Home Service for 24th January ’21

Call to Worship

Renew, Relearn, Revise, Review, Reflect, Reconsider, Re-examine, Respond!
This is what God calls us to do within a love that never changes.
Let us worship!

Jonah 3:1-5,10 Jonah Goes to Nineveh

3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Reflection

Last Sunday at the 10:30am and 6:30pm Zoom services (ALL are welcome) we spoke about ordinary people being called into the service of God. God even called them by name showing real interest in their situations. One of the people mentioned as an example was Jonah. God called Jonah by name but Jonah wasn’t happy to respond and tried to run away from God. He found that couldn’t be done.
God wanted Jonah to tell the city of Nineveh that they were going well off-plan, that the way they lived their lives and the way the treated their neighbours was totally unacceptable – and we all know what happens to people and places who don’t follow God’s plans in the Old Testament!
So, eventually Jonah does as he’s told and the city responds really well to the message he gives them from God. So well that God reverses his decision to send in the bulldozers. As we all know, Jonah isn’t best pleased about this and sulks in the sunshine.
Have you ever felt that god has required you to do something for him and the outcome has been totally different to what you expected? I have and it’s confusing.
Being called by God into action can be scary, inconvenient, bewildering, confusing, fatiguing and befuddling but it can also be empowering, calming, clarifying and loving if we open our hearts, minds and souls to His call.
If we look at the current situation with the pandemic – I am convinced that God is calling us all, as a partnership of congregations, to reach out to our neighbours and pass on a reassurance from God of great times to come. All will be well. All will be well.
Had Jonah managed to get away from God then a message wouldn’t have been delivered and a city would have been destroyed. What message do you feel God is asking you to deliver? And how do you feel your life will be transformed if you deliver it?

A tearing prayer of confession

(Use a piece of sackcloth or other material just like the Ninevans did as an act of contrition)

Forgiving God, hear us as we bring all that we are and all we have been.
We celebrate when we have shared our lives justly, and confess when we have not (pause and make a rip in the cloth).
We celebrate when we have given of ourselves to others, and confess when we have not (pause and make a rip in the cloth).
We celebrate when we have spoken kindly and with love, and confess when we have not (pause and make a rip in the cloth).
We celebrate when we have responded to your call, and confess when we have not (pause and make a rip in the cloth).
We celebrate that you have heard us confess and now renew us, redeem us, and reawaken us to your loving forgiveness.
Amen.

Prayers of intercession

May we journey with Jonah to the places you call us, to stand with the poor and the hurt and the homeless and proclaim your love through our living.
May we pray for peace in the world, by living as peacemakers.
May we pray for homes for all, by welcoming the stranger in our community.
May we pray for the poor, by choosing to buy justly.
May we journey with Jonah, with grace in our living, hope in our travelling, justice in our sharing, and love in our being.
Amen.

A sending out prayer

From Nineveh into the world, we are called to proclaim God’s grace.
May we go now and share that grace through our living with each other.
Amen.

Suggested music

Just as I am without one plea – Alan Jackson
www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFB-mxSt9Cc

Pretty Amazing Grace – Neil Diamond
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0Nw1EPp7bQ

Come Down O Love divine – Down Ampney Church
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIvKDgktutI

Rev Jim Williams


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