Home Service for Sunday 7th May 2023

Prayers of Approach

Dear Lord, as we gather in your name, listen to us and bring us peace; be our rock and our refuge, that we may be made strong; let your face shine upon us, that we may show your love.

Almighty God, your Word has led us here; your truth has echoed in our minds, your Spirit has touched our lives, your being is within us. You are more than we see and more than we know, more than we can comprehend or imagine or wish for. You are ours and we are yours, and together, we are your family. To you be all praise and glory. Amen

Jesus said, I am the Way – and so we come! Jesus said, I am the Way and the Truth – we come and receive. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life – we come, to receive, and respond.

Lord Jesus, help us to become more like you, so that others will see you in us. Spirit of the living God fall on us afresh today and remake us in God’s image. Amen.

Hymn Blessed city, heavenly Salem (R&S 559)

Readings: 1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14


The quotations in 1 Peter show that God’s people can expect to face hostility and rejection from those who don’t accept Jesus’ divine status, and our gospel reading too is heavy with foreboding. But each reading also offers hope in God, who is faithful and will care for his people in life and death; his love is steadfast. The purpose of this love is not, however, simply to help God’s people to cope with persecution. Their role remains to channel God’s blessing and to bear witness to his love, made real in Jesus. Today’s reading offers the imagery of living stones. Jesus is compared to the cornerstone that holds a building together. The same stone that was once rejected has become the most important. As Christians, we can be reassured and comforted by the support Jesus gives. There is also a lesson to be learnt that, while we can feel cast aside and unimportant, God turns this around and says we are important. God can still use us to help build his Church.

In the Gospel reading Jesus speaks to his disciples who are worried by the prospect of his absence. He reassures them that they will be with him and assures them that he will be with them in a new way. He tells them that his leaving will open up his relationship with his heavenly Father to them. He explains that he is the way, the truth and the life, and that anyone who has seen him has seen the Father. He also promises that he will do anything asked in his name.

Hymn Jesus the Lord says, ‘I am the bread…’ (R&S 199)


Have you ever played with Lego or Duplo with a young child? Watching them build can be at times exciting as they put the bricks together in ways that you would never have thought of doing, resulting in some very unique and creative shapes or buildings, and at other times frustrating as the bricks are just stuck together any old how, making some rather weak and wobbly structures. O how you itch to tell them bricks should be laid alternately, overlapping to hold adjacent bricks together to make a strong wall and, when two walls meet at a corner, a brick should go across the corner linking and strengthening both walls. And of course you can use similar techniques to build an arch or create an opening in a wall, although most Lego sets come with arched bricks these days.

The reading from 1 Peter is a lesson in good building, though in building a strong Christian fellowship and community rather than a physical building. And we have images of more than one building technique and of reusing or recycling previously rejected material. The new Christian community was a reproach, a stone to trip over. It was a stumbling block to those who thought they were right and in control. The Greek word used for the stone which makes them stumble, ‘scandalon’ has given us our word ‘scandal’, an insult thrown at those early Christians.

God however transforms that rejected stone into the most precious and useful stone of all, the cornerstone, the living stone on which the Church is built. ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’ (1 Peter 2:4).

Those who regarded the followers of Christ as a ‘scandal’ saw themselves as standing firm under the protection of the two pillars of Judaism, the Law and the Prophets. It’s almost as if they were standing under an arch with the keystone holding them together. Some commentators however have said that while the Pharisees hide under it, the Christians stand on top of it. The Church is built of ‘living stones’ over a vaulted crypt, on the sure foundation of Christ.

And it is the responsibility of all ‘living stones’, not just leaders, to witness to Christ. We might look at our church building and ask what it says about us. Is it open and valuable to the local community? Is it accessible to people of all abilities? Does it reflect a living community, or just a glorious past? Does it speak of a present purpose and a future hope? Stones embody stories. If only the stones of a church could talk!

Hymn Colours of day dawn into the mind (R&S 572)

Prayers of Intercession

In a world where there is warfare and violence, many people live in fear of the bullet and the bomb; many have had their lives and livelihoods destroyed; many grieve for loved ones who have been killed. That they may know your strength and peace, loving God: be for them a rock and a stronghold.

In a world where harvests have failed; where there have been droughts and floods; many do not have money to pay for food and power; many are reaching the end of their tether. That they may know your strength and peace, loving God: be for them a rock and a stronghold.

In a world where many people are alone; many do not know where to look for comfort and encouragement; many see no purpose or future; some cannot see the point of anything. That they may know your strength and peace, loving God: be for them a rock and a stronghold.

In our lives when we struggle and doubt; when we don’t know what to say or do; when life overwhelms us and we turn to you. That we may know your strength and peace, loving God: be for us a rock and a stronghold.

In the name of the living Lord Jesus, our Saviour and companion. Amen.

Hymn The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord (R&S 566)


May God bless you, guide you and direct you. May God bless you, give you strength and the assurance of his love. May God bless you and fill your life with his presence – today and always. Amen.

Prayers and other material (adapted) © Roots for Churches Ltd. Used by permission.

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