Order of Service
This Sunday's Order of Service for Morning Worship and Evening Worship (when it is happening) with activities for the week and beyond.
21 February 2021
10.45-11.15 Morning worship led by Derek Hiscocks available on Zoom
Before opening the Zoom link, we will sing
Opening Hymn: Behold the amazing gift of love https://youtu.be/D0L_sKg4LNk
If possible, you are invited to join the Zoom service. At 10.35am we join for a short social period; the service will start at 10.45am. Please click HERE to join the Zoom service, the Zoom Meeting ID is 880 6118 0122 and the Password is Heiswithus.
Call to worship: This morning I would like to concentrate on the words ‘You are my beloved Son; in you I take delight’ from today’s reading from Mark.
Opening prayer, we say together:
Help us to live every day knowing that we are your children. Open our eyes to see others and ourselves through the lens of your love. Amen
Loving Jesus who had a nurturing childhood look with your grace on all children. Protect them for they are your precious creation and enable them to be so nurtured in their homes that they can grow into the pearls that humanity requires. Give to all of those responsible for their up-bringing, a true sense of responsibility and of your love.
Guide and Friend of every seeking heart, you take upon yourself all that burdens our lives; our days of doubt, our divided hearts, our physical weakness and that fear of the future which is often our companion; and you transfigure them, freeing us of all that weighs us down. Lord of the perplexed, enable us today to rediscover your amazing truth – that in your strength we truly can begin to walk anew with lightened step and clearer vision, moving from the shadows into the clear flowing waters of your healing, gentle grace. Amen
We pray the Lord’s Prayer together
We share the Grace
Gospel reading: Mark 1: 9-15 (Daniel Symes)
A sung solo by Kirsty
A month ago, I was appalled, as I am sure you were, when the story of the mass graves of babies and young children in the homes for unmarried mothers in Ireland was reported. This was not the first time we had read such stories; there have been allegations for many years. In fact, an investigation has estimated that 9,000 children died in homes in which they ought to have been safe.
At about the same time, I read the Gospel set for today and began to think about it – an extravagant amount of time for thought and meditation that lay preachers can enjoy, which is not available to ministers preparing sermons every week.
Those words ‘You are my beloved Son; in you I take delight’ stuck with me and put beside the report featuring those poor children, were in such a sad and poignant juxtaposition, it could not be ignored. Did anyone, except perhaps their young mothers, take any delight in those poor children at all?
Can I ask you to think back to your own childhoods? Were you loved? Perhaps no one said those exact words, as used of Jesus, to you but, as you look back, was there a sense of care, protection and pride?
My guess is that most of us enjoyed our childhoods. Yes, we were disciplined and thought it very unfair at the time I am sure, but we were loved. None of us where I lived were well off but somehow our parents managed to ensure that we were cherished. I did not know anyone who was abused. Generally speaking, we were not living in fear, in spite of living through the Plymouth blitz, especially during 1941.
To get a picture of what is happening now, I have spent some time looking at various reports about children, written by the Child Poverty Action Group and the NSPCC. It does not make happy reading. I do not wish to bombard you with a lot of statistics but some of these figures are shaming, given that, reputedly, we live in the 5th richest country in the world.
In my opinion, children living in poverty are abused in the same way as those being abused in other ways. In the year 2018 to 2019 there were 42 million children in the UK living in poverty. To put that into perspective this was 30% of all children (nearly a third! Or to put it another way, 9 children in a classroom of 30). Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty – in the UK 72% of all children living in poverty live in a household in which one person works. Over the last 5 years, there have been 62 child deaths by assault or undetermined intent. NSPCC research with a group of 2,275 11 to 17 year olds suggests that 1 in 20 children have been sexually abused.
I could go on, but I promised not to bombard you with statistics, so let us look at a happier side. My parents lived in a village on the edge of Dartmoor in which there was a boys’ home. My father went there from time to time to help them with jobs that needed doing. On the wall was a poster; he brought home a copy for me. It said:
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with tolerance, they learn to be patient.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance and friendship, they learn to find love in the world.
All children are our beloved children. We have a community responsibility to love them. We find in Matthew 19: 13-15 – Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. And he laid his hands on the children, and went on his way’. Amen
Piano Solo by Kirsty:
Great God we pray:
For children in their happiness and loved by their parents and friends. For children secure in the bonds of family life. Lord, these are your children. We know you love them.
For children who are unhappy and feeling isolated at this time. For children who are insecure or bullied. Lord, these are your children. We know you love them.
For children who live in the danger spots of the world, who experience warfare and enmity. For those who have lost family and homes. Lord, these are your children. We know you love them.
For children who are differently able and for those who are ill at home or in hospital. Lord, these are your children. We know you love them.
For children suffering poverty and deprivation, for those in refugee camps and forced into long treks. Lord, these are your children. We know you love them.
For all adults committed to the care of children and for those who have taken a stranger’s child into their homes. For those working in organisations committed to the care of children. Lord, these adults are your children. We know you love them.
Silent and spoken prayer, for the world, the church and for those known to us we are concerned about and with whom we celebrate
Closing Prayer, we pray together:
Parent God, you care for us with overflowing love.
Jesus, Son of God, you guide us with all-encompassing wisdom.
Holy Spirit of God, you inspire us in our life of faith. Amen
Please close the Zoom link, then we will sing our final hymn. Closing Hymn: For the beauty of the earth R&S 41 https://youtu.be/TTcJ_SQruhE
Thank you for joining with us today. Stay safe and well until we are able to meet together.