This week's Order of Service
11 April 2021
10.45-11.15 Sunday worship led by Mrs Andy Bevan available on Zoom
Before opening the Zoom link, we will sing
Opening Hymn: To God be the Glory [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vbGFupxwu0]
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.
Opening prayer, we say together
Gracious God, we praise and worship You for the great things You have done; Your creation is magnificent and available for all to share in its wonder; Your love is boundless and You open Your arms to all; You are our strength and our meekness. Thanks be to You God, our Father.
Lord God, we come to You today, meeting in our homes to worship You, to share in fellowship and to draw strength from that fellowship with You.
Father God, we give You thanks for all that You have done for us and all that You mean to us. We thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life that we might know You and be closer to You.
Gracious God, we ask for Your forgiveness when we have strayed from the pathway of love and forgiveness, when we have put self before others.
All powerful God, we seek Your strength to resist temptations in the future and to try to live more like Jesus Christ.
Loving God, we offer ourselves anew in Your service as we pray together the prayer our Lord taught us.
The Lord’s Prayer
Bible reading: Jeremiah 22: 11-17
As we learnt from our News Sheet this week, Wednesday was World Health Day, with its theme this year calling for a fairer and healthier world.
To achieve a totally fair and healthy world does not just mean tackling the unequal distribution of health care facilities – a fully equipped NHS system, free at the point of access, is only a dream for a Yemeni whose country only last week received its first batch of Covid 19 vaccine; or for a Palestinian living in the occupied territories with access to a hospital controlled by the Israeli border guard; or for an African malaria sufferer, one of 90% of the world’s such sufferers, living in that continent with limited access to the means to eradicate this decease.
These examples demonstrate that health equality cannot be achieved through providing health care facilities alone. Their root cause is much more worrying and is embedded in political and economic injustices, many of which are fuelled by personal and corporate greed.
At one stage during this pandemic, I was reassured that the values of this world seemed to be starting to change, that materialism and wealth as a measure of success and worth, were being challenged. But now I am not so sure, as we hear more and more stories, from this country, of taxpayers’ money being used to hire companies to undertake tasks for which they have no experience of producing the goods and services, whilst freedom of speech is being quietly eroded.
Abroad, the news is increasingly shielded from us as the coup in Myanmar becomes more violent, the politics in America more polarized and alleged rigged election results, whether valid or not, are used to incite violence or bring troops onto the streets - but Myanmar and America are not the only offenders. Look to Niger only one week ago as the peaceful transfer of power between the first and second elected Presidents in that country’s history was threatened by the loser of that election and his armed supporters.
Where guns and violence are the norm, healthcare for all can never be achieved. Such violence and dictatorship lead to greater inequalities, as the powerful access the best healthcare facilities the world has to offer, whilst the supressed are left to recover from their injuries and medical ailments from the basic healthcare system their country, or they, can afford.
Food too is a basic tool in tackling health inequalities. Even in this country food poverty is a concern. The growth of the use of Food Banks in the UK Is alarming, as Food Banks have become part of the infrastructure of many towns and cities. We pray for the day when their need becomes a part of history.
But look to Yemen, with 24 million people in need of humanitarian aid, cholera is again being experienced and malnutrition make so many vulnerable people more susceptible to all diseases. The WHO says only 44% of promised world aid has actually been received in that war torn country. Can violence amongst its warring leaders really be used as an excuse to withdraw aid from those who have not even got the strength to stand up, let alone shoot a gun.
Climate change is another contributor to inequality of health, with the poorest affected by the actions of the wealthiest corporations. Such corporate giants, more powerful than national governments, polluting and denuding natural environments as they extract valuable resources with no real thought, compensation or concern for the living conditions of those have lived in the area for centuries.
It may seem that the answer to achieving greater health equality for all is outside of our grasp.
Our Bible reading tells us of the consequences for Shallum, king of Judah, whose reign was noted for its opulence, but ended in banishment. Shallum’s father had reigned before him during which he had been a true ruler, caring for all his people and meeting their needs. That is the example of a ruler bring true to the supreme ruler of all: God.
We have an advantage over king Shallum because we have been privileged to be acquainted with the example set by Jesus. We recently walked through His time of testing and agony: the last supper with His friends, the arrest in the garden, the mock trial and its punishment, and that glorious resurrection; all reinforcing for us the teachings of Jesus in His ministry years and setting the example of how we too can bring God’s love to this earth. We will not have to suffer the agonies of Jesus’ final time on this earth, but we are called, as His Followers, to follow His teachings. For it is by being His hands, His feet, His ears, His eyes, His love that we can bring hope as we pray “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen
Please join in the words in bold
Lord God, we come to you now with our prayers for this world, Your world in which we can all play our part, to help ensure everyone is seen as equal. We know that we are all equal in Your sight and that it is ourselves who fail to live up to Your example. Lord God, where injustice and greed exists, may Your love be found.
We pray for those ill at this time, seeking recovery or release from their pain and suffering. We pray for those looking after them, whether family and friends or healthcare professionals. Lord God, as they seek comfort and meaning, may Your love be found.
Lord God, we pray for the oppressed and those imprisoned for their faith or beliefs. We pray also for their oppressors and persecutors, that they may see a better way of living as shown through Your Son. Lord God, as they seek justice and freedom may Your love be found.
We pray for Your church that it may be a beacon of hope for the world, speaking out against injustices and violence of all kinds, showing mercy and treating all as equal humans created in Your image. Lord God, as members of Your church, we seek Your strength and love to enable us to be a tool in which Your love may be found.
Silent and spoken prayer, for the world, the church and for those known to us we are concerned about and with whom we celebrate
Lord God, we bring all these prayers to you, whether spoken or aloud. Accept them we pray as expression of our love and concern for Your aching world. Amen
Closing Prayer, we pray together:
Father God, give us the courage to step out with confidence knowing that You are always with us, our strength, our rock and our redeemer.
May God be with you as you travel your pathway, may Christ be your staff to help you along the way and may the Holy Spirit be your strength and power to your journey’s end. Amen
Please close the Zoom link, then we will sing our final hymn.
Closing Hymn: When I survey the Wondrous Cross [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tkx8WAycYAc]
Thank you for joining with us today. Stay safe and well until we are able to meet together.