Rev Olwen Woolcock

Family Service – Sunday 6th September 2020

Family Service – Sunday 6th September 2020

Family Service – Sunday 6th September 2020
Click the play button to view the whole service. The transcript and music videos are included below.

Today the service is about ‘Being the family of God.’ The church is a family and although we’re still not meeting together to worship – we are still a family – the family of God. Families can fall out sometimes- just like friends can. The children are just going back to school and in school they make rules to help people get on with each other and todays’ service is about how a church family can keep getting on with each other. Some of the music we’re using today comes from different traditions which just reminds us how many differences there are in the family of God. And how important it is that we get on.

Thank you to Flora, Dodo, Maisie, Hugh and Fraser for taking part..


       
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
and also with you.

Lord, speak to us
that we may hear your word.

Move among us
that we may behold your glory.

Receive our prayers
that we may learn to trust you. Amen.

Song: Gather us in 
This song talks about how God gathers us together.
Marty Haugen

Confession
Let us confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness.
For all the wrong things we have done:
in your mercy, forgive us O God.

For forgetting what we ought to have remembered,
for failing to do as we promised,
for turning away when we should have listened,
for being careless when we should have been sensible:                                                     
in your mercy, forgive us O God.

For doing things we knew would annoy,
for acting in ways we knew would hurt,
for behaving in ways we knew would disappoint:
in your mercy, forgive us O God.  
O God, when we look back we can see how foolish
and wrong we have been.  
Help us not to do the same things again: 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

May the God of love bring us back to himself,
forgive us our sins
and assure us of his eternal love in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

Collect
Almighty God,
you search us and know us:
may we rely on you in strength
and rest on you in weakness,
now and in all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

SONG: The Big Family of God

Nicky and Becky Drake

Bible Reading

Matthew 18:15-20 (from The Message)

If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

18-20 “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

Song: Let there be love and understanding among us
In English and Hebrew. The words come from the Hebrew text for the evening liturgy / by Noah Aronson

Talk
How to be the family of God     
                                     

Family Service: Matthew 18: 15-20 – Being the family of God.

Some of the children have gone back to school and some others are going back in the next few days. If I was sitting in church with them, I would ask them to tell me about some of the rules they have at school. And there will be lots of new ones this term because of the virus. Children are used to keeping rules and being expected to keep rules. Rules to keep them safe, rules about behaviour and rules about getting on with each other. 

We’re not in church so instead Dodo made a video – all her own work –  ‘Rools of Being Nice!’ Enjoy this and listen up!

Rules to help people get along. Schools also have systems to deal with bullying. Steps to take if someone is being mean to you. Most importantly – to tell someone – a teacher or lunchtime supervisor and get them involved.

So, you can see the connections with those words that Flora read. They are words about getting along in a church, a three-step system for when people fall out with one another.  You might think its bit strange to have a system for getting along in a church but actually it’s really important. Because like a school, a church is a group of very different people who are linked together. A church is a family, we often call the church the family of God. 

We maybe lots of individuals but God has linked us together.

Another description of the church used in the Bible is the body of Christ. This is to show how we are all linked together like parts of the body. When we belong to Jesus, we belong to each other too.

That’s why it’s so important that we find ways to get along together – because we are a whole. We are the church.

You can fall out with another person however old you are. Getting along together takes some work. And it can be even harder for people in a church to get along because God calls and touches all sorts of different people.

Churches aren’t like a club, a running club, or a cricket club or a labour club where everyone is interested in the same thing or has the same outlook on life. Churches are filled with a random mixture of people who can struggle to be at peace together.

So, Matthew, the gospel writer, has written these words of Jesus as a working document. A blueprint for action when relationships are under strain.

Three steps:

First – if a person feels hurt then to go to the other person and talk about it.

Second. If that doesn’t work then ask someone neutral to get involved. A mediator.

I think this is more what Jesus had in mind.

Third – if the damaged relationship will affect the church as a whole then get the church leaders involved.

But then we know that sometimes even then a relationship can’t be reconciled and breaks down completely. Then you will have to walk away from it.

But listen again to the first step.
If you feel you’ve been hurt by someone, says Jesus, try and sort it out straightaway.
Go and talk it over. That’s always the best way – but most of us would rather not even do that.
How hard it is to say sorry. And yet to sort out misunderstanding at this early stage is much easier than later on and actually I think children are much better at doing this than grownups.
Are you willing to listen?
Am I willing to say sorry?
Are you willing to acknowledge ‘I said the wrong thing?’
Am I willing to say ‘I got the wrong end of the stick?’
Are we both willing to forgive?
All of this can save a lot of heartache later.

This is tough stuff but some of the disagreements in the church, especially the world wide church run very deep. People will always need to find ways of dealing with disagreements and do that in a way which is more than just about avoiding conflict.

And the reason that reconciliation matters, especially for Christians, is a spiritual one. Jesus goes on to say, what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and , ‘what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’. In other words, if you hold grudges and never let them go then the other person is bound by that grudge. If you can’t forgive a wrong then they remain unforgiven – they are bound by you and you by them. But if you can let go of that hurt and pain and lay it down and forgive then both you and the other person are set free by that forgiveness – forever.

Forgiving and reconciling brings freedom. Falling out and making up. That making up – that reconciliation is so special in God’s eyes that when it happens, prayers are answered and Jesus is very close. It matters that much. Jesus said where two can agree on anything on earth and pray for it then it will be done for you in heaven.

And Jesus also said ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’.  

I don’t think that means that they don’t have differences – I think it means that where two or three can find the means to come together in peace and good relationship with one another and work at it, because they know Jesus and want to serve him. 

When that happens Jesus affirms  ‘I will be in the midst of them’ and that’s powerful.


Declaration of our faith
Do you believe and trust in God the Father,
source of all being and life,
the one for whom we exist?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Son, 
who took our human nature,
died for us and rose again?
We believe and trust in him.

Do you believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit,
who gives life to the people of God
and makes Christ known in the world?
We believe and trust in him.

This is the faith of the Church.
This is our faith.
We believe and trust in one God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.     Amen.

HYMN: Brother, Sister let me serve you.

Intercessions
led by the young people   
            

Concluding prayer
Draw your Church together, O God,
into one great company of disciples,
together following our Lord Jesus Christ
into every walk of life,
together serving him in his mission to the world,
and together witnessing to his love
on every continent and island. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. 
Amen


Family Prayer

Heavenly Father,
we thank you for our friends, homes and families.
We ask that your love may surround us,
your care may protect us,
and that we may know your peace at all times.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.  

Amen.

Song: Teach me to dance

The Blessing
The love of the Lord Jesus
draw you to himself,
the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen you in his service,
the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be upon us and remain with us always.
Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
In the name of Christ.
Amen

2 thoughts on “Family Service – Sunday 6th September 2020

  1. Caroline Longlands

    What a beautiful service and powerful message. “Let there be love and understanding among us “ song was particularly moving. Thanks to all who took part.

  2. Chris & Sara Barrett

    Thank you to Flora, Dodo, Maisie, Fraser and Hugh for their contributions and best wishes to all the children on their return to school. Thank you everyone for today’s worship.

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