Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.
Call to praise:
Lord, open our lips and our mouths will proclaim your praise. You are good to those who for you, to all who seek you Praise God, the Abba bearing love; Praise God, the Servant from above; Praise God the Paraclete we share.
My heart is ready, O God; I will sing your praise (free prayers of thanksgiving). Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and let your glory shine over all the earth. Amen.
StF: 623 – A safe stronghold our God is still
Call to discipleship:
Jesus said; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself. Do this and you will live. Lord Jesus, you have the words of eternal life.
Mark 13:32-37 & 1 Peter 4:7-11
My ex-brother-in-law used to run pubs. He said the hardest thing about running a pub was having to be nice to a customer you really wanted to stab! He got into an argument with a customer once and Allan’s Scottish accent became more pronounced as his voice got louder. The next day there were no customers, nor the day after. Village life in rural Leicestershire sees news travel fast. He learnt two hard lessons. The first was to say sorry; “Saying sorry and humbling yourself is the hardest thing in the world,” he told me once. “In hindsight I was in the wrong and needed to say sorry, but even knowing this made it no easier.” The second lesson was; ‘be hospitable to one another without complaining’. He learnt to be a good steward, not of God’s grace, but to paying customers who put a roof over his head and paid for his children’s food and clothes.
Al found a sense of peace in saying sorry. The customer he had argued with was an active member of the Catholic Church. Al’s agnostic Presbyterianism had come through and, he said; “the relief of being forgiven was palatable. I felt like a small child again receiving great favour from my father.” The following night he offered a free first pint for every customer. His forgiver was first in the queue and Allan always kept his desire to which customers he wanted to stab to himself and practiced hospitality successfully from then onwards.
This practice of hospitality is necessary for living in the commercial, material world we currently live in. As Christians we practice hospitality for living to eternal life. ‘Be good stewards of God’s manifold grace. Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received…..whoever serves must do so with the strength God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.’
The Christian proclamation is both miraculous and apocalyptic. The signs, wonders and miracles of Jesus culminating in the Resurrection point to the end times when Christ shall return again in that day or hour that is unknown. As Christians we are known, not just by God and the angels, but by our family, neighbours and community. The ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’ begins in Radical Hospitality. A Bishop from an African country was once asked; ‘why is Christian faith growing in the South and the East and dying in the North and the West?’ “Easy”, he replied; “we practice hospitality, you don’t.”
There have been so many lovely stories of good neighbours and helpfulness over the lockdown period. The desire of people to be helpful is strong. All human beings created in the Divine image have such capacity for love and service. We emerge into, what we hope, is a new society where people genuinely care for and look-out for one another.
I know we can look back with rose-tinted spectacles, but, from personal experience, the ‘easiest’ of funerals I have had the privilege of taking are those born before the second-world war. When we talk of a ‘Christian Britain’ there was one, a place where doors were left open, where food was shared, where people went the extra mile and offered the best they could to God, family and neighbour. Hospitality was practiced. They may not have been in church or chapel much, but they sought to live the right way, knew the Lord’s Prayer and the hymns. Those in the chapels became pillars of the communities becoming teachers, mayors, lawyers and filtering out into the world to make tiny pockets of heaven on earth. The great sociological changes the 1960s ushered in changes that continue to be felt.
Throughout all of this God is God, and Christians have been living their lives as best as they can to bring glory to God. We have been waiting patiently for God to come and make all things new. From generation to generation we continue to plough our fields and scatter the good news of Jesus in the land. As we emerge into this hoped for new society, let us be hospitable to one another and be good stewards of God’s manifold grace.
StF 636 – O love that wilt not let me go
Call to Intercession:
Rejoice in the Lord. Bring your prayers with thanksgiving in your heart. God of manifold grace, we bring our prayers to you as acts of love for you and for our neighbours. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
You are always there to lead us. We pray for ourselves and those dear to us. We put our hope in you, Lord; hear our prayer
You supply strength for service. We pray for our community and for our neighbours. We put our hope in you, Lord; hear our prayer
You call your people to speak the very words of God. We pray for the church in all places, that we may speak boldly for Christ. We put our hope in you, Lord; hear our prayer
You will make justice break forth like the light. We pray for the world, for peacemakers and for all who serve in the name of Christ. We put our hope in you, Lord; hear our prayer
We offer you other concerns we carry in our hearts. We put our hope in you, Lord; hear our prayer
Gracious God, may we remember your mercy to us and may we extend your hospitality to other. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord who taught us to pray: Our Father….
StF: 615– Let love be real, in giving and receiving
Prayer for the day:
May there always be work for your hands to do; may your purse hold a coin or two; May the sun always shine on your windowpane and may a rainbow be certain to follow rain; May the hand of a friend always be near to you; may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you. Amen.
The blessing of God, the eternal will of God, the shalom of God, the wildness and warmth of God, be amongst us and between us, now and always. Amen
Rev Gordon Gresswell
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. We will continue with the Daily Worship throughout August and then draw it to a close as we look, in September, to return into our sacred spaces as Christ’s people together. Gordon