How can I repay the Lord for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
And call on the Lord by name.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
In the presence of all his people.
Let us worship God
Hymn 198 – Let us build a house (1,2,3,5)
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
We have heard about you, God of all power.
You made the world out of kindness, creating order out of confusion; You made each one of us in your own image, your fingerprint on every soul.
We praise and worship you.
We have heard about you, Jesus Christ:
The carpenter who left his tools and trade;
The poor man who made others rich;
The healer who let himself be wounded;
The saviour who died and rose again.
We praise and worship you.
We have heard about you, Holy Spirit.
You broke the bonds of every race and nation,
To let God speak in every tongue;
You made the disciples drunk with grace;
You converted souls and emptied pockets;
You showed how love made all things new
And opened the doors to freedom and change.
We praise and worship you.
Most merciful God, we come before you, confessing that we have sinned, in thought, word and deed,
Through our own fault and in common with others.
We are truly sorry and turn from our sins
Lord have mercy/ Christ have mercy/ Lord have mercy.
God freely forgives all who confess their sin and offers us the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit to be the people of God in the world. Amen
Readings: 2 Kings 2: 6-14
Hymn 510 – Jesus calls us here to meet him (1,2,4)
Gracious God, we come together to share in the communion of our Lord Jesus Christ and are reminded to do this until He comes. Thank You for Your Word and its powerful influence in our lives. Help us to learn to put its truth into practice as we go from here to live and serve each other in the week ahead. Amen
Recently there has been speculation over who would succeed the Prime Minister if he were to go – though he seems to survive. Similarly in the Labour party, if Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner were to step down over Beergate, who would take over? In any business, an eye is always kept in who would step into the shoes of the one at the top. Often people are groomed to take over, so that there is no vacuum. Certainly for Jesus, he had the twelve disciples, for support but also to train up, and most did an admirable job when the mantle fell on them.
But today we are going to concentrate on the passage from Kings, the story of an older prophet, nearing the end of his ministry, and a younger prophet. It is the story of Elijah and Elisha, and they make a journey together. If we had read from the beginning of the chapter, we would have seen how Elijah initially his protege to stay put, not to accompany him, but in echoes of Ruth and Naomi, Elisha is not put off but stubbornly follows, and they make a tour of places important to the faith. Places like Gilgal, where the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land; places like Bethel, where Jacob famously had his dream of a ladder into heaven, with angels ascending and descending, and he said, this is truly the House of God, and we have that phrase above us as we enter Linton Kirk.
It is as if Elijah is making a farewell tour of the country, but it is also the older prophet impressing on his apprentice the importance of history, the places where God showed up and inspired Israel. He wanted the younger generation to know the past in order to face the future. We learn from the past so that we can be stronger in the days to come.
Elijah asks what he can do for Elisha, before he is taken up to heaven, and the latter asks for a double portion of his spirit. It sounds greedy, wanting twice of what Elijah has, but perhaps it is humility as well; Elisha realises Elijah’s greatness and knows he will come nowhere near to it. But also it is like an inheritance for a first-born son. He wanted to be like Elijah, to bear a resemblance to his character.
The story is told a couple who were about to have their first child. If it were a girl, they agreed the name would be Ruth. All good. But they disagreed over the name, if the baby were a boy. So violently did they disagree that they went to see the minister. The wife told him, ‘I want to name him after my father, but he wants to name the boy after his father’. ‘What’s your father’s name?’ Joseph. He turned to the husband, ‘And what is your father called?’ Joseph! What’s the problem? ‘Well, my father was a real saint, a really good person, but his father was a rogue. I don’t want to call him after him!’ The minister thought about it and wisely told the couple to call the baby, if a boy, Joseph, and only when he grew up would they be able to tell after which father he was named.
Elisha wanted to be like his mentor. The disciples grew more like Jesus. As children of God, we seek to be more Christ-like in all that we do.
The time had come for Elijah to hand over his mantle, to hand over the succession to Elisha, and the great prophet was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. It is one of these great images, and it emphasises being brought into the presence of God. Jacob at Bethel had a sense of God in the ladder reaching to the skies; Elisha in the dazzling spectacle of the chariot of fire. But we can feel God’s presence in the ordinary, everyday things of life too. For the disciples, they remembered the last meal that they shared with Jesus and how he passed bread to them and then wine, and he told them to remember him.
We do that today at communion. We take the bread in our hands and the wine, and we remember Christ and give thanks for all our blessings and seek ever to resemble Christ and have God’s fingerprint on our very souls.
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Holy One, you call us to love neighbour as self. Use all we have to offer,
of money, talents, time, and energy to live and love the good news of your kingdom in our lives.
We pray for the nations of this world, asking that you show us what it means to love other nations as we love our own. We pray for peace
where there is none, particularly for Ukraine, Syria, Yemen and other places we hear about and those we do not.
We pray for the communities where we are set. Show us what you need us to do, what perhaps only
we can do, in the places we live out our lives. Show us how to love neighbour as ourselves.
We bring before you those who are sick in body and in mind, those in hospital and home; for those who have lost loved ones and for the anxious and the lonely. Enfold them all in your care. Amen
Invitation to the Table
This is the Lord’s Table. The Lord Jesus invites us to share this joyful feast.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.
Hymn 662 – Jesus thou joy
Let us hear again the story of the Last Supper.
The tradition which I handed on to you
Came to me from the Lord himself:
That on the night of his arrest
The Lord Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to God, broke it and said:
This is my body which is for you:
Do this in memory of me.
In the same way, he took the cup after supper and said: This cup is the new covenant
Sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it,
Do this in memory of me.
For every time you eat this bread
And drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death
Until he comes again.
Let us pray:
The Lord be with you
And also with you
Lift up your hearts
We lift them to the Lord
Let us give thanks to the lord our God
It is right to give our thanks and praise
With joy we give you thanks and praise, Almighty God, Source of all life and love, that we live in your world, that you are always creating and
sustaining it by your power, and that you have so made us that we can know and love you, trust and serve you. We give you thanks that you loved the world so much that you gave your only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him may not die but have eternal life.
We thank you that Jesus was born among us that he lived our common life on earth; that he suffered and died for us; that he rose again; and that he is always present through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore with all your people, past present and to come, and with the whole company of heaven we sing the hymn of your unending glory:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Heavenly Father, send your Holy Spirit
To bless us and these your gifts of bread and wine,
That in communion with Christ our Lord
We may receive his life and remain his glad and faithful people until we feast with him in glory.
As we share in the body and blood of Christ,
may we become a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for your acceptance, through Jesus Christ our Lord
Breaking of bread
The Lord Jesus on the night that he was betrayed took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, ‘this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of me’.
In the same way he took the cup, saying ‘This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink of it, do so in memory of me’
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world: have mercy on us. (x2)
grant us your peace.
As we follow the example of Jesus, I invite you to hold the bread. This is the Christ’s body, broken for you. Take and eat in memory of him.
I invite you to take the wine. This is the blood of Christ poured out for each one of us. Take and drink in memory of him.
The disciples were together behind locked doors, and Jesus came and stood among them and he said, Peace be with you.
And so I say to you, The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Loving God, we praise you for what you have given and for what you have promised us here today. You have made us one with all your people in heaven and in earth. You have fed us with the bread of life and renewed us for your service.
Now we give ourselves to you and ask that our daily living may be part of the life of your kingdom and that our love may be your love reaching out into the life of the world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Hymn 419 – Thine be the glory
May the blessing of God
Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit,
be with you,
with those we love and those we are called to love,
today and in the days to come.