Welcome, Cheviot churches! We worship together on the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost.
Call to Worship
We meet in the name of God, the Holy Trinity of Love
who knows our needs, hears our cries, feels our pain, and heals our wounds.
God is our light and our salvation.
May our hearts be open to you, O God, now and always
Hymn 192 – All my hope on God is founded
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Living God,from you comes vitality, love and joy.Your peace is our companion, your love is our strength, your Son is our hope.In even our darkest moments, your presence brings comfort.Hidden deep in the soil of life, your Spirit nurtures tiny seeds of purpose and potentialto surprise us with new life.Like the earth beginning to bloom around us, so your kingdom unfolds to surprise us with new possibilities.We bring you our prayers and praise this day and we adore you
But we confess that we do not always follow your guidance, we do not always listen to what Jesus told us and we do not use the gifts from the Spirit. We leave our gifts unopened, unexplored, unused because of selfishness and fear.
When our thoughts are muddied, help us find the still small voice that is yours so that we can better listen and act. Help us face our fears, so that we can fully utilise the gifts you have bestowed upon us, so that we become more fully the people you have called us to be. Enable us to unpack the gifts so that they and we can benefit the whole of humanity and creation.
Forgive us and help us to be more open to you and others.
Declaration of Forgiveness
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and of love. God forgives all who humbly repent and trust in God’s Son as Saviour and Lord. God has forgiven us, and we are one in Christ.
Readings - 1 Samuel 15:34–16:13
Hymn 535 – Who would true valour see
Gracious God, we ask you to lead us into the coming week. Help us to believe that you are close by us, and keep us from making mistakes. May we never disappoint you and may the seeds that are being planted in our Churches each week grow into branches that reach out into every part of our community. Amen
The Galilee Consultant Agency had a thriving business in the 1st Century Capernaum. They could help you find a market for your fish or olives in Rome, find a position for your son in the Temple establishment or even on the tentmaking course the Romans had just introduced. But then a young rabbi came to them, asking them to assess his leadership team and see who had the potential to take over when the time came for him to step aside.
When the report came back, it made depressing reading. Matthew had previously been a tax collector collaborating with the Romans, so was unlikely to be popular with the locals. Thomas couldn’t stop asking question and expressed doubts over the vision of the enterprise. James and John were over-ambitious, reliant on their mother and not team-players. Andrew was a good middle man but deferred to his brother too much. Mary Magdalene had too much history and as a woman would not be a popular choice to head such a project. Simon Peter was impulsive and too ready to rush headlong into projects without critical analysis. But there was one name that the Galilee Consultant Agency could recommend. Judas Iscariot had contacts in high places, had good financial acumen and was able to plan ahead. He would make, in their view, an ideal successor to the young rabbi.
I think Jesus would have simply filed it away and forgot about it! It is interesting who Jesus chose to be his followers. He could have chosen better, but this ragtag group with all their flaws managed to turn the world upside down. God is certainly a God of surprises.
We found that in the Old Testament reading. The Israelites had wanted a king, and Saul had been chosen. But Saul had disappointed, and Samuel the prophet (with God doing the prodding!) went behind his back to anoint someone else. He was playing a dangerous game, as his life wouldn’t be worth living if Saul found out. The sons of Jesse were duly paraded before him, and each time he thought, ‘This must be the one’. Tall, handsome, charismatic, the Galilee Consultant Agency would have snapped them up in an instance. But God said NO. There was still one son out in the fields, young and ruddy. Not the first choice, but that is the very one God chose, and he would go on to make such an impact, he would be the king by whom all other kings would be measured, would be compared. Like the disciples, he was not without his flaws, and he had major ones, but even when this warrior-dancer- lover-psalmist king fell short, God still provided for Israel. God chooses the unexpected.
In the Gospels, we read the parable of the mustard seed, the smallest seed of all. Looking at it, you would not expect too much, yet it grew into a bush, where birds would even make their nests. God makes use of the unlikely.
In Cornwall the G7 are meeting – and they are not small, not mustard seeds, and the decisions they will take will not be small, but perhaps they will be unexpected. Maybe they will not look inwards, but look outwards. Maybe they will work for a greater global equality. Maybe they will ensure the Covid vaccine is made available to all in the world. Maybe they will lay the groundwork for COP 26 and tackle the effects of climate change in the Global South. And we can be involved to, making small steps, for small steps make bigger journeys.
God has a tendency to use the unlikely - youngest sons like Joseph or the Moabite migrant called Ruth or Samaritans or Ethiopian eunuchs to fulfil his purpose. Paul says God takes the weak and foolish to shame the wise. We are all part of that history too. None of us are perfect, but we come just as we are, and God can use us to build the Kingdom. We have to be open to the Spirit’s leading and be surprised by God.
Hymn 615 – Holy Spirit, ever living
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
God of small seeds and secret growth, we bring our gifts to you, trusting that you will bless them. Use them as seeds of new life in our community and in your world. Grow results we cannot even imagine—within us, among us, because of us and beyond us, for the sake of Christ, our Living Lord.
God of the rich and the poor, of the powerful and the vulnerable, we pray for the leaders of the G7 nations meeting in Cornwall,
for the people they govern, for the people of other nations they can support, and for the world they can protect through their decisions.
May wisdom be planted, generosity grow, and co-operation flourish.
We pray for a growth in resilience, awareness and togetherness across all the nations of the world
as they continue to tackle the covid pandemic,
as they confront environmental issues.
and as they reach out to communities crippled by need, war and natural disasters.
May integrity be planted, urgency grow and healing flourish.
We pray for the church in this place and around the world as we seek to serve those around us,
to reach out to those in trouble, and to share the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ.
May faith be planted, compassion grow and hope flourish.
We bring before you the poor, hungry and neglected, both here in the U.K. and around the world. Prick the consciousness of the privileged and legislators so that they hear the cries and feel compelled to bring about real change.
May faith be planted, compassion grow and hope flourish.
We hold before you O God, those who are sick, injured and dying. We thank you for giving knowledge to doctors, nurses, medical staff and scientists so that disease and illness can be tackled. We hold before you those who mourn the loss of loved ones.
Hymn 352 – O for a thousand tongues to sing
Now go in peace,
Go with eyes of faith
Go with hearts filled with compassion and love
Go with hands ready to help lift up the broken
and the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer be with you, now and forevermore Amen