Transcript of on-line Service for Kilrenny Parish Church Sunday 14th March 2021
Wednesday 17 March 2021
Worship and personal reflection
''our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship''
Order of Service for Sunday 14th March 2021
Online worship: 4th Sunday in Lent
You Tube link: https://youtu.be/yBoGV5tZczo
Intention to reopen for worship on Palm Sunday
You will be aware that the Scottish Government has announced, subject to confirmation on 23rd March, that Churches can reopen for worship in time for the Easter Season. I am pleased to advise you that the Kirk Session is undertaking the necessary steps, for Kilrenny Church to open for Sunday worship on Palm Sunday, 28th March 2021.
The Church of Scotland has issued further guidance that we must comply with, which requires documentary evidence to be submitted to Fife Presbytery. This guidance is to ensure your health and safety whilst attending worship.
Generally, the procedures in Church will be the same as previously. There is a one way system around the church. Some pews have allocated seating for two persons together. This is strictly for seating of two members of the same household only, otherwise the spaces will be allocated to only one individual. The wearing of face coverings remains mandatory (unless exempt on health grounds), however, those leading worship are exempt during the service but will be observing the safe distance requirement. A hand gel dispenser is in position for your use on entering/leaving the Church.
The use of hymn books, bibles or service sheets is not permitted, however, I will email weekly a copy of the Order of service, with any words required for your participation in the service. You are permitted to print your own copy and bring it with you.
The Kirk Session really looks forward to welcoming you back to worship in the Church on Palm Sunday (28th March) and if anyone wishes to ask any questions about the measures for your health and safety please contact me.
I will, of course, advise you if the reopening is to be delayed.
Welcome to worship with the community of Kilrenny Parish Church. We may not be able to worship in the Church building at this time, but we can still come together as a worshiping community to give thanks and praise God.
As many of you will be aware, the Scottish Government has suggested that Churches may be able to reopen from Sunday 28th March – Palm Sunday. It is not yet absolutely certain that will be the case, but with hope and a prayer in our hearts, let’s aim to return to collective worship in Kilrenny Parish Church in two weeks’ time, observing all the restrictions and precautions necessary to keep each other safe.
Call to Worship
Let us come to worship God.
Lord Jesus, you call us to be your people in this place. Give us a sense of your power in our lives, your love in our hearts, and your joy in all we do. Join with us now as we worship you this day.
Hymn CH 543 Longing for light, we wait in darkness
Opening Prayer & Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray:
God of hope,
Your steadfast love endures forever.
We give You thanks that, time after time,
You break into the darkness of our world and of our lives
with signs of Your everlasting love.
You bring light,
sometimes the merest flicker that brings us a focus,
other times a brightening glow
that confronts us with the reality of Your presence.
Your love endures
through all our doubt and confusion,
persisting until we recognise the signs of hope
that break through to remind us of Your grace,
revealing the divine spark in each of us
as we were created in love.
We thank You especially at this time
for the skill of scientists and medics,
continuing to find ways to live in harmony with creation,
harnessing the gifts You have given
to find protection from disease.
We thank You
for all who put the needs of others before themselves,
choosing to put another’s welfare above their own comfort.
We thank You
for all whose work continues to ensure that the hungry are fed,
the sick are healed,
the homeless are sheltered
and the poor are cared for,
those who, in their everyday lives
show You at work in the world.
May our giving thanks, O God
be manifest in our playing our part where we can
for the healing of our world,
for love’s sake.
Living, loving, ever present God.
You journey with Your people
through every time and season.
You remain faithful, dependable and true.
When we look to You,
often we are enabled to see the way ahead.
You make the darkness light and turn sorrow into joy.
God of all the universe,
You draw alongside us,
weeping with us,
gently cradling our pain,
reaching out to heal and to hold.
Forgive us, O God
when we forget Your love,
for ourselves and for others.
when we hoard or discard resources
out of the rich bounty that You have given.
when we fail to see our connectedness to You
and to our neighbour.
Bring us back to You time after time
Stop us in our tracks and confound us with love
until, worn down,
we fix our eyes on You,
God of our salvation.
And now, we join our voices together in the Prayer Jesus taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
Readings: Numbers 21: 4 – 9
John 3: 14 – 21
Numbers 21: 4 – 9
The Israelites left Mount Hor by the road that leads to the Gulf of Aqaba, in order to go around the territory of Edom. But on the way the people lost their patience and spoke against God and Moses. They complained, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We can't stand any more of this miserable food!” Then the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many Israelites were bitten and died. The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Now pray to the Lord to take these snakes away.”
So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told Moses to make a metal snake and put it on a pole, so that anyone who was bitten could look at it and be healed. So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Anyone who had been bitten would look at the bronze snake and be healed.
John 3: 14 – 21
As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the desert, in the same way the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its saviour.
Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God's only Son. This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil. Those who do evil things hate the light and will not come to the light, because they do not want their evil deeds to be shown up. But those who do what is true come to the light in order that the light may show that what they did was in obedience to God.
Amen. The word of God for the people of God.
Hymn O Lord hear my prayer
Reflection: “Walk in the Light”
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of each of our hearts be acceptable in your sight Lord, amen.
What were you doing this week twelve months ago? Normally, if I were to ask that question, it might take you a while to recollect what took place, but I think the vast majority of us will be able to recall exactly what happened this time last year. For me, it was packing up the things I thought would be necessary from my office for a few weeks working from home, saying to friends and colleagues: “see you soon”, and thinking that the world was going mad but it wouldn’t last long. Well, here I am a year later, still working from home, having learned to teach classes of 5 to 150 students online, attempting to master You Tube video Church Services, and becoming a dab-hand at Teams, Zoom and a whole load of other bits of technology I was only too happy to avoid, just 12 months ago!
I’m not alone, many of you will have made a similar transformation from technophobe to technophile out of necessity. My wife struggles to recall the last time she willingly went into a supermarket and now wrestles with her online Asda order on a weekly basis. Many of you will have grown used to ordering all sorts of things online when it would have been a novelty just a short time ago. Suddenly, a delivery van turning up at the door is a regular occurrence rather than an occasional treat.
All of this has been a steep learning curve for us and, as Liz and I found out on Monday evening, depends on one vital component: Electricity! A two-hour power cut in the village meant not just a loss of power, but a loss of virtually all connection to the outside world as well. Fortunately, it didn’t have a major impact on us, but it was a reminder of the importance of light in our world not to mention, the power to run so many electronic devices.
Light has always been an important motif in Christian thinking. Jesus was seen as the light of the world, coming in to chase the darkness away and to lead God’s people to the Kingdom they had been promised from the days of the Exile in Egypt.
The other great motif highlighted in our readings today is that of the journey through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Anyone who has ever embarked on a long journey knows that things rarely go to plan, and even the best of travelling companions can become bad tempered, irritable and irritating to be with. Moses discovered that to his cost on many occasions. The incident we read of in the book of Numbers is typical of the issues Moses faces many times during the forty years in the desert.
This story is echoed again in John’s Gospel where the image of the bronze snake on the pole is referred to by Jesus as He tells His followers that in order for them to receive true healing, He must first suffer and die, before being revealed in His true glory. The Israelites had to go through their times of trial before being able to enter the Promised Land.
The early Christians had to struggle against the power of the Temple authorities and the Roman Empire before they were able to receive their reward in joining their Lord in the gift of eternal life.
We too are undertaking a journey in which we are being challenged to look at the world differently, to see that the old ways of doing things will have to change and adapt if we are going to have relevance in a post-Covid world. What that will look like, where it will take us, I have no idea. Just as the disciples couldn’t really understand all that Jesus told them during His life on earth, we are still too close to events to know what shape they will take or what God has planned for us yet, but we must be willing to listen to His prompting and open our hearts to His message.
The last twelve months have been disorientating for all of us. Some have coped better than others, some have found life really hard for many reasons. One thing we must all be prepared for when we emerge into the light of a new world, is supporting those who have struggled most, those who are stuck in the darkness of their own minds or overshadowed by grief. Life will be different; Church is likely to be different too. These are challenges we will have to step up to, just as the Israelites did, just as the disciples had to. So, let us prepare ourselves to return into the world carrying the Christ Light before us and ready to be His people here on earth, knowing we will receive our reward for our service when we join with Him in His eternal home.
Amen, and may God add His blessing to these words.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation.
You have loved us from the beginning
When you gave us life through our parents.
You have showered blessings upon us
Through our homes and our loved ones.
Blessed are you now and forever.
We give you thanks for our own mother
And all she has done for us.
We thank you for her grace and goodness.
We remember all who have cared for us
In our church and society,
All who have shared in our learning and loving.
We ask you to bless the church to which we belong.
Lord, as we are loved,
Help us to love.
We give thanks for who are newly born into this world.
We ask your blessing upon them,
Especially any who suffer from neglect, violence or abuse.
We remember all unwanted children,
All who are vulnerable or in danger,
All who are born into poverty or famine.
We rejoice in the gift of life and the loving care that is all around us.
Lord, as we are loved,
Help us to love.
Lord, thank you for our homes and loved ones.
We thank you today especially for our mother
And all loving relationships.
As we are given tender loving care
Let us show our appreciation by returning that love
In the way we live and in our dealings with each other.
Lord, as we are loved,
Help us to love.
Lord, we remember all those women whose love is not valued.
Those women trapped in loveless relationships,
Those women who are abused, mistreated,
and manipulated by those they trust.
Today we pray especially for Sarah Everard, a young woman killed as she walked home from visiting a friend.
And we hold her family and friends in our prayers.
We pray for all women who live in fear.
We remember, in your presence,
All who are separated from their loved ones
Through illness or circumstance.
We remember all who have been unable to visit family
and loved ones in Care Homes or Hospitals during these days of
lockdown and restrictions.
We remember those women who have lost children.
Those who wanted children but could never have them.
And we remember all those women who chose a different path
and bring so many other gifts into our world.
Now, in the silence of our hearts Lord, we bring before you all those we know of in need of your care, your comfort and your compassion.
Lord, as we are loved,
Help us to love.
God, comfort and strengthen
All who have lost loved ones this year,
Especially those who have lost their mother.
We remember all our loved ones departed.
We look forward in faith and in hope to the time
When we can be at with you in your kingdom.
Accept these prayers
For the sake of your Son,
Our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
Hymn The Spirit lives to set us free
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you
These things we ask in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Online Service of worship conducted by Rev Michael Allardice for Sunday 14th March
4th Sunday in Lent