Uniting together, Caring for all, Seeking God

Service Sheet 10th May 2020

Uniting Church Sketty ‘Worship from Home’ for Sunday 10th May 2020

We are grateful to Adella Pritchard, our URC Community Worker for preparing our worship using material from the Christian Aid Week Virtual Service.  Adella would have been leading our service in church!

“Love never fails. Coronavirus impacts all of us. But love unites us all”

Opening Prayer

God of all the Earth, be present with us now, in each of our homes, as we connect together.

Build us into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you through Jesus Christ, our risen redeemer and healer. Amen.

Hymn:  StF 545 Be thou my vision

Introduction

Today is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. Like many church activities at the moment, Christian Aid Week is being done differently and digitally this year. During our reading of our Worship from Home, we have space to read, sing, pray and remember and acknowledge that we are part of a global community. We are neighbours near and far who are going through this coronavirus pandemic together. May our shared experience unite us in praise and prayer as one human family, separate but together in the home that is God’s world.

Prayer

Please take a few moments to reflect on this picture as a community learns about hand washing in Sierra Leone:

We pray:

As we turn on a tap we turn our hearts towards you, O God.

As we wet our hands renew our thoughts, so we might be transformed.

As we lather soap between fingers and over all our hands, purge from us all that brings us harm and might harm others.

Remove the invisible guilt and shame that so often keeps us from you.

As we rinse our hands, we trust in your overflowing grace, making all things new.

Amen.

Reading for today: John 14:1-14

This is an extract from the long farewell that Jesus gave over the last supper, shortly after he washed the feet of the disciples with his own hands. Even though we are now in the Fifth Sunday of Easter, these words have a poignancy and power for us to absorb and process this Christian Aid Week Sunday.

Response

Look at your hands.   Have a good look. 

However your hands look to you, they are most certainly clean in these days of regular hand washing to prevent spreading the coronavirus.

Our hands really are the most remarkable and useful tools, involved in so much of what we do and how we do things, even in these days of social distancing. 

The psalmist in Psalm 31, writes of committing his spirit into God’s hands, and at times of being in God’s hands. He also describes his desire to be delivered from the hands of his oppressors and from a hidden invisible net that threatens to entangle him.

Our hands have become even more significant in these days of physical distance. We might long to hold the hand of a person we can no longer touch. We pray for the hands of medics to bring healing and comfort. We are grateful for hands stacking shelves and delivering groceries and post. And we are extra wary of everything our hands touch that comes from outside our own home.

This Christian Aid Week we also think of how our hands can be far from idle. Though not handing out envelopes or hosting Big Brekkies or the many things we usually busy ourselves with this week, our hands can still reach out virtually to our neighbours around the world. Neighbours in refugee camps and cramped living conditions, neighbours without adequate hand-washing facilities, neighbours who face the devastating impact of coronavirus with even less of the medical resources we have struggled to access here.

We reach out by clasping our hands together in prayer for our neighbours, and holding our hands open before God as we declare our needs and concerns for their wellbeing and our own.

Personal Response

Pause and be still for a few moments in prayer

  • Bring to mind the blessings you have received this week and give thanks.
  • Bring to mind people and situations known to you and offer your thoughts to God.
  • What else is going on in the world and in people’s lives that we no longer hear about?  Pray about these situations.

God our refuge, we come to you with open hands, some of us with hearts full of questions, some of us bruised by bereavement, some of us fearful of what the future holds, all of us stunned by the events of this year. Draw close to us now in each of our homes as we place our honest questions and hopes into your open, resurrected, yet scarred hands. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer

Blessing

May the presence of the Creator refresh you, may the comfort of the Son renew you, may the inspiration of the Spirit restore you to be love in action, even from a distance, in our neighbourhoods, near and far, this day and for evermore.  Amen.