Worship Notes and Intercessions for Sunday

Worship Notes and Weekly Intercessions

Dear Friends,

Millennia ago the prophet Habakkuk, when faced with war, environmental disaster and consequent famine, sung:

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation.
 God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
and makes me tread upon the heights.

Words which resonate as we face the consequences of human greed wreaking havoc on the fragile earth.  As the climate changes, the ice melts, and sea waters rise we will have to adapt and learn to mitigate the dreadful climate changes which are already upon us.  What I find fascinating is that Habakkuk didn’t turn away from God when faced with his traumas and, in these times of change and danger I hope we won’t either.

Habakkuk’s response was to turn to God and, in worship found the strength to make sense of his world and to adapt to his realities.  Week after week we gather to worship in church and chapel, in grand buildings and around computer screens.  As we sing, pray, listen and share in the simple things of bread and wine, we encounter the Risen Lord who strengthens and enables us to be His disciples.

In order to help local churches produce good worship the URC produces weekly Worship Notes.   This week we have a choice of two sets of Notes.  Church Related Community Worker, Kirsty Mabbott, has produced a set looking at the parable of the talents – an early Advent theme – and suggests a number of different interpretations.  I offer a set looking at Safeguarding Sunday which falls this week.  These notes enable local churches to construct a service using some of the Lectionary Readings for this Sunday but with a particular theme drawn from the valuable ministry of safeguarding which seeks to make the Church a safe space.  I offer some tips for some practical aspects around such a service, and use ideas of silence from the Zephaniah reading (being silenced, needing to speak out, and abusers and their allies needing to stand silent in the face of justice), the Psalmist’s conviction that secret sins will be made visible in the light of God’s countenance, and the idea that in the ill-named parable of the Talents the third slave is a Christ figure who speaks the truth to power and suffers for it.  Hope is found in the reading which follows, the parable of the sheep and goats, where the King returns to administer long delayed justice.

I am now going to load the Weekly Intercessions onto the Worship Notes page and you will find this week’s intercessions, written by the Rev’d Dr Elizabeth Welch, there too – just use the link above to find them.

I hope that your experience and discipline of worship delights, strengthens and empowers you as we adapt to the realities of our world.

With every good wish


The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship

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