Morning Worship - 3rd May 2020

Stop your Doubting and Believe

Abba, Father,

on this Sunday morning in early May

we set aside this time in the day for you.

 

The deepest desire that is within us now

is for your Spirit to lighten our darkness.

For when you are close we are never all alone.

You, O Lord, are our only true home and belonging.

May all hurts and regrets, past and present, slip away;

may the Peace of the Lord Jesus,

his Gift for us,

be here now in this place.

 

As you forgive us, day by day,

may we ask for your forgiveness morning, noon and night;

and may we, in our time, do as you do, and forgive those

who have helped load our heart with burdens.

Only, then, O Loving Lord,

can we be at peace.

Only then, Loving Lord,

may we wear your crown of stars.

Amen.

'why do doubts arise in your hearts?'

 

In every generation there are those who come to love the Lord Jesus and find that he becomes a living presence in their lives - one they trust, and call upon; one they long to know more dearly and clearly.  As we gradually open more and more of our lives, our hearts, our busyness to him so he comes more and more to life within us. And as this happens our new life comes to shine more and more - and all this despite our constant fallings, and failings and forgetfulness. As we learn that the love of the Lord Jesus is forever forgiving so his Spirit arises within us from deeper and deeper. This gradual rebirth is also a gradual dying. Our old self is transformed into the new. In this way Jesus' resurrection is something that we share in - it comes about within us. We cannot earn or deserve this; nor can we learn or understand; it is a gracious gift offered to us - we must receive it freely.

 

Jesus didn't promise to take all our burdens away but he did promise to help us carry them. Some of us have wounds that are difficult to forget but all things can be forgiven.  This is a gracious gift that is freely offered - we must freely receive.

There is always a cost in love as there is always a cost in forgiveness; the amazing gift of grace is that the Lord Jesus has borne these costs for us - all he asks us to do is receive his gift day by day and to believe in him and follow him.

 

So for anyone who has doubts about God or Jesus or yourself do remember what Jesus said when he first appeared to his first disciples -

 

'why do doubts arise in your hearts'

and his words to Thomas -

 

'stop your doubting and believe.'

 

and his words to them all -

'Peace be with you'

Sunsets over the Sea of Galilee

Our reading follows of the story of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus when Jesus appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Luke 24 : 38 - 43

from the Thomas Traherne windows in Hereford Cathedral

As I went down in the river to pray
Studying about that good old way
And who shall wear the starry crown
Good Lord, show me the way.

O sisters, let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sisters, let's go down
Down in the river to pray.

 

brothers, fathers, mothers, sinners...

Lord, I place myself before you

and in my heart of hearts I bow down before you.

Let your light shine upon me;

let your light shine within me.

No matter how many days lie behind me

and no matter how many before,

may I live in you today.

Breathe your Spirit into my heart as you have done before;

dispel all doubts and darkness;

may your loving forgiveness lift me high;

and may your grace shine before others.

 

I pray for my dearest ones - hear, O Lord, my prayer;

I pray for my enemies - hear my prayer for them;

I pray for those who mourn - may they know your comfort;

I pray for those who worry - may they be encouraged;

I pray for those at risk - may they be inspired;

I pray for the forgotten - may they know you remember them.

 

Show me, O Lord, who it is I will become;

show, me Lord, what it is I must do.

 

And listen, Loving Lord, to my own quiet prayer.

Amen.

May the peace of the Lord Jesus go with you,

wherever he may send you,

May he guide you through the wilderness,

protect you through the storm.

May he bring you home rejoicing

at the wonders he has shown you.

Amen.