"The goodness of the Lord"

We are still family even while we are apart, so while we are unable to gather because of the ongoing health crisis, I will be sharing material on the blog each Sunday morning, and posting notes to those unable to access the internet. Of course you are free to use this material at any time, but my hope is that as many of us as possible will be reading these words during our usual service time - Sunday at 10:30 if you're new or need a reminder! - gathering in time if not in space.


Today is our minister's last service before maternity leave. If we had been gathering in person, we would have marked the occasion with a cafe church style service, so settling down with a second breakfast is positively encouraged!




Call to worship



Music: Jesus Calls Us Here to Meet Him

This has been chosen and recorded by folkUS, our resident folk band. We may not be able to join hands at the moment, but we are still called to Jesus and to one another, and as we reflected two weeks ago, his table is to be found in our own homes too.

Jesus calls us here to meet him, as through word and song and prayer

we affirm God's promised presence, where his people live and care.

Praise the God who keeps his promise; praise the Son who calls us friends;

praise the Spirit who, among us, to our hopes and fears attends.


Jesus calls us to confess him, Word of Life and Lord of All,

sharer of our flesh and frailness, saving all who fail or fall.

Tell his holy human story; tell his tales that all may hear;

tell the world that Christ in glory, came to earth to meet us here.


Jesus calls us to each other: vastly different though we are;

creed and colour, class and gender, neither limit nor debar.

Join the hand of friend and stranger; join the hands of age and youth;

join the faithful and the doubter, in their common search for truth.


Jesus calls us to his table, rooted firm in time and space,

where the church in earth and heaven, finds a common meeting place.

Share the bread and wine, his body; share the love of which we sing;

share the feast for saints and sinners, hosted by our Lord and King.


John L Bell © 1989 WGRG / The Iona Community



Song: The Servant Song

Continuing on a similar theme, we have another song, this one chosen by Jane. Again it reminds us of the ties of love that bind us, even in these strange days.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you?

Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.

We are pilgrims on a journey, we are trav’lers on the road. We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear. I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.


I will weep when you are weeping, when you laugh I'll laugh with you.

I will share your joy and sorrow till we've seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven, we shall find such harmony, born of all we've known together of Christ's love and agony.

Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you? Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant, too.


Richard Gillard © 1977 Universal Music



Prayer

Our first prayers this morning are led by Eddie and Fiona. Eddie has (with some assistance!) created an ABC of thanks, and Fiona offers the Caim (or Circling) Prayer which comes from the Celtic tradition.



Song: Father I Place Into Your Hands

Our next song continues in an attitude of prayer, and has been recorded by Fiona, Clare and John.

Father, I place into your hands The things I cannot do, Father, I place into your hands The things that I've been through. Father, I place into your hands The way that I should go, For I know I always can trust you. 


Father, I place into your hands My friends and family.

Father, I place into your hands The things that trouble me. Father, I place into your hands The person I would be, For I know I always can trust you. 


Father, we love to see your face, We love to hear your voice. Father, we love to sing your praise And in your name rejoice.

Father, we love to walk with you And in your presence rest, For we know we always can trust you. 


Father, I want to be with you And do the things you do. Father, I want to speak the words That you are speaking too. Father, I want to love the ones That you will draw to you, For I know that I am one with you.


Jenny Hewer © 1975 Thankyou Music



Music: The Lord’s Prayer, sung by Andrea Boccelli

This was suggested by Kathryn, and is a beautiful setting of the prayer that is at the centre of our worship each week.



Prayer

And now I invite you to pray those words for yourself, along with members of SBC. Thanks again to Liz, Steve, Mark, Elisabeth and Clare for lending their voices.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our sins,

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory

forever and ever.

Amen.



Song: Now the Green Blade Riseth

This one was chosen by Sue, who described it as very optimistic and comforting. This version was recorded by Steve Winwood just last month, and shared on his Facebook page.

Now the green blade riseth, from the buried grain, Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain; Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love who had been slain, Thinking that He never would awake again, Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

Forth He came at Easter, like the risen grain, Jesus who for three days in the grave had lain; Quick from the dead the risen One is seen: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain, Jesus' touch can call us back to life again, Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.


John Macleod Campbell Crum © Oxford University Press



Creativity in lockdown

As part of this morning's service, I wanted to share some things that have been bringing comfort and hope in this season. A number of us have been keeping busy and finding joy by exercising our creative muscles, so here for your enjoyment is a little gallery of some of our projects.



Poem: On Leaving the House and Encountering Another Human Being

Brian Bilston has been proving something of a favourite amongst the congregation, and his topical poems have been raising smiles, so here is our own Kevin reading Bilston's On Leaving the House and Encountering Another Human Being.



Song: The Lord is My Shepherd

I chose this for our first service of lockdown, and it turned out I wasn't the only one who had spent the previous week singing it to myself in difficult moments. Liz suggested it again for today, saying it has been a great reassurance which has helped bring moments of calm over the past weeks.

The Lord's my Shepherd I'll not want

He makes me lie in pastures green

He leads me by the still still waters

His goodness restores my soul


And I will trust in You alone

And I will trust in You alone

For Your endless mercy follows me

Your goodness will lead me home

He guides my ways in righteousness

And He anoints my head with oil

And my cup it overflows with joy

I feast on His pure delights


And I will trust in You alone

And I will trust in You alone

For Your endless mercy follows me

Your goodness will lead me home


And though I walk the darkest path

I will not fear the evil one

For You are with me

And Your rod and staff

Are the comfort I need to know

And I will trust in You alone

And I will trust in You alone

For Your endless mercy follows me

Your goodness will lead me home


Stuart Townend © 1996, Thankyou Music



Music: Amazing Grace

And here is another song with offers great comfort, beautifully recorded for us by Clare.



Poem: If

This was chosen and recorded by Marion M, who said that of all the poems she has read since childhood, this is the one she keeps returning to. It was written around 1895 by Rudyard Kipling, and while it takes the form of advice given from a father to his son, it still resonates for many.



Prayer

If we are going to keep our heads in this time of pandemic, we may need a little help. Elisabeth offers this prayer, known as St Patrick's Breastplate or the Christ Canticle.



Music: Be Still for the Presence of the Lord

This was recorded by Mike on the church piano. May it offer a few minutes of beauty, and space for personal prayer and reflection.



Reading and reflection

You can also find a written copy of the reading and reflection here.



Music: One Day

This was originally written for the Greenbelt Festival communion in 2016, and is recorded here by the National Methodist Choir of Great Britain, with additional verses for Easter 2020. It's a slightly serious and slightly tongue in cheek vision of the future - or a picture of resurrection life, to return to our theme of past weeks - with a chorus heavily featuring kazoos. I was lucky enough to be there the first time it was performed, holding my own little child, and I thought it was rather wonderful. I hope you enjoy it too.



Blessing

And that brings us to the end of our service. Thank you to Mark, Elisabeth, Clare, John, Sue, Jane, Eddie, Fiona, Kathryn, Liz, Steve, Mike, Marion, Kevin and Mike for your contributions. This has been a very enjoyable final service to curate.


Now close this time of worship by again holding in your mind those you love and would be worshipping alongside, and use the words of the grace: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with us all evermore. Amen.


And as I prepare to say a farewell of sorts, we will be played out with Beethhoven's The Adieu, recorded by Fiona Hossack.



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