This week's Order of Service
9 August 2020 10.45-11.15 Home service led by Derek Hiscocks available on Zoom.
Before opening the Zoom link, we will sing the Opening Hymn: I heard the voice of Jesus say [ https://youtu.be/XUVCpF8-VuE]
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
Jesus said: ‘Take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Our God is a powerful God, who does things way beyond our understanding. But we have no need to fear, for we know we are safe in God’s presence. Let us come to our God now. Let us bow down and worship.
God of the earth and the waves, we praise you that you more than meet all our needs. You call us out from our security to experience your adventures and blessings. You don’t want us to be like a becalmed ship, or stuck in the harbour. You want us out in deep water – and you’ll be with us. We praise you, Lord.
Lord God, we are sorry for the times we take our eyes off you, and seek to do things in our own strength. We are sorry for the times we doubt that you can keep us on the straight and narrow. We are sorry for the times we ask you for signs. Lord, we pray that you will forgive our doubts and hesitations, show us your loving presence, especially when we most need it, and teach us to trust you at all times. Amen
We pray the Lord’s Prayer together
We share the Grace with one another
Gospel reading: Matthew 14: 22-33
During our reading of the New Testament, we notice that often Jesus needed to take time out to pray. He needed to get away on his own to speak with his Father in heaven, to listen to him and to be led by him. One of the times that this was recorded was at the beginning of this morning’s reading. He had just finished feeding 5000 people with one boy’s picnic; it must have taken a lot of energy out of him, so he needed to pray to renew his strength. We read that, sometimes, when he had gone out by himself to pray, either the people or his disciples found him and brought him back to more teaching and healing. On this occasion Jesus tried a different tack; the Bible tells us he immediately made the disciples get into the boat to go on ahead to the other side of the lake while he himself dismissed the crowds and then took himself up the mountain to pray. Evidently his ploy worked for he was alone.
We sometimes need to be alone to give ourselves time to think and to pray. Surely this must be one of the benefits of coronavirus – the lockdown gave us space in which to stop, evaluate ourselves, and try to live more closely to Christ.
A while ago I watched a biographical TV programme about JMW Turner, during which he asked to be lashed to the mast of a ship so that he could experience a storm at sea before he painted it. What some people will do for their art. It must have been horrendous and something like the disciples would have experienced on the Sea of Galilee. Anyone who knows anything about the wrecks off the Cornish coast will appreciate the destructive force of storms. We must consider it unlikely that the disciples had been fishing recently – not since they became ‘fishers of men’ – and had lost their sea legs. Then in the midst of the fear, the crashing of the waves and the howling of the wind, they saw a shadowy figure walking towards them on the sea. I am sure that at first this apparent apparition did nothing to allay their fears.
Then Jesus spoke, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid’. Followed quickly by Peter’s reply, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water’. Peter was not taking any chances – unlike his usual approach. Here he was making sure that he was not going to be encouraged out of the boat by anyone but Jesus. He responded to the invitation of Jesus to ‘Come’ by climbing over the side of the boat. In those circumstances Peter showed great faith, until the fear gripped him again and he began to sink. To his cry of ‘Save me’ Jesus reacted immediately but also admonished him, ‘Why did you doubt’.
I guess we could all say to Peter, ‘I know the feeling’. All of us spend our time between faith and doubt, but in Hebrews we read, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Amen
Song/Poem - read together:
Away with our fears,
Our trouble and tears:
the Spirit is come,
the witness of Jesus returned to his home.
his kingdom receives,his power and his peace,
his life, and his joy’s everlasting increase.
Lord God, we come before you to pray for all those people for whom taking risks is a way of life. Lord, reveal yourself to them and keep them safe. We pray for our emergency services – paramedics, the police, the fire service – all who daily face difficult situations as they seek to help to protect us and make our world a safer and more peaceful place.
Lord, reveal yourself to them and keep them safe.
We pray for people who work in troubled areas – the armed forces in war zones, those who bring humanitarian aid into areas of natural disaster, those who work among refugees. Lord, reveal yourself to them and keep them safe.
We pray for people who take risks in your name, Lord Jesus – those who take your word where it is most needed – and for people who grapple with faith and doubt. Lord, reveal yourself to them and keep them safe. Amen.
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:
Peter only knew life as a fisherman. But he got out of the boat and followed you, Lord. Help us to hear your voice, get out of our boats and follow you. In the week ahead, may the world and its problems decrease, as you increase in our lives. Keep us focused on your way, looking ahead and trusting you. Amen.
Please close the Zoom link, then we will sing our final hymn.
Closing Hymn: EternalFather, strong to save [ https://youtu.be/bDjwUzUnNpU]
Thank you for joining with us today. Stay safe and well until we are able to meet together.