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THE SHIRWELL MISSION COMMUNITY

A Mission Community in the Diocese of Exeter

Sunday Service at Home


Sunday 25 October 2020


Shirwell Mission Community

A Service for Sunday 25th October 2020

 

O Lord, open our lips 

And our mouths shall proclaim your praise.

Give us the joy of your saving help

And sustain us with your life-giving Spirit.

 

Psalm 118:

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;

His love endures for ever.

Let Israel say:

“His love endures for ever.”

Let the house of Aaron say:

“His love endures for ever.”

Let those who fear the Lord say:

 “His love endures for ever.”                          

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;

You are my God and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;

His love endures for ever.                                           Psalm 118 v 1 – 4, 28 – 29.

 


Hymn

             He is Lord, He is Lord,

 He is risen from the dead 

and He is Lord!

          Every knee shall bow,

 Every tongue confess

           that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

(Marvin Frey  © Copyright Control)


 

Prayers of Penitence 

Jesus says, ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ So let us turn away from our sin and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

 

 

Lord God, we have sinned against you; we have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent. Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin. Renew a right spirit within us and restore us to the joy of your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Bible Reading           1 Thessalonians  2: 1-8          This is the word of the Lord   Thanks be to God

 

Sermon

 

 

 

 

The Apostles Creed  

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father, 

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,                                                       

the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,                                                               

the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.        Amen.

 


Intercessions             

 

Lord in your mercy; Hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son

our Saviour Jesus Christ.   Amen.


 

The Collect 

 

Merciful God, teach us to be faithful in change and uncertainty, that trusting in your word and obeying your will, we may enter the unfailing joy of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, as our Saviour has taught us so we pray

 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 

your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. 

Give us today our daily bread. 

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. 

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen. 

 

 

Hymn:   

 

 

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 


 

Thomas Ken (1637-1710)

 

 

 

Dismissal & Blessing

 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, 

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.

 

 

 

Copyright notes:     Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, 

material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000.

 

  

 

 

 

1 Thessalonians 2 vv1-8  verse 8: ‘We loved you so much’  


                         A new movement is spreading across the world: You strongly disapprove of its revolutionary ideas and the challenges it makes to all you believe in, and to all that you value in life.  Its advocates speak with much charm and genuine conviction. They produce arguments hard to oppose. They claim to be doing good. They even claim God is on their side, yet their ideas are highly divisive. They make you feel guilty. You do not know how to stand up to them – quite what to do or say. Nothing will stop them. Even some of the officers who have arrested them have come round to their way of thinking. They flatter, they use every trick they can think of to persuade people. Wherever they go, their ideas spread rapidly like a cancer. Nothing seems to stop them. Laws, threats. protests, may silence them in one place, only to break out somewhere else. Their spokesmen never do a day’s hard work. For all the good they claim to stand for, they are in reality lazy spongers, mischief makers, just creating more trouble.     

 

           Of whom am I speaking?  Some radical movement all the rage at the moment? Some new dangerous religious sect posing as an angel of light? Or some unstoppable pressure group threatening the peace of whole world? If you look at 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 1-6 you may be surprised to see I am describing the way their opponents were describing the activities of St Paul and his companions.  


             We may sometimes feel fragile and vulnerable like those early Christians – but for a moment try to see things from the point of view of those who oppose what we stand for. They may like to talk about the church being dead, but if they look at history and what is happening all round the world today, in reality they may well find themselves unable to stand up against God and His unstoppable power.  Militant Judaism and the mighty Roman empire tried to prevent the faith spreading from person to person. They tried open debate, mockery, violence, false trials, imprisonment and even death. Today’s secularism in the West, modern militant Islam, and repressive atheist regimes are all discovering that the power of God cannot be destroyed by misrepresentation, suppression, eviction or even bombs. If they look at some of the many new churches in our country, they have to admit that even here the faith is slowly growing. Sometimes this happens in the most unexpected of places like prisons. Even in countries which try to ban the faith, there are growing numbers of secret disciples, which nobody can stop. Popular atheism may try to wash God out of our thinking. In reality it leaves a gaping hole. In fact it is said that in consequence our country is probably more religious now than it has been for a long time, but this is not necessarily Christian. 


            All this might sound like talk about cold ideas about a cold God, which is probably how many people see Him. If God was just that, the faith would never spread. In verse 8 St Paul in his letter comes to the heart of what was really happening. ‘We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become dear to us.’ There is real love in what Paul is saying – he loved people even if at first they mocked him. He spoke of a God Whom they crucified, yet even from the cross Jesus loved His enemies and prayed for them. Whenever I talk about the cross and the Good Friday story, I find it still has great power. People really stop and listen. There still is power, great power in the blood of the Lamb! Right through history people have been won not by cold argument, by the love of God and the love of His messengers like St Paul.  

  

          The following true story brings the point home to me. I find it is still difficult to tell in church without a lump coming into my throat. It relates to the capture of Singapore during the war. Many of our men were held captive in very harsh conditions. Then when a vessel was blown up in the harbour, the Japanese turned with all their rage on the innocent prisoners. They were accused of being involved in this espionage. Daily they were subject to questioning under severe torture. One of the prisoners was a chaplain, and he felt very guilty because he could not but hate the man who regularly tortured him. He knew this was wrong and poured out his heart to God about it. Then one day a very strange thing happened. As he looked into the evil cruel face of his torturer, suddenly it changed for a moment into the face of an innocent child. The chaplain’s attitude altered dramatically. He could love that child. Eventually the chaplain was released from prison and in time he became the Bishop of Birmingham.  One day he was conducting a confirmation service and as the candidates came up for him to lay hands on them, he noticed one was an oriental. He found himself looking into the eyes of his one-time torturer.  After the service them met and the bishop asked him what had happened to make him a Christian. He told the bishop that it was the love he saw in his face one day when he was questioning him. He could never forget it – it changed his life.

     

       I don’t think I need add much more. His opponents must have seen something similar in the face of St Paul. ‘We loved you so much’, he said.  Such love is still melting the very cold world in which we live.

What do people see in your face?