The Lord be with you! Good morning, Cheviot Churches – and Good morning to those joining us in other places too! You are all very welcome. This is Colin, and I hope everyone is staying well. Come, people of God, let us worship together on the 19th Sunday after Pentecost.
Call to Worship
We are the eyes of Christ
Seeing as Christ sees
We are the lips of Christ
Speaking with love
We are the hands of Christ
Serving with love
Hymn 251 – I the Lord of sea and sky
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
Generous and forgiving God ,you are the first and the last, the giver of all good things .Your glory is endless; your power, incomparable. Your love stretches wider than the universe, your mercy reaches beyond the heights of heaven. We gather with hearts thankful for the abundance of your creation to worship and adore you. Inspire us by this time of worship, that our hearts overflow with praise each and every day. May our lives reflect our gratitude to you in the ways we share your abundant love in Jesus’ name.
Let us confess our sins before God. Generous and loving God, we confess that in a world where many do not have enough, we enjoy more than we need. In a world where many live in fear, we take peace for granted. In a world where many have lost hope, we become indifferent to despair and grumble about small things. Forgive us, merciful God, and transform our lives to shine with the generosity, peace and hope you offer us in Christ Jesus.
Friends, while it is true we have all sinned, it is a greater truth that we are forgiven through God’s love in Jesus Christ. To all who humbly seek the mercy of God I say, in Jesus Christ our sin is forgiven. Be at peace with God, with yourself and with one another.
Readings – Philippians 4: 1-9
Matthew 5: 38-48
Hymn 336 – Christ is our light
Weekly Prayer Faithful God, as we move into the coming week to live and work for the Gospel, help us to concentrate our thoughts on whatever is true, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Help us to travel onwards with our eyes fixed on Jesus willing to go the extra mile, and may we know your peace with us. Amen.
At the General Assembly last week, the Youth moderator gave her report, and she talked about how she had travelled to Zambia to visit one of the projects being supported by the Guild. It is a project, supporting young mothers in a particularly poor area of the capital, Lusaka, a shanty town with makeshift roads and few amenities. But the youth moderator spoke of how, within a few minutes of her arrival, she found herself dancing. The young mothers had immediately burst into song, drums were beating and everyone started to dance. I can well imagine it. They would be wearing colourful chitenge cloth around them, tying their babies to their backs, so the babies would be dancing as well! These are young women who had probably left school early, who would struggle to get by, and yet who put their troubles aside and exude the joy of being a Christian in song and in movement. And who would have been given much hope through the Guild’s support.
Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi says, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice. Paul had a soft spot for this church, and there is a warmth of feeling in his words. I visited the site of Philippi some years ago- it is now just ruins, its glory faded. But nearby is a chapel by a river, marking the place where Lydia was baptised along with her household. She was a dealer in the expensive purple dye and a prominent member of the early church. But in the passage this morning we read of two other women. There was obviously a disagreement between them, which needed to be resolved. They held different views, but they had to come together for the good of the church. But the thing that strikes me is that they had leadership positions in the church and had been co-workers with Paul. This was a church where women were very active.
Today is Guild Sunday, and we remember the work of the Guild in the life of the church. Nowadays the Guild is not only for women, but also men, and I am always tremendously impressed by energy and devotion of the Guild. In the rallies and meetings there is a real sense of joy, as they enjoy fellowship with one another and with God, but also it is an organisation which is very much on the move and one which is committed to showing God’s love in action. They choose 6 projects for a 3 year period and raise phenomenal sums of money. Projects like the young mothers in Zambia or street children in India – or nearer to home, tackling loneliness with CrossReach or supporting chaplains to sailors.
The Guild have had their theme of ‘One Journey, many roads’, and this year they are looking in particular at the ‘Extra Mile’. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount encouraged his followers to go the extra mile. Rome occupied Palestine at the time of Jesus, and Roman soldiers could pressgang someone to carry their load, but only for a mile. Jesus is saying to go beyond that and carry it for an extra mile. Go beyond what is required, in other words. It is all part of Christ’s upside-down world.
The Guild certainly seek to go the extra mile, doing more than expected. As followers of Christ, all of us have to surprise the world by the joy in our souls, but also by exceeding expectations; by being a voice to the voiceless, by being a companion on the road, by showing the love of Jesus Christ -in the words of the Guild motto, ‘whose we are and whom we serve’.
Taize Chant – In the Lord I’ll be ever thankful
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Gracious God, we present our gifts to you as tokens of our thanksgiving for all we have received from your hand. Bless these gifts and multiply them, just as Jesus multiplied a few loaves and fishes to bless others. Use our gifts and our energy to share your love in our community and around your world, for the sake of Christ our Lord.
Gracious Father, we give thanks for all those who have walked that extra mile for us over our lifetime – the nurturing when we were young, the extra time taken with us when we were learning new skills, the kind word and helping hand when we were struggling with life’s problems. We ask for Your help and guidance that we too can walk an extra mile for others in the loving and generous spirit of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Father God, we think about Your Church here in Scotland. This is a time of radical change and we ask for Your guidance for those at local, presbytery and national level - giving them wisdom as they seek to discern Your will. May we all be willing to support, change and move forward to meet the needs of today.
Be with young people in every country in the world. Guide them in their work and studies. Let them use their gifts and talents and ideas to Your glory. Give guidance to all who work with young people, whatever their age. Give them wisdom to know what each child needs.
We pray for our country as new restrictions come into effect and pray that all may work together to combat this virus. Help us to encourage one another. We pray for our world, remembering the situation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, where tensions are high. We also pray for the United States as the election nears.
Hymn 449 – Rejoice the Lord is King
As we travel the road of life, lead us, Heavenly Father. As we journey the path of faith, uphold us, Christ the Son. As we meet all joys and sorrows, fill us Holy Spirit. Be with us now and always Bless us, three in one. Amen