Uniting Church Sketty ‘Worship from Home’ for Sunday 17th May 2020
We are very grateful to Rev Frieder Kreschnak who has prepared these thoughts for us.
During lockdown, these sheets are going to the congregations of both Sketty and Clydach. In order to reflect a more ‘normal’ preaching pattern (ie not me every week!), I have asked our retired ministers based in and known to both of those congregations if they would like to prepare a ‘Worship from Home’ sheet. I’m very glad that they said ‘yes’! Leslie
Prepare for worship
As you prepare for worship you might like to light a candle or place a cross or an open Bible in front of you and reflect on the following words:
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).
At a time when coronavirus seems to be reigning on earth, God says: “I will be exalted!” This is the same God who revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, His cross and resurrection!
Song: What a faithful God StF 58
Sing / read / meditate on these words.
Lord, in every circumstance of life you deserve our worship; in every situation we have to face you are our faithful God, who meets us with your love and grace; in every storm you are our anchor – the waves will not sweep over us; in you we find shelter and refuge, as we rest in the shadow of your almighty love, now and always. Amen.
(In silence offer your praise/adoration/thanksgiving for all your blessings that come to your mind)
Read Psalm 66 slowly and meditatively.
Questions to assist our reflection:
- vv 6+12: the waters did not crush God’s people and sweep over and drown them during the crossing of the Red Sea; how do these words speak to you in the context of covid-19?
- v 16: list in your mind (or on paper) the dangerous and trying situations God has brought you through; how do these experiences help you to cope with the present lockdown and future uncertainties?
- vv 18+19: confess to God your sins (of commission and omission), your failings and weaknesses, in which you need His forgiveness and grace, and ask for His cleansing.
- v 20: praise God who answers your prayers, removes all impurities from your relationship with Him and fills you with a lightness in your spirit.
Gospel reading: John 14:15-21:
Reflection on the reading:
Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure and Pentecost, and reminds us of His indwelling Spirit. In v16 He speaks of “another” Counsellor; there are two words for “another” in Greek, one meaning “a similar one” and the other meaning “of the same substance”. The word in the latter sense is used here, i.e. the promised Holy Spirit (Counsellor) is of the same substance as Jesus. Therefore, the “Counsellor”(v16)/ “Spirit of truth”(v17) become synonymous with “I”(Jesus) in v18, i.e. when Jesus speaks of the Spirit living in us (v17), He speaks of Himself coming to dwell in us.
Questions for your own reflection:
- The title “Counsellor” (v16) can also be translated “Comforter”/ “Helper”; literally translated: “the one who comes alongside” (us). In which of these ways have you experienced the Holy Spirit?
- What are the consequences of the Holy Spirit/Jesus living in us – in your life generally and in your present circumstances?
- Is loving God/Jesus just a matter of feelings or attitude? (vv15+21)
Prayers of Intercession: Let us pray for:
- for all medical staff in hospitals, hospices, care homes; community nurses; shop assistants; postal workers; all key workers in the covid-19 crisis
- for those whose livelihoods are threatened and those whose poverty is exacerbated now
- for people known to us who are ill (not only through covid-19); for the lonely and isolated; the fearful and depressed; those who are grieving
- for compassion and wisdom for governments and world leaders to find ways of overcoming the virus
- for guidance and insight for those researching for a vaccine
- for a powerful move of God, calling people to turn to Him in faith (a record number of people are “googling” for help in how to pray!)
The Lord’s Prayer
Read Philippians 4:4-7 slowly as reassurance in our difficult and challenging times.
Some words by Nick Fletcher
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music
May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit embrace and fill us all. Amen.