Greetings to Everyone
I hope are all as well as possible. I’m not going to comment on the weather this week as I’m sure only the gardeners are pleased about the change.
I was so pleased to find the Daily Hope free phone line (see separate blog post) that I phoned the number immediately and do you know who answered? The Archbishop of Canterbury! My Mum somewhat dampened my excitement though when she asked if he has said ‘Hello Polly’!
You might like to phone the number and receive some encouragement from the hymns and prayers and find out if he knows your name!
Please pass this number onto anyone else you know.
In this week’s service D Clark from St Michael’s Monkton Combe is sharing with us her thoughts on the healing of the man born blind from John 9.
As usual, thank you for your encouraging feedback and please feel free to contribute a hymn or prayer request.
May you know God’s peace, hope and comfort as we come together as God’s family although physically apart
Polly Andrews, Seniors Minister at Holy Trinity (07914 871417) firstname.lastname@example.org
James Bradby from St Michael’s Monkton Combe (01225 722700)
A Service Sunday for 3rd May
As we come ‘together’ let us say,
O Lord, open our lips and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.
Praise the Lord. The Lord’s name be praised.
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
Psalm 145 v1-3
Let us pray,
As we rejoice in the gift of the new day, so may the light of your presence O God set our hearts on fire with the love for you, now and forever, through Jesus Christ our Lord
Hymn - Holy, Holy, Holy!
Holy, holy, holy!
Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning
Our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy!
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Holy, holy, holy!
Though the darkness hide thee
Though the eye of sinful man
Thy glory may not see
Only Thou art holy
There is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity
Holy, holy, holy!
Lord God Almighty
Oh thy works shall praise Thy name
In earth and sky and sea
Holy, holy, holy!
Merciful and mighty
God in three persons
Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Faithful shepherd of your Father’s sheep:
Teach us to hear your voice and to follow your command,
That all your people may be gathered into one flock,
To the glory of God the Father.
Let us confess our sins, knowing that God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
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.
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.
Hymn - All People That on Earth Do Dwell
All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the LORD with cheerful voice.
Serve him with joy, his praises tell,
come now before him and rejoice!
Know that the LORD is God indeed;
he formed us all without our aid.
We are the flock he surely feeds,
the sheep who by his hand were made.
O enter then his gates with joy,
within his courts his praise proclaim!
Let thankful songs your tongues employ.
O bless and magnify his name!
Because the LORD our God is good,
his mercy is forever sure.
His faithfulness at all times stood
and shall from age to age endure.
The healing of the man born blind
Thoughts from D Clark
I hope you don't mind but this was the sermon I had started to prepare for the 23.2.20, the week our churches closed. It seems an age ago. Anyway here are my thoughts on this very well known passage.
The readings for that Sunday were:
where v 4 says: Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.
Ephesians 5 v 8-14
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
and John 9 Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind.
You know the one, but its worth reading the whole story.
Each passage talks about darkness and light, so the title of this talk is:
Light versus Darkness
In John 9, the disciples want to know who has sinned, the man or his parents (apparently the Jews believed you could sin when still in the womb).
Jesus' reply is: neither, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’
So the first question I think we should think about is:
1. Why do bad things happen to good people?
I know this is something I struggle with; some people seem to have one thing after the next, it seems so unfair. Yet the bible teaches ‘that we wont be tested beyond what we can bear.’ 1 Corinthians 10 v13
‘God can bring good out of all things given to him.’ Romans 8 v28
‘It rains on the righteous and the unrighteous.’ Matthew 5 v45
I think my problem is I see things from my perspective. The Father sees them from His, and as I grow older in my faith it is easier to believe that He does know what He is doing even if I don't understand.
I watched a programme, the week I was preparing this sermon, on BBC 1 in the afternoon, in a series called Moving On. It was a fictitious story about a lady who has an operation that restores her sight; she had been blind for 20 years. Everyone had a party, there was great excitement. But she sees her husband for the first time in 20 years; he is no longer the handsome young man that she had remembered. She loses her job, as it was designed for a disabled person, and now she is no longer disabled, and I have to admit I cried when she had to return her guide dog; as the man explained, it had cost a lot of money to train the dog, and now someone else needed him far more than she did. She draws the curtains to shut out the light and admits she misses being blind.
I am sure you have heard of Joni Eareckson - Tada, the young girl who broke her neck and was paralysed, I remember reading one of her books, where she talked about looking forward to dancing with Jesus, but how she was so glad that she had been injured, Father God certainly used her life to bring many to Him.
Also I don't know about you, when everything is going well, I just jog along, when things are hard, I am much more willing to look to Father God for His wisdom….. Which is much better for me.
Jesus says ‘I am the light of the world.’
In the story of the man born blind, Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go’ he told him ‘wash in the Pool of Silo-am. (this word means “sent”) So the man went and washed.
2. If the man had not gone to the pool and washed would he have been healed?
I have thought about this, and I don't think so, I wonder as you look back on your life are there times when you know Father God has been asking you to do something, to step out of your comfort zone, and you haven't done it, and you know that you have missed out on something good. I know I have. Or perhaps you have stepped out, trusted and have been part of something far greater than you. Ask Father to help you remember, and be encouraged to continue to step out in faith.
3. Do we believe Father God answers prayer?
I know years ago when I first became a Christian when I prayed I thought it was a co-incidence when Father answered (sometimes not in the way I wanted Him to!), now as an older Christian I think it better to say GOD-incidences.
The Pharisees tried to explain the miracle - It’s a different man! He wasn't really blind! It's all been a lie! - and when that failed, they concentrated on the fact that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. Something had happened that they couldn't understand, it would take faith. They did not want to believe.
I don’t know about you, but I know people who have had so much evidence of the Father's love for them, miracles….but they do not want to believe. Let's stop for a minute and pray for someone we know that is like that.
In John 9, the man's parents are scared, so they just say the facts:
We know he is our son, and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we do not know. He’s old enough to speak for himself. Ask him.
I love the sentence of the man, he says
‘One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see’.
4. How good am I, at sharing my faith?
I don’t know about you but sometimes I shy away from sharing my faith in case I am asked a question that I can’t answer. Like the man, I think we need to be honest, there are bits of the bible I don't understand, I have had teaching on other bits that conflict with what someone else says.
But this I do know:
I was once in darkness, spiritually blind, scared, as all I had to rely on was me.
But now I can see, Father healed my spiritual blindness and I know Jesus as the light of my world, and all I have to rely on is … HIM. He is reliable.
Father thank you so much for loving us, thank you so much for allowing Jesus to come into our world to bring light.
Thank you for healing our spiritual blindness, and allowing us to see you. Amen
Following on from last week, perhaps you would like to thank God for all ‘His benefits’
Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!
Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits
Psalm 103 (AMP)
Pray for coronavirus to stop spreading.
Almighty God, we know that everything is in Your sovereign control. We ask that You keep this coronavirus from continuing to spread. Help people to stay home instead of traveling or going out needlessly. Holy Spirit, remind people to wash their hands properly. And while it may be heart breaking, comfort families as they decide to keep their distance from elderly or other high-risk family members.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea …Psalm 46:1-2
Prayer for people who are infected with COVID-19 or facing quarantine.
Jesus, during Your ministry on earth You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses. Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
Prayer for people at higher risk of developing the disease.
Dear Lord, we lift to You our concern for people who are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19 — the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Protect them from harm and be their comfort in this time of uncertainty and isolation from loved ones.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:7
Prayer for medical professionals, caregivers, and researchers responsible for fighting the coronavirus.
God, as more people get sick, healthcare workers and first responders are working longer hours with fewer supplies and with more risk of contracting the coronavirus themselves. Renew their energy and sustain them on long shifts. Bring Your protection upon them as they work with patients. Multiply their supplies so they have the protective items needed to stay safe on the job.
Inspire and invigorate the research doctors developing better tests to diagnose the virus, create vaccines to prevent it, and identify protocols to eliminate the disease’s spread.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
Prayer for leaders responsible for making decisions about the coronavirus.
Father, we seek Your wisdom daily. Be with people making decisions that affect the lives and futures of our families, communities, countries, and the wider world. We pray that they communicate clearly, truthfully, and calmly — with each other and with the public — and that their messages are received and heeded. May truth and empathy be the touchstones of people setting policies for our protection.
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers …2 Corinthians 1:10-11
Prayer for families adjusting to new ways of life.
Holy Spirit, as families adjust to everyone being home as businesses and schools close, we ask that You guide people in their new realities. Give spouses grace for each other. Prompt worn-out parents to speak words of kindness and encouragement to their children. Help children find creative ways to experience the beauty of all You have created and continue learning.
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. Psalm 57:1
Prayer for business owners and families facing financial stress.
Jesus, we thank You for Your faithfulness in how you have guided and equipped people in their jobs and have provided in the past. It can be scary and overwhelming not knowing how bills and obligations will be met or to be unable to provide for families. As people feel financial strain during the uncertainty, bring them comfort and peace, reminding them that You are there for them. Provide for them in their times of need.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Prayer for grocery store workers and delivery drivers.
Lord, we are so grateful for all the people who continue to work each day so that people are able to eat. We ask that You bless and protect them as they serve. Give them grace to handle disgruntled customers during supply shortages. Keep their bodies healthy as they unload and stock boxes of supplies. Keep their cars and trucks running smoothly as they deliver needed supplies and food people have ordered online. And please protect them all from contracting coronavirus.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
Prayers taken from World Vision Website
Prayer for those who mourn
Dear Lord Jesus, you cried when your friend Lazarus died so you understand how those mourning are feeling today. Comfort them as they are sad and lonely without the one they love so much. Help us to know how to support them in a sensitive and caring way at this time. May they know the hope of eternal life through you and with you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
Let us conclude by saying,
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
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, the glory are yours, now and for ever.
Hymn- Lord of all hopefulness,
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy:
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.
Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe:
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace:
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.
Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm:
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)