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FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY SUNDAY 29TH JANUARY 2023

The Beatitudes – Full Gospel Holy Temple

OPENING SENTENCE OF SCRIPTURE
“Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God”.

HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God,

to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known,

and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Description: Description: Description: Confession under section 67 NDPS Act to be admitted or not, yet to ...

CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

God is love and we are God’s children. There is no room for fear in love. We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

SILENCE

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Sue Turner

COLLECT

O God,

through our human frailty,

we cannot stand firm:

give us strength and protection,

that, with your help,

we may overcome all difficulties;

through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING:
Micah 6: 1-8 read by Gill Swales

God Challenges Israel

Hear what the Lord says:
 Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
Hear, you mountains, the case of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth,
for the Lord has a case against his people,
and he will contend with Israel.

“O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”

What Does God Require? Micah 6:8 - ppt video online download

What God Requires

“With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good,
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice and to love kindness
and to walk humbly with your God?

SILENCE

SECOND READING
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 read by Billy Dewar Riddick

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

1 corinthians 1 18 - Godly Ladies

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of the proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews ask for signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to abolish things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. In contrast, God is why you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
Matthew 5: 1-12 read by Rev James Clark Maxwell

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 5 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he began to speak and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:1-12 (Year A, All Saints) - Holy Textures

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious Gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord.

SERMON

I have heard people say that the adverts on the television are often better than some of the television programmes. Whether there is any truth in their observation or not, I have to confess that I enjoy watching some adverts. I enjoy most of the spec saver adverts. Do you remember the spec saver advert with two pensioners at the seaside, who decide to sit down to take the weight of their feet and to enjoy their cheese sandwiches. Unfortunately, they have chosen to sit on the seats of the fair- ground ride and once the roll bar descended, they are clamped in and whisked off at high speed on a looping and inverting twister. The ad finishes with the elderly gentleman saying in amazement what sort of cheese was that? A screen message comes up saying – “He should have gone to spec savers.”

Infusion, specsavers TV advert - YouTube

Do you recall as well the cartoon animation of Postman Pat. In the cartoon animation, Postman Pat climbs into his van and sits on and breaks his spectacles, which are his only pair. Carrying on with his round, he creates mayhem all over the village, driving through walls and delivering vegetables instead of mail, prompting the policeman to write a ticket and remark ‘you should have gone to spec-savers, Pat’. These ads all highlight the errors and mistakes that are made through impaired vision and poor sight, and how such damaged vision affects our perception of things.

Impaired and damaged vision was not something that Jesus suffered from. He was blessed with clarity of vision and a strong perception of how things should be. He had a kind of double vision- he could see things as they really were and yet he could see the way things should and one day would be. Jesus could see all too clearly the reality of his community. He saw first- hand the negative situations that surrounded and pervaded the people of his day. He observed the poverty that crushed the spirit and reduced people to a constant state of suffering and mourning.

The people Jesus encountered in his community were not only poor in food, clothing, shelter and social standing but more significantly they were poor in spirit, passion and purpose. Many would argue that the dark reality of first century Palestine is echoed today in our communities. People feel downhearted, defeated and crushed. Utility bills are crippling them; the interest in mortgage repayments alongside the frequent hikes in food prices and inflation, have made people feel anxious and despairing. This element of struggle and difficulty is robbing people of their vision and perspective. Life and living seem an endless and meaningless struggle. It is into this meaningless and hopeless struggle that Jesus speaks words of purpose and hope.

Jesus: The New Moses”

Jesus’ words are addressed not to the crowd but specifically to his disciples. His words would only make sense if you have a relationship with him and desire to follow in his shoes. His words are there to bring hope and purpose to those that are disheartened and disillusioned. His words contained in the Sermon on the Mount are held to be the new teaching. Jesus is seen as the new Moses. Here in Matthew’s Gospel the Sermon on the Mount is delivered in five sections similar to the five divisions in the Torah. Like any Rabbi Jesus sits down to instruct and teach his disciples. Today we too sit under Jesus words about purposeful living in the hope that our vision and perspective of life will be renewed and energised.


For our vision and perspective to be renewed and energised we must first take on board that purposeful living is within the reach of us all. Purposeful living has little to do with riches or poverty. Well, what exactly is this purposeful living? This purposeful living runs counter to contemporary thinking and practice. Indeed, the beatitudes and their emphasis on purposeful living is a reversal of conventional standards and values. This purposeful living is expressed in the words: Happy are the poor in spirit…” “Happy are those who mourn…” “Happy are the meek…” “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” If Jesus did indeed mean these teachings to be avenues to happiness, we need to know about them, understand them, make them our own. They seem to be so out of touch with what we consider to be happiness. “Happy are the merciful…” “Happy are the pure in heart…” Happy are the peacemakers…” “Happy are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…” Jesus seems to go out of his way to turn our entire system of values upside down. What does he mean, “Happy are the poor in spirit?”

Happy are the poor in spirit says Jesus. This is an attitude and approach to life that is alien to contemporary thought. The contemporary mind would say happy are you if you are well off. You can have what you want. Be glad and rejoice when the money is coming in fast. Never stop to ask by what means or at whose expense. You will be the envy of all. Counter to contemporary thought Jesus says: Happy are you who know your need of God. Happy are you who put your trust in God rather in material things. Happy are you who realise that it is not the amount of money you possess that makes you rich but the kind of people you are.

We must be careful not to think that this beatitude calls actual material poverty a good thing. Poverty is not a good thing. Jesus would never have called blessed a state where people live in slums and do not have enough to eat, and where health deteriorates because of poor living conditions. It is the aim of the Christian to remove that kind of poverty. The poverty which is blessed is the poverty of spirit, when people realise their own utter lack of resources to meet life’s demands and find their strength and help in God. This poverty of spirit is about dependence and it draws people close to God and gives them vision and a right perspective on life.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit (black) (utmost)08:21

In terms of perspective the world leads us astray in saying; happy are you who are tough and throw your weight around. Happy are you who are ruthless and people are afraid of you- you’ll get results. In restoring proper perspective Jesus says; Happy are you who are gentle and kind and refuse to get on by trampling on others. Gentleness is not a form of weakness as many tend to think but rather a form of strength. There are many vital tasks that only gentleness can accomplish. The vision here and perspective hangs on the word gentleness. Happy are the gentle they shall inherit the earth.

Be Kind and Gentle to Gain Respect - Happy, Healthy & Prosperous

Gentleness is not an attitude that has great credence in the world nor has the attitude of sacrifice and loss. The conventional stance would be happy are you who live it up. Happy are you, who always strive to keep yourself high on something or other. Life is all fun. Counter to this is Jesus’ view: Happy are you who remember that the most valuable things in life have to be bought with pain and sacrifice. Happy are you who don’t confuse real happiness with cheap and passing thrills. Even though you reap in sorrow, you will reap in joy. Godly vision and wisdom say: Happy are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

Godly vision is absent in the world’s view when it says happy are you who hunger for power, status and fame. Never stop to ask if something is right. Ask only if it benefits you. You will always be in the limelight. On the other hand, Godly vision says: Happy are you who have standards and values and who are prepared to live up to them. You who realise that to live justly is what life is all about. Those who rate this as important as eating and drinking will taste real happiness even here on earth. Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.

Conventional habit would say: Happy are you who crush your opponent. Happy are you who show no mercy or forgiveness to those who make mistakes. You’ll be the boss and everyone will know it. Unconventionally Jesus says happy are you who are able to make allowances for the sins of others and whose greatness lies in your ability to forgive, the sun of God’s mercy will shine warmly on you. Happy are the merciful for they will be shown mercy.

THE BEATITUDE REFLECTIONS: BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL. - The Sisterhood of  St. John the Divine

Conventional standards and values are turned upside down and inside out by Jesus. He reminds people that happiness is found in giving ourselves to a high and noble purpose. The sense of uselessness,” said Thomas Huxley, “is the severest shock which our system can sustain.” Conversely, when we have a great purpose to live for, a purpose that is high and noble, our whole being is enhanced. Our vision is restored and our perspective is renewed. As God’s people we are touched by His grace and love and are invited to live purposeful and noble lives whether we have little or much. Amen

THE CREED

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS

Prayer Requests – Baildon Methodist Church

Jesus, Holy One of God

your teaching astounded those in the synagogue

build up your church through godly preachers

and teachers of your word.

Excite our hearts to declare your power and glory.

Holy God

may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God,

your authority awakened the people.

Raise up leaders of vision and justice,

and sustain all who carry the burden of government.

Holy God

may your will be done

Why Humble Leaders Make The Best Leaders

Jesus, Holy One of God

your fame spread throughout the region,

and yet you remained humble and gracious.

Draw our hearts to value integrity above image

and to know our worth lies in your unfailing love.

Holy God

may your will be done

Bible Verses about Hope and Healing: A Series to Encourage

Jesus, Holy One of God,

your healing sparked amazement,

give peace to all who are disturbed

by ailments of mind, body and spirit.

Pour upon them your compassion and healing love.

Holy God

may your will be done

Jesus, Holy one of God,

your time and energy was spent

in different homes and households.

May all homes represented in our churches

make plenty of room for the weaker member

and show them much kindness and consideration.

Holy God

may your will be done

Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me - Clearview Baptist Church

Jesus, Holy One of God

be near to all who are anxious and nervous

about their families and friends

in war torn countries,

thinking especially of Ukraine.

Work in the leaders to bring peace and healing.

Holy God

may your will be done

Jesus, Holy One of God

you appeared to your disciples from the dead.

fill us with this hope in grief and at our hour of death

bring us to rejoice in your salvation.

Holy God

may your will be done

Creating a Personal Mission and Vision Statement - LiquidPlanner

Jesus, Holy One of God

as we step into each new day

fill us with your heart of love

and your vision and purpose for the world.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those+

who sin against us.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial+

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.

Description: Description: Description: Description: Elevation Worship - The Blessing (Lyrics) ft. Kari Jobe & Cody ...

BLESSING

Christ the Son of God gladden your hearts with the good news of his kingdom; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

HYMN

DISMISSAL

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ. Amen

11 Responses

  1. I just wondered if any of one on your church has Learning difficulties .

    They may find Prospects across Scotland .org.uk

    Helpful. There are zoom activities .
    Fortnightly and meet new friends all over Scotland in a Safeguarded place on zoom.

    Tho having our first Carol service since Covid started on Saturday on Bridge of Allan but will be on live via the Facebook
    Page Prospects across Scotland. 2:30 this Saturday the 4 th December .

    I am in another church in Dumfries.

    I
    Grew up in Ayr Episcopal church. ..as a child..

    The website is Prospects across Scotland .org.uk.

    If you know of anyone in your church
    with Learning difficulties
    They or their Carer could contact Ivy Blair for links
    and support the page on Facebook .
    And Pray for this work.

    I had a. Small group at home.
    and we later
    joined Prospects across Scotland officially aswell.
    and became part of the. Ist Zoom group .
    And it’s called Prescious Gems
    it’s is on Monthly
    .
    Most groups are held in churches all over Scotland.

    we started beginning of the Covid
    So been on. Zoom since. 2020.

    On various activities
    Music.etc.

    Anyway I just wondered if. Anyone in your church knew about Prospects.
    Or anyone with Learning difficulties.and there going to do more training in 2020. Re Autism aswell.

    Etc for churches to educate. Accessible ways to help churches to
    be inclusive
    for people with Learning difficulties .

  2. The prospect of Gordon or I getting to church to worship seems highly unlikely.
    On line we see and hear fellow worshipers and that is as near public worship as possible for us.
    I thank Janice and all who prepare on line worship.

    If we encounter any of our “church” friends outside , that is a total joy.
    I met with Heather at the wetlands where she serves.
    That was after nearly two years.

    Love to all at St John’s from Joan

  3. Thank you Janice for an excellent newsletter and virtual service. It is amazing that COVID came also just as social media blossomed (or not so amazing). in 2004, I was involved in the design and dedication of a memorial to the Royal Auxiliary Air Force at the National Memoriail Arboretum in Staffordshire, At the foot of the facing panel, I added the words `And they shall rise up with wings as eagles’ Memories came flooding back

  4. Hi Janice,

    Sorry to see the bruises on your face from the dental work. I hope you are not in too much pain. Enjoyed the Sunday service. I watched the recording.

  5. Finally found how to access St John’s online and thoroughly enjoyed it particularly your thought provoking sermon with lots of background information Thank you for looking after us in the pandemic Keep well Love Rosie and Terry

  6. I welcome this sermon and indeed the sermon I had best valued was one when the preacher ended his sermon :

    ” Do not have any expectations of me and I will not have any expectations of you”

    Welcome words to any members of a clergy family!
    Joan x

  7. Dear Janice,
    I’m ashamed to say that I’ve only just discovered the St John’s web site!! Thank you for all that you are doing and lovely images which give food for thought. I saw you on zoom at the retreat last week but then you disappeared – I hope you enjoyed it. On Sundays I’ve been watching the SEC eucharists on YouTube usually with lovely organ music.
    Blessings and love from Ann

  8. Hi Janice,
    I haven’t been coming to church because I am shielding my self as well as shielding my two very elderly parents, ( Mum is 94 years years old this December and Dad is 96 years old this coming March ) they are my main reason for not coming to church, but I get too come to our church on line of which I am greatly pleased, thank you for that wonderful service this morning God bless.

  9. We pray for Janice and hold her before His healing power.

    Thank Janice that we can worship on line , because for us at home “God does not live in houses made with hands” but on the airwaves

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