Service notes 20th September

MISSION: 20th SEPTEMBER

Good evening everyone and welcome to our service tonight. Welcome and blessings also, to those who can’t be with us this evening but will be joining us through reading these notes. We look forward to welcoming them all back whenever circumstances allow. 

A couple of weeks ago we looked at Psalm 137 in which the Israelites asked, “how can we sing The Lord’s Song in a strange land?” Tonight, we look briefly at Exodus 16, where the Israelites ask another question, “how can we be fed in a barren and hostile place in which nothing will grow?”

But, first, let us begin our worship by saying together The Lord’s Prayer, that Jesus Himself taught us: a prayer in which we ask that God will provide our daily bread. 

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Tonight, we’re thinking about how God provides for our needs: how He feeds our hunger from His abundant heart of Love. Jesus said “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything you need will be given to you.” And so, I’ll now share a brief meditation with you called “His Abundance” and then we listen to “Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God”

READ THE MEDITATION “HIS ABUNDANCE” ( in the background some quiet reflective music will play)

THE HYMN “SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (words/music)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvte9rcSiZ8

READING: EXODUS 16 2-15 (The Israelites complaining to Moses that God has brought them out of slavery in Egypt only to let them die of starvation in the desert! God hears their cries and gives them “manna” in the wilderness.)

There is a great deal of grumbling and complaining going on! The people of Israel have escaped from slavery in Egypt but now they find themselves stuck in the desert with nothing to eat. They needed someone to blame, and so they turn on Moses and Aaron and blame them: but, of course, they are also blaming God. Why have you brought us out here, into this horrible place to let us die! We would have been better off had we been left in slavery because, at least, there, we had plenty to eat!”

It all sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? There is an awful lot of grumbling going on in our country at the moment with most of it being directed at the government. Why don’t they get the testing for Corona Virus right? Why do they give out such confused messages? How are we going to make ends meet when the furlough period ends? Hundreds of questions with very few answers. And then, of course, having turned on the government, they then turn on each other and we have seen an increase both in violence and family breakdown. And even the most sincere and ardent Christian, might be left asking, “God, why don’t You do something about it? When will You return life to normal and when will You provide us with a vaccine?”

Well, I do not want to be a prophet of doom, but The Israelites wandered around in the dessert for 40 years! I’m sure that this won’t last for 40 years but there may be other things that will. Life is unpredictable both for us as individuals and for the world as a whole. One thing is for certain, however, there will be many more questions than answers.

It is what it is, and it will take as long as it takes. We must look for new certainties and to hold on to what we do know. WE DO KNOW (although we easily forget) THAT GOD IS GOOD: HE IS NOT DEAF TO OUR CRIES: AND HE ALSO, WILL PROVIDE. 

God provided the Israelites with manna in the desert although He allowed them to remain in the dessert. He didn’t air lift them to safety! He didn’t immediately take them into a land of milk and honey BUT HE DID FEED THEM WHERE THEY WERE.

The truth is that God doesn’t necessarily make everything right but He does provide for what we need in the situation in which we find ourselves. Manna was like Hoare frost covering the ground: it was a very flimsy and seemingly insubstantial thing but it was enough to sustain them and keep them alive because it never ran out. 

Our Manna, in this wilderness of ours, is the fact that GOD’S PRESENCE WITH US AND HIS LOVE FOR US WILL NEVER RUN OUT. And this is a fact which we now, more than ever, need to hold on. Our faith may be flimsy: it might be no more solid than frost on the ground, but it is a precious thing and something that will sustain us through our times of trial. 

It is no use saying, “let’s go back”, because the unbelieving world has nothing more and certainly nothing better to offer. The staple diet of a Christian is faith: however weak it may be.

Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread, but He didn’t just mean the food in our stomachs but the faith in our minds and hearts. It helps us to remember all those times in the past when God has helped us: it helps us to remain thankful and to keep hopeful: it helps us to remember that The God who has brought us this far is not going to dessert us now. 

Whenever I say goodbye to our girls I always say “and don’t forget to keep your chin up!” Well, I’ll say that to all of you now, “keep your chins up! But also, keep your faith alive!” Amen. 

THE PRAYERS

MEDITATION: “GOD OF THE DESERT” (some quiet music will play in the background)

FINAL SONG: “GUIDE ME O THOU GREAT REDEEMER” (words/music)

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+Male+voice+choir+guide+me+oh+they+great+redemmer&docid=608009868553880320&mid=13AEC7C18399ADA26F1413AEC7C18399ADA26F14&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

THE GRACE: And now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of The Holy Spirit, be with us all, for evermore: Amen.

 


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