Led by: Mrs Joan Blanchfield
Compiled by: Dr Ann Sinclair (due to be worship leader but self isolating)
NOTE: Due to technical issues during the service, the audio is not syncronised with the video, for which we appologise. We hope this will be resolved for the next service.
May the grace of God be among us,
and the peace of God be on our hearts. AMEN
Call to Worship from Psalm 96
God is here among us.
We bless the name of the Lord.
Let us come together to proclaim his greatness and glory.
Let us celebrate God’s presence in the world today!
In a Prayer of Approach
Loving God, we come into Your presence to worship You.
We come from different places,
and different circumstances.
Whatever we have come through the last week
good or bad, whether we have known joy or sorrow
we come now united in faith to hear Your Word,
to put Your Word into actions,
so, all that we do, is done in Your name. AMEN
Prayers of Confession and Assurance
We confess before you, O God,
that perhaps we are not always a good example
of what it is to be a Christian,
and we do not feel worthy that others should follow us.
And yet, Lord, you encourage us to share your love,
reveal your truth and lead others to you.
We confess that we fail
through our inadequacies and carelessness.
Forgive us, Lord,
and guide us in the ways of truth and justice.
Guide us to be a good example of what it means
to be a follower of Your Son our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
‘God so loved the world
that he gave His only Son,
that everyone who has faith in Him
may not perish
but have eternal life.’
To all who repent and believe,
we declare in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit:
God grants you
The forgiveness of your sins.
Thanks be to God.
And Let us come together and in the quietness to bring the prayer that Jesus taught us…
Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name;
they 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…
Hymn 67 Rejoice & Sing: Immortal, invisible God only wise
- Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible, hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
- Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.
- To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee.
- Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All praise we would render; oh, help us to see
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee. Chalmers Smith (1824-1908)
Readings: Isaiah 45:1-7
“This is what the Lord says to Cyrus, his anointed one,
whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armour,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
3 I will give you hidden treasures,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.
4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honour,
though you do not acknowledge me.
5 I am the Lord, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
1 This letter is from Paul, Silas and Timothy
We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
May God give you grace and peace.
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore, we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (NIV)
In the Book of Acts 16 v 9 Luke tells us: “That night Paul had a vision. A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” So, we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded God was calling us to preach the Good News there.”
And so, Paul did…. and in that one verse there is a momentous moment… Paul is taking the Gospel for the first time to Europe and the city of Thessalonica.
Thessalonica, was a territory suffused with memories of Alexander the Great. In 315 BC the king of Macedonia had rebuilt the city and renamed it, Thessalonica after his wife, a daughter of Philip of Macedonia and half-sister to Alexander the Great.
The city, occupied a strategic position for trade and commerce; a city of abundant wealth that straddled the great roads from Rome, from the Adriatic to Constantinople to the Bosporus and on to Asia Minor and the east; a city on the Silk Roads; a city of many cultures, and this made Thessalonica a crucial point to take out the Good News of Jesus Christ and the advance of Christianity as a world religion.
Paul was only in Thessalonica for a short while. But Paul preached in the synagogue and clearly made an impression using Scriptures to explain the prophecies that proved Jesus was the Messiah. Paul also worked among the Gentiles, so the seeds of Christianity were planted and took root among Jews, and Gentiles, both men and women.
However, some Jews became enraged with Paul’s teachings and set out to cause trouble for Paul and Silas. The new believers helped Paul escape to Athens, leaving Silas and also Timothy behind.
Paul had a great affection for this young church. And after Timothy had joined Paul in Athens, Paul, unable to return, sent Timothy back again to find out what was happening there. Paul’s response to Timothy’s report is given in this letter, a letter written around 51 AD.
Now perhaps Paul can be difficult to understand but whatever you think of him, he employed clever tactics with this letter; opening with encouragement, ensuring the followers of his love and praising them for their faithfulness during their times of struggle and persecution.
He wrote a message to strengthen and reassure them; he acknowledged their way to live in the joy of knowing the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ despite their suffering. And as such, Paul said they imitated him, other followers and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonians had become an example to all believers in Greece.
The Reading from the Old Testament can also be understood as encouragement in the words from the prophet Isaiah. This too is a remarkable piece of text since it is the only place in the Bible where a Gentile is anointed by God and given a special task…to rebuild Jerusalem and free the exiles…no strings attached.
The message here is that God is all powerful; in both darkness and light …God is there. And God was there for the believers in the emerging church, and remains with us today…you and me, in darkness and light—bad times and good times… and we need both to grow spiritually to allow the light of the world through Jesus Christ to shine through the dark times.
And we can find encouragement in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Here is the blueprint, the pattern of how to live as Christians today, to try to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to be thankful to God; to be faithful to God; to go out each day in faith and love to bring the kingdom of God.
Here we are asked to be who God wants us to be—-that is to bring hope and love to others and to those outside our comfort zone; and by example in demonstrating the love and care God has given us, we can let others know also of the hope, faith and love through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. AMEN
Hymn 367 in Rejoice & Sing: I want to walk with Jesus Christ
I want to walk with Jesus Christ,
all the days I live of this life on earth;
to give to Him complete control
of body and of soul:
Follow Him, follow Him,
yield your life to Him –
He has conquered death,
He is King of kings;
accept the joy which He gives to those
who yield their lives to Him.
I want to learn to speak to Him,
to pray to Him, confess my sin,
to open my life and let Him in,
for joy will then be mine:
Follow Him, follow Him…….
I want to learn to read His word,
for this is how I know the way
to live my life as pleases Him,
in holiness and joy:
Follow Him, follow Him….
I want to learn to speak of Him –
my life must show that He lives in me;
my deeds, my thoughts, my words must speak
all of His love for me:
Follow Him, follow Him….
O Holy Spirit of the Lord,
enter now into this heart of mine;
take full control of my selfish will
and make me wholly Thine!
Follow Him, follow Him….
C. Simmonds 1964
Dedication of Offerings
Gracious God, You give us all that we have
and all that we are.
In thanksgiving we offer these tokens of money,
as we offer ourselves, our time and our talents
for the work and the coming of Your kingdom. AMEN
Prayers of Concern
Loving and Gracious God, You know each of us by name and we come before You now to bring to You our prayers of concern for others and ourselves.
Loving and Gracious God, we ask that You bless and guide Your church here in this community and throughout the world;
help us to reach out to others, sharing with them the good news of Christ and standing with those who are most in need of Your help, love and support.
Loving and Gracious God we ask You to bless those struggling with poverty, homelessness, evil and war.
Bless those who are ill at home or in hospital,
And those who are feeling anxious or low,
may they know the warmth of Your love and sense Your presence with them;
and may we reach out to them in their time of need
in deed and prayer and learn to love and accept all.
Loving and Gracious God, we ask You to bless the leaders of nations and people.
May they make their decisions with integrity
ensuring justice for the people they represent.
Loving and Gracious God, may we always sense Your presence in our lives.
Transform us to be the people that You would have us be.
We offer these prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Sending out Prayer:
Into a world of confusion and disbelief,
into a world of welcome and rejection,
we take the grace of God that has been among us,
and the peace of God that has been on our hearts.
May the grace of God, the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each and every one of us now and for ever more. AMEN
CCL No. 213535 / One Licence A-632495