Sunday 22nd March: HC Mothering Sunday

You may wish to light a candle and have some reflective music playing in the background.

Opening Prayer:

The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. God is close to those who trust in him.

O Lord, open our lips

and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Pause for reflection as you offer the day to God.

As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and for ever. Amen.

You may wish to say Psalm 23 or another psalm here, such as Psalm 16 or Psalm 139.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; therefore can I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters.

He shall refresh my soul and guide me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;

for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me;

you have anointed my head with oil and my cup shall be full.

Surely goodness and loving mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning is now and shall be for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 43:1-3

But now thus says the Lord,

he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;

when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.

Declaration of faith:

We are not people of fear:

we are people of courage.

We are not people who protect our own safety:

we are people who protect our neighbours’ safety.

We are not people of greed:

we are people of generosity.

We are your people God,

giving and loving,

wherever we are,

whatever it costs

For as long as it takes

wherever you call us.

Amen.

Some links to songs from Sarah:

Great are you Lord by Amanda Cook is a song that we haven’t done before. It includes the words ‘we won’t hold back our praise ‘cos you are worthy every day’. This is a long version – but you could just listen to the first part of it.
Holy Shadowing by Graham Kendrick was a song we sang last week.  It’s about God as our protection and strength.  In Psalm 91 God offers us the shadow of his wings – it is there that we find refuge.  At this time of uncertainty that is a great image to hold on to.
God I look to You by Francesca Battistelli.  God I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed, give me wisdom…Hallelujah our God reigns.
My God is so Big  – For our younger church family and those who like actions this includes some slightly different words to the ones that we normally sing and some interesting graphics.
And a link to a song sent to me by Stuart which he thought would help people. It would lead well into some prayer time. I cry out to where my help comes from.

Trendlewood 22/3/20 Steve Tilley

Lent 4 – Romans series

Romans 6:23

The turbulent times I began with last week have become more so.

Over the next few weeks a short text-based sermon will appear here.

Our series for Lent is on the discussion of the gospel Paul makes in Romans 1-8. It’s still a good time to place our feet on the ground in the certainty of the gospel and our identity in Christ.

So far we have seen:

Romans 1:20 God’s qualities are obvious

Romans 3:23 Yet all have sinned

Romans 5:8 And Christ died for us

After last week’s passage, if we read on, we find Paul discussing the relationship between Jesus and Adam. Genesis 3 is a story to illustrate a first sin, depicted as an act of obedience in breaking a single rule. The Gospel, says Paul in 5:18-19, is the story of the first, and all subsequent sins, being redeemed (bought back) in Jesus.

And Paul’s conversation with himself continues in chapter six. What is the relationship between all sins being forgiven in Christ and trying not to sin?

In one of his moments when he was presenting himself as a Christian, Bob Dylan said ‘No-one does what is right; they just do what they want and then repent.’

He was, perhaps, a bit more cynical than I would want to be. This week has seen some people embark on determined acts of kindness and others on being selfish. If we’re realistic then we might acknowledge that we’ve all probably done a bit of both.

Paul suggests that rather than being slaves to sin (6:20) we should strive for holiness (6:22).

He summarises in 6:23 ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Christ’s death changed all of our futures. Despite the current uncertainty about the future, our decision to be followers of Jesus offers us a rootedness. Because of what he has done for us and because if he loved the world then so should we.

For further thought

Have you received this gift?

What are you doing with it?

What does it mean for you to be a follower of Jesus in uncertain times?

 

Prayers

 

We were unable to acknowledge the role played by mothers and all the women in our congregation today. Sorry there are no posies this year. This prayer was written and published on the Church of England web-site at the beginning of March. It is helpful

 

Loving God,
Thank you for mums and children
and for all the joy of family life.
Be with those who are grieving because they have no mother;
Be close to those who are struggling because they have no children;
Be near to those who are sad because they are far apart from those they love.
Let your love be present in every home,
And help your church to have eyes to see and ears to hear the needs of all who come.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Lent Collect

Almighty and everlasting God,

you hate nothing that you have made

and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:

create and make in us new and contrite hearts

that we, worthily lamenting our sins

and acknowledging our wretchedness,

may receive from you, the God of all mercy,

perfect remission and forgiveness;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

 

For our world during the coronavirus outbreak

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you taught us to love our neighbour,
and to care for those in need
as if we were caring for you.
In this time of anxiety, give us strength
to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,
and to assure the isolated
of our love, and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.

 

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Amen.

 

Some Further Prayers

Mothering Sunday prayers:

God of Provision and Unconditional Love,

On this day when we acknowledge the importance of motherhood among us, we first give thanks that you are a loving parent to us all. From your being all life was born, and in your bosom all creation is nurtured. You have formed us in your image as your children, and gathered us together as a brood under your wing. You have united us as kindred members of one human family, and we are grateful to be your offspring together. We celebrate your divine love, reflected in human expressions of motherhood.

We give you thanks for the mothers among us, and ask that you strengthen them in their daily tasks. Grant them wisdom in the lessons they teach, patience in the discipline they foster, and persistence in their promotion of decency and compassion, both by word and example. May they be given the honour and thanks they deserve but often do not receive.

We thank you for all motherly figures: grandmothers, aunts, sisters, wives, step-mothers, foster mothers, guardians, babysitters, teachers, health care providers, neighbours, friends, loved ones, and many others, who practice self-sacrifice and embody compassion to all who are privileged to be in their influence. Grant them vigour to carry on their work, and the satisfaction that the holy privilege of their task affords.

We acknowledge to you, O God, that even amid our grateful celebration, many of us come with restless spirits, reluctant to name the difficulties of this day.

For some, this day brings the sorrowful awareness of their own inability to conceive biological children. Draw your tender spirit near their feelings of grief. We pray for those who have suffered miscarriages, those fatigued by fertility treatments, and those struggling through the process of adoption. May they remember that in your power and through your church, they can still leave a lasting legacy beyond themselves.

For some, this day is marked by loneliness and grief, as they spend this first Mother’s Day as a widower, an orphan, or a parent who has lost a child. To those who today live in the wake of the death of a loved one, grant glimpses of the resurrection. Bring to them a steady restoration of their broken hearts, allow them to live into their future with hope, and empower them to carry out the legacy of lessons instilled within them.

For some, this is a day that surfaces ongoing tensions that exist within our personal relationships and family dynamics. We ask for healing from the wounds of our past, a path of forgiveness for wrongs both experienced and committed, and the rebuilding of trust forged in honesty, authenticity, and love.

We give you thanks for the wide spectrum of motherhood represented among us today: new mothers and young mothers whose children are in their most tender years; mothers of grown children who transition into empty nests and a new chapter of self-discovery; mothers and grandmothers of advanced years, whose twilight of life is marked by frailty of body but a potency of spirit. Theirs is a cumulative reminder that though our lives are marked by transition and change, your nurture and affection for all your children remains the same.

Therefore, remind us to live with a child-like faith, curious to every wondrous mystery, attentive to your every instruction, obedient to your every command, and willing to share with every one of your children. We give you thanks, O God, who is a loving Mother and Father to us all, and in whose name we pray,

Amen.

Prayers for the current situation we face:

Lord Jesus Christ,

you taught us to love our neighbour,

and to care for those in need

as if we were caring for you.

In this time of anxiety, give us strength

to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick,

and to assure the isolated

of our love, and your love,

for your name’s sake.

Amen.

Merciful God,

we entrust to your tender care

those who are ill or in pain,

knowing that whenever danger threatens

your everlasting arms are there to hold them safe.

Comfort and heal them,

and restore them to health and strength;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Gracious God,

give skill, sympathy and resilience

to all who are caring for the sick,

and your wisdom to those searching for a cure.

Strengthen them with your Spirit,

that through their work many will be restored to health;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

O God,

help me to trust you,

help me to know that you are with me,

help me to believe that nothing can separate me 

from your love

revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

God of compassion,

be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.

In their loneliness, be their consolation;

in their anxiety, be their hope;

in their darkness, be their light;

through him who suffered alone on the cross,

but reigns with you in glory,

Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Blessing:

May God, who gave birth to all creation, bless us:

May God, who became incarnate by an earthly mother, bless us: May God, who broods as a mother over her children, bless us.

May Almighty God bless us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever.

Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.