Sunday 10th May 2020 Easter 5A
Worship at home Service sheet
Out of a world of cut-throat competition, of winners-and-losers, and too many left behind we come together. The world’s ways are not our ways. The world’s ways are not Christ’s ways.
Out of a world of hatred, violence, individualism, and life-taking power we gather as Koinonia, as God’s people. God’s ways are expansive, and life-giving for all peoples.
Come and worship the One whose love knows no limits! Swim and splash in the cleansing waters of divine community! Resurrect your spirits and souls in worship of the One! Praise be to the Everlasting One!
Reading 1: 1 Peter 2: 2-10
Like new-born infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the
‘A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Let us build a house where love can dwell and all can safely live,
a place where saints and children tell how hearts learn to forgive. Built of hopes and dreams and
rock of faith and vault of grace; here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.
Let us build a house where prophets speak, and words are strong and true, where all God’s children dare to seek to dream God’s reign anew. Here the cross shall stand as witness and as symbol of God’s grace; here as one we claim the faith of Jesus:
All are welcome,
all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.
Let us build a house where love is found in water, wine, and wheat: a banquet hall on holy ground where peace and justice meet. Here the love of God, through Jesus, is revealed in time and space; as we share in Christ the feast that frees us: All are welcome,
all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.
Let us build a house where hands will reach beyond the wood and stone to heal and strengthen, serve and teach, and live the Word they’ve known. Here the outcast and the stranger bear the image of God’s face;
Let us bring an end to fear and danger: All are welcome,
all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.
Let us a build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard and loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words within the Word. Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace, let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:
All are welcome,
Prayers of confession
Father God, Deliverer of our daily bread we, Your children, come before You hungry and thirsty for the spiritual nourishment that only You can provide. For we have tasted that You are good, and we cannot live without Your goodness.
God in Christ, Cornerstone of our fellowship and faith, we Your living stones come to be built up together as Your house, to Your design. For we are ready to be chiselled and polished
until we are fit for Your present purpose for us.
Forgive us, Gracious God, if we are feeding ourselves on the junk food of idols, stuffing ourselves full with excessive meals, our fridges, and freezers with much that will go to waste, and our homes with space and possessions that we do not truly need.
Compassionate God, in the quietness now, we make our personal prayers to you: our confessions of wrongdoing, our needs for healing and our offloading of anything that troubles or burdens us. Through the silence Lord, hear our prayers. [silence]
God whose Spirit interprets our deepest longings we praise You for Your never-ending and limitless love and mercy. Now we are ready to feast upon Your Word to us today.
In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Reading 2: John 14: 1-14
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.’
Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.
I took part in an online discussion this week. The topic was would you
still be a Christian if Christianity were outlawed? For me, the answer is yes. But then I always was a bit of a rebel. Why am I so sure that I would still be a Christian if it were made illegal? Predominantly because of my experience of the Risen Jesus. I could no longer deny Jesus than I could deny my own existence, my conversion experience is that indelibly part of who I am. The question is: ’Would you?’ I believe the answer to that lies in the way you understand your relationship with and to God.
In Peter we are described as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a
holy nation, God’s special possession. We are a new people or community that have been given the torch of the Old Testament in bearing the message of God to the world around us. This is based on an experience of God as Peter points out in the beginning when he writes ‘now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.’ And because we know that God is good and we understand what Jesus has done for us, the cornerstone that is Jesus, is precious to us.
Peter describes Jesus as “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” It probably will not surprise you that there is a Theology of Religion and essentially Christians fall into three categories. Those that believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, those who believe that Jesus is the way to salvation but there may be other ways and then those believe that Jesus is just one way to salvation on a par with Mohammed, the Buddha or Brahma, the senior Hindu god And yet Jesus is unflinching in his claims to be the only way to God. He tells his disciples in John: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ He goes on to say that if you know him (Jesus), you will know the Father. Essentially this the whole point of our John passage. In an interfaith world, the exclusive claims made by Jesus and the New Testament writers make for uncomfortable even dangerous situations. Just ask the Stephen, the first Christian Martyr.
Christians all over the world face persecution for their beliefs. Even in our free Western society the claims of Jesus are challenged and discouraged. Beliefs are private and therefore have no relevance in the wider society is the mantra so often out by our secular world. That is not the message of the Gospel. The Gospel states that the only way to Salvation is through Jesus. It was his life, death and resurrection that made that possible. It is through him that we become the people of God, God’s precious possession.
How does this sit with you? Would this cause you to give up your faith? That was part of the question that we were dealing with in the discussion. I know why I would still be a follower of Jesus even if it was illegal. Do you?
Prayers of intercession
God of grace and light, Found within and out with the structures of humanity, You cannot be contained, But on occasion choose to dwell in hearts and homes. Glance lightly upon the hearts and homes dear to us, The people and places where we seek blessing.
Build up our homes:
Where the happy may find peace;
The sad may find comfort;
The hungry may find food; The weary may find rest.
Build up the places where we work:
Where the honest may find reward;
The dedicated may find delight; The imaginative may find new horizons.
Build up our community:
Where the isolated may find friendship; The marginalised may find welcome;
The unloved may find acceptance.
Build up our nation, loving Lord, And bless those entrusted with the care of our society’s fabric. May they use their skills, their calling, their hard graft
To fashion communities of grace and understanding, Where generosity of heart and mind and soul
May be not only the gilding of our daily life
But its very core.
Build up the Church, redeeming
So that all Your children may find their place, Unique and special, Chosen and essential to the living edifice of grace,
Where by Your grace
Each one might know their value in
And their significance in Your eyes.
Help us all, this day, to be living stones, and not dead weights, Dreaming dreams, and living gloriously the joy and kindliness Of a faith that edifies everything that life should be. In the Name of our Saviour, our
cornerstone, we pray. Amen
We say together the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples:
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that 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.
I know that my Redeemer lives, and ever prays for me; a token of his love he gives, a pledge of liberty.
I find him lifting up my head, he brings salvation near, his presence makes me free indeed, and he will soon appear.
He wills that I should holy be; what can withstand his will? The counsel of his grace in me he surely shall fulfil.
Jesus, I hang upon your word; I steadfastly believe you will return and claim me, Lord, and to yourself receive.
Your love I soon expect to find in all its depth and height,
to comprehend the eternal mind, and grasp the Infinite.
When God is mine, and I am his, of paradise possessed, I taste unutterable bliss and everlasting rest.
Lord, thank you for revealing your unconditional love to us through your word.
Thank you for making it possible for us to share this love today. As we go about the rest of the day and week, open our eyes that we may see wondrous things in the word that the speaker has shared. Let those who joined with us with broken hearts leave this place when they are revived and restored. Help us to continue living and walking according to your word and not by what we see. Father help us to turn our eyes away from worthless things so that we can focus on our Lord and Saviour Jesus. We pray this trusting and believing
in you, Amen.
Prepared by Rev. Ray Borrett