Sunday Worship, 15 May 2022

Service starts at 11:15am in Riverside, streamed live to St Andrews & available on YouTube

Welcome

Make your paths known to me, Lord; teach me your ways. Lead me by your faithfulness and teach me, for you are God my saviour.

Psalm 25: 4-5

Choir Introit

Hymn 257 Singing we gladly worship the Lord together

Opening Prayer

Creator, Son and Spirit,

we gather together,

in-person and online

to know your presence

in our time of worship.  

Meet us at our point of deepest need.

Connect us with the needs of others.

Equip us to join in your creative work.

Transform us more into your likeness.

We gather with individuals

and their communities in Zimbabwe (this Christian Aid Week).

May their stories make us hungry for justice

and even more impatient for change.

We sing praise to you.

But even as we raise our voices

we know we have faltered and failed.

Walking on paths that turned our hearts inward,

sitting with those who scoffed

at the cries of people in poverty,

mocking those on the margins,

denying the earth in her distress.

Where we have failed to bear good fruit,

to share your abundance for the earth,

when our actions and intentions

have been as fallen far short of your expectations

Lord, have mercy

Forgive us and restore us.

Inspire us now

to delight in your purposes,

to embrace your possibilities,

to inhabit your promises, 

to flourish as fruit for the world you so love

and bring healing for all the nations.

through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen

All age time

This year the focus is on people in Zimbabwe, how they are affected by climate change, and how Christian Aid’s partners are helping them to adjust

Video 1 (Zimbabwe)

How long will the stomachs of children lie empty?

How long will their mothers pray in vain?

How long will temperatures rise beyond record?

How long will the clouds fail to give rain?

How long will the crop fields turn into dust?

How long will the floods cover the plain?

How long will so few live with far too much?

How long will so many be denied what they need?

How long before the healing of nations?

How long will injustice and suffering remain?

Hymn 516 We are marching

Bible reading

John 13: 31-35

Reflection   

Over the past couple of years, when they haven’t been recording the latest twists of Partygate or Donald Trump’s tweets, news headlines have focussed on things like the Covid pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine. All are very serious, and deserve our attention and prayers, but there are also other things equally serious going on in the world of which we have heard little or nothing:

  • millions of people have fled from their homes in countries like Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, because of fighting and warfare – some to other parts of their country, some have gone abroad. Some, like the Rohingya were driven from their homes in what was effectively genocide, and some, like those from Venezuela, have fled because of economic collapse
  • because of climate change many millions have faced significantly changed weather patterns: droughts when there used to be rains to help crops grow, and floods that destroy crops, homes and infrastructure
  • millions lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation, healthcare, education, housing, employment and balanced diets
  • millions live surrounded by air, water and ground pollution, which affects not only human beings, but all living things.

The three topics that have dominated the headlines in the last two years – Covid, cost of living and Ukraine – also have a significant impact on people in poorer countries. So many can’t access healthcare or vaccinations, fuel and other price rises affect them too, and the war in Ukraine is expected to impact on not only the price of foodstuffs but the availability of some of them.

Christian Aid is encouraging us today to think particularly about those affected by climate change. As well as reflecting on the challenges many face, it is also a time to give thanks for the positive steps taken by some of their partners to help people cope. By encouraging changes to agricultural practice, or growing different crops, farmers and small-holders can continue to fed their families and have surpluses to sell to pay their bills.

We believe that God is the Creator, caused all things to come into being, who delights in his creation, and who brought into being something that changes and develops. Change is an integral part of nature, and over the long years of planet earth climate has changed, species have come and gone. But humanity is merrily doing things that don’t need to be done, which is having a major, and perhaps irreversible, impact on the planet and all living things on it (including humanity). If we see some major changes happening now, what will grandchildren and great grandchildren see at the end of this century?

It is hard for us as individuals or as a church community to turn the tide of climate change, to convince politicians, businesses and electors around the world that lifestyles must change, and the economic costs of change be faced. But we can pray, and keep praying. We can lobby, and keep lobbying. We can support organisations like Christian Aid as they lobby, campaign and provide practical help to people in places like Zimbabwe, so that they not only survive, but begin to thrive.

Hymn 532 Lord you have come to the seashore

Prayers for others

Gracious God

We thank you for the privilege

of living in this global garden

planted to bear your fruit,

to delight our tongues,

to fill our stomachs,

to energise our bodies.

You have given us life

in all its fullness.

But many people do not experience that fullness

 the earth groans from the way humanity treats it

 and many live with hunger, fear, neglect

You care about your world

 and each person in it

 through your Spirit you seek to bring healing and wholeness

 take and use these our prayers in your work

 and use us too in the work of building your Kingdom

those who are ill, those who worry about them,

  those who care for them

 those waiting for or receiving treatment

  and those for whom there is no treatment

 those who are feeling lonely, down

  or grieving a friend or loved one

 those who don’t have enough to eat

  don’t have somewhere to call home

 those who are worried about family, friends, work, home,

   money

 those who long to live in peace and safety

we pray for the Queen, the Government

 all in positions of leadership in this and every land

we pray for your church

 the worldwide church, the wider church in Dumbarton

  our own congregation

we pray for the work of Christian Aid and its partners

 for all who will be engaged in Christian Aid Week

 raining funds and awareness

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

Video 2 (Lord’s Prayer)

Hymn 692 Jesus puts this song into our hearts

Blessing (3-fold Amen)

Christ was raised from the dead

 by the glorious power of the Father.

Set out, then, on a new life with Christ

And the blessing of God Almighty

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

rest and remain with you

today, and every day, and for ever

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