Morning Worship - 24th May 2020

You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth

Abba, Father, loving heavenly Father,

listen to this prayer from our hearts.

Lord, all around us are signs of new life.

The songs of the birds, the warmth of the sun,

the flowers and grass so fresh and green.

May we never overlook such beauty but ever have grateful words for such beautiful gifts.

Yet in the earth there is also darkness;

what we have strived for so easily decays.

It is so true that our days are numbered and our time measured.

May we always know that you are the most beautiful gift of all.

In you, and you alone, O Lord, is our place of belonging.

 

Forgive us our wrong doings;

forgive us our impatience;

forgive us, Lord, and release us

as we forgive others and release them now.

 

Speak to us through the Lord Jesus,

through his life-giving words;

speak to us through your Spirit.

May the Spirit of the Lord Jesus

come down upon us

and dwell within us now.

 

Lord, we pray this in Jesus' name

and in his name, Lord, hear his prayer -

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy kingdom come.

Thy will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory, forever.

Amen.

Our reading from Acts tells how the Risen Jesus asks his disciples to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Spirit to come down upon them.

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach  until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.  After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.  On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”                                                            Acts 1 : 1 - 8

Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth

 

A witness is someone who will stand before others and tell of what they have heard with their ears and seen with their eyes. And the Lord Jesus asks everyone of us who are his followers and his disciples to be his witnesses - we are to tell others of the difference that the Lord Jesus has made in our lives.

I was once in a large shopping centre full of shoppers. Some charity collectors had large buckets and were shaking them around making the coins shake and rattle. If you caught their eye they were upon you! It was difficult to say 'no' to their noisy demands.

On that same day there were some Nuns in the centre also collecting for charity. They stood quietly in corners and if saw them it was you who had to go over to them. They weren't demanding your charity - they were inviting it.

 

The Lord Jesus said to his disciples 'You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others.' This was not an instruction - he didn't say 'You MUST shine before others'. It was an invitation - 'LET your light shine before others.' There is to be a gentleness, almost a quietness, in our sharing. This is why Jesus also taught 'when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.'

 

The most important witness we can give is to bring comfort to the worried and helpless; among neighbours and friends and strangers actions often speak louder than words. But there may be times when words are needed and what better words can we share than those that tell of the difference the Lord Jesus has made in our lives. Again, Jesus told us not to worry about what to say. It is another of his Promises -

"do not be anxious how of what you are to answer

or what you are to say; 

for the Holy Spirit will teach you

in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Luke 12 : 11- 12

 

The Holy Spirit will give us the words we need when we are witnesses for the Lord Jesus.

 

This is why it is so important that we meet together in places where there is time to talk and listen to one another and to ask questions - to share our stories of what the Lord has become in our lives.

May all of you reading this look for and find such places to talk and listen. May you ask questions in your asking you will receive.

Everlasting Father,

We pray that your Spirit will come down upon us

and that through us the earth will be renewed.

Abba, Father, we wait upon you;

may your Spirit inflame our waiting hearts.

Lord, give to us the words to speak

when we bear witness for you.

There is so much suffering and worry in the world.

Many of us have had our share.

We know the nights when sleep cannot come and

worry fills our hours.

But the Lord Jesus told us not to worry and not to be afraid.

He taught us that you will comfort us

when we call upon your name.

For you, Loving Father, will give us songs in the night.

 

Lord, when we look around there are many in need of comfort.

We remember those with mental health problems;

who suffer from worry and distress

and feel helpless in times of darkness.

We remember our own dear ones, so precious in our eyes.

And there are others in our minds this morning.

We name them, gently, in our prayer and hold them before you.

Lord, may your arms be around them

and may they be sheltered in the shadow of your wings.

In these days of crisis, danger and opportunity

may we, your people, give care and time and thought

to how we can bring comfort to the worried and the helpless.

 

May our thank offerings be generous;

may our giving be daily;

and may we do all these things

in Jesus' name and for his sake.  Amen.

Creator Spirit come,  renew the face of the earth
Creator Spirit come,  renew the face of the earth.

Kindling Spirit come,   inflame our waiting hearts
Kindling Spirit come,   inflame our waiting hearts.

Anointing Spirit come,   pour forth on us anew
Anointing Spirit come,   pour forth on us anew.

Creator Spirit, come

by Keith Duke

from SACRED DANCE

may be purchased from

KEVIN MAYHEW Ltd.

The Grace of the Lord Jesus,

the love of God the Father,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all.

Amen.