This week our worship is led by Michael Eldridge and his family from the United States of America.
As we worship we remember and give thanks for the good things God has done for the U.S. over three centuries of His grace, and pray that He will now deliver that great country and ours from our present divisions and troubles.
Psalm 2 says:
"Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."
Our LORD and loving Heavenly Father, we are conscious that your Word teaches us that righteous exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
As we gather online to worship today we turn from and repent of the sins of our nation and its largest ally overseas, by which we have been so heavily influenced and with which we have so thoroughly joined our cause.
We ask you to look in mercy on our land and on the United States of America. We ask that you would lead our land and our all our allies to kiss the Son, to flee your wrath and to be the refuge of our peoples and our lands.
We seek your mercy for our land and our leaders, we pray for our rulers and those who have authority over us, for our broadcasters, our celebrities and opinion-formers, for our comedians and our musicians who bend the wills of people subtly with their words.
And we ask that truth and righteous might be prized and valued, that righteousness would exalt our nation as men and women are turned from self and sin to Christ our true vine, to fruitful life here then Glory.
And we pray for Jesus' sake.
Here is this week's Word for the Week video about epiphytes and grafting - please pray it will be useful in God's service. Who might you share it with, do you think?
As we gather online to pray today, all fifty states in the USA are on alert for armed protests and acts of rebellion in the run-up to the inauguration of their new President on Wednesday.
We pray for the peaceful transition of power, and for Christian leaders in the USA who have taken strong political stances in this election.
We pray for and end to political violence, for the establishment of peace and for good governance to be exercised in the USA.
In Uganda, the internet has been shut down as armed violence and many deaths preceded their election last Thursday in which (as in the USA) many clergy took up political stances. The incumbent President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni was returned for a sixth term by an electoral commission which he appointed and which lost the means to communicate results from the polling stations when the internet was shut down.
We pray for and end to political violence, for the establishment of peace and for good governance to be exercised in Uganda.
In Wales, the Welsh Senedd is due to hold elections on 6th. May this year, and opinion is divided across a range of parties some of which seek Independence for Wales from Westminster, some of which seek a federal arrangement with other UK governments and others of which seek the closing of the Senedd with all power returned to Westminster.
There are also proposals to delay the Senedd elections because of he likely impact on the voting of the coronavirus outbreak.
We pray for a clarity of vision and purpose in this land, for peace with justice, for good government that eradicates poverty and allows our people to live freely and in peace.
And at an individual level we pray for those we know who have needs borne of sickness, bereavement and unemployment; of loneliness, discord and a lack of peace.
Lord in your mercy hear our prayer for the nations of the world and its' people, for the Land in which we live and our people.
May your Kingdom come.
May your will be done ... on earth as it now is in Heaven.
2:1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. 3 For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. 6 Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
9 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, like a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last!
Paul’s Longing to See Them Again
17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, in person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire to see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. 19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy.
This short audio blog sets the background to the podcast sermon today, providing necessary 'background' to it, and addresses the question of how on earth we feed our hearts and grow our spiritual lives when face to face church has been lost to us.
Let's close in prayer
"Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy ...
‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’"
So then we pray for one another whatever our race, outlook or nation:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
AMEN. (Romans 15:8-9, 12-13)
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