24th May 2020 - Faith to step into the unknown
Welcome to our service today. This service is accessible at anytime but it's good to access it at our normal time of 11am if you can, after which we will meet on zoom for after church coffee. The link is here
This week is half term, and we would often normally be busy organising Make Lunch on Tuesday. Please pray for those families who would normally attend as they miss gathering with others around food and to play games during the school holidays. Please also pray for our schools as they work out what re-opening means for them and the logistics of doing so in the coming weeks. As it is half term Claire is taking some time off so there will be no Bible Study this week.
Our service today is about Abraham, who stepped into the unknown as God called him to begin the journey to the promised land. As we continue on this unknown journey at present there is much we can learn from Abraham as we step out with him as his journey begins.
As we come to worship, let us lay down our own uncertainties before God using the prayer of Thomas Merton:
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does
in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Some songs for today - you might want to save a couple for towards the end of the service.
Here is the story of Abraham
Have you ever been on a journey and not known where you were going? Have you ever been on a journey and asked 'are we there yet?'. Our life right now is a bit like a journey with an unknown ending and destination. Whilst we can have some ideas and thoughts about life might look like in the days when things become more 'normal' we can't know for sure. We're stepping into the unknown, but as we do so, we can trust in God, who will get us through this to the promised land.
What do you think the promised land might look like? What might Abraham have dreamed of? If you are feeling creative you might want to draw a picture or create with your toys or write a poem or song about that promised land. Share it on the church whatsapp or after church coffee and share your ideas with the church.
Have a watch of this video https://youtu.be/NWjjl-vcKqs
And pray through the verse
Pray for all those who are fearful right now, pray for your own fears and lay them down before God.
For I am with you
Pray for those who need to feel the presence of God with them right now - the mourning, the sick, the lonely, the broken. Pray that we might be able to show them that God is here.
Don't be dismayed, for I am your God
Bring to mind times God has got you through difficult times and thank him for that. Lift up to him the disappointments of life right now. The missed celebrations, the missed opportunities, the stalling of new beginnings.
I will strengthen you, I will help you
Pray for those places in the world affected by disaster right now, not just the virus, but floods and natural disaster and war and human made devastation. Pray that they will get the help they need.
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Pray for those who feel like they are drowning right now and for those who are struggling with family life, workload and mental health. Pray that they will see the hand reaching out to them and they will take it to help lead them on.
"Fear not for I am with you. Don't be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand"
Loving and faithful God, we lay our fear at your feet right now. When we feel fearful we will cast our eyes on you and remember your commands. Help us to fear not. Give us strength and know that we are never alone. We trust you to work in all things for the advancement of your Kingdom. Amen
Don't forget to join us on zoom afterwards if you can.