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Welcome to the 9:30 Church At Home

Palm Sunday

Although we can’t be together this Sunday as one big family, we’re still connected by God’s love for us and our love for him and each other! Below is a suggested structure for you to spend time worshipping God and receiving from him today. Please don’t feel like you have to stick to 9:30am on a Sunday – find a time that will work for you and your family without other distractions.

Words of Encouragement for difficult times

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Psalm 46:1-7 (NIV)

Suggestion: Please read the normal black print in your mind, then read aloud the bold black print.

The Greeting

The Lord our redeemer be with you
and also with you.

Opening Prayer

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy.
Sustain and support the anxious,
be with those who care for the sick,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may find comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Beatitudes

Let us hear our Lord’s blessing on those who follow him.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Silence is kept.

First Hymn

SB3 – The Lord’s My Shepherd
You can also listen on Spotify here.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Confession and Forgiveness

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirt,
Returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Let us confess our sins remembering before God the times when we have fallen from temptation into sin.

We confess to you our selfishness and lack of love:
fill us with your Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

We confess to you our fear and failure in sharing our faith:
fill us with your Spirit.
Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

We confess to you our stubbornness and lack of trust:
fill us with your Spirit.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Absolution

May almighty God, who sent his Son into the world to save sinners, bring us his pardon and peace, now and forever.
Amen.

First Reading

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

John 11:1-16 (NIV)

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Second Reading

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

John 11:17-45 (NIV)

This is the word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Teaching

Watch this week’s talk below.

Reflection

Watch this week’s talk and then have a go of the process Craig was speaking about in the video.

Suggestion: For the discussion parts of this, you could do this by setting up a WhatsApp video call/ Skype/ phone call, or by chatting it through with any members of your family who are with you in your home.

  1. At the start / end of each day bring my ‘if only’ moments to God.
    • Be quiet (find a place that’s distraction-less)
    • Be still (phone or device away for now!)
    • Be prepared to receive ‘life’ from God as you sit there.
    • Consider reading a Psalm like 22 or 88. Just sit with the raw emotion. Jesus knows and he cares.
    • Write down what you think he’s saying.
    • Try this between 2-10 minutes every day (increase the time-limit over the days).
  2. Following that, spend time praying with God into those ‘What if’ moments.
    • What if God transformed that one ‘if only’ moment into ‘what if’?
    • What would that look like?
    • Write down anything that comes to mind.
    • Grab a friend over video call or phone and ask them to pray it with you and for you, or share it with your Connect Group.
    • Again, try between 2-10 mins.

To go deeper this week, check out the Eat This Book Journal to pray and reflect further on this Bible reading and on any you might have missed so far in the series.

Collect

True and humble king,
hailed by the crowd as Messiah:
grant us the faith to know you and love you,
that we may be found beside you
on the way of the cross,
which is the path of glory.

Prayer

To conclude this time, spend some time in prayer. If you are doing this with members of family then do this together if possible.

Begin with a few minutes in silence, listening for what God might have to say to you or to your Community in this moment, then share what came to mind. After a few minutes of listening and sharing, spend time praying for:

  • Eradication of COVID-19 and healing for those who are sick.
  • Followers of Jesus to be a presence of peace and love in our town.
  • Financial provision for our church and for God’s mission in Widnes.
  • Any needs in your family/Connect Group/neighbourhood.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,
‘I am with you always’.
Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.
Hear my prayers for others and for myself,
and keep me in your care.
Amen.

O High king of heaven have mercy on Widnes.
Revive your Church here.
Send the Holy Spirit to change
people’s hearts and minds.
May your Kingdom come to our town,
in Jesus’ mighty name.
Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety,
give us strength to comfort the fearful,
to care for the sick,
and to assure the isolated of our love,
and your love,
for your name’s sake.
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
As we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
For the Kingdom, the power and the glory
Are yours, now and forever.
Amen.

Second Hymn

SB18 – Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer
You can also listen on Spotify here.

Conclusion

Let us affirm our faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even the death of the cross.
Therefore God has raised him on high,
and given him the name above every name:
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
and every voice proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Blessing

God of compassion,
through your Son Jesus Christ
you have reconciled your people to yourself.
As we follow his example of prayer and fasting,
may we obey you with willing hearts
and serve one another in holy love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God