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Worship Sheet for Sunday 19 June                        What’s in a name?   

Jesus begins to travel beyond his usual haunts. He heads across to the far side of Lake Galilee regarded as foreign territory to many and encounters a naked and troubled man. Jesus sets him in his right mind. Some strange and to some offensive treatment of pigs but a reminder to us that Jesus loves us all and we need to avoid pigeon holing others and rejecting out of hand those who are different from us.
Call: Come all who long to know your maker more. Come all who are thirsty for a deeper relationship. Come and join with your brothers and sisters. Come let us worship the one who loves us and calls us to be here.

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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : God of many names and none, you know us each by name and you know who we are in a way that no-one else ever fully can: the good and the bad together: what is broken, what is whole, what is on the long, slow way to being mended. You see the outside face that we present to the world; and you know about the doubts and questions churning around inside. You know where we have come from, and how we are today and who, one day, we will become. You see all the many facets of the complex jewels that we are, and—as we are—you love us. Living God, that needs time to sink in. Pause There is a part of us that wants to jump for joy to know that at last we have been recognised; another part that wants to run and hide. We do neither of these things, but take time to look on the one who looks on us, and deep down inside us without judgement, disgust or fear, but only with compassion and welcome. We come, as many did to Jesus in his lifetime, in search of wholeness… integration… a piecing together of the shattered fragments of our lives, not in an invisible repair but highlighted in gold, as Japanese potters do, so that our wounds become part of our story and your skill is on display for all to see. Cast out the demons of prejudice and fear, we pray, from our homes and our churches and our world. So may our lives bear witness to your goodness and the transforming power of love. Receive us in Jesus who taught us to pray together Our Father…

Todays Bible reading - Listen by clicking on the image or using the sound bar below
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Luke 8:26-39   Jesus heals the man troubled by demons.                
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Thought- Why is that we are so quick to focus on the differences between us? Why do we not begin with what we have in common rather than drive wedges with the contrasts. We can be most unkind, even cruel in shunning and distancing those who are dissimilar – adults as well as children. Jesus reminds us that he is willing to share his love with everyone – perhaps especially with those who are ignored or ill-treated by others or who are especially vulnerable. In our passage this morning, Jesus heads across to the far side of Lake Galilee, to the less populated side, regarded by many as a strange and foreign land, where he meets a naked man who unsurprisingly is ignored by most people. Yet, Jesus takes time to talk to him. He is troubled by demons; he is hardly in his right mind and we don’t have a name for him beyond what I take to be a nickname because of the many demons he has : Legion. To cut a long story short Jesus heals him, he sends the demons into a herd of pigs (regarded as unclean animals) and the man is restored to his right mind, clothed and takes his place in society once again. A quick prayer isn’t the answer to folk with severe mental health issues but that doesn’t prevent us praying. More significantly for us, today, is to continue to be there for those who are unwell (inc with mental health), not to ignore or discriminate against those who are seemingly “different” from us and act as if we truly believe that Jesus loves us all – not because of what we have going for us, but simply out of love for us. Look to our common humanity and need for love rather than highlighting our differences. We are to love our neighbour as Jesus loves us.

Praise: CH4 721         We lay our broken world. Online v 1,2,5 & 6     
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: God of the margins, Jesus, friend of outcasts and sinners, Spirit, who bursts through all the barriers that we create, we cannot read the gospels and pretend not to know how you feel about some of the most vulnerable of your children being excluded and demonised just because they are different to us and make the rest of us feel uncomfortable. As followers of Jesus, we of all people should know what it is like to live on the margins, where he spent much of his time, but we don’t seem to. We persist in creating divisions, not mending them. We speak of mission, but still expect other people to change and become like us. The church holds on to its last vestiges of power and social status, instead of celebrating the ‘decline’ that is forcing us back to where you always wanted us to be. Gracious God, we cannot pray for those who are vulnerable without admitting that we are too. ‘The sick’, ‘the lonely’, ‘the sad’—that’s many of us already. ‘The homeless’, ‘the despairing’,  the refugee’—so very easily could be. And so, as we pray for others, we pray for ourselves. We pray for those who are physically ill, and for those whose minds are in turmoil, unbeknown, perhaps, to the people round about them. We give thanks for those who have been brave enough to speak about their experience of mental illness and ask for healing not just for them, but for a world that shuns and devalues them. We pray for any who are demonised on account of what they believe or where they come from, the way they look, the way they speak or whom they love. We remember how fearless Jesus was in reaching out to people whom others despised; how he noticed the ones whom others chose to ignore and gave them back their sense of self-worth. We remember what he said about the first being last and the last being first, and how angry it made him when power was abused and vulnerable people exploited. We remember his last, most fervent prayer, that all his people should be one, and with deep humility we pray for his prayers to be answered and for us to accept the changes that will need to be made if your kingdom is to come, your will to be done and your name glorified here on earth as it is in heaven. In our prayer walk this week we pray for those who live or work in Coronation Avenue. SILENCE. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for hearing our prayers, spoken and unspoken. Amen.

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.