Sharing Church, Being Church, Together
To give you a fuller experience, I am including a prayer for you, the scripture reading, some hymns to think about and a devotion for your week. I will also make available my sermon available in print for anyone who wishes it or wishes to pass it on to a friend.
Here’s how we can pray together, before watching our live-stream or video message or at some point today, I invite you to pray this prayer…
God of all that is and was and ever will be, be with us this day. As we come together in different ways as a family of faith, let us know each other as beloved children of God. As we stay scattered, each one to his home, let us share the joy of knowing you with one another. As we share our thoughts and our joys, our fears and our anxieties, let us hear the words of our Saviour, “that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” As we listen to and pray our prayers, let us keep in mind your son Jesus Christ and his prayer that he taught his disciples, saying together, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. Forever and ever, Amen.”
Here is our scripture reading for today. As you feel led, perhaps spend some time meditating on God’s words for us today, and pray for God to speak into your heart as you hear his voice in this…
John 17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20 “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Hymns for you to ponder on:
Take Time to be Holy
Lord, listen to your children praying
Will you come and follow me?
What a friend we have in Jesus
Devotion for this week:
Jesus, at the end of his time here on earth took great care to talk to His Father in heaven, to pray…not for himself, but for others. There is an acronym that we see often at Christmas time that goes like this:
J – Jesus First
O -Others Second
Y – Yourself Last
I think this is a great model of how we should pray. First to our God, and His Son, Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God for the work of Jesus Christ in our world. Give thanks for the model he set for us to follow.
Then we can and should pray for others. Right now, we have so many people to pray for as we all work together during this time of pandemic. Here are some suggestions (I invite you to think of others):
· our family, especially those you are separated from
· our friends that you can’t see right now
· our friends that you see rarely, who may live far away, but need to hear your voice
· our church family as we cannot come together to worship
· our neighbours, especially those who may be feeling isolated and alone
· our health care workers, who are putting their very lives on the line for our community
· our first responders as they struggle with increased work loads and increased risks
· our local shopkeepers, those who do not know when they may reopen and who may be facing financial difficulty
· our government leaders, who are trying to offer up solutions to help all of us
· our pastors and elders, who wish to do the best for all and keep us connected
· our single moms and others on reduced incomes who wonder where they will get money to pay the rent or buy groceries
· our homeless folks who are feeling even more marginalized as foodbanks struggle to keep up with demands and they are unable to self-isolate
· our returning travellers, that they quarantine themselves to keep all of us safe
· our children who don’t know what to do, who can feel their parents anxieties, and who are missing their friends
· our youth who are worried about losing their school year and opportunities for jobs
Lastly, we need to pray for ourselves, to have strength and wisdom for the days ahead, to have courage to ask for help when needed, to have patience with the process of staying apart even, and especially, if you are an extrovert. Pray for yourself if you are facing financial challenges, if you are missing your loved ones, if you are going just the tiniest bit stir-crazy.
As this week progresses, I invite you to take some time to pray with J-O-Y J – Jesus First, O -Others Second, Y – Yourself Last. I would love for you to share your prayers! Send them to me, or post them on our Facebook page so that we can continue to pray together.
I would invite you to pray a prayer right now. The prayer is, “Lord, who can I pray for this week?”
Don’t pray for ten names. Start with just one, your husband, your wife, your children, your family, your friends, people across the street, your co-workers, somebody you barely know. Ask the Lord for one name right now. And offer that name, and your commitment to offer them to God in your prayers.
Be safe, be well, be faithful. You are be-loved. – Pastor Cherie