Welcome & Announcements
Call to Worship
We gather in this place to worship
Yearning for the Holy Spirit to fill us
We come among our fellow believers
Trusting that God will touch our hearts
That we might serve others
And bring hope and healing to the world
Hymn 112 – God whose almighty word
Creator, Christ and Spirit
you provide what we need to live, from the bounty of creation. God of mercy, you know us through and through and you love us. God of hope, you have an everlasting purpose for us. God of wisdom,
you open our minds and teach and guide us.
So we come to worship you, Source of Wisdom, Son of Mercy, Spirit of Hope, offering you our prayers and our praise, trusting you to offer us the gifts we need to thrive and to serve you in the world you love.
O God, our great shepherd, tenderly you gather us as lambs, carrying us with your all-embracing love. Yet, like sheep, we wander from you; often following our own ways, sometimes ignoring your voice, at times distrusting your provisions. Forgive our wrongdoing, our hardened hearts, our lack of trust. Refresh us once again by your quiet waters of mercy and restore our souls by your redeeming love. Guide our paths, that we might follow you more closely Through Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, we pray.
Receive the good news of the gospel: in Jesus Christ we are forgiven.
Readings –Philippians 2: 1-11 (pg 1179 )
Mark 10: 46-52 (pg 1015)
Hymn 557 – O love that wilt not let me go
Father God, in many ways you have taught us that we can always trust you, even when it might seem that you are far from us. Give us spiritual sight and help us to remember your humility, even to death on the cross for our salvation. May we feel your loving presence as we go from this time of worship, confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen
A graduation is a big day, a celebration of years of study. Family and friends are dressed up to support the graduate. For Ryan it was such an achievement, but he reflected on his whole life and said, ‘If it hadn’t been for Rainbow House I wouldn’t be here today. I have got my family back, I have got my life back’. Ryan had been in a bad place. He lives in one of the housing estates on the periphery of Glasgow and had got involved with drugs big time. He became estranged from his family, as he spent everything to get his next fix. Fortunately the local church had a café providing cheap meals, which also doubled as a foodbank. The staff there had got to know Ryan and suggested he try to turn his life around and they mentioned Rainbow House which a Crossreach residential home in Glasgow for those suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. Coming off any addiction can be a nightmare (Halterburn). It wasn’t easy for Ryan and there were setbacks, but somehow he came through it. To the extent that he decided he wanted to help others in a similar situation, so he went through training and now he was graduating. His life had turned around and now he works at Rainbow House.
Crossreach is the social arm of the Church of Scotland and has been around for 150 years. It is the largest non-statutory care provider in Scotland and does tremendous work, yet as a Church we don’t know enough about it. It offers such a range of services. The most well-known are perhaps the care homes for the elderly, which are all around Scotland, though I don’t think there are any in the Borders. However, Crossreach is involved in more than that, providing counselling services like the Tom Allan centre or supporting those coming out of prison or those with learning difficulties or those with dementia – such as an art project. The list goes on...! But it all stems from the Church reaching out to the vulnerable in society, to those on the margins. It is faith in action.
We have been looking at the marks of mission, the five marks that the Church is using to define mission in the 21st Century, and today we are onto the 3rd mark which is Loving Service. Right from the earliest days the Church saw a need to tend the less fortunate. In the book of Acts, the Church quickly appointed deacons to take care of the practical side of church life, and that included helping the poor and sick. It was there right from the beginning – and why? Because wherever Jesus went, he was filled with compassion when he saw those on the margins of society crying for help, crying to be heard. Those with leprosy, the paralysed, the blind, those wracked with guilt. So often they were just ignored, just like today, but Jesus noticed and Jesus did something about it. The name Jesus is short for Joshua and means ‘he saves’. He certainly saved Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus was blind and begged from passers-by on the road to Jericho. But he wasn’t content with his lot. He had heard of Jesus and the miracles he had performed, and so when Jesus passed by, he shouted out. People told him to be quiet, but this was his one chance and he was taking it. ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ He couldn’t see what the reaction was, apart from being told to stay in the margins, stay silent. Then Jesus spoke to him and asked what he wanted. Quick as a flash, he grabbed the opportunity and asked for his sight. He followed Jesus.
Jesus saw people in need and responded. In the early church there was a hymn to Jesus, which we read in Philippians: how Jesus’ nature was to empty himself and give of himself to the world, even to the point of death. He gave of himself to all who came seeking his mercy, right up to walking the road to the cross at Calvary, where he gave himself for the life of the world, saving humanity, even though it was we by our sins that nailed him to the cross. Paul encourages the congregation at Philippi to have the same mind as was in Christ, looking to the interests of others rather than their own self-interest. He has a vision of the life of the Christian community being formed by the spirit of humility and servanthood and self-giving that Jesus embodied and so reach out to serve others.
We are called to show that loving service and reach out to others who are hurting – and there are those who are hurting because of the Church and abuse they have suffered. In missions abroad the first things to be built were schools and hospitals; only after that were churches built. We show loving service through foodbanks and breakfast clubs and providing space for people to come together; through offering hospitality and giving lifts. The Guild does magnificently raising hundreds of thousands nationally for projects at home and abroad, while we raise money for Christian Aid and disaster appeals. As the Church we have to look beyond ourselves and to be part of our community and be part of our hurting world. As Jesus healed so many in body, mind and spirit, so we too are agents of healing and hope.
Hymn 718 – We cannot measure how you heal
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Gracious God, you have given us each a unique set of gifts: physical health and strength to some; to others wit and cleverness. Some of us are born leaders; some prefer to follow; some of us are good with words; others speak through our actions. Help us to use our gifts for good and not for ill. May we use our strength to help other people, not to hurt them; our minds to enlighten, not deceive; our words to serve the truth and not distort it, to heal and not to harm. We give back to you the gifts that you have given us. Help us to use them well.
Living God, we turn to you now with our concerns for people, for places and for situations which are on our hearts today. As we long for your Kingdom to come and for fulness of life for all, we ask you to renew our trust and our hope and to show us how we can begin to answer some of our own prayers. We hold up to you those whose needs are most basic. Those who do not have clean water to drink or enough food to eat. Those who lack proper shelter or have no access to education, or health care. Those whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by war, by natural disaster, or by the violence, power plays and greed of others. Those who do not have a safe place to call home or a stable family and friends with which to share their lives. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We thank you for the cool clear water that flows in mountain streams. We are conscious of the many ways in which humanity has polluted water courses, through overflows from industry, waste and treatment plants. Through plastic, chemicals, and rubbish. We know that many people have no clean water in which to bathe or even to drink and that pollution is destroying habitats and wildlife and choking the life from rivers, lakes and seas. We ask for a renewal of our habits leading to a renewal of habitats across our world.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We ask your blessing on all who are involved with Fairtrade, lifting before you the producers as they grow their crops and craft their works. Bless them in their endeavours and grant them wisdom and discernment as they make decisions about how to use the benefits of Fairtrade.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
We pray for the Church, that your Spirit may bring us close to Christ and closer to each other. We ask your blessing on the work of Crossreach, for the staff of all the various centres as they give care to so many.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer
Be with all who are on the margins of society, all who struggle to have a voice and make themselves heard. Be with all who are sick in body or mind or spirit. Be with all waiting for operations. Bless all who have lost loved ones and are feeling lost themselves. We pray in silence for those whose names are on our hearts.
Hymn 458 – At the name of Jesus