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Sunday Worship 16th January 2022 - Covenant Service

Welcome to this morning's Sunday Worship led by Rev Christine Fox, which included the Covenant Service and Holy Communion.



God Bless x


If you'd like to connect with Grangewood please contact us.

Rev Christine Fox: christineamfox@gmail.com


Thank you to all those who have been part of arranging this week's service.

Below you can find this weeks Message. Service sheets can be found here.


Message

Thank you for coming along today to the Covenant service. Someone told me that some people don’t like the Covenant service because it means making promises you can’t keep.

Well, when we say the Covenant prayer we do make what seems like a very big commitment.


But though we do each say the words we are not on our own, but together. Remember the first reading when Moses had everyone stand before him – even then they entered into a Covenant with God for those who were there and those who weren’t there – even if each individual hasn’t said the words, then the act of commitment to God took place for everyone.


We make this commitment together – as however independent we are we can’t do everything on our own – in life in general we depend on so many other people. I think more people have realised that this past two years. As people of faith, as well as seeing our need of other people, we have realised our need of God


So any commitment we make, even together, we now see requires help from God to carry it out.


And as we’ve heard, God has promised to be our God, to forgive, and to provide a means of his law of love being in our hearts and minds, such that we cannot but desire to do God’s good will. Many of you will have known that the most satisfying moments of your life have been when you have found yourself doing God’s will, maybe saying God’s words to someone, or acting in God’s timing, or being there for someone in their need, or maybe simply knowing that God has placed you where you are for his good purpose.


These last few weeks since Christmas we have remembered the long journey of the magi to worship Jesus, and the lengths to which John the Baptist went in living a radical lifestyle and proclaiming a bold message to prepare people to follow Jesus. What lengths are we prepared to go to, in order to respond to the love of God?


This Christmas the Methodist church focussed on the theme ‘God’s table an invitation for all’ – one of the reflections was written by Richard Oppong Boateng who is the young evangelism officer – he and his wife excitedly looking forward to the birth of their first child – thinking of the people they want to invite to meet her when she arrives – Richard wondered at the example of God, who sent angels and a star to invite very different groups of people to come to worship at his Son Jesus’ birth. Shepherds who represent the folk who are often overlooked in society – who couldn’t attend the temple because of their job – and also the wise men – who were from a different nation and religion. God went to great lengths to invite them - an invitation for all to God’s table. Maybe if we think about those who God invited to worship the baby Jesus it will help us to remember to invite the folk in our community who are often overlooked and the folk living near here who are of a different nationality or a different faith, to come to meet Jesus, and in doing so we will be giving ourselves in worship to Jesus too.


Removing the barriers to people meeting Jesus is what church is all about – including and being included with unconditional love. As a church, despite receiving difficult news recently you have demonstrated your love for one another especially those most hurting. And your commitment to being Inclusive church is telling those who are not yet part of this church that they too are invited to come to meet with Jesus.


The Covenant prayer we will be offering to God in a moment gives us the opportunity to stand together in our desire to do God’s perfect will – both for our individual lives and as a church. We know that like the Israelites we often don’t come up to the standards for our lives we set ourselves let alone that God would have us lead.


So how can we hope to say words of commitment to God, offering him every moment of our whole lives as worship, with a clear conscience?


One thing we have that makes the difference for us that the Israelites didn’t have is Jesus, who has taken all our guilt and shame upon himself on the cross – showing that God is more loving and forgiving than we can ever imagine – we just need to hand over the sins and guilt. – baptism in water is a sign of this cleansing that Jesus has done for us –


But best of all, as foretold by John, Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to all who believe in him – the baptism of fire – so powerful that even today we can know he’s still with us; in difficult times giving us strength to do God’s will, writing God’s law of love on our hearts -


Remember the Christmas apple - when cut in half shaped like a heart - As we renew our Covenant with God today, we pray for transformed hearts and minds, and daily lives, becoming ever more like Jesus, not afraid that we won’t be able to keep our side of the commitment but very glad that we have been provided a way for us to remain in God’s love even though we often fail: God’s Holy Spirit - the fire that inspires!

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