too much
It is on the waters that you come.

Amen

Mark Robinson    Tessa Henry-Robinson

 

I would like you to listen to this song which I heard a few years ago – it gave me courage, inspiration and strength to go through life with Jesus at my side.  It’s called ‘All I know (though I feel afraid)’ by Ian White.

Though I feel afraid of territory unknown,
I know that I can say that I do not stand alone.
For Jesus, You have promised Your presence in my heart;
I cannot see the ending, but it’s here that I must start.

And all I know is You have called me
And that I will follow You is all I can say
I will go where You will send me and
Your fire lights my way.

What lies across the waves may cause my heart to fear;
will I survive the day, must I leave what’s known and dear?
A ship that’s in the harbour is still and safe from harm,
but it was not built to be there, it was made for wind and storm.

And all I know …

Though I feel afraid of territory unknown
I know that I can say that I do not stand alone
For Jesus You have promised Your presence in my heart
I cannot see the ending but it’s here that I must start.

And all I know …

What lies across the waves may cause my heart to fear
Will I survive the day must I leave what’s known and dear?
A ship that’s in the harbour is still and safe from harm
but it was not built to be there, it was made for wind and storm.

And all I know …

Address – Endurance

I know some of you will be missing the singing of hymns – I, with my Methodist background feel it!  So I thought I would take one of our well-known hymns and read it to you.  Looking into the history of this hymn I discovered that the author, Joseph Scriven, actually wrote the words as a poem (it’s number 413 in Rejoice and Sing).

During the reading of this poem, Paul will play the tune quietly in the background.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations,
is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged:
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness:
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
burdened with a load of care?
Jesus is our only refuge:
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In his arms he’ll take and shield you,
you will find a solace there.

Joseph Scriven (1819-86) altd.

Well, I know the words are very poignant to me but to get a deeper meaning to the words and also what inspired Joseph to write them – I thought I would tell you a bit about the man.

Only the Lord and the man in question really know what burdens of sorrow and affliction were heaped upon the writer of this great hymn.  One thing we do know, however, is that this beautiful and blessed hymn would never have been penned if the author had not known such trouble.

The man was Joseph Scriven and he was born near Banbridge, in the heart of the rolling hills of County Down, in Northern Ireland.

After graduating from Dublin’s famous Trinity College he seemed set for a brilliant career and a happy life for he was also engaged to be married.

But then tragedy struck!  His fiancée was accidentally drowned on the very eve of their wedding and Joseph Scriven was plunged into his first great experience of sorrow.  In the providence of God it was this tragedy which brought him to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.

In 1845 Scriven sailed for Canada to start life anew and, hopefully, to leave all his sorrows behind.  But it was not to be, for ill-health dogged him and he was forced to return to Ireland after only two months.

Two years later he again set sail for Canada to take up a teaching post.  In this he was successful and later graduated to the position of private tutor to the children of a military captain.

Life, at last, seemed worth living and prospects were continually improving!  Again he met and fell in love; this time with a charming young woman of 23.  Soon they were engaged to be married.

However, bitter disappointment was once more to be his unhappy lot, for this young lady was suddenly stricken with a serious illness and died before their marriage vows could be solemnised.

Cheated, for the second time, out of the prospects of a happy marriage by the cruel hand of death, Scriven, quite naturally, became the victim of severe depression and declining health.  But despite all this he never gave up his personal faith in the Saviour.

By this time he had settled in Port Hope, Ontario, and was manager of a small dairy there.  He became known as the local ‘Good Samaritan’, helping the poor and under-privileged, sharing his food with the needy and often giving them clothing.

However, all these good deeds may well have been forgotten if Joseph Scriven had not written 24 lines of poetry to comfort his mother who was suffering a serious illness.

Through his trials and afflictions Scriven had come to know the Lord in a very personal way, not only as Saviour but also as a friend.

Thus, from the heart he could write:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer.

As I say, Scriven wrote these words to comfort his ageing mother at a time of illness.  He had not seen her since he said ‘goodbye’ over 10 years before and wasn’t able to make the long journey back home to be with her.

So he wrote ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’, and sent it with the prayer that it would remind her of ‘the never failing friend’, Christ Jesus.  I’m sure it did.

Joseph Scriven never intended his poem to be published but a friend who visited him during his last illness discovered the lines and asked “Who wrote these beautiful words?”  Scriven’s modest reply was “The Lord and I did it between us.”

Soon it was published in ‘The Port Hope Guide’, a local newspaper.  Remarkably, a copy of that newspaper was used to wrap a parcel destined for an address in New York City.  When the recipient unwrapped his parcel he caught sight of Scriven’s poem and arranged to have it published.

Eventually, it was seen by German-American composer, Charles Converse and very soon his simple, plaintive melody gave wings of song to Joseph Scriven’s telling words.

Thus an Irish-Canadian and a German-American were used of God to bring blessing and encouragement to millions.

And in the words of the second verse, the words ring true.  Have we trials and temptations, is there trouble anywhere?  We should ­­never be discouraged.  Take it to the Lord in prayer.   Amen

Closing Prayer (using some words from the URC Prayer Handbook)

Let us pray

Friends, God is with us and, as we leave this place, we go knowing these things – that love does no one any wrong – and love is our saving Grace.  As we go through this coming week remind us to love you and to love one another.

What’s love got to do with it?  EVERYTHING.  So go in love!

And may the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us today, tomorrow and through these strange times.  Amen


Words and Music reproduced under CCLI 213535  / One License A-632495

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