Service Notes Sunday 18th October

´╗┐All collection from this week’s  and last week’s service will go towards Worcester Food Bank.

MISSION HARVEST 2

Come Ye Thankful People come

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrDQiJJClak&feature=share

Good evening everyone and welcome to the second of our Harvest Services. Welcome and blessings also to those who will be receiving these notes. These notes are distributed each week so that we keep in touch with one another. But there are other ways of doing that including joining our zoom meetings through our computers on Wednesdays at 10.30am and Thursdays at 10.0am. Wednesdays is a virtual “coffee morning” and Thursdays a prayer meeting. Both are just 30 minutes long and, if you haven’t tried them yet, I do encourage you to give it a go. Please contact Meryl if you want to join in. I promise that it’s not difficult and not as awkward as you may imagine. 

We’ll begin this evening by saying The Lord’s Prayer together followed by an opening prayer.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

OPENING PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE HARVEST

The Psalmist tells us to give God thanks with our whole heart (Psalm118). Lord God, thank you for the Harvest and for walking with us through the seasons of our lives. For the Winter when we are held safe in Your hands through the darkness. For the hope of Spring, as we are filled with hope and the promise of new life. For Summertime, full of warmth and colour. And for Autumn days as the crops are gathered in and leaves fall to seed new growth. You are always with us through all the seasons of our lives. Thank you. Amen.

Each one of us has a rhythm to our lives and will contain lots of contrasting times: times of joy and laughter but also times of tears and deep sadness: times for holding on and times of letting go. The writer of Ecclesiastes expresses this beautifully when he writes in chapter 3, “to everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” 

Instead of me reading these lines, let us hear them sung now by The Seekers.

THE SEEKERS: “TO EVERYTHING, TURN, TURN”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_1KT-Lj-24&feature=share

As many of you know, I recently visited my old friend, Roger, who lives not far from Hastings. Roger, and his wife Sarah, are both disabled. Roger suffers from Motor Neurone Disease and over the past year his condition has deteriorated quite rapidly, and his movements are now very restricted. They are due to move to a bungalow before Christmas but, for the time being, the bed has been moved downstairs and Roger is dependent on a walking aid for any movement.

It’s very upsetting to see him in this condition and, of course, much more distressing for him and very frightening. He isn’t giving up, however, and is doing all he can to preserve his independence.

He’s always looked on me, however surprisingly, as someone able to dispense wisdom and spiritual comfort: as if I have the ear of God! It’s quite a challenge because, of course, I struggle like everyone else. What do I say to Roger or to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation?

In response I said “there’s a great difference between giving up and giving in.” None of us should ever give up because to give up means relinquishing all hope and our hope is fixed in God. To abandon hope is, in effect, to abandon God even though God has never abandoned us. I know that Roger will continue to hope and to fight this condition with all the strength that he can muster. I pray that all of us, whatever situation we may face, will do the same. 

But there is a time “to give in” and this is where our reading from Ecclesiastes is so relevant: for just as the seasons are so varied so are the chapters of our lives. To try and prevent the seasons from changing is as futile as King Canute trying to stop the ebb and flow of the sea! It’s equally applicable to this season of “Corona Virus” which is also part, however unfortunate, of the ebb and flow of our lives.

We need to trust the higher purposes of God and to “roll with it,” not in a spirit of hopeless despair but with hopeful abandon, trusting in the ongoing mercies of God. “To hold on tightly whilst letting go lightly” is a gift from God which leads to inner peace despite the outward circumstances of our lives. To “give in” whilst never “giving up” is a hard lesson to learn in so many of life’s trials but the only sure way of finding that peace which passes all human understanding.

It’s easy, of course, to say this but difficult to practice it especially when facing the pain of a much-loved friend. I feel that same tension now as I speak to you: but Roger accepted my words because he knew that they were spoken with love and that is how I’m speaking to you now: Amen.

We now sing “All My Hope On God Is Founded”

HYMN: “ALL MY HOPE ON GOD IS FOUNDED”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3LCGh02Vew&feature=share

If we didn’t know what time of year it was then all we would have to do is look at the trees: bare in Winter: blossoming in Spring: glorious in Summer and breathtakingly beautiful in Autumn. This Harvest season is one of great beauty but not for long for it’s soon followed by Winter with its starkness and apparent death. I say “apparent” because the earth isn’t dead but rather, sleeping. Our eyes and our hearts can so often deceive us and prevent us from seeing the truth: to the “eyes of faith”, however, nothing dies because all things hang together in God. And every single, beautiful, leaf is known to Him. You and I will never know how many leaves there are on this earth, but God does. Jesus said that no sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing and, likewise, no leaf. And what is true of sparrows and leaves is also true of us. God has your life in His hands and no hands could be more loving than His. “To everything there is a Season and a time for every purpose under Heaven. A time to live and a time to die but also a time to be re-born into a life that has no end.” 

I shall now share with you a poem, written by Studdert Kennedy, simply entitled “Trees.”

READ “TREES” by STUDDERT KENNEDY (quiet music will play as this is read)

Inspired by this beautiful Harvest presentation in front of us we now listen to the hymn “From The Green Blade Riseth.”

HYMN: “FROM THE GREEN BLADE RISETH”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVduV0ustWw&feature=share

THE PRAYERS

And so now to our last hymn for this evening and it really wouldn’t be Harvest time without this one!

We sing……” We Plough The Fields & Scatter.”

HYMN: WE PLOUGH THE FIELDS AND SCATTER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha628Pj_Rns&feature=share

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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