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Worship Sheet for Sunday 18 September (Queen)      Service not self

Jesus’ life as well as his words was characterised by service – he famously said that he had come not to be served but to serve. In the passage from Mark 10 James and John (egged on by their mother) ask to be seated either side of Jesus at the heavenly banquet. Jesus points rather about the need to be a servant. The late Queen for all her position committed herself to a lifetime of service to the nation and to God. We, too, are called to serve God and neighbour.
Call: The world We come today to worship God - to focus ourselves on what is good. We live in a world full of chancers-those who try to twist the rules and deny the evidence of our own eyes. We come seeking to be children of the light: help us to be wise to the world’s ways and open to your Way for us. Let us worship God.

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Listen to the 1st Prayer

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Pray : Almighty and loving God, who desires above everything else that we, your people live out your purposes of love by seeking to love you with all our heart, mind and soul and our neighbours as we love ourselves, draw near to us afresh we pray and while we mourn the death of our Queen, inspire us to fulfil in our own lives and in the life of the nation those priorities that were epitomised in the life of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ and which were apparent in your servant Elizabeth. Forgive us for the times when we have lost sight of the importance of serving both you and our neighbour, when we have wittingly as well as unwittingly sought to prefer our own agenda or sought to promote ourselves and our causes at the expense of others or even the gospel. Be gracious to us and send your Holy Spirit upon us in power to remake the lives and direction of us all, our church and our nation that we may indeed be a loving people whose intent is to serve rather than be served and who may clearly demonstrate your loving purposes to a world in need. We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray together saying Our Father…

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Mark 10:35-45            James and John ask for special treatment.
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Thought- With the Queen’s death as a backdrop we turn to the passage in Mark’s gospel where James and John (supported by their mother) ask to be seated in heaven at either side of Jesus – in other words in the best seats. While probably not realising what they were requesting, it was seen by the other disciples as the height of one upmanship that angered them. None of us is immune from thinking too highly of ourselves, indeed pushing ourselves forward even at the expense of others has often been seen as “the only way to get on” and seen as a virtue by many (as long as it isn’t too obvious) even in the Church. Jesus flatly refutes the idea and instead substitutes service. Turning things on their head he advocated a life of service to God and to neighbour. That is what ought to permeate our life and work as his followers. The Queen, for all her status and royal protocols, lived a lifetime of service both to the nation and God. I have no doubt that she drew strength and encouragement from her faith and knew the power of prayer. She had the ability to get alongside people and for their moment she gave them her undivided attention, not looking down or talking down to anyone. Not perfect, none of us is, but still a fine example and pointer to a lifetime of service to God and neighbour that we could hope to have. As we take our leave of her wouldn’t it be a wonderful legacy if many were willing to receive that gift of service that would see love and service to God and neighbour push out the more common “how can I get on?” view.  

Praise: CH4 694         Brother, sister   (online v 1,4,5 & 6).
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

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Pray: Almighty and gracious heavenly Father, we draw near to you with heavy hearts at the death of our Queen, Elizabeth who was known and loved and seen to be genuinely concerned for and interested in her people – all of us, regardless of position or status. We give thanks for her lifetime of service spanning the generations – more than 70 years. We acknowledge too her dedication to you – and for her life of service to you, being true to her beliefs as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and to her coronation vows to defend the faith. In so far as she lived a life of service before you and her neighbour give us the grace to follow her example and be encouraged to put service before self. Give us the grace to live for others rather than seeking to promote ourselves. As with others who have lost loved ones recently we pray for her family in their personal grief and loss, asking for each of them your grace and upholding power. Draw near to comfort, console, encourage and bless. In the course of time work your healing balm in heart and mind and soul. Bless especially His Majesty the King as he assumes the throne and his responsibilities as monarch while having to mourn the death of his dear mother. Send your Holy Spirit upon him we pray, that he may be given that peace that passes all understanding that would both console him and equip him for all that has now been laid upon him.  Be among the people of our nation, in all the challenges we face and deepen our love and concern for God and our neighbour that qualities of integrity, compassion, hope, love and peace, might flourish. And while the focus has been on our nation and royal family in our prayer walk we each pray for our friends and family – those who are dear to us, that you may bless them and deepen our love through Jesus Christ your Son, Amen.
SILENCE.
Hear our prayers silent and spoken for Jesus’ sake Amen.  

Blessing - May the Lord bless you. Amen.