Lord, You are making all things new.
A new heaven
A new earth
A new way of thinking
A new way of being.
You are making all things new.
Renew our minds
to renew the world
by living out your
commandment of love.
Hymn 165 – Praise to the Lord for the joys..
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Almighty God, Lord of Creation, we come to worship and to praise you and give thanks for all your gifts. We are glad to live in this beautiful part of your world and rejoice in all the new growth of field, wood and garden and in all living creatures, especially those come to new life in this springtime. We give thanks for all the many and varied resources that the Earth offers for our use, but as we reflect on an ever more troubled world we confess that
we have often abused these riches and not used them for the good of all.
We have exploited and misused our fellow human beings to their detriment and our shame.
You are a God of mercy and of justice. Forgive us for our selfishness and greed, our lack
of compassion and our failure to love as you would have us love; a love shown in the life
and teaching of your beloved Son, given even to death for our sakes.
In repentance may we learn to show justice, mercy and compassion and to remember that all are equal in your sight and that all people are our neighbours whatever their ethnicity, social standing or faith.
As the globe spins and the day starts around the world and as followers of Jesus Christ we join with our Christian neighbours in prayer and say together in whatever language is most comfortable to us the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples so long ago and which unites us as one family…...
Readings – Revelation 21: 1-6
John 13: 31-35
Hymn 195 – Here to the house of God (1,2,4)
Heavenly Father, your son Jesus said “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” In our worship today, we testify to God’s love shown perfectly in Christ and we re-commit ourselves to love one another as a community of faith and to drink again from the spring of the water of life. Amen
Many years ago I exchanged pulpits for the summer with a minister in Alaska and, on the way back home, stopped to stay with friends in Seattle. We visited Mount St Helen’s nearby. It was a volcano. I remember passing through thick forests, but as we neared the top, it suddenly became very barren. There had been a big eruption a few years before and then sporadic eruptions, and the top of the mountain was laid waste. There were maybe some skeletons of trees, but then nothing. Well, nothing until you looked closely and suddenly you could see green shoots. Nature was recovering through the devastation of the lava flow. As a minister I saw it as resurrection with signs of new life where all had been dead.
John of Patmos in his revelation had a glimpse of God’s plan for creation when he pictures a God who wants to make all things new. The old things have passed away, and the new has come. God is in the business of renewing, refreshing, redeeming – ever making things new. A new heaven and a new earth.
But John also says that God has his dwelling among humanity. God will be with them – God is in our midst. John isn’t just talking about some time in the future, but very much in the here and now. God is ever seeking to create new possibilities and new life in the world today. Yet when we look round the world, what do we see? We see war and suffering; hunger and homelessness; the enormous gap between those who are incredibly wealthy and powerful and those with nothing. Yet God sees everything as redeemable – and call us to do something about it. In John’s Gospel Jesus shows us the way by loving one another AS he loved us. The ‘as’ is important. Love can be vague; it can mean many things. Someone can beat their partner, but then say they loved her or him. Like Peter or Judas, we can love someone yet deny them or even betray them. But Jesus tells us to love as he loves, and that makes a difference, for Jesus’ love is an unselfish, self-giving love we see in his life and on the cross. It is a love that embraced the leper, that sat with the woman caught in adultery and offered forgiveness. It is the love that reached out to those beyond the borders and social barriers. We are called to have that kind of love.
Today is the start of Christian Aid Week, and Christian Aid was started after the 2nd World War to address a devastated Europe, seeking to recover. It has expanded to seek to help people throughout the world and to raise awareness about issues like debt cancellation and climate change. It is on the cutting edge, seeking to bring hope and newness of life.
New life to people like Jessica, who lives in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa, but for various reasons, including climate change, it now suffers from prolonged periods of drought. Jessica’s husband is sick, so she has to provide food for the family, and with the drought, crops aren’t giving any yield. The family are going hungry, and how awful is it for a parent to have nothing to give their children to eat. Jessica says, ‘One year we had no rain. The scorching sun burnt my crops, just as they were about to bloom. It was so disheartening. Christian Aid helps people like Jessica by providing drought-resistant seeds, so she can grow tomatoes, beans and cucumbers, even in a drought. Jessica wants her children to be healthy and have a better future, a new and fairer world. But through the help of Christian Aid, at least some of her tears can be wiped from her eyes.
The suffering in our world can be overwhelming, but we do what we can – and we seek to love one another as Jesus loved. That way there can be green shoots springing to life bringing hope. That way we can truly proclaim that God is with us.
Hymn 238 – Lord, bring the day to pass
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Generous God, we bring offerings of money for the use of your church here. May it be used wisely in the service of your Kingdom. Bless too the many talents we have that they also may be used for your glory. We ask especially for sensible and productive use of gifts given for the alleviation of suffering for those in conflict areas. And this Christian Aid Week we pray that hearts and pockets will be generous in filling the envelopes delivered by volunteers that they may be encouraged in their efforts and know that many lives can be improved by the work of Christian Aid partners in their desire to bring sufficiency and a
hopeful future to those living on the margins.
In our prayers may we remember their work
in skills training, education and in advocacy as so many struggle against changing weather patterns, conflict and injustice. May we share in their joy in successful ventures and lives turned around for the better and for the benefit of future generations.
We pray for those in authority, whether in charge of a food bank or a country, that their decisions may be just and fair and that everyone is treated with dignity. We remember all in areas of fighting and where there is corruption, although sometimes we find it difficult to pray for those we see as enemies. For those injured and lost we would ask for care as we do for all people suffering illness, be it of body, mind or spirit. For those on long term care or facing death we ask a special blessing and for those with the care and responsibility for them.
Give comfort O Lord, to all the many who mourn lost loved ones or grieve over lost opportunities, lost homes and fractured relationships. As the needs of many near and far increase give us loving hearts as we try to find ways to offer support in both great and small ways as our abilities and circumstances allow. We offer these prayers in the name of your Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Hymn 724 – Christ’s is the world (1,3,4)