The Hand Of God - Sunday Service 1.11.20
Words by David Hollows
This week there is a written service, we've suggested some links to other content you may be interested in watching at the end of the article.
The Hand of God
Serve the Lord with gladness. Come before His presence with singing. For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving kindness are everlasting. His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Lord of the morning and all of our days and nights, we gather to praise you this new day. We thank you for all your gifts and praise you for all your care. For you are Maker of all we see and know, Giver of all good gifts and Lover of all. You are Friend in all our lives, reaching out your hand to the stranger, to embrace with strength and hope. You are Guide for all our days, giving us wisdom, showing us the way to be. Lord of the morning and of all our days and nights, we gather to praise you this new day, in the name of Jesus.
Photo by Adrien King via Unsplash
Praise –time; please now spend as much time as you wish in singing your songs/hymns of praise and thanks to God. You may wish to use CDs or YouTube and to include the following hymn:
Hymns and Psalms 463 'To God be the glory'
Prayertime; as you continue in the presence of God, you may now want to offer your prayers of praise and thanksgiving for all you have received this past week from God. You may wish to use the following prayer:
Almighty and eternal God, we come before your presence singing. From all that we are, for all that You are, we offer our love to you. You are our Maker and Minder; in you, darkness becomes light; chaos becomes order and the desert bears fruit. You are our Friend; reaching out a hand of forgiveness and hope through Jesus to the world; embracing us with strength and courage. You are our Guide; breathing your Spirit in us and between us, so that we can know your grace in our lives. Loving God, Maker and Minder, Friend and Guide, we come before you now in worship, in the name of Jesus.
Bible story: Mark chapter 3 verses 1 to 5
Key idea: Jesus said to the man; ‘Hold out your hand’
During the Covid-19 period, which tune did you hum as you washed your hands? Did you use the Happy Birthday tune as recommended by the scientists or a favourite tune? Are you still washing your hands for the recommended length of time?
The washing of hands is not simply a gesture but a sign of a serious attitude towards taking responsibility; the nurses, doctors and all in the world of caring for others wash their hands as a means of taking responsibility for their own health care and the health care of their family as well as those for whom they are caring.
In the Bible one of the physical attributes of our God is that He has hands; when Moses is on the mountain and requests to see God, the hand of God shields the eyes of Moses as God passes by.
In the Gospels, the hands of Jesus are in regular action as He heals people; fingers being placed in ears, hands spreading mud over eyes, children being blessed. In the Gospel story from Mark, Jesus does not touch the man, instead the instruction is for the man to simply hold out his hand and he is healed. The man demonstrates a level of faith similar to that of the Roman Centurion whose servant was close to death; the Centurion believed that Jesus could and would heal without even going to his home. Sometimes do we simply just need to reach out, hold out our hand and have faith enough to believe that God will grant us our request?
In the Easter story there is the example of the washing of hands but as a sign of total abdication of responsibility. Pilate asks the crowd what he should do with Jesus. Pilate understands the political game being played and that Jesus is innocent, but Pilate will
not take responsibility, so he washes his hands and condemns the innocent hands of Jesus to the Cross. And it is on the Cross where the hands of Jesus are held out to accept the full responsibility of all the sin of the world, past, present and future including your sin.
The Psalmist tells us that when God looks at His hands, in His palm He sees an image of us; the sacrifice of Jesus was not wasted.
The next time you wash your hands, humming a tune or not, have a good look at your hands; how have they changed over time? What life experiences are etched in your hands? What stories could your hands tell about your life? And more importantly, how have your hands been used by God to bless others?
Take time now to have your hands as full focus of your being; you may want to hold them in front of you or place them together as in prayer. Use this time to say thank you for all that you have received in your life from His hand. Ask for forgiveness for the times when your hands have not been used for His purposes. Offer your hands for His service in the years you have yet to live.
Photo by Milada Vigerova via Unsplash
Prayers for others; please now use this time to bring to God in prayer those you love and those you see or read about in the media in need; you may wish to use this prayer;
God our Healer, in sorrow and shame we bring you our brokenness that you may touch, forgive and heal.
We bring you the cracks and chips in our most important relationships, the misunderstandings and hurts we engender in our families and with our friends.
We bring you the fissures and fractures in our worshipping communities; the intolerance of difference and our wrong priorities.
We bring you the shards and fragments of your wider household; the nations and cultures at war, the earth exploited for gain.
Where there is no vision, the people break loose. Give us, we pray, dreams to bind and inspire us for the future, hearts to forgive one another for the past and hands open to one another in the present.
The Lord’s Prayer
Praise-time; please now use the time you have available to praise God with your favourite hymns/songs. You may wish to include:
Hymns and Psalms 25 'He’s got the whole world in His hands'
Kid's Singalong Version with actions:
Photo by Yoann Boyer via Unsplash
You are the body of Christ. Go and be hands reaching out to the needy, holding the friendless and willingly receiving God’s love. Go and be feet; walking the extra mile, striving for others and humbly letting Jesus wash you. Go and be tongues; chatting the good news, welcoming all and allowing God’s Spirit to speak to you. Go, and in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be blessed.
Extra; if you have access to YouTube ether on-line or TV, please try the following new worship song;
Christ is mine forever - Cityalight
Thank you for sharing your worship with us. God bless you
Watch stories of mission and God changing lives on premier christian radio's missions week: https://www.missionsweek.org.uk/stories
For Harvest Festival we donated to Christians Against Poverty, watch some stories of how CAP has changed people's lives in different ways (warning some stories may be distressing): https://www.missionsweek.org.uk/stories
A few videos from the Methodist Church in Britain:
About different kinds of prayer and what it can mean:
What does the Good News feel, hear and look like?
A prayer of Diversity: