- Hymn 530 One more step along the world I go (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
- All-age time
- Reading John 14: 1-14
- Acts 7: 55-60 (Good News Bible)
- Prayer for others
- Hymn 528 Make me a channel of your peace (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
Today is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. Like many church activities at the moment, Christian Aid Week is being done differently and digitally this year. During this time together we’ll have space to read and listen, sing and pray, and remember and acknowledge that we are part of a global community. We are neighbours near and far who are going through this coronavirus pandemic together. May our shared experience unite us in praise and prayer as one human family, separate but together in the home that is God’s world.
Welcome and let us worship God
‘I shall run the course made known in your commandments, for you set free my heart.’ Psalm 119: 32
One more step along the world I go (Church Hymnary 4th Edition)
Today’s activities were prepared by Christian Aid, linking in with their theme for Christian Aid Week – thinking about climate change
CHANGE EARTH GROW SAPLING
CLIMATE FRUIT RAIN WATER
DAM GREEN RIVER
What grows in your garden? Can you draw a garden filled with fruit?
- Some Useful ( or Useless) facts
- There are more than 60,000 known tree species on Earth
- Trees help us to breathe by taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen
- In one year a large oak tree can drop 10,000 acorns
- Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, reaching a height of 91 metres
- A variety of the eucalyptus tree has a rainbow-coloured bark
At the end of the service (after the photos) there is a quiz used last year as a fund-raiser, if you need a bit of mental stimulation during the week.
How many times have you washed your hands today?
We approach our prayer of confession and absolution, mindful of the ritual
significance of hand washing in the Bible. Hand washing in Scripture is closely associated with innocence and cleansing from sin. (See eg Exodus 30:17-21, Psalm 26:6, Job 9:30, Matthew 27:24, James 4:8.)
You may wish to bring a bowl of water, some soap and a towel to a safe distance before your
computer. Or simply join in this prayer as you watch the ritual of hand washing. (You can say it in 20 seconds but it may take 30.)
As we turn on the tap
we turn our hearts
towards you, O God.
As we wet our hands
renew our thoughts,
so we might be transformed.
As we lather soap
and over all our hands,
purge from us
all that brings us harm
and might harm others.
Remove the invisible
guilt and shame
that so often keeps us from you.
As we rinse our hands,
we trust in your
making all things new.
Through Christ our Lord we pray Amen
John 14: 1-14
“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am. You know the way that leads to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?”
Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. Now that you have known me,” he said to them, “you will know my Father also, and from now on you do know him and you have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father; that is all we need.”
Jesus answered, “For a long time I have been with you all; yet you do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. Why, then, do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe, Philip, that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I have spoken to you,” Jesus said to his disciples, “do not come from me. The Father, who remains in me, does his own work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do – yes, he will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.”
Acts 7: 55-60
Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the right-hand side of God. “Look!” he said. “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right-hand side of God!”
With a loud cry the members of the Council covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul. They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” He said this and died.
Look at your hands. Have a good look.
However your hands look to you, they are most certainly clean in these days of regular hand washing to prevent spreading the coronavirus.
Our hands really are the most remarkable and useful tools, involved in so much of what we do and how we do things, even in these days of social distancing.
The psalmist writes of committing his spirit into God’s hands, and at times of being in God’s hands.
He also describes his desire to be delivered from the hands of his oppressors and from a hidden invisible net that threatens to entangle him.
Our hands have become even more significant in these days of physical distance. We might long to hold the hand of a person we can no longer touch. We pray for the hands of medics to bring healing and comfort. We are grateful for hands stacking shelves and delivering groceries and post. And we are extra wary of everything our hands touch that comes from outside our own home.
This Christian Aid Week we also think of how our hands can be far from idle. Though not handing
out envelopes or hosting Big Brekkies or the many things we usually busy ourselves with this week, our hands can still reach out virtually to our neighbours around the world. Neighbours in refugee camps and cramped living conditions, neighbours without adequate hand-washing facilities, neighbours who face the devastating impact of coronavirus with even less of the medical resources we have struggled to access here.
We reach out by clasping our hands together in prayer for our neighbours, and holding our hands
open before God as we declare our needs and concerns for their wellbeing and our own.
We also reach out by participating in this digital Christian Aid Week, through making our online
donations and sharing the stories from Christian Aid partners, working on the ground to be the hands and feet of love in action. If you wish, you can make a donation online to help vulnerable communities at caweek.org/payin or https://donate.christianaid.org.uk/Donate/Step/1
Prayers for others
Let us pray together using our open hands.
God our refuge,
we come to you with open hands,
some of us with hearts full of questions,
some of us bruised by bereavement,
some of us fearful of what the future holds,
all of us stunned by the events of this year.
Draw close to us now in each of our homes
as we place our honest questions and hopes
into your open, resurrected, yet scarred hands.
With the honesty of the psalmist,
the wrestling questions of Job,
and the lament of the prophets,
we bring to you our questions or our silence.
(Hold your index finger and, in silence, ask the question that most burdens your heart or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
Hear the cry of our hearts, Lord,
silent and aloud,
for bereaved neighbours, near and far.
Comfort those pained by being absent,
and hold close those who are hurting alone.
(Hold your ring finger and pray for comfort for those you know who are bereaved or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
In this season of Easter,
renew us with resurrection hope
that while weeping lingers in this night,
joy will come with the morning.
(Hold your middle finger and in the silence tell God what you are most looking forward to in the future or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
On this Christian Aid Week Sunday,
we pray for and with communities
across the world who are
most vulnerable to coronavirus.
We pray for people living in refugee camps
and city slums,
with limited sanitation facilities,
who are unable to wash their hands regularly,
and have little opportunity to isolate from others.
We pray for Christian Aid partners
working to provide soap and buckets,
communicating clear, accurate information,
raising the voices of the most vulnerable
and ensuring they are kept as safe as possible.
(Hold your thumb as you pray for the most vulnerable, those closest to God’s heart, or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
For those of us who are self-isolating,
which can sometimes feel like we aren’t doing
remind us that we are all doing our part,
and saving lives by staying at home.
(Hold your little finger and ask God for what you need, or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
We pray for much wisdom and resources
for those in local and national authority
for all frontline and key workers
here in Britain, Ireland and across the world.
(Put your hands together and pray for the many frontline workers and volunteers and for Christian Aid partners working to help others across the world, or simply sit in silence before God. Hold the silence together.)
As we have clapped to honour them,
we clap our hands now in praise
of your glorious creation,
and with the hope that the first shoots
of another possible world are coming into view.
(Clap your hands in praise of God’s glorious creation and with the hope of new possibilities for the world.)
We bring to you our prayers for people and situations of special concern to us
And we sum up our prayers in the words of the prayer Jesus gave 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, for ever. Amen
Make me a channel of your peace
As we go off to wash our hands again
The presence of the Creator refresh you,
the comfort of the Son renew you,
the inspiration of the Spirit restore you
to be love in action, even from a distance,
in our neighbourhoods, near and far,
this day and for evermore.
Donations to Christian Aid may be made on
or by cheque to Christian Aid 35-41 Lower Marsh London SE1 7RL
Pictures from Christian Aid
Book Title Quiz
Have fun with this year’s Christian Aid Week paper quiz!
Theme: Book titles
- Snag two little ducks (5,2)
- Baby dropped off (9)
- Eliminate American singer (2,4,1,11)
- It’s a picnic (1,8,5)
- Prime minister’s point (4,2,4)
- She lost her husband (3,5,2,5)
- Girl loses me in eagle’s nest (4,4)
- ‘L’ of a lot of monochrome blinds! (5,6,2,4)
- Cherish man (8,6)
- Value of dog’s home (10)
- Band in an awesome place (5,2,10)
- Moscow blows a kiss (4,6,4,4)
- Tweets (8)
- Stateless senior gents (2,7,3,3,3)
- Part of a cooker piece (3,6)
- Retail premises fatal to cats (3,3,9,4)
- Traveller moving on (3,8,8)
- He gives thumbs up to lead to chocolate (3,11,5,2,3,6)
- David’s son digging deep (4,8,5)
- Miles from the hustle and bustle (3,4,3,7,5)
- French pennypinchers (3,10)
- Went back to where the veil was (10,9)
- Breeze through the trees (3,4,2,3,7)
- He’s in charge of theatre storage (4,2,3,5)
- T.A.R.D.I.S (3,4,7)
- Wind up colour (1,9,6)
- Sounds like Oscar’s place (4,2,3,4)
- Maybe touch feelings (5,3,11)
- Grind atop cleaner (3,4,2,3,5)
- Baseball player in whisky (3,7,2,3,3)
Thank you for supporting Christian Aid by making a donation to take part in this quiz.
Sorry, don’t have the answers!
A copy of the answers can be obtained by emailing CAW@christian-aid.org. The answers will also be published online from the end of May. If you need a hard copy of the answers, please contact your local office who will be happy to help.
Eng and Wales charity no. 1105851 Scot charity no. SC039150 Company no. 5171525 Christian Aid Ireland: NI charity no. NIC101631 Company no. N1059154 and ROI charity no. 20014162 Company no. 426928. The Christian Aid name and logo are registered trademarks of Christian Aid. Christian Aid is a key member of Act Alliance. Copyright Christian Aid January 2019