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SERVICE AT HOME FOR SUNDAY 24TH OCTOBER 2021 prepared by A Methodist Local Preacher

Call to Worship (Psalm 34)


1 I will extol the Lord at all times;     His praise will always be on my lips.
2 I will glory in the Lord;     let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the Lord with me;     let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me;     he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;     their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;     he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,     and he delivers them.
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;     blessed is the one who takes refuge in him

Hymn StF 56:King of glory, King of peace, I will love Thee;

Prayer of Adoration
Lord, it is in Your presence that we find the inspiration to praise You and it is Your touch upon our lives that brings us great joy. From the very depths of our being comes the song of our worship and our praises shout aloud of Your goodness and Your glory.
We praise you for those whose lives speak of hope and offer thanksgiving for those who spoke to us of Your love. Our hearts are thrilled each day by Your touch upon tour lives and the opportunities to make Your love and your presence known.
We praise you for the truths we can learn from Your Word in the Bible and for those parables of life and faith that constantly surround us. Our minds are overwhelmed by Your goodness, by Your grace and by Your presence, which enriches our days and floods us with hope.
We pray that the whole of our lives will become a song of praise for Your love and that every day will be filled with signs of our gratitude for Your grace.
Come, Lord, in the busyness of life.
Come Lord, in the stillness of peace.
Come, Lord, and daily claim us as your own.
Come, Lord, and live in our hearts,
that our whole being may declare Jesus is Lord.
        
Prayer of Confession
We come before You, Father, with heavy hearts and shameful minds. We know that we do not deserve Your love, Your care. We are far from worthy of being called by the Name of Christ, of being called followers of Jesus.
For we have erred in so many ways. We have not read Your Word day by day. We have ignored Your prophets and teachers. Our worship has not been wholehearted. Our love for You and for Your children has been shallow.
We have hurt You, hurt our families, our friends and many that we know not by our words, our actions and even in our thinking. Now, as we pray we bring to You all in our lives that is hurtful, that is damaging, that is wrong………………..
………………Loving and Merciful God, we bring all these things to You. We bring them asking that You will lift these ways, these words, these thoughts from us. That You will cleanse us and speak to us the words of grace, “your sins are forgiven’. Let us live our lives wholly as You would have us live. Let Jesus be our Example, our Teacher and our King. May we come to You at last pure and spotless, cleansed by the Lamb with praise on our lips and love in our hearts.

Prayer of Thanksgiving
We thank You, Loving Father, for the wonders that surround us here on this earth, this world of Your Creation. There is so much that we take for granted that we should be thankful for. We are thankful for our daily food and drink, our homes and the warmth and comfort we find there. We thank you for our families, for husbands and wives, for mothers and fathers, for sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. We thank you for our extended family, for those so distantly related they are but a name to us but known and deeply loved by You.
We thank You for Your Church here on earth. We thank You that we can come together in peace to worship, to pray and to learn. We thank You for those You have called into leadership, as ministers, as tutors, class leaders and teachers.
Our deepest thanks we give for the gift above all gifts, The gift of Jesus, Your Son, Who lived the life we live, was obedient to You and took upon Himself the sin of all your people on the Cross at Calvary.
We thank You that You raised Jesus from the grave on the third day to a new life. A life we, too, are called to live – a life for Christ and with Christ.
Loving God, accept these our prayers, our work and our worship in the Name of Jesus, our Lord, our Rock, our Saviour. AMEN

Readings
Job 42: 1 – 6, 16 – 17
1 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.”
16 After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

Hebrews 7: 23 – 28
 23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
26 Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

Mark 10: 46 – 52
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Sermon
Text: “…..I want to see” Mark 10: 51c


When I was young I took sight for granted. Perhaps many of us still do. I did until I had an eye test and the ophthalmologist announced, “well you’ve done very well so far but now you need reading glasses”.
So, when I started to wear glasses I experienced all the comments – “Hello, four eyes!”. “What are those things stuck on your face?” was a common remark from work colleagues when I first began to wear glasses.
Truth was, now I could see clearly. I no longer needed to hold documents at arm’s length or squint to try to read the words.
Of course, my sight has not improved and this year I began to wear glasses full time. And what a difference!
I can see clearly once more. No longer is small print something to be worked out or guessed at. No longer are things on the horizon a blur. All is clear and sharp.
I can only wonder at the experience of the person who has a cataract removed from their eye – to have full sight restored. What wonder sight is.
Through our eyes we can drink in so much beauty. The beauty of creation with the changing seasons, the rolling hills, the stream filled valleys. The birds of the air, the animals of the land.
We use our eyes to communicate with one another, we read the Word of God.
Through our physical eyes we feed information to our brains. Information that has shape, depth and colour.
Yet, we have other eyes that, in many, are rarely given the opportunity to be exercised – our spiritual eyes.
These are the eyes that feed our faith. These are the eyes that enable us to see Jesus. These are the eyes through which we see as Jesus sees. These are the eyes that feed our spirits and our hearts with information.
In that feeding we are led to care. That care leads to giving which leads to sharing. These things then lead to work for The Gospel and action for the Gospel; action that shows the love of Christ to all we meet.
The reading from Job is an inspiration. Let us put ourselves in Job’s place. He lost everything, was afflicted with illnesses. His friends deserted him. Even his wife told him to ‘curse God and die’. For that would be the end.
Job knew differently. He believed that God is all seeing, is in control and all will be well. The story of Job, the story of good overcoming evil, the story of a faithful God and a faithful servant, a servant filled with love and trust, ends with that trust and faith being rewarded.
Job said, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know”.
We, too, can speak of things that we have little understanding of, things beyond our imaginations. This we can only do as we see as God sees – with spiritual eyes.
Today, much may be a mystery to us. When we come to our home with Christ in Heaven then shall all be made clear, then shall we understand that which is too wonderful to understand this side of the veil.
We live in an age where ‘social media’ is full of advice. People with no training, little or no knowledge off with no experience of, give advice on many situations, illnesses and much more. False information, false advice abounds.
This leads others to act in ways that are contrary to the way of Truth. These ‘advisors’ have hardly used their physical eyes, let alone their spiritual eyes. They are content with being hollow and foolish – and, worst of all, others follow them.
The writer of the letter to the Hebrews writes of Jesus being a High Priest. A priest who sacrificed the final, all atoning, sacrifice of Himself on the cross. Here He took all the sin of humanity and gives us the opportunity to come to God. We cannot see Jesus with our physical eyes, we can only know Him through exercising our spiritual eyes and, thereby, strengthening our faith in Him.
Sadhu Sundar Singh, when a young man, was thoroughly anti-Christian. His mother was a Hindu and his father a Sikh. He was educated in a British School in India. At the age of fourteen he led revolts against Christianity – even publicly burning copies of the Holy Bible.
In his late teen years he was confused, spiritually and emotionally unstable. He resolved one night that he would pray to whatever deity would hear him and, if no answer came by dawn he would commit suicide on the railway line.
He sat in his room, it was pitch black, and waited. A light appeared under the door and came into the room.
Sundar had expected some avatar of the Hindu religion to answer his prayer and he asked the light, “Who are you, lord”. A voice came from the light, “I am Jesus, Whom you persecute”. Then the light disappeared and Sundar’s confusion, depression and whatever else afflicted him, was lifted. At that moment he became an ardent disciple of Christ.
Sundar became a mystic, travelling through India and preaching Christ Crucified to all people. He wrote a book, “In The Master’s Footsteps”, which I commend to you.
The coming to faith of Sundar was a miracle brought about by Jesus opening the spiritual eyes of one who had closed them tightly. In so doing the sufferer experienced torment and anguish. When He found Christ, when the eyes where opened, then he found peace and surety.
Bartimaeus was physically blind but he knew Who Jesus was. Bartimaeus knew that the only one that could restore his sight was Jesus. He would have heard of the miracles Jesus had performed. Yet this may have been hearsay or stories embellished to give more importance to Jesus.
Bartimaeus was only physically blind. Spiritually he could see. He knew who Jesus was. He knew that Jesus could heal him. Bartimaeus had faith.
The blind man cries out, “Son of David, have mercy on me”. Jesus asks what Bartimaeus wants Jesus to do for him and the blind man replies, “Rabbi, I want to see”.
Jesus does nothing except to say, “Go, your faith has healed you” and Bartimaeus’ sight is restored,
Last Sunday I met a lady who told me that she had had cataracts removed from her eyes followed by laser treatment. When asked if all went well, she replied, “yes, I can see clearly now”.
We may ask of ourselves, “are my spiritual eyes open?”, “is my faith strong and unswerving?”, “are my spiritual eyes afflicted by cataracts which only Christ can remove?”.
Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
So it shall be. When the spiritual eyes of all who would claim Christ as Lord and Saviour are opened so that they can see clearly all that God, through Jesus, is calling us to do. Then, when our spiritual eyes look to Jesus, so shall the spiritual eyes of His Church focus upon Him and the work He calls us to.
Our faith is in our Risen Saviour. We live and work for Christ, with Christ, in Christ.
Oh Lord, we want to see. AMEN

HYMN StF 456: And are we yet alive And see each other’s face?

Prayers of Intercession
Father, we bring to you those, like blind Bartimaeus, who cry out for healing; for those who long for the healing of their fears and for those who find life a frightening experience; for those who are always afraid that something might go wrong and for those who find it hard to cope with the uncertainties of life.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we bring to you those who will cry out for healing; for those who long for healing of their sickness and For those sick in body, mind or in spirit so he could on for those whose illness is ruining their lives and for those for whom it is numbering their days.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we bring to you those who long for the healing of their loneliness and for those who fondly remember a home full of laughter; for those who have no one with whom to share their joys and for those who have memories and no one to share them with.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we pray for those who suffer with anxieties and for those who find it almost impossible to journey out on their own; for those whose days are crippled with a sense of uncertainty and for those who feel guilty about their anxiety, when they are not to blame.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we pray for those who long for the healing of their sadness and for those who are carrying the pain of bereavement; for those who shed tears deep inside that no one sees and for those who cry out for the one who no longer knows who they are.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father we pray for those who are encumbered with doubt and despair and for those who are losing hope of ever being free; for those whose journey has been marked by depression and for those whose days are all grey and yet they yearn for rich colour.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we bring to You those who long for the healing of their faith and for those who once made a commitment that was real; for those who have allowed other activities to steal in unseen and for those who would come home if someone would invite them.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father, we pray for those known to us who are longing for peace and for those who seek wholeness in place of their confusion; we pray for ourselves and the healings of friendship, hope, and love and for an ever deeper walk with Jesus the Lord of our lives.
In the Name of Jesus the healer, come and make them whole.
Father we bring these our prayers, all our work and our witness in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ ,Who taught us when we pray to say:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name,
Your Kingdom come,
Your will be done,
    on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one
For the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory are Yours
now and forever. Amen

Hymn StF 566: Take my life and let it be

Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, teacher and healer,
you heard the cry of the blind beggar
when others would have silenced him.
Teach us to be attentive
to the voices others ignore,
that we might respond 
through the power of the Spirit
to heal the afflicted 
and to welcome the abandoned
for your sake and the sake of the Gospel. Amen

Blessing:
May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with us, with those we love and pray for and those we should love and pray for, this day and forever.
Amen

Let us go in peace to love and serve our Lord.
In the Name of Christ Amen