Sunday Worship 13th September

Today we were pleased to welcome Debbie Challoner to Blaby Congregational Church, Debbie is our first visiting preacher since the Covid restrictions were imposed.

Opening Words:

Jeremiah 17 v8

"He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green: it has no worries when there is no rain:it keeps on bearing fruit." Good News Bible

At present we are in the season of Creationtide

In these strange times what of God’s wonderful creation has made you glad? What do you want to give thanks for?

We came up with the following list: our health, our gardens, the sunshine, technology, our friends and family.

Hymn: Come Now is the Time to Worship https://youtu.be/-jU1q33K6yQ

Prayer time:

Loving God

We give thanks for all the beauty which surrounds us

For your glorious flowers

For the bounteous fruit and vegetables which you have provided for us

For the sunshine and the light

For the sunrise and the sunsets which have feasted our eyes

We give thanks for our gardens and our parks

For the lakes and streams and rivers

For the hillsides and beautiful gentle Leicestershire

the networks of footpaths, for woodland and trees,

We give thanks for the rich farmlands and allotments.

Help us Lord Jesus to pause and take time to notice the Earth which you create

The beauty of your people at their best

For our friends and families

And for our church gathered here today here in Blaby and in their homes.

Help us and guide us with your Holy Spirit

So that we remember and give thanks for our neighbours and family,

Everyone throughout the world.

Lord Jesus help us always, despite all the challenges, to live in a spirit of thankfulness to you.

We ask this in your name.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Sunset over the hills

Hymn: Give thanks with a grateful Heart. https://youtu.be/047xtru0ZR0

Bible Readings:

John 15 1-17 THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES

1-3“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. 4“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. 5-8“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. 9-10“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. 11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father. The Way of Suffering and Death 16“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you. 17“But remember the root command: Love one another.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message Devotional Bible: featuring notes & reflections from Eugene H. Peterson . The Navigators. Kindle Edition.

Colossians 1 15-23 The supremacy of the Son of God

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For 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. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And 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. 19For God was pleased to have all his fulness dwell in him, 20and 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. 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. 22But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Version, International. NIV Bible (p. 888). Hodder & Stoughton. Kindle Edition.

Hymn: Beauty for Brokenness https://youtu.be/3kVHKuldZyw

Reflection on the passages:

So today we have a break from Matthew where you would have heard the passage about how many times we should forgive each other. Not seven times but at least 77 times. Perhaps as we think about celebrating God’s creation (the whole world and everything in it ) we need to ask for God’s forgiveness for what we have all collectively done to the Earth. God forgives us our thoughtlessness and our ways of living our lives that contribute to global heating but also asks us to transform our lives to live lightly on the Earth and to keep on receiving the holy spirit in our lives so that we continue to be transformed and honour the entirety of creation by living in deeper communion with it.

So, for me there is something about trying to reduce my personal carbon footprint but receiving God’s forgiveness when I fail.

A few years ago, Richard and I decided we would no longer fly anywhere. Air traffic contributes about 4% of all global emissions. Not a lot you might say but scientists say if that were severely curtailed it would have a significant impact on global heating. Since we decided this we have holidayed mainly by train which, as someone who comes from Crewe, I relish!

Last year however one of my American nephews got married where he lives in North Carolina. He asked me to conduct the ceremony. I was honoured to be asked and we agreed to accept the invitation. It was difficult however to book the flight. I felt physically sick knowing how the carbon would be burning up. But it was important for me and for my American family that I was there. Since my sister died 6 years ago it has been important for all of us to nurture our relationships.