Home Service for Sunday 25th September 2022

Prayers of Approach

We come together to approach our God. A God of justice and of love. A God who hears the cries of those in need, and who calls us to live in loving ways. May we draw near to God; may God draw near to us: Father, Son, Spirit – the triune One.

God of kindness and compassion, God of fairness and justice, God who sees all and hears all, we worship you. God of infinite love and boundless hope, who calls us to life with you, now and always, we worship and adore.

Amazing and loving God, as we join together with others – in many different places –

inspire us by your word, renew us with your Spirit and unite us as we worship you, creator, redeemer and sustainer. Amen.

A prayer of thanksgiving for the URC

God of our family of churches, this week we celebrate the 50th anniversary of your United Reformed Church. We pray in gratitude for the vision of those who came together to form her, in thankfulness for those who minister in her today, and in trust for those yet to join her community. May joy be her strength and love be her legacy. May she enrich the world she serves in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hymn Praise my soul the king of heaven (R&S 104)

Readings: Amos 6:1a, 4-9

Luke 16:19-31


Amos savages the idle rich, those who profit from a system skewed in their favour, blissfully unaware that their world is about to come to a juddering halt. He paints a picture of an indolent elite, dining on rich food, listening to music, adorned in luxury. The implication is that these people have profited from the ruin of the nation and are living with a false sense of security. Those who are profiting most from the ruin of the country will be the first to be swept up in the cataclysm of exile.

In our Gospel reading Jesus tells a parable about an unnamed rich man and a poor man called Lazarus. In this life, one of these has all the comforts while the other has nothing; but in the afterlife, their fates are reversed. Jesus challenges his audience not to neglect the demands of justice in this life.

Hymn When I needed a neighbour were you there


Recently many of us have taken part in the Synod financial consultation conducted by the facilitation group (which will report back to the October Synod meeting) and at the end of the questionnaire we were asked, ‘If your church was given £100,000 what would you do with it?’ A few weeks ago I posed a similar question in the home service reflection – what would you do if you won a huge sum of money? – and looked at what the character Tevye in the musical Fiddler on the Roof dreamed of doing ‘if I were a rich man’. In effect the rich men of Amos’ time as well as the rich man in Jesus’ parable are in the position that Tevye dreams of. Tevye tempered his dreams of a comfortable idle life with his declaration that he would have the time (which he now lacked) ‘to sit in the synagogue and pray’. No doubt the rich men in our readings too would have considered themselves to be faithful devout people whose wealth showed that they were in God’s favour.

There are many songs about riches, money and wealth as it is such an important part of life. Such songs as, Money, money, money by Abba, Money money (Money makes the world go round) from Cabaret, (a different song) Money makes the world go round by G-Unit, Money (that’s what I want) recorded by many groups including the Beatles and the Flying Lizards, and I expect you can think of many more. But there are many more songs too that raise awareness of the less fortunate among us. The folk/pop boom of the 1960’s and 70’s gave rise to many ‘protest’ songs against war and involvement in conflicts around the world and also against injustice and poverty. The latter include The Streets of London, The Family of Man, When I needed a Neighbour, and even Eleanor Rigby!

In Faith, Folk & Clarity, a song book from 1967, there is a song called Dives and Lazarus based on this parable whose first line says, ‘Now Dives was a charitable man…’ The song is preceded by a quote, ‘someone once said: “It was not what Dives did that got him into jail, it was what he did not do that got him into hell.” Another song, Half the world (is starving/half the world is over-fed), is headed, ‘Each day the chasm separating the haves and the have-nots deepens. Only a failure to love can fully explain this.’ (Michel Quoist). Over 2800 years since Amos, 2000 since Christ and 55 since FF&C it seems things have hardly changed.

It is notable in the parable however that only Lazarus is named, the rich man is not (the traditional name Dives is simply Latin for rich). A name is very important and by naming Lazarus the poor man is given value which is denied to the rich man. Could Lazarus realistically have been embraced by his rich neighbour? How could the gap be bridged? How can we give value to those in our own society who are marginalised and ignored?

Hymn The church is like a table (R&S 480)

Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray to God who loves the poor with an eternity of compassion, who has demonstrated that compassion in his Son, Jesus Christ, and who reaches out to the poor in the power of the Holy Spirit.

We pray for the church, here and throughout the world, that she may be filled with the compassion of Christ and may learn to live in right relationship with others who need, not only the gospel, but the very necessities of food, water, shelter and health. God of infinite compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for a world in which the many sit and suffer at the gate of the few, that justice may prevail,

that compassion may rule, and that the wealth of the few may be used more effectively to alleviate the poverty of the many. God of infinite compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for our local communities, and all who suffer unnoticed by the many. May God grant us eyes to see the needs of our neighbours, and hearts to reach out to them in the name of Christ. God of infinite compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the neglected, the abused, the destitute and the penniless, especially those known to us personally. May their needs be met, their suffering alleviated, and their place in the community established. God of infinite compassion, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for those who have died, for all that was good in their lives. As they now enjoy your nearer presence, Comfort those who grieve their passing, and grant that through their sorrow, they may be encouraged to bring joy to others. God of infinite compassion, hear our prayer.

We make these prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, our strong, compassionate redeemer.  Amen.

Hymn The kingdom of God is justice and joy (R&S 200)


May we go out with eyes newly opened to see the needs of others, with ears that hear the pleas of the poor, and hands ready to reach out to help.
And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, go with us and remain with us always. Amen.


Prayers © Roots for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.

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