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Virtual WORSHIP 29/3/2020 Nothing Is Impossible with God

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Virtual WORSHIP 29/3/2020 Nothing Is Impossible with God

Call to worship
God of new life,
God of risen hope,
as we gather in worship today,
each in our own homes
but surrounded by so many friends worshipping at the same time, may we know your resurrection power in our lives.
May our spirits be renewed.
May our bodies be restored.

Prayer of Thanks and Praise
Lord, we give you praise today because your redeeming work, the work that brought Jesus into our world and into our lives, goes on, even now, even in the midst of the pandemic.
Thank you, Lord, for your constant presence.
Thank you for holding us and comforting us.
Thank you for crying with us when we are hurting.
Thank you for weeping with us when we are broken-hearted. Thank you, Lord, that you never let us down, that you always give us hope.
God of new life,
We give you thanks and praise today.

Prayer of Confession
Lord, we are part of a broken world,
where some have so much and others have nothing.
We see this so clearly in this time of fear,
with some people stockpiling goods and others going without.
Forgive us, and help us to open our eyes to see the needs of those around us, our brothers and sisters in the human family.
Help us to remember that life is about love more than about things;
and to show that clearly to those around us
so that they might see you in us.

OT Ezekiel 37:1-14 (The valley of the dry bones) NIV The Message
NT John 11:1-45 (The raising of Lazarus) NIV The Message

Two well known stories, both about impossible happenings.

A whole valley filled with bones: how hopeless does that look!
And how final death seems, as relatives and friends of Lazarus clearly felt.
But with God nothing is impossible, in our lives or in the country’s welfare, as both stories show (and as the Bible repeatedly asserts elsewhere).

Physically death is the end, but the Spirit of God offers a new dimension of life, beyond the physical as Ezekiel’s vision promises.
And Jesus came to make that new life available to all. Raising Lazarus demonstrated his power, and his own resurrection guaranteed new life for all his followers.
When things seem utterly hopeless, and we can see no way forward to a good outcome – as may well be the case now, with this pestilence called corona virus (Covid-19) sweeping the world, and our country – we should remember:
Just because we can’t see the way forward doesn’t mean God can’t.
And He is capable of bringing something good, even out of ‘impossible’ disaster.
Let’s look at some of the times when God said, or people recognised, that nothing was impossible with him.

Genesis 18:14: An angel announced that Sarah would bear a son in about a year’s time. Laughable nonsense? No, said the angel, nothing is too hard for the Lord. And it happened.

Job 42:2: After all his suffering and demanding to know why, Job is confronted with so many questions he can’t answer (but that God obviously can), he humbly acknowledges God’s total sovereignty*: “I know you can do all things”, and that God has a purpose in all he does, even when we can’t see it (and perhaps couldn’t understand if we were shown). *Sovereignty means that God is in total control, even when disaster strikes, and so he knows best what we should do. Accepting his sovereignty means believing, trusting and doing what he tells us to do (in the Bible, and in answer to prayer, etc).

Jeremiah 32:17, 27: National disaster was threatening Judah in Jeremiah’s days (and it came!), and the basis of Jeremiah’s payer for understanding about the future for Israel includes the recognition that “Nothing is too hard for you”, as God affirms in his reply when he spells out the future he plans. He holds even the nations in the hollow of his hand.

Zechariah 8:6: And however humbled the nation had been, and however miserable things were for them then, that future was to be great: God promised! To earthly minds it might well seem too marvellous to be true , but not to God.

Luke 1:37: When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was to bear a son although she was a virgin, he reassured her by saying that nothing was impossible with God. And he who stood in the presence of God ought to know (1:19). And it happened.

Mark 14:36: In Gethsemane, as Jesus faced up to the cross and the suffering and separation from God he was going to have to endure, he pleaded with God to give him another way. He accepted (like Job), his Father God’s complete sovereignty, “all things are possible for you” – but that also meant he was prepared to accept God choice for him, “Yet not what I will but what you will.”
In our present circumstances we can ponder and pray:

Remember, Jesus is the way forward (even through death to sunlit shores beyond, if it comes to that – as of course it will in due time, for all of us), hard though that may be for us to grasp. He is always leading us to God as Father, ultimately to restore complete, and unbroken relationship with him, of which we have but a taste here.

Think about our/your circumstances and ask God (trustingly, not accusingly) what he is now doing through it all, and how best we can join in
Pray for those suffering from the virus: directly (ill, or worried/panicky); or indirectly (privation)
Pray against the evil we can see, e.g., things getting out of control. (When Jesus stilled the storm he rebuked the wind and the sea, as if they were getting above themselves – Matthew 8:26 – and we can do, or ask, the same, in his name).
But also accept God’s sovereignty over everything, including ourselves, as Job and Jesus both did (above), and be prepared to do whatever he tells us.
And always give God time to reply, however he may choose to do it.

The triquetra can symbolise the trinity, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
This version represents our difficulty in seeing clearly the nature of God, and under- standing all that he is doing, although we can make out a general shape.
You may find it helpful

Prayers of intercession
We pray for all who weep today:
those who mourn the loss of loved ones; those who are afraid for the future;
those fearing loneliness and isolation:
Lord, weep with us and bring fresh hope.

We pray for those who care for people who are ill,
for NHS workers under pressure,
for hospice workers caring for people at the end of their lives; for those who bring comfort at a time of loss:
Lord, weep with us and bring fresh hope.

We pray for those who are trying to guide us:
medics, scientists, government leaders;
trying to give us a realistic picture but also helping us to protect ourselves:
Lord, weep with us and bring fresh hope.

As we weep with you, Lord God,
Renew our strength, our hope, and our vision to be your people in this new place,
this new way of showing love.

We pray together the Lord’s Prayer.

At the end of this time of worship, we do not go out into the world but we remain where we are; yet let us picture our prayers reaching out to homes and people who need us to love them.

By | 2020-03-30T12:49:38+01:00 March 30th, 2020|Blog, Virtual Worship, Worship|0 Comments

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