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Service at Home – 4th October

Service at Home on 4th October 2020

Harvest at Home on 4th October 2020

for Christ Church Ramsbottom, Edenfield Methodist Church and Bolton Road Methodist Church

YouTube playlist: Harvest at Home 04-10-2020

As usual, the entire service can be followed on this YouTube playlist without the need to look at these sheets. However, you can still use these sheets if you prefer, especially if you want to read the prayers.

 

Welcome and Introduction

Watch: Welcome and Introduction

Today we are celebrating the festival of Harvest. It is a special time in the year when we celebrate the wonderful things the earth produces and give thanks to God for his wonderful creation.

At Bolton Road and Christ Church we normally bring up donations of food for Porch Boxes at this point. Porch Boxes very much rely on donations of food from Harvest Festivals and so it’s important that we don’t let them down this year, especially as the need is greater than ever, as I’m sure that you can imagine. Therefore, please consider donating non-perishable food, if you haven’t already done so, by bringing it to one of the church services in our buildings, or if you are unable to attend church at present, by contacting the person at your church who has volunteered to collect from homes. The names and telephone numbers of these volunteers are in the emails that have been sent.

 

Watch: We plough the fields and scatter

 

Watch: Bless the Lord, O my soul (10,000 reasons)

 

Opening prayers

Watch: Opening prayers

Creator God, the earth is alive with all that your hands have made. You have provided for all your creatures: the birds of the air, the fish of the sea and every creature that moves on the land. Great and small, you know each one, and in your love, you care for them. The earth is yours and it proclaims your glory. I praise you for all your wonderful gifts. Your name is great and your works are wonderful. Amen.

Loving God, I come to you, asking for your forgiveness for the times when we have forgotten that this world, and all that is within it, is yours. I am sorry for the times when we have kept your gifts and resources to ourselves, for our own benefit and selfish gain. Help us to be wise in how we use the good gifts that you give us, so that we may give generously to help those in need. Help us to live lives that are fruitful, to bring you glory and honour in all that we say and do. Help us to be your good and faithful servants, for the sake of your kingdom. In Jesus’ name.

God is love and through Jesus the things that we do wrong are forgiven.  Amen.

And now say the prayer that Jesus taught us:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name;

Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

We are now going to use a form of prayer that makes use of the imagination. God can speak to us through our imagination just as he can in other ways.  Start by trying to relax and to concentrate your thoughts on God as you watch a video and listen to the beautiful words of Psalm 8, or read in your Bible if you prefer.

 

Psalm 8

Watch: Psalm 8

 

Meditation on Psalm 8

Watch: Meditation on Psalm 8

Now, using our imaginations and some of the words of Psalm 8, we’ll think about God’s power and glory.  Don’t worry if you find it difficult to concentrate or find that your thoughts keep wandering.  Just bring your mind back to trying to focus on God. You may find it helpful to close your eyes.

Psalm 8 v1 “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory in the heavens.”

Imagine a clear, bright night.  Look up into the sky and see the stars.  As far as you can see in any direction there are countless numbers of stars.  Look at their pure, white light; the patterns they make in the sky.  Each one of these was made by God – they shine as witnesses to his glory. (Silence)

Now watch as the dawn breaks.  First a pale glow, then as you watch you see the beauty of the sunrise.  Picture the colours as they gradually spread across the sky.  Think of God who created such beauty. (Silence)

It is light enough now to see all about you.  Look around in your imagination – you are on a high mountain and all around you are ranges of mountains and hills.  Perhaps the highest mountains are capped with snow which still reflects the colours of the sunrise.  Think of God who created such power and majesty. (Silence)

Spend a few moments reflecting on God’s glory and majesty – perhaps you can recall an occasion when you felt particularly aware of the power and the glory of God.  (Time for reflection.)

Psalm 8 v3-4a “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them ---?”

What a wonderful mystery!  The all-powerful and eternal creator of the universe cares about us.  He cares for the welfare of each one of us.  His Son Jesus said that even the hairs on our heads are numbered.

God’s love surrounds us now and always.  Breathe in the love of God.  Breathe out your cares and concerns – give them to God.  Breathe in the love of God. (Time for reflection.)

Psalm 8 v9 “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Amen.

 

Watch: So will I (100 billion times)

 

Reading and Sermon

Watch: Reading and Sermon

Reading

Luke 10: 25 – 37

Sermon

God loves each one of us – in our reading from Luke, Jesus shows us what our response to that love should be.  We should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and we should love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  These two commandments are interconnected – if we love God, we will love all that he has made, all his children whoever they are and wherever they live.

‘Who is my neighbour?’ the lawyer asked.  Some of us may have got to know our neighbours better during the lockdown, coming out to clap for the NHS workers together, shopping for those who aren’t able to go out.  It’s important to preserve the stronger community spirit that emerged during lockdown.  We must work and pray against the divisions and the blaming of certain groups that are starting to weaken that spirit. We can each be a positive influence in our community – what can you do to help the folk on your street get along well together and help each other?

Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan makes it clear that our neighbours are not just those who live nearby, although of course they are included, our neighbours also include anyone and everyone who is in need.

The Samaritan in the story had every reason to avoid the Jewish man he helped.  There was a long history of hatred between Jews and Samaritans.  Jews regarded Samaritans with disdain.  Being a good neighbour means giving help wherever it is needed, even to those we may consider very different from us, to those we may not even like, to those who have done us harm.  Jesus made it clear that we are all called to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves, to consider their welfare as at least as important as our own.

Our neighbour includes anyone and everyone in need.  Jesus was surrounded by people in pressing need.  We too can see people in need all around us.  Those needs have increased during the pandemic and will continue to do so as people lose their jobs because of the effect the lockdown has had on the economy.

At harvest time we give thanks to God for all that he has provided for us and we try to act with the same generous love by sharing God’s good gifts with our neighbours.  This year, as in previous years, we are supporting Porch Boxes.  Thank you to everyone who has given to Porch, your gifts will help local families who find themselves in need.

What needs do you see around you?  What is God calling you to do about them?

Those who live in the wider, global community are also our neighbours.  We may think that there is little we can do as individuals to ease world poverty, to help the victims of war and oppression and to combat injustice.  But this is not the case – we can join others in campaigning for justice and for fair trade. We can support organisations such as Christian aid, Tearfund and All We Can.  We can influence our government to act for good on the world stage.  We can bring these people and situations to God in prayer.

The present crisis has shown us just how interconnected we are as a worldwide community.  Our behaviour as individuals can have an effect on our global neighbours.  The way we live our lives – what we choose to buy or not to buy, how much energy we consume to heat our home and do our washing and cooking, has an effect on people far away.  The pollution caused by the rubbish we dispose of, by our factories and power plants affects other countries as it spreads in the seas and the air.  Some of the clothes and food we buy have been produced in other countries by people working for such low wages that they don’t have enough to feed their families.  Some may even have been produced by slave labour.

Western countries (10 % of the world’s population) use 50% of the world’s resources.    The poorest 10% of the world’s population only has 0.4% of the world’s wealth. Enough food is produced to feed everyone in the world.  If the world’s resources were shared more fairly, there would be sufficient for everyone.  God has provided more than enough; He calls us to share more fairly with our neighbours.  One simple thing we can do is to be careful about what we buy.  To check how the food and clothes we buy are produced.  Fairly traded goods, carrying the Fairtrade mark, ensure a fair wage for the person who produced the goods meaning that they earn enough money to feed and clothe their family.  At present it is difficult to buy all the things we need from fairly traded sources, but companies who don’t pay their overseas workers fairly, or who make them work in unsafe conditions, will change their ways if enough of their customers complain.

That’s just one small, practical way in which we can start to make a difference, you’ll be able to think of others.  Loving our neighbour as ourselves means caring about our neighbour’s needs as much as we care about our own.  It requires us to be aware of how our behaviour affects other people and constantly ready to help them in their need.

Jesus reached out in love to meet people’s needs and he calls us to follow him.  How do we meet the needs we see around us and in the wider world?

Our resources as individual Christians and even as a church are of course limited and we can feel overwhelmed by the amount of need we see around us.  God’s resources are not limited, nor does he ask us to do something without equipping us for the task.  If we ask, God will give us the resources we need through his Holy Spirit.  What does God want us to do to meet the needs of this community and of the wider world?  As individuals and as a church we need to ask God’s help in discerning the needs of our neighbours and in meeting those needs.

 

Watch: Jesus Christ is waiting

 

 

 

 

Prayers of intercession and blessing

Watch: Prayers of intercession and blessing

O God of all,

You bring life and transformation

And offer us the gift of joining in partnership with you.

All over the world, we see change beginning,

we see ordinary things and ordinary people

having an extraordinary impact.

Show us how to demonstrate your

generous love in all we do,

Give us hearts that overflow from you,

Living God, we pray that change will begin here,

in this place,

We pray that change will begin with us,

Amen.

Lord God, You created all things and you saw that they were good.  You created us in your own image and appointed us to care for your creation.  We know that we are not always good stewards of your creation and that we all bear responsibility for this together.  We know that, by our lifestyles, we contribute to pollution and to the unfair distribution of food and other resources.  We ask your forgiveness.  Guide us in the way that you want us to live and help us to make the necessary changes.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

We thank you for the Porch Project, for the much needed help and hope that it brings to local people.  We pray that you will continue to work through Porch and that you will break down any barriers that they encounter.

We thank you for the work of All We Can and the many other organisations who bring help and support to those in need.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

We pray for those who do not have enough food to eat because crops have failed, or have been sold to Western countries to pay debts, or have been ruined in war.  We think particularly of the people of Yemen.

Please guide and strengthen those who are trying to help them and grant that those who at present have nothing may once again be able to feed their families.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

We pray for those who suffer because they have no supply of clean water.  Grant that through international co-operation all people may soon have access to such a basic necessity.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

We pray for the leaders of the world – not only the politicians, but all those who hold power – the bankers who control the international purse strings and the chief executives of multi-national companies.  Grant that they may always be conscious of their responsibilities as stewards of your creation and that they may work together with all your people to bring about a fair distribution of food and the other necessities of life.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

We pray for the Church, for the world-wide family of Christians to which we belong.  Make us ready to help those who are suffering because of lack of food or clean water.  Make us forthright in speaking out against the unjust division of food and of wealth and quick to act under your guidance to bring about a fair and caring world family.

Lord, you trust us to care for your creation. Help us to do so.

Amen.

Blessing

Father God, we thank you for the beautiful world you created for us all to enjoy.

May we work together to care for our world and everything in it.

Let us be rooted in your love, so that we can care for each other and help people when they are in need.

Amen.

 

Watch: Come people of the Risen King