Home Service 21st August 2022

A prayer of approach

Summer is here and so many patterns change – holidays, new places, old places, new faces, old faces, old churches, new churches, families together and families apart. Jesus, Lord of our journeying and travelling, as we come to you, from near or far, what unites us is you – your calling, your love, your living and your dying. In strength and in vulnerability we come to meet you afresh on the road today. Amen.

A prayer of adoration

Lord Jesus Christ, you walked this earth as we do, you faced acceptance and rejection, you faced welcome and hostility. You set your eyes on the journey to Jerusalem and we can’t imagine our life if you hadn’t. God the Father, you gave us Jesus, an example, a teacher, a friend, a prophet, priest and king and then a sacrifice for each of us. God the Holy Spirit, burning within, inspiring, enlarging, warming, urging us ever on. Triune God, our emotions change with the day, with the mood, with the moment, but we adore you for your steadfastness, your faithfulness, your constancy. Amen.

Jeremiah 23.23-29

23 “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. 25 “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their ancestors forgot my name through Baal worship. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream recount the dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?” declares the Lord. 29 “Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Jealous – for all the right reasons!

In contested times, many came and claimed to speak for God – including Jeremiah. So he points out that others lie in God’s name, taking the people’s attention away from the true God to a more domesticated deity, whose ways were easier on the eyes and ears. The world has always been awash with fake news, lies peddled as truth – and the church is by no means exempt. God’s people often seek to contain him in their doctrines and places of worship. But God is sovereign, free to roam wherever he chooses, and Jeremiah reminds us God’s word is dangerous like fire. It will burn us and so needs to be approached with respectful caution. What is being contested here is nothing less than the character of God.

A prayer of praise and thanksgiving

We give you thanks for variety and richness, for friend and neighbour. We give you thanks for examples set and lessons taught. We give you thanks for stories told and journeys shared. We give you thanks for reconciliation and resolution. We give you thanks for healing and redemption. We give you thanks for acceptance and forgiveness. We give you thanks for the chance of a fresh start. We give you thanks for the gentleness and care of others in our vulnerability and need. We give you thanks for time and space. We give you thanks for people who have journeyed with us, held our hands and been our crutch. We give you thanks, dear God, for inspiring so many and for simply being YOU. Amen.

A sending out prayer

Lord, go with us. Help us to seek your treasure. Help us to look for all you’re doing right now. Help us – by our example as much as by our words – to share your treasure and your life-giving story with the people we meet this week. Amen.

Suggested listening Jesus Christ is waiting – www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CSzEviUc_o Jesus, you’re all I need – www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjD_vdNB6xY O thou who camest from above – www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3UYybc7Xa0

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