Sunday 17 May 2020
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have promised to be with us for ever; teach us to rejoice in your presence, free us from all anxiety, help us to know you are always beside us, that we may work with you through the Spirit to the glory of your Kingdom. Amen.
Accompaniment to the hymn (recorded by Carol) : (Tune is Down Ampney)
Come down, O Love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,
and visit it with thine own ardour glowing;
O Comforter, draw near,
within my heart appear,
and kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn,
till earthly passions turn
to dust and ashes, in its heat consuming;
and let thy glorious light
shine ever on my sight,
and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Let holy charity
mine outward vesture be,
and lowliness become mine inner clothing;
true lowliness of heart,
which takes the humbler part,
and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
And so the yearning strong,
with which the soul will long,
shall far outpass the power of human telling;
for none can guess its grace,
till he become the place
wherein the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling.
Reading: John 14:15-21
Rev Will Fletcher reads his Reflection
Reflection: It’s fair to say that one of the things people have really missed has been the opportunity to be with others – just talking on the phone doesn’t always cut it. Maybe particularly when we need help or someone else’s expertise – there is only so much about my parents’ computer that we can talk them through remotely! However, ‘help-giver’ can quickly turn to ‘help-requirer.’ I have spoken about the delight my garden brings, but it is not a complete paradise, for brambles have been allowed to grow all around the borders and trying to control them is an ongoing struggle. They have grown around and through many plants and shrubs, the roots of these brambles go deep and spread wide. It feels like an ongoing war that I’m not sure I’m winning. Given their spread and the gardening time that is available, assistance in removing them, as well as knowledge as to the best techniques would be most welcome – though not possible at this time.
We may sometimes feel that sense of struggle during this time. We can feel alone and cut off, and it can make us feel as though we are in a conflict without the help that we require to overcome the adversary. If you have felt that, or are feeling it now, take comfort for those early followers of Jesus felt the same. As John wrote his good news reflecting on the life of his friend, he clearly had times of feeling alone, cut-off, fighting a losing battle. Yet, he recalled words Jesus spoke to prepare the disciples for that very time when he wouldn’t physically be present. These words of hope and encouragement were of a Helper or Advocate that God would send to live amongst and within the people of God so that they would know they were not alone, even at those times of greatest struggle.
That Helper, the Holy Spirit, is sent to us also. The Holy Spirit is not only found in church buildings, or even when we are with other Christians. The Holy Spirit can be found with us and within us wherever we are, even shut in our homes. Through a conversation on the phone, a piece of music, a time of silence and stillness, even in our tears and feelings of despair, we can sense the Holy Spirit as the constant reminder we are not alone. But this gift of the Holy Spirit is not just for us. Rather, that experience of the Holy Spirit should encourage and inspire us to be people who show love and compassion to our family, friends, neighbours and strangers in whatever ways we can, so that they too can know they are not alone. So this week take heart – if you feel like you are fighting a losing battle (even if only with your garden), know that you are not alone. The Holy Spirit is there as Helper and Guide, as Comfort and Strength, for you and for all who you encounter, this day and always. Amen.
Prayers of Intercession: Lord, we come to you this praising you that through your Spirit we live and move and have our being. We praise you that we are your children, and you are not far from any one of us. We pray for all who find themselves on journeys to seek you, may they know your presence and have the strength not to give up. We pray for your children who are struggling in lonely or difficult places, for all who feel forsaken or forgotten, for all who are longing to know your love. We pray for all who seek to do your will and fulfil your commandments to love you and one another. Lord, you abide in us. May we know we abide in you.
We pray for countries where laws are being flouted, especially the ones that have been put in place to protect lives. We pray for nations and people who are in danger of destroying themselves and others, through ego, greed, or ignorance. We remember areas of strife, areas where people are misused and abused, such as in Yemen, Pakistan, the South and East China Seas, North Korea, Venezuela, Ukraine, and many other areas around the world. We pray for all who seek to live in simplicity, gentleness and reverence, for all who suffer for doing good. Lord, you abide in us…
Through your Spirit make our hearts and our homes places of peace. We pray for peace in our communities, especially in communities where there are divides based on colour, income, religion, and culture. For peace in our relationships, especially in the ones that find that they are struggling during this time of lockdown. May your peace spread throughout our world. Lord, you abide in us…
We pray for those who feel lost. We remember the unemployed, the redundant, and those who are now finding themselves homeless. We remember the poor and the hungry. We remember before you all who are sick and struggling, that each in their weakness may know your strength. Lord, you abide in us…
Lord if we abide in you and you are in us, we are already in the fullness of that life which is eternal. We rejoice in your presence, and pray for all loved ones and friends as we pray together the pray Christ taught us to pray:
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.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen
Blessing: Christ, the Lord of the living and the dead, who died
and rose to life eternal, grant that you may abide in him and belong to him
forever, so that you may know you are never alone. Amen.
If you wish please join in singing our Vesper :
© Haywards Heath Methodist Church 2020 Registered Charity No.1136146