Dear Friends, A warm welcome to our service this morning. As we come to worship the Lord today, I pray that we can all feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as we pray together, read our scripture passages and ask God to give us understanding of them.
May he guide us as we look at the theme of ‘Walking the Way.’
Call to worship: Acts 20:28
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Prayers and Lord’s Prayer
Holy Spirit of God, guide us, for we would follow Jesus. Open our mind and heart to his truth; enliven our imagination to his presence; excite our emotion to his offered love; increase our gratitude for his living, dying and rising and strengthen us in our commitment that we may walk in step with him our Lord and Saviour.
Lord Jesus, we follow you because we trust you; you are the way. We follow you because we believe you; you are the truth. We follow you because we cannot live without you; you are the life. We worship you because trust, belief and the desire to live your life bring us to your feet in adoration and praise.
Lord, please take our hatreds and make them into handshakes. Take our prejudices and make them into peace-offerings. Take our arguments and make them into alliances. Take our battles and make them into bonds. Take our misunderstandings and make them into music. Take our divisions and make them into dances and take our schisms and make them into songs.
Forgiving God, take us and make us new.
In Jesus’ name Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Reading: Isaiah 61: 1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion. To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Reading: John 1: 1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
Sermon: ‘Walking the Way’ (link here)
Prayers of Intercession
Thank you God: your thoughts are wiser than our thoughts, your wisdom greater than our wisdom, your understanding deeper than our understanding, your compassion stronger than our compassion.
We thank you that from the beginning of the world you have watched over and cared for each and every person, without prejudice to race, ability, health or achievement.
We thank you for sending Jesus, the person of perfection, who revealed your love in his healing, forgiving, encouraging, challenging ways.
We thank you for filling us with your Spirit of life and love, which enables each of us to know you and love you and speak with you in prayer.
Thank you, God, for all that you have done for us, even when we have not known or appreciated your activity on our behalf. May we show our gratitude to you not only in our words but also in our deeds, so that what we have received may be shared with all whom you love.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Loving God, we thank you for all those who have listened to your call, followed you faithfully, served you wholeheartedly and witnessed to your truth, justice and love.
We thank you for the prophets who bravely declared your word to hostile and uncaring people. We thank you for the disciples who embraced the strange adventure of following Jesus. We thank you for the evangelists who risked their lives to bring the good news of your saving love to all the world.
We thank you for Christians of every era and in every place who have lived out your gospel as shining lights in a dark world. We remember those whom we have known who have shown us the way of love and given us insights, comfort or challenge. We thank you and rejoice that in you we are all made one on earth and in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.
May the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be with us all now and always, Amen.
Revd Jim Thorneycroft