Didsbury URC – Worshipping Together on 4th October 2020

 

This week’s service is led by Mrs Anne Wilde.

Opening Sentences:

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

Hymn 41 ‘For the beauty of the earth,’  read or sing.

  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 thee 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,                                                                       Gracious God, to thee we raise
    This our sacrifice of praise.
  3. For the joy of ear and eye,      
    Of the heart and mind’s delight                                                                  
    For the mystic harmony,                                 
    Linking sense to sound and sight,                                                                     Gracious God, to thee we raise
    This our sacrifice of praise.
  4. For the joy of human love,      
    Brother sister parent child,                                                                 
    Friends on earth, and friends above,                                              Pleasures pure and undefiled,                                                                            Gracious God, to thee we raise
    This our sacrifice of praise.
  5. For each perfect gift of thine,      
    To our race so freely given,                                                                 
    Graces human and divine,                                                                    Flowers of earth and buds of heaven,                                                              Gracious God, to thee we raise
    This our sacrifice of praise.

Reading.            ISAIAH 5:1- 7.      

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard:

My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.

He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines.

He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well.

Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.

What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it?

When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?

Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard:

I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed;

I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled.

I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.

The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.

And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;  for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

 

Meditation.  

Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey! Great Spirit!

Behold me and learn to hear my feeble voice.

You lived first and are older than all need, all prayer.

All things belong to you. Day in and day out, you are the life of things.

You said to me, when I was still young and could hope, that in difficulty I should send a voice to you.

Today I send a voice for a people in despair.

To the centre of the world you have taken me and revealed the goodness

and beauty of the greening earth and the shapes of things as they should be.

At the centre of this sacred hoop you have said that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running, Great Spirit; I must say that the tree has never bloomed.

Here, old I stand, and the tree is withered. Again, I recall the great vision you sent me.

It may be that some little root still lives. Nourish it, that it may leaf and fill with singing birds.

Hear me for my people’s sake. In sorrow I send a feeble voice.

O make my people live.

Prayer:        

We have forgotten who we are:

we have thought only of ourselves and turned our backs on the cycles of life.

Great Spirit hear us!    

We have forgotten who we are: We have exploited the poor of the earth;

we have misused our knowledge and abused our power.

Great Spirit hear us!

We have forgotten who we are: now the land is barren,

The water poisoned, the air polluted, the forest and its creatures are dying and

humans are despairing.

Great Spirit hear us!

We want to remember who we are. We ask for forgiveness; we ask for vision;

we ask for strength to change; we ask for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

 

Reading:           GAL 5:16, 19-25.           

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

 

Dreams and visions.

Amongst the Native American people there is an ancient story of Iktomi, the teacher of wisdom who turned himself into a spider, and visited the Chief of the Chippewa Nation with a plan to help his people use their dreams and visions.

He wove an enormous, giant web above them to catch all the dreams. He knew that the good

dreams would have directions to get through the web, but the bad dreams would get stuck and dissolve in the sunlight.

Once the Chief understood Iktomi’s teaching, he instructed everyone to make a dream catcher so that they could reach their potential.

                          

For the Native North American there is one Great Spirit who has created us, is in us and guides us. This spirit pervades all creation and links us with each other and the earth; so we have responsibility to care.

What kind of things might we call ‘bad dreams’, what should be caught in the dream catcher and be left to dissolve in the Son’s light?

What kinds of things should be kept in the dream maker and left to dissolve in the Son’s light?

Refer back to the Galatians reading to help you decide, then write those ‘bad dreams’ on the dream catcher.

 

Prayer:

O Great Spirit whose breath gives life to the world, whose voice is heard in the breeze, we need your strength and wisdom to transform our lives.

Cause us to walk in the beauty of the earth in love, joy and peace.

Cause us to walk in the wisdom of the earth that we might be patient, kind and generous.

Cause us to walk in the power of the earth that we might be faithful, gentle and know self-control.

Make us ready to come to you with clean hands, and steady eyes, so that when life fades, like the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame. Amen.

 

Reading:        ISA 6:1- 8           

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” 

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Catching the vision

Look at the spider’s web.

Notice how every single thread is interconnected.

If one thread were to break the whole web would fall apart.

If this pandemic has shown us anything, it has shown us just how interconnected the world is.

Where the poor are exploited, we are all made the poorer.

Where democracy is stolen as in Hong Kong,

we all lose something.

Where a 100year old man and a 5year old boy raise millions of pounds for charity,

we are all nobler, greater. We have responsibility to each other.

We all need to treat everyone else as we would have them treat us.

If someone is hurting, as in Lebanon, we should all care.

When someone is happy, we should all be glad.

If something needs doing, we all need to think what we can do.

If someone has too much to do, we all need to ensure they are relieved.

This applies to the whole of creation too.

When animals are treated well the whole creation is better for it.

When the air or the water is kept clean, we all benefit from it.

When poor husbandry creates the conditions where a virus can thrive, we all suffer.

Whenever we treat creation carelessly, we all suffer.

Whenever we take responsibility for caring for the world everyone benefits.

Jesus said ‘I am in you, you are in me, I am in the Father’

Not must not playing ‘god’ in pride and power display God in love, humility and service.

Who is going to be responsible for Creation and all creatures?

Dare you say: ‘Here am I, send me’

 

Prayer: Great Spirit, every part of this earth is sacred.

Every shining pine needle, every humming insect,

every human hand, tender or worn.

We are part of each other; whatever befalls one, befalls us all.

All things are connected. we belong to the earth and one another.

You are God of all things, we did not weave the web of life; we are only a strand of it;

whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

We pledge ourselves today to remember our dreams of love,

joy and peace, patience, kindness, generosity and self-control,

to take them from the web of life and fill them with our energy.

We pledge ourselves today to live in harmony with your Great Spirit

and work for the re-creation of the earth,

so that all her people will know justice and love and your kingdom will come.

we pray in the names of Jesus. Amen.

Hymn   532 ‘Lord of creation, to you be all praise!’   read or sing


Lord of creation, to you be all praise!                                
Most mighty your working, most wondrous your ways!     
Your glory and might are beyond us to tell,                                        
And yet in the heart of the humble you dwell.                    

Lord of all power, I give you my will,                                   
In joyful obedience your tasks to fulfil.                                  
Your bondage is freedom; your service is song;                  
And, held in your keeping, my weakness is strong.

Lord of all wisdom, l give you my mind,                                   
Rich truth that surpasses my knowledge to find.                                  
What eye has not seen and what ear has not heard;                  
Is taught by your Spirit and shines from your word.    

Lord of the bounty, l give you my heart                                   
I praise and adore you for all you impart.                                  
Your love to inspire me, your counsel to guide,                  
Your presence to shield me, whatever betide.  

Lord of all being, I give you my all;                                   
If e’re I disown you, I stumble and fall:                              
But, led in your service and word to obey,                  
I’ll walk in your freedom to the end of the way.   

Prayer of Intercession:

Great Spirit, we are hurting because our brothers and sisters are hurting.

They are hungry or frightened, persecuted or imprisoned.

They live with war on their doorsteps or abuse in their homes.

We lift the people of Lebanon and especially Beirut.

Hear us for our people’s sake.

O make our people live!

 

Great Spirit. We are hurting because our brothers and sisters are hurting.

They are anxious or confused, they live in loneliness or depression.

We lift the people across the world affected by the current Pandemic.

Hear us for our people’s sake.

O make our people live!

 

Great Spirit. We are hurting because our brothers and sisters are hurting.

Especially…………..(name people in your hearts and on your minds)

Hear us for our people’s sake.

O make our people live!

 

Great Spirit. We are hurting because our brothers and sisters are hurting.

They need your wisdom and skill, they carry the weight of government or science.

We lift the people working towards a vaccine.

Hear us for our people’s sake.

O make our people live!

Great Spirit. You lived first and are older than all need, all prayer.

All things belong to you and you are the life of things.

Thank you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

                             

The Lord’s Prayer.

 

Hymn (StF) 663 ‘I, the Lord of sea and sky’

I, the Lord of sea and sky,                                                        
I have heard my people cry.                                      
All who dwell in dark and sin,                                  
My hand will save.                                                                     
I who made the stars of night,                                               
I will make their darkness bright.                                          
Who will bear my light to them?                                            
Whom shall I send?                                                                      

Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart

I, the Lord of snow and rain,                                                        
I have borne my people’s pain.                                      
I have wept for love of them,                                  
They turn away.                                                                     
I will break their hearts of stone,                                                                        Give them hearts for love alone.                                          
I will speak my word to them                                          
Whom shall I send?                                                                      

Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart

I, the Lord of wind and flame
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart

 

Blessing:    

Father Great Spirit,

Bless us with strength to understand and eyes to see.

Bless us that we might walk the soft earth as relatives to all that live.

Bless us for the sake of our brother Jesus.

Amen.