Sunday Service - I Am The Way - From Janet Helm
Words by Janet Helm
I Am The Way
Call to worship
Jesus said, I am the Way – come!
Jesus said, I am the Way and the Truth – come and receive.
Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life – come, receive and respond.
Hymn MP 465
Meekness and majesty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tK1hQpacs8
A hymn about the majesty and yet the humanity of our Lord and God.
Thinking our way into prayer:
Imagine you are holding a stone in your hand.
Feel the rock on the palm of your hand; it is solid and strong.
Think about the strength which God gives us; his love is solid and steadfast like the ancient rocks which form the hills of Rossendale.
Press the rock between your hands - following Jesus is not always comfortable. Sometimes climbing to the top of the hill is an effort but we need to persevere.
Move the stone from palm to palm – wherever we are, whatever we do, God is with us; his love never fails. Like the hills which were here before us and will last beyond us, God’s love will last for eternity.
A prayer of adoration.
Gracious God, you are our rock.
Your strength sustains us; your power delivers us; your mercy brings forgiveness to us.
We come to you in adoration, praising you that our whole life is in your hands – held, sustained, protected.
Glory be to you, merciful Lord, in the name of your Son, our redeemer. Amen.
A prayer of confession and thanksgiving.
Forgive us, Lord that we have strayed from your way and have done what pleases us rather than you.
Forgive us for the times our lives have not been shaped by the truth but what we would like people to hear us say so that they think well of us.
Forgive us for not taking the opportunities to show by the way we behave that you are our guide and our strength.
In the name of Jesus, the way, the truth and the life, we thank you that you take upon yourself our limitations and accept us as we are. Glory be to God. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer.
Hymn MP 613
Spirit of the living God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccaFnRYLTok
Almost a prayer to lead us into the reading which is about Jesus reassuring his disciples that he is not leaving them but will be with them always, an idea they find difficult to understand.
Photo by Joel Holland via Unsplash
Reading: John 14:1-14
Some thoughts on the reading...
The disciples are gathered together in the Upper Room for the Passover meal, but they are nervous because they know that Jesus is in conflict with the Jewish authorities and that this presents a danger both to their Lord and to themselves. In Chapter 13 they have been made aware of this when Jesus has spoken of betrayal and death (13:21-30) and Judas is, even now, in the midst of that betrayal. In 13:33 Jesus has said, “I shall not be with you very much longer……You cannot go where I am going”. For disciples who have left everything to follow Jesus, it must be terribly disorientating to hear him say that he is leaving them. However, the opening verse of Chapter 14 is a reassurance when Jesus commands them, “Believe in God and believe also in me.” (14:1b) Jesus acknowledges their fear but he does not endorse it. Instead of making their fear the focus, he calls them to faith. At the present time we have plenty to worry about. Are my family safe? When will I be able to move outside my home and meet my friends for a cup of coffee? When those close to us tell us not to worry, we worry anyway! However, when we follow the guidance given here by Jesus to believe in God our worries lose their power. To quote Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
In verses 2 – 4 Jesus tells the disciples that “there are many rooms in my Father’s house” and that he is “going to prepare a place for them” but in verse 5 Thomas is confused, saying “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?” Thomas has misunderstood. Jesus is not talking about a physical place such as a house or a hotel but about our relationship with God. Jesus then explains that our way to the Father is through him. Philip is still not sure, asking in verse 8, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need”. Jesus’s response is simple, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (verse 9). In order to understand God, we need to accept that Jesus is both the means and the route. In verse 6 Jesus tells us that, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
So how do we find our way to Jesus and so to God? We study the bible; we pray regularly, and we join in the fellowship of Christians throughout the world. Jesus was hurting that Thursday night, knowing what was to happen the following day. We are hurting at the present time in our separation from the people we know and the lives we normally live. Three days later, on Easter Sunday, Jesus rose in triumph over all the sadness of Good Friday. If we turn to God for support and work at improving our relationship with him this present day, sadness will also pass, and we will emerge stronger, more able to get through the coming weeks and to help others to do so. Amen.
Photo by Grant Ritchie via Unsplash
Hymn MP 331
In heavenly love abiding https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXc04P8d654
A hymn to remind us that that God is alongside us, so we have nothing to fear.
And as we move into our prayers of Intercession we will sing:-
Hymn MP 806
Beauty for brokenness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1G-o7Yj-c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqDOXfj9W0w - with images
Prayers of Intercession
In a world stuck down with a virus which is proving difficult to control we would ask that you be with those who are working to manage the situation – the politicians, the scientists, the medical and care staff. Be with them as they make their decisions and help them to know your strength and peace.
Be for them a rock and a stronghold.
In our community be with our local leaders as they try to make sure that everyone has access to their basic needs such as food and emotional support. Be with the people I know who are finding the present time very difficult and in particular I bring to you ……………………………………………(name people you know). Offer them comfort and may they know your strength and comfort.
Be for them a rock and a stronghold.
Finally, Lord I ask that you be with me over the coming week. Help me to face up to my concerns such as ……………………(name situations which are worrying you). Guide me to make the correct response so that I say and do the right thing. May I know your strength and comfort.
Be for me a rock and a stronghold.
Photo by Petr Sidorov via Unsplash
Hymn MP 278
I know that my Redeemer lives! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Hy0zqnqbU
Each day we need to express our confidence in Jesus as our Saviour and this hymn does just that!
May God bless you, guide you and direct you.
May God bless you, give you strength and the assurance of his love.
May God bless you and fill your life with his presence – today and always.