Sunday 31st January 2021 -Stop, Look, Listen, Live !

Today our service is led by Mike Furborough at 10am, for those unable to attend, the service is reproduced here and has been emailed and posted to members.

Communion will take place during the service and will be self served, the wine has been prepared at least 72 hours in advance and everyone should bring their own bread.

Traffic lights used as Stop Look Listen sign
Stop Look Listen sign

Call to Worship

Jesus invites us to a way of celebration,

meeting and feasting with the humble and poor.

Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus beckons us to a way of risk,

letting go of our security.

Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus challenges us to listen

to the voices of those who have nothing to lose.

Let us walk his way with joy.

Jesus calls us to follow the way of the cross,

where despair is transformed by the promise of new life.

Let us walk his way with joy.

Hymn: MPC 422. Light has dawned and ever shall blaze

Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving

Intimate God,

we praise you because you know each one of us;

the worries that nag us, the achievements we are proud of, the hopes and expectations that we hold,

half-recognised, in our hearts.

We praise you for what we know of you;

the ways in which you have welcomed and met us,

your quiet, constant, presence in our lives.

And we praise you for what we do not yet know;

the mysteries of your creation,

the questions that baffle us,

the wonders of discovery awaiting us.

Unknown God,

may we be open to meet with you in unexpected ways; discerning your presence in what is strange to us,

and seeing the familiar with newly-opened eyes.

We say together the Lord’s Prayer

Reading: …..Psalm 25 v1-9

Hymn: MPC 564. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Reading Romans 8 18-39

Sermon: Stop, Look, Listen, Live !

Jeremiah 6 vs 16 This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.

Stop, look and listen was one of my favourite programmes on TV when I was teaching. It hit the right spot when getting children with learning difficulties to read.

It was also a useful mantra when getting children to pay attention and behave how I wanted them to.

It’s not a bad mantra for us today. This passage of scripture, written by Jeremiah is teaching the Hebrews much the same, at a time when they needed reminding of what was happening in their lives and history.

Stop…..stand at the cross roads.

Well we are certainly being told to stop at the moment, told to stop and made to stop. All the things that filled our lives has been taken away….not just covid, I had my big toenail removed in December and I was not expecting it to put such a big “stop” to my life as it has. No walking, no allotment etc

It never does any harm to take stock of where you are and this enforced “stop” could be used as an opportunity to do just that.

Look, when you reach a cross roads (and this is certainly one, individually and collectively) its best to stop, look and listen. Remember the two hedgehogs and the road safety commercials of the 8o’s.

As a car driver I stop, look behind ,look carefully left and right and then ahead.

We have an opportunity now to look back…probably recalling the good times, but there were some equally as bad as today. We need to look from side to side…just assess where we are and acknowledge the situation we are in, again some good as well as the bad. We need to look forward into the future with trepidation but through faith with hope and confidence.

Listen…why can we look forward with hope and confidence…because we listen to what God has to say to us. God knows our past, present and future and he has been with us, is with us and will be with us.

He has promised.

God speaks to us in a wide variety of ways and each of us hears his voice in our own way.

What we do know, through the testing of our lives, is that his word is trustworthy and true whatever the situation has been, is now and may come we need to Listen to what God has to say .

“Ask where the good way is(then listen to God’s answer!) ,walk in it and you will find rest for your souls…”

The road safety hedgehogs added another word to Stop, Look and Listen. The word LIVE

Stop,look,listen LIVE

The situation we are in at the moment can be very depressing, make us despondent and question our faith and our very being. We might feel like ‘giving up’.

We do indeed stand at a cross roads, all the more reason to Stop,Look listen and LIVE.

Live the life that God has offered us and promises us in the future

We will find rest for our souls and we will celebrate our life in Christ because “ I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”