( From Peter Tavy Chapel – with thanks to Rev Paul Smith and Graham Shillabeer for its preparation)
Call to worship:
Introductory verses from Psalm 145
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendour of your majesty, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
and I will declare your greatness.
And so as we come into God’s presence in this act of worship this we pause, and consider that the
Lord Almighty is interested in us all, our situations, our hopes and fears, and our lives ahead.
On the glorious splendour of your majesty, I will meditate.
Hymn – Fill thou my life O Lord my God (StF 73). (Horatius Bonar)
Fill thou my life O Lord my God in every part with praise;
that my whole being may proclaim thy being and thy ways.
Not for the lip of praise alone not e’en the praising heart
I ask but for a life made up of praise in every part.
Praise in the common things of life, its goings out and in;
praise in each duty and each deed, however small and mean.
Fill every part of me with praise; let all my being speak
of thee and of thy love, O Lord, poor though I be and weak.
So shalt thou, gracious Lord, from me receive the glory due;
and so shall I begin on earth the song for ever new.
So shalt no part of day or night from sacredness be free;
but all my life, in every step, be fellowship with thee.
Collect for purity –
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We confess our need to know again your purifying love, which causes us to rejoice in the knowledge that by your word of forgiveness we are made whole.
Loving God you show yourself to us in so many different ways; in times of joy and of sorrow, in experiences of beauty and of challenge, in periods of rest and of activity. In whatever state we find ourselves in, help us today to be open to experience your presence as good news, and help us to respond by sharing that good news in word and action, that others may know the wonder of your love for themselves.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer (you might like to use this version)
Our Father, who is in heaven, holy is your name.
Help us do your will here on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us what we need each day and let us be grateful.
Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
And guide us away from evil.
For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever.
St Matthew Ch 13 : 31- 35
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the
largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a
woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds[b] of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to
them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.
Colossians Ch 1 : 1 – 20
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from
God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people—
the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit. For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
We join with St Paul, as in his letter to the Church at Colosse, he gives thanks for the Faith that bears fruit, the Church that spreads the good news of the gospel and the Hope that we have in the forgiveness of sins and the supremacy of Jesus, to the glory of God.
Hymn – Come all who look to Christ today (StF 678 – Richard Jones)
Come all who look to Christ today, stretch out your hands, enlarge your mind
Together share his living way where all who humbly seek will find.
Come, all who will from every place; find here new powers of unity,
accept the Spirit’s strong embrace which binds us in community.
Come, young and old from every church, bring all your treasuries of prayer,
join the dynamic Spirit’s search to press beyond the truths we share.
Bring your traditions’ richest store, your hymns and rites and cherished creeds;
Explore our visions, pray for more, since God delights to meet fresh needs.
Come, trust in Christ and live in peace, anticipate that final light
When strife and bigotry shall cease, and faith be lost in praise and sight.
If, at this time last year, someone had told me that we would be in this position today I would have laughed at him! It was unbelievable that within a few months every life on the planet would be touched in some way by Covid-19. But it has happened. Just think about that – wherever you go in the whole wide world every person you meet knows something of the trial and distress which this pandemic has caused. And it’s all happened within a few short months. In less than six months every life on the planet has been affected in some way by this awful thing.
What is even more amazing is that this virus which has touched every living person’s life in some way is so small. In fact it is so small that you can’t even see it with the naked eye. Yes something so small has made such a big difference to all our lives.
Of course Jesus knew a lot about little things making a big difference. He talked about mustard seeds (Matt 13:31) Tiny seeds producing great results. I see this all the time on my allotment. It amazes me and I hope I never lose the sense of wonder about it. I think of foxgloves. The seeds are so small that they are like dust, but the results are so dramatic and beautiful. Standing tall they seem to say ‘Look at me, from such a little thing.’
Now Jesus says that’s what the Kingdom of God is like. That is to say, when God is in charge you can expect very tiny things to have spectacular results. You don’t have to have big things to make a big difference. You don’t have to be a big person in the eyes of the world, someone who’s important or influential. You can just be the person God has made you and do a little thing for Him and let Him do the rest. Because that is the kind of thing that God is really good at.
That’s the story of the gospel. It started with just twelve simply working class men, and one of them was a bad ‘un! Today the message of God’s transforming love spans the world. Wherever you go as soon as you see a cross you know – that’s where the message of Jesus has made a difference. Just a little thing – a simple invitation to fishermen – and such a big difference. If you take everything with a Christian reference out of society you wouldn’t have much left. Think of all the music and art which He has inspired, all the progress in social justice which has been championed in His name, yes and the way that all our lives have been touched by His love; it all started with such a little thing.
Someone reading this might be involved in the big things, but most of us, I guess, will never hit the headlines. We are just little people in the eyes of the world, doing little things; but we know that if we do them for Him and with Him there is no limit to the impact which can be made and the results which can be achieved, because that is the nature of God’s Kingdom. A random act of kindness, a phone call to someone who is isolated and feeling fed up, a word of encouragement when the future seems bleak – these are the little things that make a big difference and we can all be involved in it.
If a little thing like this virus can wreak so much pain and misery throughout the world just think what a little act of goodness can do!
Let us with one heart and one mind offer our prayers today for the whole Church of Christ, and for all mankind according to their need.
We pray for –
The peace of the world, that a spirit of respect and understanding may grow among the nations and peoples, for governments of the nations, that there may be peace and justice everywhere.
The movement of your Holy Spirit to generate co-operation and sharing in meeting the demands of this pandemic, and the sharing of medical advances to the greater good.
The impact of your love to eradicate prejudice and racism, to heal age old wounds and disagreements. May trust and mutual support be a new way of behaving.
For all who care and minister to the suffering and needy. May your church reach out in generosity and understanding, expressing the mind of Christ in community.
For ourselves and our loved ones, friends and family in their varying situations at this time.
For the guidance of your Holy Spirit in new expressions of Church as we seek to hold together and to grow the fellowship of believers, with whom we share these prayers today.
The Lord hears our prayers – thanks be to God. Amen
Hymn: O Master let me walk with thee (Hymns & Psalms 802) (Washington Gladden)
O Master, let me walk with Thee,
In lowly paths of service free;
Tell me Thy secret; help me bear
The strain of toil, the fret of care.
Help me the slow of heart to move
By some clear, winning word of love;
Teach me the wayward feet to stay,
And guide them in the homeward way.
Teach me Thy patience; still with Thee
In closer, dearer, company,
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
In trust that triumphs over wrong.
In hope that sends a shining ray
Far down the future’s broadening way,
In peace that only Thou canst give,
With Thee, O Master, let me live.
May God the Father bless us; may Christ take care of us; and the Holy Spirit enlighten us all the days of our life. Amen