The fourth Sunday of Lent – March 14th 2021

All Age Activity:

Preparation:
You will need 15 post-its or pieces of paper and on each one place the following letters ‘M’ , ‘O’, ‘T’, ‘H’, ‘E’, ‘R’, ‘I’, ‘N’, ‘G’, ‘S’, ‘U’, ‘N’, ‘D’, ‘A’, ‘Y’. Ask a Adult to help you if you need to.

Activity:
Now see how many words you can make from the letters.
I would love to know how many words you came up with, so let me know in the Zoom catch-up if you are around at 11 am.

Welcome

Welcome

Morning everyone and welcome to our online service for this Mothering Sunday. I’d like to say a huge thank you to those of you who have delivered the flowers to each of the households listed in our fellowship directory and I do hope that in passing on a bunch you have been able to interact with neighbours or friends in a different way this week.

At the start of our time together, we need to acknowledge that it has been a difficult week for many as the developments and the news events around Sarah Everard evolved and the subsequent discussions this has opened up. But to learn that she wasn’t the only one to have died over the past week or so and that these weren’t reported on adds weight to all that I have been feeling too. So as we come to our service, we bring all of our experiences, anxieties, concerns, anger and frustration and as we worship God and reflect on this Mothering Sunday, may God meet us in our needs.

We begin with a prayer. Lets pray together.

Call to worship

God our Father,
your Son, Jesus Christ,
lived in a family at Nazareth.
As we meet together now
help us to learn more about what it is
to love our families and friends as you love us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.

Worship

Praise

We begin our worship with the words that Mary sang as an expectant mother when she visited her cousin Elizabeth.

A prayer of confession
Heavenly Father, parent of us all,
we know we don’t always treat each other
as you want us to.
Lord God, forgive us;
and help us to be more loving.

There are times when we insist on getting our own way
despite what others feel.
Lord God, forgive us;
and help us to be more loving.

Sometimes we increase the tension
when we ought to seek peace,
or say things which hurt one another.
Lord God, forgive us;
and help us to be more loving.

God has loved us,
sending his Son Jesus to show us the true meaning of forgiveness
Lord God, forgive us;
and help us to be more loving.
Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.

The special prayer for today
God of love,
passionate and strong,
tender and careful:
watch over us and hold us
all the days of our life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Word

33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: ‘This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

Luke 2
33-35

So I wonder how many words have you found – Did you find this one

Hugs: You cannot beat a good hug can you and hugs are definitely one of the things that are missed at the moment, when we have to stay home and not see our families and friends. A hug is great because it can tell us how much we are loved and accepted and some of my favourite hugs are from my nieces and nephews when they are completely spontaneous and freely given. So I am going to encourage you, if you able to hug those in your household or bubble, but also to be saving them up for when we can hug those not in our household too.

How about this one?

Naughty: There are times when we can be deliberately naughty, partly it is experimentation to see where the boundaries exist and sometimes we just get it wrong or miss this mark and this is where our parents or friends can put us straight but also forgive us. The good news is that God, through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has dealt with sin once and for all and if we tell God where we have got it wrong just as we did earlier in our service, we know that God, always forgives.

How about this one?

Strength: The world as we know it is not an easy place and we need strength to live as God’s people, to live and love the other as Jesus did and to be good news in our household, families, communities, front-lines and the world. We need strength to stand alongside others where intimidation and injustice appear and to notice and speak up for other parts of society whose voice is often ignored. So let us remember that our strength comes from God himself through the Holy Spirit, who strengthens and guides us.

 

When we look at the Gospel passage there are four more words to look at. I wonder if you found and of them.

The first one is Rise

In v34 Simeon blesses the family and says “God has chosen this child to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel” In his ministry Jesus came and mixed with those who felt they did not matter to anyone. In the eyes of society, they were considered unimportant or were to be avoided and yet Jesus interacted with them, touched them and ate with them. He helped such people to know they were accepted by God and of great value to him. As people who know we are accepted by God and the difference that has made to us? Can we be good news for others, the people through whom, others encounter Jesus’ love for them?

The second is ‘Hated’

Simeon goes on to say that that He [Jesus] will be a sign from God that many people will not accept. In his ministry, Jesus was often clashing with the leaders of the day whom he challenged. They even plotted to kill him, the gospels tell us. The thought of being unpopular for many can be really hard and it is something that many of us can try really hard not to happen, but to follow Jesus we need to be prepared to be unpopular, to find our confidence in our relationship with him and not be swayed by what other people think of us. Can we do this, draw on the God’s strength and stand beside others and speak truth to power?

The third is ‘Hearts’

Simeon says that Jesus, the sign from God will not be accepted so that the thoughts of many will be made known. There are times when our identities are defined by the things that we do rather that who we are, and when that happens and things go wrong we can tell ourselves that we are not good or failures but that is not true. The bible authors knew the importance of being loved. Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God and love our neighbours as we love ourselves… which means we need to know what it is to love and accept ourselves for who we are. Paul knows that the church in Corinth won’t be able to work our their differences if they don’t have love for one another – hence we get the amazing description in 1 Corinthians 13. Who we are on the inside shapes who we are on the outside and knows that. Can we let God shape our inner thoughts and hearts so we become the people he has created us to be?

The final work is ‘hurts’

Lastly Simeon says to Mary ‘And the things that will happen will make you heart sad, too’ I wonder what Mary would have made of these words at the time and because we know the story, we know she was at the cross when Jesus died and experienced the pain and suffering but that she also knew the joy of the resurrection on the third day.

Loving others is not a pain-free process, and there are far too many families, people who will be in pain and suffering today for numerous reasons. In sending himself, his Son, Jesus to live a human life and die on the cross, God has shown us that he understands this and that he suffers beside us, but death was not the end and resurrection came and God opened the way for each one of us to know him and the healing and restoration that he can bring and this is what we celebrate at Easter. Can we be people who sit with others in the pain and the suffering, trusting God for the hope to come?

This past year has been a strange one, it is one that has highlighted our interdependence upon one another, it has shown the capacity for human kindness and it has starkly highlighted the inequality and injustices in our society? Our challenge is to be God’s people in this place, to love, stand alongside and speak out. Can we do this?

We thank God for giving us others to share in our lives:

for parents, and the love which brought us to birth:

we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

 

For mothers, who have cherished and nurtured us:

we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

 

For fathers, who have loved and supported us,

we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For brothers and sisters, with whom we have shared our home:

we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

Witness

Thanksgiving
We thank God for giving us others to share in our lives:
for parents, and the love which brought us to birth:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For mothers, who have cherished and nurtured us:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For fathers, who have loved and supported us,
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For brothers and sisters, with whom we have shared our home:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For children and their parents:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For other relatives and friends,
who have been with us in our hopes and joys
and in times of sadness:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

For all who first spoke to us of Jesus,
and have drawn us into the family of our Father in heaven:
we praise you, O Lord, and bring you thanks today.

Help us to live as those who belong to one another,
to look out for one another and to stand alongside one another
and to you, our Father,
now and always.
Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.

Prayers of Intercession

For those for whom this day is difficult.

We remember all those who will find this day difficult,
for those who are grieving the loss of their mother,
for those who have lost their children,
for those who have longed to be parents but were unable to do so.
for those separated from their mothers due to restrictions
Lord may you hold each one and may your presence be known.

For mothers and those who care for us

Lord Jesus, you know well the blessings an earthly home can bring:
receive our thanks for all the love we have received in our homes,
especially from those who have nurtured us from our earliest years.
Hear our prayers for mothers everywhere,
that they may never lose heart nor ever be taken for granted,
but receive from their children the honour and love you showed to your mother, Mary,
even as you were suffering on the cross.
Bless and keep them all,
for your love’s sake. Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.


For those in need

Remember, O Lord, all those in need:
for the people of China, Iran, Yemen and Myanmar
and their leaders as they make decisions about international relationships
people with no good food or proper clothes,
no home of their own, or no work to do;
those who have neither family nor friends
and no knowledge of your love.
Bless those who help them
and bring us all to trust in you.
We ask this is Jesus’ name. Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.


For those who live alone

God our Father,
we ask you to bless all who live alone,
those who have lost their partner in marriage,
those who have never married,
those whose families are grown up and away from home,
and those who have outlived other members of their families
and many of their friends:
Be with them to assure them of your love
and of their value to you every moment of their lives,
and enable them to rejoice in the fellowship of your Church
on earth and in heaven;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.


A prayer which may be said together

Father in heaven, bless all those who look after us in our daily lives.
Make us grateful for their kindness
and thankful for their care.
Help us to respond to them in loving obedience,
following the example of Jesus, your Son, our Lord.
Amen.
(c) Copyright 2002-2021, ROOTS for Churches Ltd. All rights reserved.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and forever.
Amen.

Close

Dismissal

We pray these words over one another

May God the Father keep us in his care.
May the Lord Jesus Christ be our constant friend
and the Holy Spirit guide us in all that we do,
now and always.

And may the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

 

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church