· We welcome all visitors to our services this Sunday at Yetholm (10am) and Linton (11.15). Please take the time to sign the visitors’ book.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you His faithful people;
praise His holy name.
For His anger lasts only a moment,
but His favour lasts a lifetime;
Weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.
God turns weeping into dancing
and clothes us with joy.
Hymn 132 – Immortal invisible
Prayers of Adoration and Confession
God of constant love, God of unending grace, God of the outcast and the prisoner, God of the powerful and powerless, God of all, we join in worship this day, in this building and in our homes giving thanks for your presence in our lives and for all that you have done, and what you have made us to be.
God who supports, God who challenges, God who sees our whole selves, not just that which others see, speak to us today, shine the light of your wisdom into our lives and guide us towards service of you, each other, and the whole world.
Loving God, you send us into the world as ambassadors of your love and peace, yet too often we create discord and division. We serve our own interests first, ignoring those in need and fail to listen to the stories of others. Forgive us for such self-centredness.
Help us to be more faithful disciples of Jesus,
eager to serve, willing to listen, glad to be of service in his name.
The Apostle Paul declared that ‘If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away and everything has become new!’
Thanks be to God that by God’s mercy, we can all make a new start!
Readings: 2 Kings 5: 1-14
Luke 10: 1-11
Hymn 97 O God, you search me
Gracious God, help us humbly to obey your instructions even when we are tempted to go our own way, so that like Naaman we may experience your cleansing waters. In the week ahead, help us to go out and take your message of love and forgiveness to our friends and neighbours. Amen
I was at the Morebattle shop the other day, when quite a number of the school children appeared; they were going to climb up Wideopen Hill. The teacher said that she had had to draw up a risk assessment before leaving, to identify possible hazards, such as a child falling in the river or twisting an ankle or cows in a field and how to tackle them.
During the Covid pandemic, we had to write up a Risk Assessment and keep it updated. A risk assessment identifies possible risks or hazards, but then puts in measures to control them. So, in the pandemic, the risk was of Covid spreading, but we controlled it by spacing out the chairs and keeping a distance; by washing hands and using sanitiser and wearing face masks. Even now we still don’t take up the offering or pass around the bread and wine at communion.
Imagine if Jesus had had to make a risk assessment, before he sent out the 70? They were going in pairs which was a good thing, but there were lots of hazards. There were rough roads, and they might get blisters or their sandals might break, but yet they had to take no extra pair of sandals. Another hazard was that no-one gave them food; they would just have to go hungry, for they took no food with them. There was a chance that no one would provide accommodation – they would just have to sleep rough, but carrying no bag, at least robbers would pass them by. I don’t think a risk assessment would sanction this enterprise at all – and yet it was a great success. The disciples, some say 70, some say 72, were equipped to go out, but relied completely on the goodwill of the people they visited. It was a big risk, but they came back rejoicing. They discovered gifts they didn’t know they had, they learned to trust each other, to create community with those they met and do that without even a bag to carry or food to eat. There were no safety nets, but it was a liberating experience. Each of us have gifts which we can use, but they are more effective when we use them together, when we work together.
In our reading from Kings, Naaman the Syrian general took a risk. He was popular, successful, everything was going well for him, except he had leprosy. Because of that, he would have been deemed unclean and he wouldn’t be able to participate in daily life. But when the maidservant who had been one of the spoils of war from his campaign against Israel, told his wife about the prophet Elisha and how he would cure such diseases, Naaman took the risk and grasped the opportunity. In a risk assessment there would always be a chance he wouldn’t be cured or that Elisha would have refused to treat a foreigner, but he does so, though he dents Naaman’s conceit by sending his servant with the instruction to wash in the Jordan. There are no great incantations, and Naaman needs to be persuaded by his servants to dip in the river, but in doing so, Naaman is cured and praises God. In this story, it is the little people, the maidservant and Elisha’s servant and Naaman’s servants who bring the cure about. People using the gifts and knowledge that they have to effect change.
Life is full of risks. Driving a car, taking a bus, there are risks. Getting married, having children, there are risks. Being a Christian there are risks. But like the 70 being sent out, we can be encouraged by the people around us, and even the hospitality and help of strangers. They also had the full confidence and support of Jesus, as we do as well. We are not asked nowadays to go out without being suitably prepared, but we are asked to use the gifts and the knowledge we have to the full and by doing so bring glory to God.
Hymn 707 – Healing river of the Spirit
Prayers of Dedication and Intercession
Creator God, source of all life and each life,
we come to you in prayer this day,
grateful that your world is full of wonder and possibility, but also in desperate need of your reconciling love.
We pray for the many different peoples of this world,
divided as we are into many nations, clans, cultures, and spiritual traditions.
Help us understand those differences more fully,
and honour the good things that bind us together despite differences.
Loving God, source of truth and wisdom,
in the world we are confronted by powers and authorities.
Help us recognize their potential for both good and evil, and act wisely to discern whom to trust
and when to act.
When we see injustice or recognize falsehood,
give us the courage to speak up in Christ’s name.
Open our eyes to our own weakness and bias,
and speak to us through the example of Jesus, our Lord.
the world is filled with violence and hatred, costing innocent lives. We sometimes feel powerless to do anything about it.
Today our hearts ache for those who live amid brutal conflict, for those have died through violence,
and for those who suffer the many effects of trauma.
We pray for those who have lost their homes through conflict and fled their countries just to survive.
Open hearts and homes to welcome those who flee
and protect those who stay amid conflict to offer care.
you see into our hearts and know the heartaches we carry. We pray for those living with illness and pain,
for those who mourn the loss of someone or something dear, and for all those struggling with anxiety or despair in these challenging times.
Keep silence for at least ten seconds.
God of all the earth,
Teach us to live in love. Amen
Hymn 167 – Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
As we go from this time of worship into a time of service, speak to us in the different places we go
and through the different people we encounter
as we seek to do your work.
Let us go in the name of
God our creator
Jesus our saviour
and the Holy Spirit, our challenger