A Home Service for 1st November ’20

Prayers of Approach and Thanksgiving

Loving God, we come to you in answer to your call as so many have come before us,
we come with Christians of all times and all places in praise and worship.
We thank you for them and for all your saints.
Thank you for those whose names and stories we know.
Thank you for those whose names have been forgotten,
but who made your world a happier place.
Thank you for the saints we hear about in the news,
and those we meet in our homes,
in our neighbourhood, at school and at work.
Thank you for calling each one of us to be saints.
As we try to follow the example of saints past and present,
help us to be more like you.
Amen.

Music: For all the saints who from their labours rest (R&S 658)

Reading: Matthew 5:1-12

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

(The Message  Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson)

Introduction: What is a saint?

Visiting a church a child asked who the people pictured in the stained glass windows were. Dad pointed a few of them out – that’s St. Peter, that’s St. Matthew, that’s St. so and so… etc. – and said a bit about what each of them had done. Later on the child was telling a friend about the visit and the friend asked, ‘What’s a saint?’ to which the child replied, ‘They’re the people the light shines through.’

Music: A glorious company we sing, the master and his friends (R&S 570)

Sermon/Reflection:

When I was a child it seemed that every household had a set of teaspoons with little figures on the end of them. They were called ‘apostle spoons’ and came in sets of either 4, for the gospel writers, 6 or twelve for Jesus’ disciples depending on how well off you, or you friends and relations, were. They were usually made of silver or silver plated and if you were really posh you might have an extra, slightly larger, spoon which represented Jesus himself. They were often given as Christening gifts and a child fortunate enough to receive such a gift for his or her baptism was starting out with every advantage in life – they were ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouth.’ It would seem that they had inherited every blessing and had absolutely no difficulties to overcome.

In Jesus’ time it was widely believed that such a person was high in God’s favour, to have such riches meant that they had been blessed by God. Jesus however rejected this view declaring that those who were truly looked on with favour by God were those who had no apparent advantages in life. Blessed are… the poor in spirit; those who mourn; the meek; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; the merciful; the pure in heart; the peacemakers; those who are persecuted for righteousness sake; you, when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account…

These blessings are often referred to as ‘The Beatitudes’ and in the Roman Catholic church ‘beatification’ is the first step in the process of ‘canonisation’, of making someone a saint. But just look at who these words are addressed to, who these blessed people are. They are ordinary people, nothing special – just like you and me, just like us – Saints! – the people of God. That’s us, it’s who we are.

Music: Seek ye first the kingdom of God (R&S 512)

Prayers of intercession:

Across the ages you, Jesus, have called women and men to follow you,
and to walk in the way of righteousness and truth.
We praise you for the witness of Christians in every generation,
for those who have served you,
those who taught the Gospel to the people,
for the ones who struggled for the poor and oppressed
and those who have died a martyr’s death.

Christ who calls us,
hear our prayer.

Bless your followers today, we pray.
We remember all who make sacrifices to serve you,
and your persecuted disciples in many lands.
Strengthen their faith in the time of need.
Grant them hope in the teeth of despair,
and the love that knows no boundaries.

Christ who calls us,
hear our prayer.

Give to the world your deep peace,
and help us overcome the oppression and violence that destroys lives.
We pray especially for those nations tinged with hatred and injustice,
and look to a world in which all may have enough.

Christ who calls us,
hear our prayer.

Comfort and hold all who are sick and sorrowing,
and give your wisdom and peace to those who care for them.
We pray especially for …

Christ who calls us,
hear our prayer.

Teach us, each one, to follow you, Lord Jesus,
to be your disciples, the heralds of your kingdom.
Though we sometimes feel weary, strengthen us to persevere,
and so to run the race that lies before us,
in thankfulness and hope.

Christ who calls us,
hear our prayer.

And grant us the peace that comes in serving you.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Music: Thanks be to God whose church on earth (R&S 582)

Blessing.

May God give us grace to follow the saints
in humility, righteousness and peace.
And may the blessing of the God of hope,
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer,
go with us and remain with us,
always.
Amen.

Rev. Janet Calderley

Prayers adapted from ROOTS © ROOTS for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.


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