St Albans and Welwyn Methodist Circuit

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                                      Circuit Service Sunday 14th August 2022

Prepared by Rev Alison Facey 

Call to worship (Vine resources)

God is here, in this space.

I am here, seeking to worship, to grow and to learn.

God of all love,

Help me to notice you, here in this space that I occupy,

Show me how to follow you.

Amen.1

 

StF 51   Great is Thy Faithfulness   (Thomas O. Chisholm 1866-1950)

1. Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

2. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

 

3. Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow—
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Opening Prayers (vine resources)

When all around is noisy and busy, help me in this moment to be still with you.

Silence

When my mind is chaotic and full of wondering, help me in this moment to be sure of

you.

Silence

When my soul is troubled, help me in this moment to be calmed by you.

Silence

If you feel able speak these words aloud:

Still, calm and sure I come to worship you.

Amen.

Lords prayer

Isa 40.1-5

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term,
 that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.  A voice cries out:  ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;  the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

 

2 Peter 3.8-9

 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.  The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

 

Sermon:

How difficult it is to be patient and wait, when we don’t know how long we will have to wait for.  Today’s passages encourage us to have patience because:

God’s timing is different from our own.

The period of waiting is necessary to allow change to take place.

So what do our passages tell us about God`s timing ?

The passage from 2 Peter came from a letter that was written after the death of the apostle Peter.  The author chose to write in Peter’s name because his aim was to vindicate the teaching of  Peter.  In particular he sought to respond to those who mocked the promise of Jesus’s return.  The scoffers, as they were referred to in the letter, pointed to the fact that Paul and Peter and many of the first generation Chrisitans had now died and still there was no sign of the promised return of Jesus.  Writer seeks to encourage his readers by reminding them that God’s sense of time is different to our own.   He says in V.8  “Do not ignore the fact that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day.”

 

God  has an eternal perspective on history  in contrast to our short term human expectations.  In the context of the life of the planet earth (4.5 billion yrs old) our period of time alive on earth is minute.  In the words of Isaiah we are like the grass and flowers of the field that fade and wither whereas God’s word stands for ever, for all eternity.

When we become fed up of waiting for God to respond to our prayers these passages remind us that we are judging God by our own impatient human standards and we need to trust in God’s timing.

We need to patient because God’s timing is different from our own and because a process needs to take place in the period of waiting:

The words of Isa. 40 help us to explore the idea that our waiting is necessary to allow certain changes to take place in our lives before God can respond to our prayers.

Chapter 40 marks the beginning of the work of the prophet who was known as Second Isaiah.  He has been summoned by God to give a message of hope and comfort to the people of Israel.  He tells them that their period of exile in Babylon is over and they will soon be able to return home to Jerusalem.  They have served their sentence and paid their penalty.  They have received from the Lord`s hand double for all their sins.  According to the prophet the sins and behaviour of the people of Israel have led to pain and suffering much of which they have brought upon themselves.  God`s intention has been for them to learn from their mistakes.  God now offers them forgiveness and responds to their long held desire to return to Jerusalem .  Just like waiting for a seed germinating or a cake baking we have to wait for a process to take place in our lives in order that God can respond to our prayers and this requires patience.

Take the example of praying for a new job.    A person may assume that God is going to immediately produce the perfect job for them and yet maybe there are experiences needed and a process of self reflection necessary before the person is able to recognise the kind of job God has in mind for them.  Equally the job needs to be created or become available.

I remember  a conversation with Wendy Webb about the sense of rightness and God´t timing in her appointment as Community Worker at St John´s.  Before we employed her we had someone else  in post for 6 months who unfortunately resigned because he didn´t feel that he was the right person for the job.  Although disappointing the experience of those first 6 months helped us as an Outreach Committee to rethink the nature of the job and recognise  the need for us to employ someone who was able to build relationships with the families who were using the Parent and Toddler Group and whose children were attending the Nursery Playgroup.  Wendy told me that 6 months before we appointed her she would not have considered applying because it was not the right time for her both on a personal level and because of her family commitments.  However when we readvertised there was a sense of God´s timing and the right person, being available, at the right time in the life of St John´s.

Donald Eadie in his book, Grain in Winter, writes about waiting after being forced to retire as Chair of the Birmingham District of the Methodist Church, after a serious spinal condition and out of the experience of spending long periods of time waiting, between the 3 spinal operations he had and not knowing what the future held and whether he would be able to continue to work as a minister.

He says  “Enter a waiting that is long enough to accomplish a turning, yield to the process, be shaped towards what is emerging, turn deeply within what is most important,  within the waiting trust the process.  Wait long enough to be reshaped, let the hard times be for good. “

Our two passages from the Bible encourage us to wait with patience, recognising that God’s concept of time is different from our own and trusting that the process that needs to take place while we wait for answers to our prayers is important and necessary.

In the words of Michael Wilson :“The person who waits to hear from God may in the long run walk more swiftly.”

Prayers of Intercession  (Roots resources)

We pray…
for those living on the edge, in fear of the future:
bless them with a deepening sense of hope and trust in you;
for those caught up in the ways of the world,
relying on worldly treasures:
give them a blessing of release and joy in you;
for those battling with ill health:
give them the blessing of strengthening hope and healing;
for all who have the responsibility of leading your flock:
give them your blessing of wisdom and strength.
Lord, you watch and protect.
Strengthen all who are in need
with an unshakeable trust in you;
give them a glimpse of the treasures
that are theirs when they put their hope in you.
Amen.

 

StF 455  All my hope on God is founded  Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

All my hope on God is founded;
he doth still my trust renew,
me through change and chance he guideth,
only good and only true.
God unknown,
he alone
calls my heart to be his own

Daily doth the almighty Giver
bounteous gifts on us bestow;
his desire our soul delighteth,
pleasure leads us where we go.
Love doth stand
at his hand;
joy doth wait on his command.

Pride of man and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray his trust;
what with care and toil he buildeth,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God's power,
hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.

Still from man to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ, his Son.

Christ doth call

One and all

Ye who follow shall not fail.

God's great goodness aye endureth,
deep his wisdom, passing thought:
splendor, light and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
Evermore
from his store
newborn worlds rise and adore.

 

Blessing  (Vine resources)

Today, I have chosen worship, O God,

For you are good.

Today, I have sung your praises and said prayers to you, O God,

For you are everything to me.

As I leave this place to follow you and seek more of your ways,

Help me to remain in a place of worship, and of prayer.

Amen.

Copyright songs are used under CCLI licence numbers  (BW) 2196131 

Monday Club will re-open on 5th September

 

 Thursday Prayers and lunch  will continue  

see future activities


rooms available  for hire - see future events for details

                           CONTACT           Mrs Brenda Collins   01707 883545

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