St. Leonard, Clent
© Clent PCC 2021
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Saint Leonard’s Service for Epiphany 2 17 th January Welcome to our OpenCast church service - on-line. There are prayers, readings, hymns and music; just as you would have in church. As you read through this service you may care to say aloud the bold text. To hear the music and the readings, click on each title (red, underlined text) (and remember to adjust the volume on your speakers). Let us pray: On this day of Epiphany, having come from different places, having taken different routes and having arrived with different needs, we thank you, O God, that you meet us now. Amen Living God, we gather this morning as Jesus’ disciples. Open our hearts to hear your word afresh - and take away our preconceptions, that we may be surprised by you, humbled by you and faithful to you, like Philip and Nathanael. Amen. We have come together in the presence of God. Let us put aside our concerns and distractions. Let us open our hearts, so that we may receive God’s love and allow ourselves to be transformed. Amen. Hymn: “In Christ, alone ..” Performed by ‘Celtic Worship’ We praise God Loving God, we give thanks that you see each one of us as special and call us to be your disciples. Grant us the generosity of Philip, the integrity of Nathanael, and the humility of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen. Bible Readings: Old Testament: Psalm: New Testament: Gospel: 1 Samuel 3.1-10 139 Revelation 5.1-10 John 1.43-51 Audio Audio Audio Audio Click these links to hear the readings Text Text Text Text Click these links to read the text A Reflection for this week Despite not having Sunday themes any more, God’s calling us is very much the theme of our readings today’s – both from John’s Gospel and also from 1 Samuel. The Gospel story tells us about Philip and Nathaniel. Nathaniel is fairly sceptical about Jesus when Philip first tells him about him. “Can anything good some out of Nazareth?”, he says. But his mind isn’t completely shut. He’s prepared to go with Philip and meet him, and when he meets Jesus, the experience is such that it changes his life and he becomes a disciple. In Jewish literature, the fig tree is symbolically the place when people study the Torah – the first five books of the Bible, the Jewish law. So it would seem that Nathaniel is someone who studies faith and is open to discovering new things. When he meets Jesus, whatever his previous understanding of things are, he sees everything in a new light, and commits himself to follow him. This a story that’s relevant for us – because God has called each of us to follow the way of Jesus. Our task is to recognise that call, and to respond to it - to leave behind any cynicism, and be open-minded to seeing everything in a new light. Our task is to make a commitment and to change the way we live – and to do so again and again. Today’s readings also tell us that we don’t just have obligations in relation to ourselves, but that we have responsibilities for each other, as well. In I Samuel, it’s Eli – who’s old and who’s “eyes are dim”, as the text puts it – who helps the young boy Samuel respond to God. Samuel can hear God’s voice, but he’s completely confused about who it is who’s speaking to him and what he should do. Eli has to help him and guide him. In the Gospel reading, Nathaniel only comes to faith because of Philip. It’s Philip who tells him about Jesus, and leads him to him. It’s Philip who responds to Nathaniel’s cynicism by saying “Come and see”. Both readings suggest that bringing others to faith is a task we all share in. We have a responsibility to help others to see things more clearly, to be open-minded about this person from Nazareth, and to make that first step of “going and seeing”. And Eli’s example reminds us that we all have a particular responsibility to foster and develop the faith of children, and to make sure that they’re welcomed and valued in our Christian community. The Psalm set for today – Psalm 139 – has these verses: O Lord, you have searched me out and known me; you know my sitting down and my rising up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You mark out my journeys and my resting place and are acquainted with all my ways. You yourself created my inmost parts . . . I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Those words have a lovely echo with Jesus’ encounter with Nathaniel – with Jesus knowing all about him. They also remind us of something else that’s really important – that each of us are precious in God’s sight. Jesus’ call to us follows on from God’s delight in us as human beings. It’s because God loves us, and because you and I are precious in God’s sight, that we’re called (in Jesus) to a new kind of life. We’re each precious in God’s sight – and we’re each called to follow the way of Jesus, and to nurture and encourage one another. If we follow the example of Nathaniel, and continue to go and find out more about this Jesus, surely our eyes too will continue to be opened, and we will continue to perceive things in a completely new light. Worship Song “Never see the end” (Jessica-Ray Langdon) Lyric / Chord sheet Intercessions In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to our Father. God of all compassion, we pray in Jesus’ name for all those sitting under the fig trees of conflict, waiting the shelter of peace… God of compassion, hear our prayer. For all sitting under fig trees of suffering, waiting for healing to cover them… God of compassion, hear our prayer. For all sitting under fig trees of loneliness, waiting for others to befriend them … God of compassion, hear our prayer. For all sitting under fig trees of decision, contemplating the future of communities, nations and the world… God of compassion, hear our prayer. And we give thanks for all who have pruned and shaped the fig trees that have sheltered and protected us. God of compassion, hear our prayer. Amen. Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me and all Christians one with your saints in heaven and on earth: grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may ever be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Closing Prayer Lord, as I journey with you this week, and as I seek to live out my faith every day; be with me, surprise me with your love, and nudge me when you want to see me do something for Jesus’ sake. Amen. May we speak words of truth and gentleness; may we hear words of encouragement and kindness; and may Jesus, the Word made flesh, bless us with peace, integrity and wisdom. Amen. Jesus, bless me with your light, so that my life of faith can twinkle land shine like the stars in the sky, and I may lead others towards you. As I venture through this week, Lord, in your name, help me to see you when I meet you, to recognise you, and to follow you. Amen. Let me go in peace to love and serve the Lord, in the name of Christ. Amen. __________________________________________________ Postlude “How Great Thou Art” (featuring Lauren Daigle and ‘Hillsong United’) Recorded Live in Houston, Texas, during their 2016 Empires Tour Performed unusually slowly - but with great conviction