The next Online Worship from Weoley Hill URC

WEOLEY HILL
UNITED REFORMED CHURCH
Order of Worship for  
23rd January 2022 
for previous services please click here
 

The Cadbury Pastorate 

ORDER OF SERVICE for SUNDAY 23rd January 2022

WELCOME

CALL TO WORSHIP

Come and join the body of Christ.
Come whether you feel weak or strong.
Come whether you are suffering or rejoicing.
Come whether you feel oppressed or free.
All are welcome here.
Side by side, hand in hand,
we all stand together in the body of Christ  HYMN         382           Come, let us join our cheerful songs

PRAYERS

God of heaven and earth, we kneel in adoration
before the mystery made manifest in your Son, Jesus,
who stood with us, as one of us.
So, we stand with one another in adoring you
by living the way of love and life he showed us,
setting us free to serve in the fullness of your grace.
Amen. 

A prayer of confession  

Lord, we confess that we tend to see our calling as individual.
‘What would you have me do?’ we ask. ‘Where might I be best
used?’ And, of course, that is part of our calling, for you see us
as individuals.
We are also called to stand alongside one another in our
service, and we sometimes forget this.
But you, Father, always see the bigger picture.
Forgive us for being so caught up in our own spheres that we
fail to see the need to stand with our brothers and sisters, to
serve together in the advancement of your kingdom.
Amen. 

Assurance of forgiveness 
Sometimes our vision is limited;
not so much tunnel vision as a warped way of seeing,
wrapped around ourselves and the world as we know it.
Our pictures of Jesus have been formed by rose-tinted paintings
– a man dressed in spotless white, blonde and blue-eyed.
Yet you forgive us our childish and short-sighted understanding, Lord.
Correct our vision, we pray, so that we may see the poor carpenter of Galilee,
Jesus the Jew.
Thank you for forgiving us when we think everybody is like us.
Amen. 

READINGS                             1 Corinthians 12:12-31                                                        Luke 4: 14-21

REFLECTION

A Neighbour of Jesus’ family reacts to Jesus in the synagogue

Have you ever been there at “a moment”?   You know, a time it is clear history is being made; when something significant, perhaps life changing, is taking place?  I’m convinced I was yesterday.  And right here, in Nazareth too! 

Now, word was spreading everywhere about Jesus, but we could go one better than that!   Most of us knew him. His Mum came from here, and he’d lived in our village since he was a boy.  We’d watched him grow up, some of us boys went to school with him, and we saw him train as a carpenter like Joseph, his father.  He was a good chippy, too!  He’d have had a good future ahead of him if he’d stuck only stuck at it.  It’s a growth industry round here, thanks to all the new development Herod’s doing just down the road at Sepphoris.  But then, of all things, he had to go off to Capernaum and take up preaching, didn’t he?!  Word had it that he was good at that too.  Now he had come back home, where he belonged, this was our chance to find out. 

We all crowded into the Synagogue to hear what all the fuss was about.  The place was filled with a buzz of expectation, everyone determined to see our boy come good. And they were not wrong about him, you know?  Where he learnt his craft, I have no idea!  He was a bright lad and did well in school with the Rabbi, but no-one in the village really expected him to be any more than a carpenter.  And yet here he was a preacher now! And he definitely had a commanding presence about him.  

The buzz died down to silence as he stood up and was handed the scroll.  He took it and, almost without needing to read it, began to recite that beautiful passage from Isaiah.  I’ve heard it many times before, studied it’s meaning with the Rabbi again and again, but when Jesus started out with “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…”  it didn’t feel like he was reading scripture, but simply stating a fact.  It was so real, so true, that I could not disagree: he had been anointed to preach Good News! He did it so freely, so naturally, my heart warming with every word.  Yes, this was a moment: a ‘Wow’ moment!  A special, Godly moment, for sure! 

For a while I quite forgot that it was Jesus, the carpenter’s Son from right here in our village, who was speaking.  I was lost in reverie, with the sense of God’s promised favour feeling nearer than ever before.  It was as though hope grabbed a hold of my heart and started it beating to a new and stronger rhythm.   His words became a song that fired my imagination; their imagery alive so alive you could almost touch it and know it to be true.   Yes, I could see blind people being restored, lame people dancing, prisoners running free and the poor and the oppressed rejoicing in God’s richest blessings – all that God has promised and everything we had long hoped for.  His words brought this all to life and filled the world with possibility.  

“And today – here and now, in Me, those words come true!”  

‘Yes!’ and ‘wow!’ 

And ‘Wow!’ and ‘Yes!’ 

He didn’t need to say anything more.  

Every instinct told me that he was right: that this was the moment.   The Kingdom of God is here! Freedom, healing and salvation are running over the horizon to meet us!  This is God’s new day and He will fulfil his word 

HYMN         576           God’s spirit is deep in my heart

PRAYERS

Dear God, as food prices rise and fuel costs increase, we pray for wisdom in how we use our resources. Guide us and help us not to overspend. We pray for those who struggle to pay their bills and those in debt. We ask your blessing on food banks, debt counselling services and credit unions. Help us all to be generous in supporting one another and sharing what we have. 

May your kingdom come through our prayers, actions and words. 

Dear God, we pray for our justice system, for the police, lawyers, judges, probation officers and those who work in our prisons. May justice be served in the courts. May all be treated with fairness and equity. Be with those who have been convicted and those serving prison sentences and support their families and all whom they love. May your presence bring comfort and hope. 

May your kingdom come through our prayers, actions and words. 

Dear God, sometimes the way forward is unclear, we hope for easing of restrictions, but we wonder about the timing or risks. Give insight to scientists and politicians that we may be led in the right direction and be encouraged by the hope which your Spirit offers us. 

May your kingdom come through our prayers, actions and words. 

Dear God, in these challenging times give wisdom and strength to those who are trapped in lives of addiction, who feel there is no escape. We pray for Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Drug Addicts Anonymous and all groups who seek to show people a path through addiction and offer kindness and support. 

May your kingdom come through our prayers, actions and words. 

Dear God, we thank you for the mission and ministry of Jesus, for the challenge he offers, the peace with which he fills us and his love which inspires us. We pray that we may find imaginative ways to share his love and to proclaim his good news. Bless the church throughout the world. Enable the stronger to support the more vulnerable that Jesus name may be known and honoured in every place. 

May your kingdom come through our prayers, actions and words. 

Hear us for Jesus’ sake.
Amen. 

LORD’S PRAYER

OFFERING PRAYER

HYMN         579           Lord, thy church on earth is seeking

BLESSING

God, you call us to be the body of Christ in this place.
Side by side, hand in hand, help us to stand together,
to stand with our neighbours,
to break free from all that holds us back
from making the world as you want it to be.
In Jesus’ name.
Amen.

 


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