Sunday, May 13, 2018

United in our Diversity - standing together - a service at the start of Christian Aid Week

Text for the Week: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served. There are different abilities to perform service, but the same God gives ability to all for their particular service. The Spirit's presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Welcome to our services today and a special welcome to any worshipping with us for the first time.  This morning’s service is a Sunday Special service. That means the children and young people meet from 10-15 for Breakfast and to explore together. They will then join the rest of us for the last part of the service. “The Highbury Church Family is made up of everyone who belongs … and everyone has a part to play, however small that part may seem to be.” It was back at the beginning of the year that we launched Giving for Growth. We invited everyone in the church family to reflect on the way we can give of our time, our talents and our money so that the church here at Highbury may grow to the glory of God. At the end of April we were reminded again of the call to give of our money at our annual Gift Day. Today, our Explore Group invite us to re-visit all we give of our time and of our talents. Our morning service is a celebration of creativity and diversity, of difference within the Body of Christ, around the theme of ‘Diverse Unity’.  We are using material prepared by Lucy Mills for Magnet, a thought provoking magazine a number of the church family subscribe to. If you would like to have a copy please see Judi Marsh. Today also marks the beginning of Christian Aid Week and so we shall be commissioning our collectors. We still need more volunteers to cover the streets around the church – please take a bag of envelopes and sign your name on the list.

Welcome as we Gather Together

Gather us, O God,
As we focus on your gracious presence in our lives;
As we reflect on what it means to be the Body of Christ;
As we open our hearts to receive your Holy Spirit.
All: Gather us, O God.

Fill your hearts with joy and gladness
Sing and praise your God and mine!

Lord, forgive us when we have treated one another badly,
When we have treated members of your precious body as disposable.
Restore us; draw us together in this space
And teach us how to be your Body in every place, for your glory. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Reading: I Corinthians 12:1-11

HTC 246 Spirit of holiness

Reflect – Giving for Growth

Ask people to reflect on what they enjoy, what energises them, what inspires them and what challenges them. How can we encourage each other and inspire others to use their gifdts? Where might we be forcing someone into a mould that isn’t right for them?

Suggest taking time to pray over the coming weeks and to think about how the Holy Spirit has gifted us, where God might be calling us, what we need to pick up or put down. Offer the challenge that we might need to rethink our activities, as individuals and as groups, to use our gifts most effectively and to bless our communities.

Do our patterns of church and service use the gifst we have or are we forcing ourselves into a model that doesn’t reflect our gifting? Perhaps we are spreading ourselves too thinly; on the other hand, maybe we need to broaden our vision.

How can we join with each other, within and across congregations and denominations to embody Christ more fully in our world.

Giving for growth discussion.

Prayer – Beyond Ourselves

Grant us a vision, Lord,
To see what we can achieve
To reach out beyond ourselves
To share our lives with others
To stretch our capabilities
To increase our sense of purpose
To be aware of where we can help
To be sensitive to your Presence
To give heed to your constant call.

Pray for ourselves

Generous God,
We celebrate our differences;
We rejoice in our diversity.
We give thanks for one another’s gifts;
We delight in our unity.
Help us to listen to your Spirit’s leading,
For it is the same Spirit who gives to us all.
May we build each other up,
Encourage one another,
Refuse to pigeon-hole but instead release one another
Into your service and for your glory,
Rejoicing in who we are made to be in Jesus’ name.

HTC 233 Filled with the Spirit’s power

Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26

Together we’re Stronger

Poverty is an outrage against humanity. It robs people of their dignity and lets injustice thrive. But together we have the power to transform lives.

Will you #StandTogether with us this Christian Aid Week (13-19 May 2018) to help families like those of Vilia, Marcelin and Jocelyne live full lives, free from poverty?

Vilia’s story

Christian Aid Commissioning

Loving God, today we join with thousands of others
stepping out in mission for the world’s poorest people.

As Jesus prayed to you before sending out the disciples,
we pray now that our words, actions and deeds will
bring your Kingdom closer.

We pray for the Spirit to fill us with yearning,
and the courage to live out your love for the world –
a love so strong that you gave your only Son.
As Jesus entrusted his disciples with his mission to the world,
we pray that we, who have felt the transforming power of your love, will bear witness to that love far and wide.

God, your people are homeless.
God, send us.
God, your people are hungry.
God, send us.
God, your people are oppressed.
God, send us.
God, your people are ignored.
God, send us.
God, your people are afraid.
God, strengthen us as we go.

We pray that as we reach out
to our sisters and brothers around the world,
justice and hope will flourish in our own community.

Give us, Lord God,
a vision of your Kingdom as your love desires,
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry,
a world where life is shared, and enjoyed by all,
a world where all races, nations and cultures
live in tolerance and respect,
a world where peace is built with justice,
and justice is guided by love.
Give us the inspiration and courage
to build your Kingdom here and now.

Cornerstone – Hy-Spirit

Pray for Others

Everyone joins with the words in bold. Pause between sentences to allow people to bring to mind individual circumstances as they pray. You can adapt or add to the wording if other situations feel relevant at the time.

Loving Lord, when one part of your body suffers
We all suffer

When one part of your body is honoured
We all rejoice

We suffer with those
who have lost someone dear to them.
Who are battling chronic illness
Who have been injured and are recovering in hospital or at home
Who are struggling to find work
            Or a permanent home to live in
Who are worried and anxious about anything
Who are frightened for their lives,
Through violence and war
Terror and persecution

We all suffer

When one part of your body is honoured
We all rejoice.

We rejoice with those
            Who have had or are having a new life arrive in their family
            Who have been encouraged in their workplace this week
            Who have made a new friend
                        Or had healing in a long-term relationship
            Who have made peace where there was strife
            Who have welcomed someone in your name
            Who have found shelter from the cold
                        And a place to call home.

When one part of your body suffers
We all suffer

When one part of your body is honoured
We all rejoice.

Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:27-31a

251 I the Lord of sea and sky

Sharing Together for Sunday Special

Song: Lord, let your love shine through me

Words of Blessing

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