Sunday Worship 19 November 2023

Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today’s service.   You can either simply read this or you can
 

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Sunday Worship from the United Reformed Church
for Sunday 19 November 2023

 
Today’s service is led by Kirsty Mabbott

 
Introduction

Good morning.  My name is Kirsty Mabbott.  I am a Church Related Community Worker based in Coventry.  It is my pleasure to lead you this morning in worship on Sunday 19th November.  

Call to Worship

We come to worship God, not because we fear God,  but because we love God. We come to worship God not because God demands it,  but because we choose to. Lift your hearts and minds beyond life’s day-to-day  to worship our eternal and constant God. Amen.

Prayer of Invocation

Loving God 
we gather today in deep expectation of encountering you. 
We pray that the Spirit moves us to hearing and seeing 
so that your Word enters our hearts and minds 
and burns within us with your passion 
for justice, peace, faith, hop and love for the whole world. Amen.

Hymn     Take My Life and Let it Be
Frances R. Havergal (1874) Public Domain Sung by the Northern Baptist Association and used with their kind permission.

Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in endless praise,
let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands & let them move
at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for thee,
swift and beautiful for thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from thee,
filled with messages from thee.

Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as thou shalt choose,
every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine;
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is thine own;
it shall be thy royal throne,
it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
at thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only, all for thee,
ever, only, all for thee.
 
Prayers of Adoration & Confession

Creator God, we marvel at the wonders of your creation! 
You have painted the sky with sun rises and sun sets, 
you scattered the universe with stars and planets 
so that we can be awestruck by your creative force. 
You pay attention to each and every living creature, 
no matter it’s size or assumed importance, including us. 

You call us your children and made us the stewards of your work. 
You taught us how to live, and how to move through the world 
sharing love with others. 

We thank you for taking such an interest in our lives, 
for carrying us through the difficult days 
and walking alongside us through the days of celebration and joy. 

We know, God of All Creation, 
that we have abused the responsibility of stewardship 
you have placed on us. 
We have treated the world as if it was ours to use and misuse. 
We have brought about the destruction of animals 
and environmental systems, 
we have plundered our oceans, rainforests 
and raided the earth beneath our feet for coal, gas, oil and wood. 
We have exacerbated climate change. 
We have bought into fast-fashion, fast-food, and fast-living, 
all of which prevents us from loving our neighbours 
and hearing the poor, oppressed and marginalised 
as they cry out for justice and freedom. 

Forgive us for not being the stewards and people 
that you call us to be. 
Unchain us so that we can become the Jesus followers 
you have called us to be in the world. Amen

Assurance of Forgiveness

Hear the Good News – God has forgiven our sins through Jesus Christ! Alleluia! Let us receive forgiveness, embrace hope, accept grace and respond in faith and love. Amen.

Prayer of Illumination 

Loving God, you have called each of us to serve you. 
Help us to be open to hearing that call through your Word 
and understanding that call through your Spirit 
so that we can follow you more closely through our actions and words. Amen

Reading    St  Matthew 25:14-30 

‘For it is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them;  to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.  The one who had received the five talents went off at once and traded with them, and made five more talents.  In the same way, the one who had the two talents made two more talents.  But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.  After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.  Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, saying, “Master, you handed over to me five talents; see, I have made five more talents.”  His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”  And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, “Master, you handed over to me two talents; see, I have made two more talents.”  His master said to him, “Well done, good and trustworthy slave; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.”  Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, “Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed;  so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.”  But his master replied, “You wicked and lazy slave! You knew, did you, that I reap where I did not sow, and gather where I did not scatter?  Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have received what was my own with interest.  So take the talent from him, and give it to the one with the ten talents.  For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.  As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Hymn     Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ
Fred Kaan (1975) © Hope Publishing Company  All rights reserved. Reprinted & Podcast permission under ONE LICENSE # A-734713. Performed by Grosse Pointe Memorial Church (Michigan) Virtual Choir with James Biery, organist and used with their kind permission.

Let us talents and tongues employ,
reaching out with a shout of joy.
Bread is broken, the wine is poured,
Christ is spoken and seen and heard.

Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Christ is able to make us one.
At the table he sets the tone,
teaching people to live to bless,
love in word and in deed express. 

Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!

Jesus calls us in, sends us out
bearing fruit in a world of doubt,
gives us love to tell, bread to share.
God (Emmanuel) everywhere! 

Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!
Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again;
pass the Word around: loaves abound!
 

Offertory & Prayer 

When we gather to worship we give – of our time, our talents and also of our treasure.  We give in many ways – by listening to another in need, by offering comfort, giving food to the foodbank, supporting local, national or international charities but we also give to the Church.  We may give in a panic forgetting there’d be a collection, we may give in a planned way, in our increasingly cashless society we may give through a regular standing order to the church’s bank; we may even be in a church which offers the opportunity to give using contactless payment.  However we give, we give joyfully, knowing that our giving reflects our discipleship.  Let us pray:

God, whose giving knows no ending, 
we offer up the treasure that you have entrusted to us; 
we offer up the skills and time that you have graciously given to us; 
we offer up ourselves in service and praise. 
Receive these gifts by your grace. 
Multiply and use them through the power of the Holy Spirit 
to accomplish Christ’s work of love in the world. Amen.

Hymn     Take This Moment Sign and Space
John L. Bell © 1989, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted & Podcast permission under ONE LICENSE # A-734713. Performance © 2020 Ruth and Joy Everingham and used with their kind permission.

Take this moment, sign and space; 
take my friends around; 
here among us make the place 
where Your love is found. 

Take the time to call my name, 
take the time to mend 
who I am and what I’ve been, 
and I’ve failed to tend. 

Take the tiredness of my days, 
take my past regret, 
letting Your forgiveness touch 
all I can’t forget. 

Take the little child in me, 
scared of growing old; 
help me here to find my worth 
made in Christ’s own mould. 
 
Take my talents, take my skills,
take what’s yet to be;
let my life be Yours,
and yet, let it still be me.

Sermon
 
We often look at this gospel reading and think, “oh, obviously we are the “servants” in this reading, and we want to be one of the first two who double the money the master entrusts them with, and we don’t want to be the last one”. And I accept that that is the accepted view of this reading, but what if we dig a little deeper? What if we stop looking at the financial aspects and start considering how we are really talking about the gifts and talents God has given us. Now these gifts and talents are not given because some pray harder than others, the gifts we have been given are so that we actually stand up against oppression, marginalisation and for the liberation of all people. 

It is easy for us to look around the world and think “oh I can never make a difference to such global problems, nothing I do will help or stop things”. But that’s a complete cop-out. Our scripture from Matthew’s Gospel doesn’t allow us to hide behind this excuse, we are called to pay attention to what God is calling us to do in the world and how we are to respond to that call. This is where we need to look at the gifts and talents we have been given by God as part of our response. We have been called as Jesus followers to play an active role in God’s liberative work of saving the world, and we must assess our gifts and talents, our skills, and resources. What is clear is that, whether it’s using our wealth, our influence, our voice, our creativity or just our presence as part of a movement, we all have a role to play and a contribution to make and we are all called to be part of this journey as part of our discipleship.

Now, I am not claiming that God will despise you, or scream and shout at you for neglecting your responsibilities as a follower of Jesus, like the “master” in the parable does with the third servant, and I doubt God will tell you off like a parent with a “naughty child”, but if we take our faith seriously, we acknowledge that there is a Hope that we have been gifted because we believe, and we should want to share that Hope with the whole world. I’m not asking you to hit people with Bibles, shout about “the sins of evil” in the street or tell our interfaith siblings that we don’t respect their beliefs. But I am asking you to take seriously that the calling to share Hope and good news through your actions. 

Raise up the oppressed and marginalised, welcome the stranger, visit the prisoner, feed and clothe the homeless and naked. Challenge laws and practices that create divides and cause us to “other” those who aren’t exactly like us. Emulate Jesus in his personal relationships, get a bad reputation for associating with the “wrong people” but always do it with integrity and authenticity. Walk around with an attitude of loving acceptance and a heart that is open to learning from those with different lived experiences to you. Use the gifts you have been gifted by God to really connect with your neighbours, locally and globally. Buy ethically if you can afford it, support local initiatives and stand as a powerful ally to those that the powerful have dismissed as inconsequential.  But most importantly carry the Hope that you have been gifted as light for others. Amen.

Hymn     I Bind Unto Myself Today
St Patrick’s Breastplate, Irish Traditional, Public Domain arranged by Rod Lewis sung and performed by Five O’Silver and used with their kind permission

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
his baptism in Jordan river;
his death on Cross for my salvation;
his bursting from spicèd tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim.
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
the Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.
 
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the star lit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need.
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend & stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord. 
 
Intercessions

Loving God, you have called us to be in the world, to share the joys and sorrows of others and to work and pray for the world. We come before you now praying for the world.

We pray for areas of the world where there is conflict, for the people involved and the innocents who become victims and cannon fodder. We ask that the driving forces behind these conflicts; greed, power, control and oppression of “the other” end and that your peace and reconciliation come over those areas. Bring your healing and wholeness  to all of those who have been affected by conflict.

We pray for refugees and migrants who have been forced to flee their homelands due to oppression and safety concerns.  Lead them to new homes and help us to welcome and embrace them, giving them the fresh start they need to heal and build new lives. 

We pray for the sick, that the medical staff around them are able to use their skills to help heal them. We bring before you those who cannot be healed, we ask that you bring them and their loved ones to a wider wholeness and bring them comfort and peace. We pray for those who have lost friends and family, hold them in their time of grief and loss, and surround them with people who can ease their sadness.

We pray for those who are lost and confused, those who are struggling to find purpose in their life. Place people and experiences in their lives to help them move towards their purpose, giving them more abundant lives.

We pray for those who are activists, community advocates and creators of social change and transformation, fill them with passion, tempered with awareness and self-care so that they do not burn out or become despondent to the uphill journey.

We pray for those in leadership, in the Church, from elders and ministers to general secretaries and archbishops, and in society, from local councillors to heads of state. Bless them with wisdom, courage, and a sense of duty to those whom they work on behalf of. Help them be the examples of true servanthood that our world needs now and not to put their own interests ahead of those they represent.

We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus, who taught us to pray:
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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who 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.

Hymn     Be Thou My Vision
Ancient Irish, Public Domain Sung by the Catholic Music Initiative at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in McKinney, Texas

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart 
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art 
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night 
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word. 
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father, and I Thy true child. 
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one. 

Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise. 
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always. 
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart 
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won.
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun. 
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall.
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
 
Blessing & Dismissal

Go now, back into the world, 
to walk with Jesus day-by-day, 
sharing the good news of the Gospel. 
And may God’s Spirit fill you and change you. 
May you burn with a fire to be part of God’s Kin-dom building. 
And may the blessing of God; 
Creator, Redeemer & Sustainer 
be upon you today and always.  Amen.

 
 

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