Worship Sheet for Sunday 21 June – Freedom

We consider issues of freedom – taking account of lockdown restrictions and the Black Lives Matter protests with some help from Paul in Romans where he writes of our need to be free from the slavery to sin.

Call “The student is not above the teacher.” We are here to learn of Christ’s ways. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall outside your Father’s care.” We are here in gratitude for all God’s care. “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” We are here to find ourselves by losing ourselves in worship.
Mini Service       https://youtu.be/7tl5w-vSCcM
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Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray: Lord, thank you for your continuing care for us, undiminished even in face of the pandemic and scourge of injustice and racism. Thank you that still love the world and its people and that you are always concerned to be a part of our troubles and suffering as in our joys. Draw near to us as we wrestle with the challenges of our day and age; help us to make sense of your teaching in the conditions that face us. Make relevant the guidance and teaching of the scriptures so that it may be a living word for our time. Accept us with all our flaws and shortcomings, forgive us in Jesus your Son and equip us by your Spirit to live out the gospel in a relevant and powerful way that is true and worthy of Jesus’ life and death and authentic for our age. We pray in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray together saying : Our Father…

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Romans 6 verses 1-11 Freedom from slavery to sin, set free in Jesus to live to his glory.
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Sermon                https://youtu.be/A2eFYY32zuQ
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Thought: Until 2 or 3 weeks ago we wouldn’t have known who George Floyd was. Now the image of his death, being knelt on by a Minneapolis policeman, have been broadcast around the globe, leading to outrage and protests. Not all US law enforcement officers are racist; neither should we pretend that we don’t have racial injustice in the UK. Along with me, many of you would be horrified to be regarded as racist, but I accept that the frame of reference for racial justice is being reset and those of us who are white and privileged because of history need to be open to looking again carefully. Not everything the loudest voice shouts is the truth, but we do need to take account of the context from which people speak. As further steps from lockdown become a reality, and hopefully others beckon before too long, we need to take account of our hesitations, nervousness, the tensions between what we would really like and what is safe. But also ask the question “what are we going to do with our freedom?” – not just a rerun of what we used to do – but ask what is appropriate and relevant in the light of what I learned about myself, others, my faith and the gospel in these strange times? We are not perfect – our attitudes, thoughts, deeds – personal and societal are flawed. We need forgiveness and to be set free. But we need to be free FOR, for what is good and true not just to be freed from what is bad. God’s Spirit gives us the freedom to live FOR Jesus and his love and we need to be open to that and embrace all that Jesus has promised. Lots to sort out, but we can – in him!

Praise: You, Lord, are both Lamb and Shepherd CH4 355 esp v 1 & 3 to Regent Square No 439
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Read or Print Hymn CH4 533 by clicking this link
Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for your commitment to the world and its peoples, especially the marginalised, those suffering from all manner of injustice including poverty and racism. Help us all to be open to change – our attitudes and actions, to take account of imbalances of power and wealth inbuilt in our society’s history. Reshape perceptions and open hearts for a willingness to do things differently. Yes, there are barriers but perhaps the greatest are in our hearts. Set us free from our slavery to sin, restore our true nature in Jesus Christ your Son and may his love be seen more in evidence in all of us, regardless of all the labels we use to divide us. And having set us free FROM sin, set us free FOR goodness and love, self-giving rather than self-serving and develop in us a way of thinking and acting that truly loves our neighbour as ourselves. Show us how to do that locally as well as globally. We pray for those working hard to prepare for some relaxation in restrictions and what it will mean. In our prayer walk we remember those who live in Coronation Avenue and all working to help us with our mental health. SILENCE
Lord you are with us always, you know what we need before we utter a word. Join our prayers to Jesus’ and bless us and those for whom we pray – for Jesus’ sake.
Blessing: May the Lord bless you. Amen.