This is do it yourself reflection/prayer/praise. There will also be online services as many of you found suitable last lockdown. I have attached a separate list of some I found with a simple web search. What about sharing any resources you find helpful? – Johanna
Sunday 22nd August
APPROACH TO WORSHIP
Ephesians begins with praise for God, who is reconciling us
, redeeming us through Jesus. Then we readers are urged to recognise that this
free gift of God bring us into a unity with one another that is precious and to
be celebrated and nurtured. So then you are citizens with the saints and also
members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the
whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the
Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place
for God. Eph 2:19-22
Take a moment to think.
What assures you that God loves you?
What are the signs you could name that indicate you are part of a redeemed community filled with all the fullness of God ( Eph 3:19)
In this passage we are urged to live according to this utter grace. To live wisely, thankful and connected with God through the Holy Spirit. We are encouraged to actively seek God and God’s grace, even in difficult times. Not to hide from reality, from problems, in wine or chocolate or whatever else we might find that drowns pain and anxiety or replaces difficulty with short-lasting joy or forgetfulness.
One of the first ways we enter into God’s grace and keep shaping our lives by God’s character and Jesus love for us is by gathering to worship and praise God. In worship, in prayer and praise we enter into God’s reality, into the strength and abundance promised in our faith.
You will be missing worship, missing the people you gather
with, missing that atmosphere of shared commitment. Take a moment to sit
quietly and think yourself into the last time you gathered together with your
fellow worshippers to praise God. Acknowledge the good feeling. Take notice of
what happens in your body and in your mind and heart.
God’s Spirit is at work in you and in us. Now or later today pray for the people you usually worship with, that they may be uplifted in God’s heart as you are.
What are the hymns you would choose to express your sense of being connected with God? What hymns express your faith, your understanding of who Jesus is and what he has done and is doing?
Hymn writers put into poetry and music experiences of God’s grace, the story of Jesus and words of praise and thanks. The passage goes on to encourage us to give thanks. Thankfulness expressed aloud will often lift our spirits and help us see the world slightly differently. Thankfulness helps us step back from the ever-present temptation to be Lords of Creation ourselves and become subject to, obedient to, God our creator.
Finally the passage says: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Jesus came bringing God’s grace to anyone and everyone who needed it and would receive it. Jesus attitude to others was humble and loving. In reverence to him we learn from him, we adopt as much as we can his attitudes, his values, his character.
So as a people belonging to Jesus (Christians) we gently care for one another. We take care to notice others, and help them be at ease in the community of the saints.
Paul’s prayer is that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. (Eph 1:17-19) My prayer is that as community we too may know Christ and this glorious inheritance in this way. That the eyes of our heart will be enlightened to be able to help one another have confidence in Jesus and confidence that we belong in the holy community of Plains, of God’s people, of Jesus’ redeemed brothers and sisters.
If you have cds or a hymn book you may like to read, listen to or sing one of your favourite uplifting hymns. If you have not got the words and want them try asking a friend or Johanna if she can send them.
If you have access to the internet you may like to watch listen sing along with: All Creatures of our God and King at this link:
(And of course you will find other good things near it)
Online places you may find worship, prayer or a sermon to feed you and help you feel linked to christian community.
• http://www.cashmerechurch.org.nz/worship.html have shortened services online
• https://liturgy.co.nz/chapel This site is called Spiritual Practices for a digital world
Here is what the Anglican Bishop of Christchurch the Right Reverend Dr Peter Carrell offers:
While I expect many such services across the Diocese will be available to attend online, here I simply mention the following so that every reader has at least one morning and one evening opportunity if more local opportunities for corporate worship are not advertised to you: there will be a morning livestream service at 10 am, led by the Dean, Lawrence Kimberley,
https://www.cardboardcathedral.org.nz/pages/this-sunday and in the evening, there will be Night Prayer by Zoom at 8 pm from St Barnabas’ Fendalton, https://zoom.us/j/959998327
Staying Anglican St Mathews in Auckland offers online archived services here: https://www.stmatthews.nz/
And here is a link to Bible Society posters of God’s Promises https://manna.nz/bible-promises/?bbeml=tpfFkpyREp_0aVcKqsDwmxeA.jiy1dzfeFckyyKXEkwxWq8w.rxf2aOislKU6YEJ8GyOHHYA.lXGHResB_JUKOJPr3OnrOIg
Some advice from the Bible Society on where you might find biblical comfort: When you are lonely and fearful, read Psalm 23
When you worry, read Matthew 6:19-34
When God seems far away, read Psalm 139
When you are in danger, read Psalm 91
What passage would you offer yourself or others for comfort andstrength at this time?
Sent by Rev. Johanna Warren. Thank you for keeping us connected when we cannot gather in person.