Service of Wholeness and Well-Being

Normally, on the last Sunday of the month, we have a quiet reflective service in the afternoon. Although we cannot meet together, Carol (our ALM) has put together some reflections that we might want to use as we start passiontide. She has suggested music that might be useful to listen to.

Lent represents the time Jesus spent alone in the wilderness and is an opportunity to take some time out of our everyday busyness to reflect on the journey to the cross and explore what it means for ourselves and the world.
We are now going to make a journey and take some time to experience some thoughts along the way
It is hoped that the experience will have a sense of having made a journey that has brought us closer to God and deepened our understanding of our inner self.

Jesus’ journey to the cross began when he entered Jerusalem with the crowds lining the roads, waving palms and shouting ‘Hosanna’. They greeted him as a king, expecting him to kick out the Romans A few days later they were shouting ‘Crucify him!’

The crowds are still the same today, one minute loving the famous and the next, hating them. Let us pray for those in the public eye that we see in the headlines.

Your life was a journey from the moment you were born.
From birth to death. From Bethlehem’s stable to Calvary’s cross.
How often we fail to understand, that the conclusion of your journey was inevitable, that you understood this from the very beginning, and yet still walked the path that was yours to take. By comparison the many choices we make
in our life seem trivial, the twists and turns we choose are often taken on impulse, with no clear comprehension of the outcome.
Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you that you loved humankind enough to make that journey, even as you felt the pain of rejection, the pain of the lashes, the pain of the nails, the pain of the cross. Amen

On the night before he died, Jesus asked in anguish if the bitter cup of suffering could be taken away from him, but then added, ‘Not my will but yours be done.’
If you have ever put a drop of vinegar on your finger you can taste the bitterness. Think of the pain Jesus went though. Now think of someone you know who is struggling to make a right decision and take the consequences.

In a world of self-seeking, of self-sufficiency there is often very little space for love
Little time for giving, or receiving,
In the midst of living, the bustle of the shopping centre the noise of office or workspace, the party small-talk there is real loneliness unnoticed by all but you.
Give us discernment, Father to see people as you see them to be your love in this world
to be willing to give sacrificially of time, and self that others might know the depth of your love
In our busy lives, Lord help us to be your love in the world
Thank you, loving Father that you are with us in our joys and our sorrows, the peaks and troughs of our lives, because you understand our human nature. You know our hearts, feel our pain, know our anguish and enfold us with your love that we might know daily your forgiveness and healing. Amen

Suggested Music: The Power of the Cross (Townsend)

The cross was a heavy load for Jesus to carry, so much so, he stumbled under its weight and Simon, a passer-by was forced to carry it for him.
Pick up a stone. Hold it. Feel its weight.
Think about the loads you are carrying. Money worries? Fears? Illness? Family?
Ask God to show you which ones to let go of. Pray about your worries.
Keep your stone in your hand.

Our paths may cross in lonely desert spaces or crowded city places on mountain steep or urban street but our paths will cross and you will offer to lighten our load walk our road ease the pain take the strain Our paths shall cross when you will call and shall we turn can we learn to hear your voice make the choice. Amen

The Cross
A still place
A protected space
A quiet place
A space to think
A Space to be
Time to be
Enfolded by peace.

Imagine sitting beneath the foot of the cross and when you are ready, lay down your stone. Give your burdens to God. We will then move on our journey but now rest in God’s presence, sit at the foot of His cross and be with Him.

Suggested Music: And The Mother did Weep (Jenkins)

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world, has a wondrous attraction for me; for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
or ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true, its shame and reproach gladly bear; then he’ll call me some day to my home far away, where his glory forever I’ll share.
So, I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown. Amen

“Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus spoke these words from the cross after the nails had been driven into his hands and feet.
Sometimes it is very hard to forgive, especially when we still feel the pain, yet Jesus did. Take a nail, touch the sharp end to remind you of the pain of unforgiveness.
Jesus died so that we could forgive and be forgiven. Ask God to give you strength to be able to forgive as he did. Now place your nail beneath the cross as you let the pain go.

Loving Father, all the fancy words in the world, expressed in eloquent prose, decorated with emotion, spoken with conviction, cannot compete with a heartfelt ‘sorry’ when all other words fail. There are times when we are all too aware of our limitations, conscious of sin, and the distance it creates between us. Sometimes ‘sorry’ is all the heart can bear to say aloud. It is only you who can read and understand the language of our hearts, only you who can translate our ‘sorry’ into the prayer we would have prayed, if we had the words within us. Then you forgive, and having forgiven surround us in an embrace of love, drawing us close to your heart, as it was always meant to be. Thank you, Loving Father, that you listen to hearts, as well as voices Thank you. Amen

At sunrise on Sunday, Mary Magdalene and some women returned to the tomb. They found it empty. Inside was an angel. “Do not be afraid”, said the angel, “Jesus is not here. He is risen from the dead. Go and tell his disciples the good news.
Jesus appeared later to his disciples and told them, “I will be with you always to the end of the age.”
Imagine you have stepped in sand barefoot and see the footprint you have left behind.
Remember that Jesus is always with you whatever happens; where your footprints have been, his footprints are there too.

Suggested Music: Footprints (Lewis)

In my journeying with you, may I never lose my sense of direction, never lose sight of the landmark towards which I travel.
And should cloud or rain obscure my vision, may I draw closer to you, so that my feet may tread in your footsteps, your words be my encouragement, and your love my protection against the storms that assail me. It is a wonderful truth that you have already walked the path that we now follow known hardship, temptation and suffering! And with that knowledge deep in our hearts we can follow you in confidence and when difficulties arise listen for your footfall. Amen

What a surprise when they arrived at the tomb. Jesus, who they thought was dead had risen and was alive again.
What a day of joy and celebration when they discovered that he was alive again.
Remember the joy of the disciples when they discovered that Jesus was alive and that the tomb was empty.
Think about the chick that hatches out of a real egg leaving an empty shell behind – new life. Thank God for the new life that we have when we believe in Jesus.

Lord, we would grow with you,
New shoots reaching out,
Hands stretched upward,
Like leaves newly formed,
Soaking up your light and warmth. Lord, we would grow with you
Lord, we would grow with you,
In sunshine and rain,
In darkness and light, In cold days and summer days, From Springtime to Winter.
Lord, we would grow with you
Lord, we would grow with you,
And bring forth fruit,
That is pleasing to you, Fed by your living water, Giving sustenance to others.
Lord, we would grow with you. Amen

Suggested Music: Jesus at the Centre (Houghton and New Breed)

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