Service Outline 19th July

MISSION 19th JULY

Good evening everyone and lovely to see you all. And, as always, love and blessings to those who cannot be with us tonight and looking forward to seeing you whenever circumstances allow.

The key verse tonight comes from Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

So, let us all be still now, as we begin by saying the Lord’s Prayer together and then I will open with a prayer. Then we’ll listen to that lovely hymn “Be Still For The Presence of The Lord.”

LORD’S PRAYER & OPENING PRAYER

LISTEN TO THE HYMN “BE STILL FOR THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.”

One of the things that this period of restriction as enabled is that it is given us the time and space to slow our lives down and to see and hear the world around us. One of the drawbacks of our lovely little cottage is that it’s on such a busy main road with the constant noise of traffic. But, especially in the early days of lockdown, it was possible to sit in the garden and hear the birds singing and to watch the flowers growing and bursting into bloom. It gave us a much deeper appreciation of the beauty and wonder of nature and the wonderful world that God has given us. And so, I want to share with you a much loved poem written around 1911 by the Welsh poet, William Henry Davies. You will instantly recognise it although we don’t often hear it in full.

READ THE POEM “WHAT IS LIFE, IF FULL OF CARE, WE HAVE NO TIME TO STAND AND STARE”

Let us just share amongst ourselves the things of nature that we particularly love and enjoy (TIME OF SHARING)

PRAYER OF THANSKGIVING FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD

There is a lovely saying which goes “Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be.” And it’s into this stillness and silence that God invites us to meet with Him. “Be still and know that I am God.” Jesus, very often, got up early and went out to a quiet place to spend time with God. Jesus was so often hemmed in by crowds of people, all seeking something from Him, that it was essential that He should have these quiet times with His Father God. And what was true for Jesus, is just as true for us.

It is in times like these that we become much more aware of God’s presence and the truth that He is always by our side.

It is often in quiet moments, when the world around us is stilled, that we hear God speaking to us. The same voice that Elijah heard when he was hiding in a cave and God invited him to stand at the entrance to the cave. There, he witnessed hurricanes, earthquakes, roars of thunder, flashes of light coming from heaven, but God was in none of these. It was in the stillness and quietness that followed that Elijah heard “the still small voice of God” speaking to him: and what was true for Elijah is so often true for us.

So, again, let’s take a few quiet moments to listen to that beautiful chorus “Be Still & Know That I Am God”

LISTEN TO THE CHORUS

Silence can be a profound and wonderful thing: it can also, of course, be the opposite and emphasise our loneliness and fear. I’m sure, that in this strange period in our lives, and even before, some of you will have experienced the oppression of silence: because silence takes many forms. There is an ominous silence which increases our anxiety as we anticipate something bad happening but often do not know what it is. There is the silence of loneliness when we feel totally isolated and alone and miss the familiar voice of loved ones. In these circumstances silence can be deafening. You can even experience the silence of loneliness when in the company of others. Crowds can be the loneliest places in the world. There is even the silence of God when we long for answers to our deepest and heartfelt questions, our most painful experiences, and yet God remains strangely silent.

There is also an uneasy silence when we don’t know what to say or are frightened of saying the wrong thing. When relationships have broken down following an argument or when we just run out of words to express comfort or regret. There will be many people, possibly including you, who have experienced all these forms of silence, over the past few months.

Silence is not the answer to everything and sometimes it’s wrong to keep silent or is harmful to us. But there’s another form of silence which we, as Christians, are privileged to know and experience because this is the SILENCE OF LOVE AND OF KNOWING THAT WE ARE ALWAYS IN THE PRESENCE OF A LOVING FATHER GOD. Nothing needs to be said because the silence says it all. You know, one way of finding out whether this or that person is truly a friend or a fitting partner, is allowing yourself to remain silent with them, for there’s no need to say anything. This is the SILENCE OF LOVE which is not dependant on words. It’s what I call “soak in a warm bath” kind of silence. A healing silence: a comforting silence: a silence that tells you that you’re with the right person, at the right time. A silence of love that goes beyond words.

And this kind of silence is what is always available to us as Christians. No need to speak to God: no need for God to speak to you: for you know that His arms of love are all around you. You are as safe as a new born baby in its mother’s arms. A silence to be enjoyed and one that brings comfort and the total assurance that God’s love is always with you and for you no matter what the circumstances of your life. A profound silence of a profound and everlasting love and I pray that amongst all the other forms of silence, you will discover this for this alone transforms fearful silence into one of blessing. Amen

I WILL LEAD US IN PRAYER: Please Remember: we were born out of silence, but we don’t return to silence. We speak of the quietness of the grave but that is only because our ears are not attuned to the music of Heaven.

I just want to finish by reading PSALM 46 (and some quiet music will play as I read this lovely reassuring psalm)

PERIOD OF QUIET FOLLOWED BY SAYING THE GRACE TOGETHER

Amen

 

 

 

 


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