Jesus died and rose again and will take you to Himself

As you are aware we are unable to hold services for the next four weeks in light of the current government guidance, but the church will be open for private prayer from 9.45 to 11am on Sunday mornings when people can come and go as they wish.

It is very sad that we are unable to commemorate Remembrance Sunday in the usual manner but Julie our Pastor has prepared the service below on the theme of sacrifice and life after death for you to follow at home and you can also follow the Churches Together in Blaby Remembrance Service on YouTube

Remembrance Display at Blaby Congregational Church

Opening words: I Thessalonians 4: 14 and 18

‘We believe that Jesus died and rose again and will take you to Himself, therefore encourage each other with these words.’

Hymn 509 O Lord the clouds are gathering

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfv9OI59_7o

Prayers

Come, let us turn to God, who is with us in all our sorrows, who weeps with us as we weep, who binds our wounds, and who lifts our eyes towards the eternal horizon. God is with us: let us turn to God and be people of praise in the story of our lives. Amen.

God of consolation, in all the stories of our lives, you are with us. As we turn to each other, and turn to you, may we give and find all the comfort that we need, knowing that it is in such shelter that we hear the echoes of your great kindness. Amen.

We pray for peace. We pray for peace. We remember times when we have fought and argued, with our families and friends, at home and in the playground. We pray for peace. We pray for peace.

We remember the wars fought in the past and the sacrifice of those who gave up their lives to give us peace. We pray for peace. We pray for peace.

We remember all places where there is still fighting and trouble and the people who suffer because of it. We pray for peace. We pray for peace.

We pray that we will be patient and tolerant of all people and commit ourselves to work for peace in our lives, our homes, our schools, our communities and our world. We pray for peace. We pray for peace.

Amen.

Lord’s Prayer

Hymn 456 Make me a channel of your peace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2svZhZT6Pro

Bible Readings:

Amos 5.18-24

Psalm 70

1 Thessalonians 4.13-18

Matthew 25.1-13

Hymn 111 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqOnjmr9Ah0

Comments on Bible Readings – Remembrance Sunday

Death and grief are an unavoidable part of being human, just as much today as when Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians. Today as we remember those who gave their lives for us in the two world wars and conflicts since, we are reminded that bloodshed and death have been and continue to be a part of our lives. Paul in his letter is encouraging those who grieve that death is not the end, for Jesus has faced it, fought it, and conquered it. He has prepared a place for us in His kingdom (heaven) and He will come and take us to His Home. This is our encouragement today as we remember.

We do not need to look far to find cause to grieve and mourn in recent days:

  • In Vienna, four people were shot dead in what seems to have been a terrorist attack. It comes barely a week after the knife attacks at a church in Nice that left three people dead.

  • A powerful earthquake in the Aegean Sea killed at least 27 people in Turkey.

  • Sunday 8 November is Remembrance Sunday, when we remember those who have died in the service of Britain and the Commonwealth.

  • The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continues to climb daily.

  • As well as those facing recent bereavements from coronavirus or other causes, others may be mourning the loss of jobs, freedoms, social contact, and the sense of a ‘normal’ life as England enters a second lockdown.

In the midst of such depths of pain and suffering, how should we, in Christ, respond?

How can we help people have hope in times of grief or loss? Sometimes it can help to approach things from a different angle. Take the Mexican tradition of the ‘Day of the Dead’ – or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish. One famous portrayal of this day is the huge street procession at the beginning of the James Bond film Spectre. Except that it is not real – there was no procession like that in Mexico before the Bond film. Now there is, and it is a huge tourist attraction!

What Dia de los Muertos really was – and still is – is a way for families to replace grief with hope, by remembering loved ones while sharing memories and favourite foods. A table (altar; ofrenda in Spanish) is decorated with flowers, photos, favourite foods and other objects associated with family members who have died . It might be called ‘Day of the Dead’ but really it is about life – remembering life (of loved ones) to help and inspire and comfort us in our ongoing lives.

In this passage in Thessalonians, Paul deals with perhaps the biggest question of all – what happens when we die? In the time of the Thessalonians, 50 per cent of children died before they reached the age of 10. Girls had babies from around the age of 12, and many died in childbirth. People lived with death as a constant presence. It was into this context that Paul reminds the Thessalonians of the good news that Jesus rose again, that message is just as true for us today.

Paul urges the Thessalonians not to grieve like their contemporaries, but to be encouraged that life doesn’t end with death. How do we hold onto this hope in the middle of grief? From a child losing a favourite toy, to the death of a loved one, we know that loss and grief is a very challenging journey. And there are no quick fixes. Various organisations can help us to understand and deal with our grief better. And the promise that we will all be together with God can be a big comfort to hold onto. As I visit people who have lost loved ones, I do wonder how they would cope without faith.

To encourage the Thessalonians, Paul draws on Jewish apocalyptic imagery and the belief that the dead will already be with Christ. The imagery and detail of his words help bring certainty to the hope of eternal life. In verse 18, Paul appeals to the Thessalonians to keep on encouraging each other with these hopeful words and images.

This is such an encouraging letter, full of hope and reassurance. Jesus died and rose again. and God will bring us with him when we die (v.14). We will meet the Lord and be with him for ever (v.17). Words of hope, encouragement and reassurance are so important and necessary in difficult times. Paul urges the Thessalonians to repeat his words to encourage one another. What words should we use to encourage each other, our families and friends at this time of great uncertainty?

For us today, questions of life and death are just as relevant. People still question, grieve and wonder – this year in particular – and Paul’s message of there being a hope in our grief is as valid as ever.

Today we remember that many people during the war, freely died, they gave up their lives so that we might live. There are numerous stories of people in concentration camps who literally took the place of others, these people are also heroes and we are reminded of their great sacrifice. Jesus said ‘greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for others’. So we remember those in all the conflicts who have literally laid down their lives for others.

Jesus was the first person to voluntarily lay down His life for the world, for you and me. He loved us so much that He gave His life for us. He could have walked away, He could have jumped down off the cross, but as the words of a song say, it was not the nails that held Him there, it was His outrageous love. It is His sacrifice and death and more over His resurrection that bring us all hope of a future where death will be no more, for we will be called by Him into His presence. His sacrifice has brought us life everlasting and for those who believe this is great encouragement and hope.

So today we remember and give thanks, for those who died in battle, and for Jesus whose death has brought us eternal life.

Amen.

Hymn: Outrageous Love

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPlmXKdiYa0

Closing Prayers:

As one family, we reflect today on the horrors of the past that continue to haunt humanity and darken our world. Where pain still overwhelms, bring healing. Where hearts are still breaking, bring comfort. Where peoples are still oppressed, bring liberation. Where communities are still victimised, bring justice. Where children are still brutalised, bring compassion.

Where lives are still crushed, bring hope. Where evil is perpetrated, bring repentance. Where war still devastates, bring peace. But most of all, wherever a single voice cries out in the darkness, bring us to one another , in the name of the love you bear in your heart for all people, all nations and all creation. Amen.

We remember those whose lives have been torn apart by wars, by terrorism and inhumanity. We remember Holocaust victims and victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Come, Lord God. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit. Judge the world with justice and with equity.

We remember those whose lives have been blighted by the carelessness and the apathy of others. We remember children whose toil makes our treasures, whose deprivation feeds our delight. Come, Lord God. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit. Judge the world with justice and with equity.

We remember those who have endured injustice and untruths and malicious slander. We remember those who have had good things spoiled or taken away for our pleasure. Come, Lord God. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit. Judge the world with justice and with equity.

Lord God, who judges with justice and equity, we pray for the United Nations and peacemakers everywhere. We pray for the Red Cross and the Royal British Legion, and all who care for the wounded and weary. Come, Lord God. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit. Judge the world with justice and with equity.

Lord God, who judges with justice and equity, we pray for ourselves and people of faith everywhere, that we might be led to make fewer errors of judgement, and a greater effort to live lives that please you and give a glimpse of your glory. Come, Lord God. Come, Lord Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit. Judge the world with justice and with equity.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

God, your wisdom draws us in.

It is the bright sun in the morning, and the soft moon of night.

Your wisdom is the dawn and the dusk,

the kind opening and gentle closing.

We praise you for all your wisdom gives:

strength for continuation; hope for consolation;

courage for perseverance; joy for the journey, and love for all time.

Amen.

Today, God, we pray for those in grief. Someone was living who is

now not living, and our hearts mourn in the wake of their lives and

their presence in our lives. May we have hope. Not saccharine, not

silly, not soppy. We pray for hope. Hope that we may live in the

light of their great lives, and in the hope of seeing them again,

in the kindness of heaven.

Amen.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. And I lift up my story, too.

My story that has known comfort, my story that has also known

separation, and sadness. I lift up my heart, that has sometimes

loved well, and sometimes failed. In my own days, I have known the

goodness of community and the questions that isolate. And in all

these, I lift up my eyes to you, who always keeps me in your gaze.

Let me find kindness and wisdom in all stages of life, both easy and

trying.

Amen.

Hymn 975 Before the throne of God Above

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MUNywhsZPU

Music Just because ……………….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHJPwI1Qioo yet not I but through Christ in me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFIoABI-ZOQ Turn your eyes upon Jesus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxqHo2Pvfm0 Listen to our hearts

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ABOUT US

As a Church we have been worshipping in Park Road for over 90 years. Our Sunday morning service is from 10am to 11am.  

ADDRESS

Blaby Congregational Church

Park Road

Blaby

Leicester

United Kingdom

LE8 4ED

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