CHRISTIAN AID Caring for people and this beautiful earth

Christian Aid week

This short act of worship has been prepared for you. I invite you to share in a few moments with God, knowing that other people within Paulton, Trinity and Chew Stoke Methodist Churches are sharing this act of worship with you.

Revd Martin Slocombe

Today marks the start of Christian Aid week.  The prayers included in this service are taken from material provided by Christian Aid.  (Double click on the video to play.)  Collections have been delayed until later in the year due to Covid-19 restrictions, but the work of Christian Aid goes on.  Personal donations can be made at https://www.christianaid.org.uk/appeals/key-appeals/christian-aid-week/worship

 

Christian Aid

 

Psalm 98 - Praise the Judge of the World
1 O sing to the Lord a new song,
   for he has done marvellous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
   have gained him victory. 
2 The Lord has made known his victory;
   he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. 
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
   to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
   the victory of our God. 

Hymn – StF 363 - Shout to the Lord - www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4

 

           My Jesus, my Saviour,
           Lord there is none like you.
           All of my days I want to praise
           the wonders of your mighty love.
           My comfort, my shelter,
           tower of refuge and strength,
           let every breath, all that I am,
           never cease to worship you.

                Shout to the Lord all the earth, let us sing,
                power and majesty, praise to the King.
                Mountains bow down
                and the seas will roar
                at the sound of your name.
                I sing for joy at the work of your hands.
                Forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand.
                Nothing compares to the
                promise I have in you.

Darlene Zschech (b. 1965)

 

Prayer

Come and celebrate our common home, as we gather with the family of humanity.

With the mountains, islands and deserts, we honour the glory of God in creation.

With the lakes, rivers and seas, we come to the source of living water.

With the land, its soil, seeds and sustenance, we give thanks for God’s generous provision.

With the forests of great trees, the lungs of the planet, we will sing with joy and clap our hands.

We join with the whole of creation, inspired by those who have gone before and the prophetic voices of today.   We dare to praise and pray for another possible world.

To the glory of God,

Amen.

Prayer of Confession

For the beauty of the Earth; desecrated by pollution, extinguished by forest fires, choked by plastic waste; Christ, our God, to you we plead -  forgive us for systemic greed.

For the urgency of this hour; ignored by apathy or procrastination, wasted by ineffective decisions, denied by economic interests; Christ, our God and Saviour, forgive us for selfish short-term behaviour.

For the joy of human love; fractured by forced migration, crushed by bereavement, lost to typhoons, floods, starvation; Christ, our God, bringer of justice, forgive us for this climate crisis.

God you know us.
You know that we can be loving and kind;
and you know that sometimes we get things wrong.
We’re sorry for the times we hurt other people,
forget to listen to you, and don’t bother to take care of your world.

God forgive us.
Jesus bless us.
God’s Spirit help us to grow in love.

Amen.

Our readings for today exhort us to love each other.  This means being mindful of how our decisions not only impact upon us, but also on others, perhaps far away.  If we love God, we must also love each other, and therefore we need to be conscious how we impact upon their lives.

Readings

1 John 5:1-6 - Faith Conquers the World

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, 4for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. 5Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

Testimony concerning the Son of God

6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

John 15:9-17

9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Hymn – StF 710 – Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVPHKznhrrg

 

   1      Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends.
           Peace, perfect peace, is the gift of Christ our Lord.

   2      Love, perfect love, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Love, perfect love, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends.
           Love, perfect love, is the gift of Christ our Lord.

   3      Faith, perfect faith, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Faith, perfect faith, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends.
           Faith, perfect faith, is the gift of Christ our Lord.

   4      Hope, perfect hope, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Hope, perfect hope, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends.
           Hope, perfect hope, is the gift of Christ our Lord.

   5      Joy, perfect joy, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Joy, perfect joy, is the gift of Christ our Lord.
           Thus, says the Lord, will the world know my friends.
           Joy, perfect joy, is the gift of Christ our Lord.

Kevin Mayhew (b. 1942)

Reflection

There is a well-known phrase, “you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family”.  That may well be true.  It may also be true, that given the choice, some might not have chosen members of their families to be their friends.  Whilst other people have friends that they are much closer to than those they are related to by blood.  But, as John writes in his letter, we are all children of God.

The commandment to love one another is a core tenet of not only the Christian faith, but other faiths as well.  It reflects the inherent value of every person as a created being of God, and their equality to each other.  As children of God, we share a common Father, and if we love God as Father, we must love each other as equal siblings.

But how far does our divine family extend?  If we are children of God, then that encompasses all people, wherever they live throughout the world.  As we watch our tv screens and see disasters unfolding in far-flung corners of the earth, as we are doing for India this week, we grieve collectively for the suffering of humanity, but it is not quite the same as we felt when it was our neighbours or loved ones who were being rushed into hospital.

The Christian Aid campaign this year is centred on the effects of climate change, which is a global threat to us all, but inevitably will be felt most strongly in the poorer countries who are less well equipped to deal with it.  In the developed world, we have to take responsibility for our actions, and for their effects on other members of our global family.  This is becoming an increasingly worrying time, and the time to take action is now.  The reality is that we need to change our habits, which might be inconvenient to us, but could be life-changing to those living elsewhere in the world.  We may not be asked to lay down our lives, but we should be prepared to make some changes to our lifestyles to show our love for others, and our commitment to improving their lives.

As a District, we are seeking to become an Eco-District, and churches are being encouraged to engage with Eco matters.  This is much more than just changing our lightbulbs, but can also include where we invest our money, buying green energy even if that costs us more, and travelling less.  I saw recently that the Methodist Church has withdrawn its investments in Shell as a direct consequence of this commitment to reducing our footprint upon the earth.

In each reading, the impetus for loving others is our response to a God who first loves us.  Therefore, any failure on our part not to value others, wherever they live on this planet, is also a rejection of the love which God shows to us.  If we can see everyone as being caught up in an intricate web of loving relationships, it enables us to recognise our interconnectedness and our spiritual connection with everyone on earth.

The challenge is, of course, not only to love those who are like us, but to also love those who are different.  As parents, we love our children, recognising that each is different and unique, and this is also how God sees us.  May we accept all humanity with the same openness, and in so doing, be the lasting fruit of his love in this world.  Amen

Prayers for others

God of abundant life, we see your goodness all around us and we thank you for every part of it;

from the plants and animals which play their part in complex ecosystems, to the dry deserts and stormy seas which test the limits of life.

We pray that in this time of climate crisis and ecological emergency, you may help us to rediscover your love of creation and to reflect that in our own lives.

God, in your mercy hear our prayer.

God who speaks through unexpected people,
We thank you for contemporary prophets who are challenging us to act on climate change; for indigenous people and their invaluable knowledge of the land and sea where they live,
for scientists dedicating their careers to warning us about changes to the planet, and for young people striking for their future.

We pray for the work of the Climate Change Conference COP 26 to be held in Glasgow later this year.  We pray that you will help those in power to hear the prophetic voices.  Help them to see beyond short-term political priorities and business plans. and give them wisdom and courage when they face difficult decisions.

God, in your mercy hear our prayer.

God of second chances, we recognise the damage we have done to the Earth and the injustice we see in society every day, all of it fuelled by worship of profit and possessions.

We pray for the coming of a better world with justice, kindness and humility at its heart.  We ask that you guide us to be co-creators of this new world.

Give us confidence to follow the prophetic voices
to stand against injustice to people and to planet.
So that together, in your strength, we stop this climate crisis.

God, in your mercy hear our prayer.

We pray for the North East Somerset & Bath Circuit, of which we are a part, for it’s ministers, lay workers, churches and congregations – especially this week we join with the Circuit as we pray together for Peasedown St John, and their minister, David Winstanley.

As part of Churches Together in Radstock & Westfield we pray for our own church at Trinity Westfield.

We pray for our families and friends, and for all those in need at this present time.

And we pray for ourselves …

We ask all this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray together.

The Lord’s Prayer

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEbuYRJNq6E

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.

Amen.

    

Hymn StF 102 – For the beauty of the earth - www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzlYTe8uNdY

 

 1        For the beauty of the earth,
           for the beauty of the skies,
           for the love which from our birth
           over and around us lies:
                Gracious God, to you we raise
                this our sacrifice of praise.

   2      For the beauty of each hour
           of the day and of the night,
           hill and vale, and tree and flower,
           sun and moon and stars of light:

   3      For the joy of ear and eye,
           for the heart and mind’s delight,
           for the mystic harmony
           linking sense to sound and sight:

   4      For the joy of human love,
           brother, sister, parent, child,
           friends on earth, and friends above,
           pleasures pure and undefiled:

   5      For each perfect gift and sign
           of your love so freely given,
           graces human and divine,
           flowers of earth and buds of heaven:

Folliott Sandford Pierpoint (1835–1917)

Blessing

May God bless us with wonder at creation’s glory.
May God bless us with fury at creation’s spoiling. May God bless us with courage at this critical hour.

And may the blessing of God, Father,
Son and Holy Spirit, rest upon us and
on all creation,
this day and for the future to come.
Amen.

The World

CCLI Licence 354889

 

 


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