Home Service 6th February 2022

We are blessed to be here today.
We are blessed to be a family.
We are blessed that God is with us.
Lord, thank you that we are blessed.
Help us to recognise all that you have given to us.
We pray that not only will we reflect on your blessings. we will also seek to be a blessing to others, with your help and in your name. Amen.

Father, we worship and adore you for the light you bring to this dreary time of year, when we long for spring.
Thank you for the blessing of every shoot and bud, the reminders of your presence and your love. Amen.

Sometimes our mindset has been so misguided, and for so long, we fail to see how you can forgive us. Mired in dark thoughts that hastily curse and rarely bless, we are ashamed when a ray of holy light reveals the dust and ashes of our lives.

Yet with you, Lord, there is forgiveness and redemption, the chance to turn our thoughts around, and bless with the blessings that come from you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

Please read Luke 6.17-26

Reflection

One of the key aspects of the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ as this section is sometimes called, because it takes place at the bottom of a hill, in contrast to Matthew’s parallel passage, the ‘Sermon on the mount’ , is how it is aimed at the disciples rather than the crowd. The crowd with their needs are there but, for now, Jesus’ attention falls on his disciples. And he begins to unfold what it will mean to be his follower while still grappling with the clamour of a world in need. He begins by focusing on blessing.

‘Blessing’ has implications of praise and worship, as well as of thanksgiving and admiration. It can be read as ‘to make holy’ or ‘to consecrate’. Its origins, Jesus’ blessings – directed at those who follow him – can seem surprising. Praiseworthy are the poor? Or the hungry? Holy are those who weep? Even for

Jesus’ closest followers, there would surely have been some raised eyebrows and puzzlement, for in what sense are those who weep praiseworthy or holy? What kind of people will Jesus require his disciples to deal with?

Or, perhaps, for some in the audience, Jesus’ words represented a moment of recognition and promise. In hearing these blessings, perhaps for the first time in their lives, Jesus’ poorest and hungriest disciples might have felt recognised and given fresh heart. It is usually the powerful and successful who receive all the attention. Jesus’ rather rag-tag band of followers would have been filled with encouragement. It would have been like the most ignored hearing their names called out by God on a roll call of honour.

And the same is true of you and me. Jesus calls us by name into his service. Will we thank him for his invitation or will we worry about what service to him entails?

Prayers

Lord, we pray for those whose hope is for this life only, especially those who are facing their own death, or that of a loved one. Enlighten them, we pray; pierce their darkness with rays from heaven that they might find faith and see beyond.

We pray also for those whose faith has taken a blow due to circumstances – those who have fallen sick, or become unemployed, or who suffer the pain of broken relationships. Amid all their loss, Lord, remind them of the promise of resurrection, and the reality of lesser resurrections that point the way to it – restoration of health, new opportunities, and the rekindling of love – all leading to rebirth of hope.

We bring before you a world of people with past regrets, bowed down by concerns in the present, and fears for the future. Help us all, we pray, to be uplifted by the reality of Christ’s resurrection, which leads to a bright tomorrow beyond all our tomorrows. Amen.

Recommended Listening

Benedictus qui venit – www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ueVfbtA4vk
Blest Are They – www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwSkmzw8dY8
Will you come and follow me – www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Bq1YtpQL8
Let there be love shared among us – www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZYQZPHABY8

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