Sunday 7th February 2021
Keeping the Balanace
Call to Worship
Hymn 1: Lord Jesus Christ
Opening Prayer: Eileen
Holy Spirit we ask that you come into our presence and move amongst us this morning , so we can be reminded of why we should be thankful with a grateful heart for the love that God has for us. Be our guide as we praise God through our prayers and our music, help us to proclaim our love for Him in the morning and in the night. Let us as a congregation shout for joy at how good God has been to us and let us remain eternally faithful to Him.
Holy Spirit we ask that you come into our presence and move amongst us this morning, be the light that shines in our hearts, even though we might be fragile, weak or weary, to contain the treasures of the Holy Spirit within us is the greatest gift we can have because the gift of the Holy Spirit comes from God not from ourselves. He is our rock, our refuge and our fortress on whom we can depend.
Even when we are surrounded by troubles we will not feel overwhelmed. When we are feeling worried, we will not be driven to despair. when we feel Be our hope and our comfort, help us to move within Your righteousness so we can tell others of Your glory and awesome deeds.
Holy Spirit move amongst us today help us to come to You with our hearts filled with gladness and a readiness to fulfil our vows to You. Be gracious to us and remain always in our presence for in You we will rejoice.
The Lord's Prayer
Hymn 2: Lord I Lift Your Name on High
Good News: Time to share good news, birthdays, anniversaries and how God has blessed us.
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
Hymn 3: Jesus is the Lamb of God
Reflection: Keeping the balance
Our bible reading today, is a passage cherished by many and often used at funerals and memorial services and it offers great wisdom about opposites. Each time and season in our life may seem random but there is actually a divinely chosen purpose for everything we experience in our lives. As humans, we have mastered many things in this world and to some extent can keep a balance, but some elements of our existence are beyond our control. We certainly cannot conquer time as God is the one who appoints each moment.
Our lives contain a balance of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, harmony and struggle and life and death. Each season has its appropriate time in the cycle of life. Nothing stays the same and we, as God’s children, must learn to accept and adjust to the ebb and flow of God’s design. Some seasons are really difficult and we may not understand what God is doing. In those times, we must humbly submit to the Lord’s plans and trust that he is working out his good purposes.
Have you ever watched an acrobat on a high wire? You’d think that it should be easy to stay on this straight and narrow path and the skill seems to lie in confidence and balance. As the acrobat walks along the wire, he corrects the ever present tendency to over balance by gently shifting his centre of gravity towards the other side. It’s a continual compensation, a living with tension, without over balancing. It also requires a sensitive feel for the wire underfoot.
As Christians, because of the ebb and flow of life, as described in the bible passage, we need similar balance. But there are moments when we just can’t get our balance, when we’re pulled one way and then the other by pressures, demands and circumstance, resulting in a wobble that makes us scared to move. The effort of putting one foot in front of the other is a major problem, requiring a deep breath and all the courage we can muster.
But most high wire walkers don’t just use their arms for balance, they use a very long pole for greater stability. We can do a certain amount on our own to maintain our balance, waving our arms about, but for real balance we need the help that holding on to Jesus gives. It takes practice to let go and put trust in this balance but in time the balance seems natural and we get on with walking across the wire, knowing that God’s safety net of love spreads out beneath us to catch us when we fall and bounce us back to where we belong, with him.
This is really important when we have decisions to make, questions to answer and tensions to balance. For this we need a centre point to give us stability and strength...
Sometimes, it is God who is shaking our rope. But why would he do that because we know that he genuinely cares about us and wants to offer comfort. We could consider this in light of what we are all going through at the moment and the many heartaches that people are suffering. But we must understand that to have faith in God is to trust him above all in these situations and the balance is not just to know the truth, but to act upon it. It takes great courage to let go and trust in this balance; to stand still in our confusion and grief and still believe that god will hold us up amongst the ruins. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, you are with me, from Psalm 23.
The book of Habakkuk is a tiny book of the old testament and I am only familiar with it because I studied it for A level religious studies many years ago and remember it’s message even now. Habakkuk was a prophet at the end of the 7th century BC. He was so disturbed by the violence and cruelty of the Babylonians who were in power at the time, that he asked the Lord “So why are you silent while they destroy people more righteous than they are?” The Lord’s answer was that he would take action in his own good time and meanwhile, those who are righteous would live because they are faithful to God. But what I remember most about the Book of Habakuk is that at the very end of the 3rd and final chapter, in verse 17, each sentence begins with ‘even though’. Even though the fig tree does not blossom, even though there is no fruit on the vine, even though the sheep all die and the cattle stalls are empty, I will still be joyful and rejoice, because the Lord is my Saviour. He makes me sure footed as a deer and keeps me safe on the mountains. If ever there was an endorsement of God helping us to keep our balance, it is in those words. When I reflect on the ‘even thoughs’ in the face of such obvious loss that this world and individuals we know and love are currently experiencing, I realise that each one was a declaration of trust, hope and confidence in distressing and devastating circumstances, which applies as much today as it did when Habakuk wrote those words.
We thank God that when we lose our balance, his safety net of love and compassion is there to catch us.
Message 2: Roy
Hymn 4: Because He Lives
Prayers of Intercession:
Father God, creator of the world and universe, look down upon us as we gather in your name. Although we may be worshipping in different places we pray that we shall be strengthened through your Word and the unity we have in Jesus Christ. We are not alone in our worship and add our praises to all who meet in the name of Jesus today.
God of creation, your glory fills the whole world yet we know that our wonderful world is flawed.
As we learn of another shocking statistic of over 100,000 deaths in this country from COVID 19, may we be aware of the millions of broken hearts this represents and the many who have faced death without their loved ones holding their hands. Give them comfort Lord and guide all those in Government positions to make wise decisions for the good of us all.
God of Mercy, as holocaust Memorial Day was remembered this week, we pray for all those who remain victims of persecution, oppression, racism or prejudice. For those held in slavery, deprived of food and water, those fleeing their homes, those who confess Christ before their enemies. Give them all courage and the knowledge of your deep care and love for them.
God of love
We think of those whose lives have been broken, through sorrow and grief, illness, and fractured relationships where Life may seem to have lost its purpose. May the gift of your healing grace bring a new sense of purpose.
We think of those who have found themselves homeless and destitute not knowing where to turn. We remember those who have committed crimes and are in prison or have been released, or those who have made unwise choices in their lives and are judged badly by others who do not know their story. As we recognise the need for justice may we act with compassion and mercy, remembering how God deals with us.
Almighty God, give us hearts of compassion so that we can bless those whom we meet. Help us to bring peace and comfort to those who are in distress. May your Spirit give us life and strength and show us how we can share God’s love, Joy and peace and be true servants of Christ.
May your blessing be with us today and every day; for we ask this in Jesus’ name.
Please keep those on our prayer list in your prayers today.
Hymn 5: In Christ Alone