Sunday 26th July
Slide: Rev David Parry
Hello, S’mae, hope you’re well.
Eryl Parry is our preacher today, Diane Kaiser provides the reading and the prayers have been written by Peter and Helen Tattersall. It’s their Golden Wedding this weekend so congratulations to Peter and Helen.
I suppose I’ll never know how many thousands of times I’ve said, “Welcome” at the front of a church building, at the door of a vicarage and of course more recently online. And I’ll always pray that I’ll really mean that word because it’s a bit glib isn’t it, like saying “Have a nice day.” Am I really open to welcome the people who are coming through that door, into that building, into our lives?
Well I hope I am but even if I’m not, what’s more important is that Jesus is always ready to welcome. Listen to his words from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 11:
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
So whatever your situation or the situation of the people on your hearts today, Croeso cynnes i bawb, a warm welcome to everyone.
Song: Take heart
Slide: Romans 8: 26-30
Bible Reading: Diane Kaiser
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.
Slide: Rev Eryl Parry
Eryl video 1
In those verses St. Paul’s talks to us about life lived in the Spirit of God, but that’s a lot to get our heads around so let’s go back to first principles if I may.
Do we believe there is a God? I might assume that everyone watching this video does believe that, but it may be you’re watching this wondering, “Can I believe in God, and if I do believe in God, then what is it that he wants of us?”
Now, there’s nothing quite like a good metaphor and I think that I might have one in our garage. So bear with me. I’ll be right back!
Eryl video 2
So here it is – our metaphor for today. A simple piece of engineering, based on physics. No fossil fuel required. The bicycle exploits our raw power – the power of our muscles, kinetic energy, to move it forward. Going uphill is hard work. You’ve got to pedal harder as you’re working against the forces of gravity and of course if we stop moving and keep our feet still in the pedalling position, we fall off, because it’s balance and momentum that keeps us moving forward. But what’s that got to do with our passage this morning?
Eryl video 3
Imagine for a moment that we’re exhausted. In fact, that may not take much imagination! But that our bike has stopped. That our pedal power is spent, and our bike is about to topple over. That is what St. Paul is talking about, that when we become aware of our weakness, we come into God’s presence that is the time when we become aware that deep in our hearts the Holy Spirit is at work constantly praying on our behalf.
Now let’s go back for a moment to that original question. If we believe in God and we have accepted him somewhere very, very deep in our hearts then what is it that he wants us to do? Well, here is the answer. In this passage, St. Paul talks about God wanting us to be conformed into the likeness of his Son. Now, that seems to be an incredible ask to me, an incredible demand – but no, no! It isn’t the more work that we put into those muscles to get to the top of the hill, that’s going to do that for us. In fact, it’s the more that we simply come into God’s presence and live a life aware of his Spirit at work in us. St. Paul says that searches the depths of our hearts and there he finds himself. Let us listen once again to the words of that first verse that we heard this morning:
Image of cartoon
Broken one, take heart, for your king has entered in.
Made your heart his home, when he washed away your sin.
In the darkest day, know your shame is all gone.
When he looks at you, God will see his Son.
Eryl video 4 as audio behind bike and scooter image
So let us pray.
Thank you loving Father, for your constant love for us and our union with you through the saving work of your Son on the cross, and the life we can now lead in the power of your Spirit at work deep in our hearts. Take from us the stress of pedalling hard through life. Help us to become more aware of your power, that in our weakness, you do the work of pedalling for us. So we may travel forward, not in our own strength but yours, in ways that people can see your likeness in all we do and say. Amen.
Prayers video: Helen and Peter Tattersall
Knowing we are accepted and loved by the God who made us, let us pray together:
Heavenly Father, on this new day we thank you for your promise to hear our prayers, even those for which we cannot always find the words. As a new week begins with the inevitable storms and stillness, we ask you to sharpen for us all that is beautiful, hopeful, precious and eternal.
We pray through your Spirit for our leaders in Government, our advisors in politics, health and education. We bring before you the neighbourhood in which you have placed each one of us with the visible activity and all the hidden problems COVID has produced. Within all situations that spring to our minds we ask that your values of truth, integrity and fairness reign.
We pray through your Spirit for every part of our world torn apart by brutality, hardened hearts and a lack of love. Within the particular places we hold in our minds before you now, breathe your patience, kindness and gentleness and may the light of your presence shine through the suffocating darkness of each situation.
We pray for your Church family on Earth, for those persecuted for their faith, for Christians whose faith is dwindling and for people who find it difficult to put their trust in You. Strengthen and enliven all who minister and serve You. May your breath of life bring to life seeds of truth that lie in questioning and fearful hearts.
We pray for our families and friends. Comfort those whose lives are overshadowed by pain whether it be physical, mental or spiritual, to those whose lives are confused by dementia, dominated by stress and saddened by disappointment and devastated by the raw grief of losing someone beloved.
Image 5: Gwydir forest with sun through the trees
So as we approach this new week keep us mindful of the delights of ordinary things that make us smile and lift our hearts and we pray we may increasingly notice your presence in the darkest of places, savour your care for us and rest in your peace. Amen.
David’s outro video
Our service today concludes with a setting of the Lord’s Prayer by Cass Meurig. I do hope you can join us later for Zoom coffee but before all of that, a blessing:
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
Emu Music, © 2019 Liv Chapman and Michael Morrow, CCLI Song No: 7145086
Gweddi’r Arglwydd – The Lord’s Prayer
© 2020 Cass Meurig
Tôn – tune: Yr Eos a’r Glân Hedydd
Final slide: Church in Wales, caruconwy.com website and logo