Sunday 22nd March 2020

Reading Deuteronomy 1:29-31

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.

The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness.

There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place (the Promised Land).


It is no wonder that throughout history people of faith going through times of worry and fear have turned to the imagery of the people of God’s journey through the wilderness with its final destination, the arrival in the Promised Land. A journey during which they slowly learnt to trust God, even for their daily needs (no hording of pasta at the expense of others but just enough manna for each day).

The African American spirituals that my mother sang to me when I was a small boy, lying at her feet under the piano as she played and sang, drew the parallel between the journey by the people of God from slavery, through the wilderness to freedom and new life in the Promised Land. They were such powerful songs because they expressed both the pain and fear of the lives they were living but with the glorious hope of the final arrival at journey’s end.

These are horrible times and it is especially painful for so many on this Mothering Sunday to be apart and I am so sorry that we are unable to be together for worship or even able to visit one another. But we can still pray together and God is with each one of us, God is with us all, as we go through this part of our journey. As we journey let us pray for ourselves, our families, our neighbours, our world that, through Christ, all will be well.

As we pray today let’s give thanks for those who have been mothers to us. As a church family we give enormous thanks for the extraordinary life, ministering and mothering of Sylvia Jones. Sylvia who through sheer strength of character and determination, as well as inspirational faith, did so much and leaves such a huge hole but who, when she was finally set free from the pains and trials of this life, most definitely reached the promised land of eternal life, held in the Father’s love forever. Thank you, Lord, for such love. Amen.


As we come to you in stillness Lord calm our hearts…
help us to clear the thoughts running through our minds…
help us just to focus on this moment,
and on your presence with each one of us, here and now.

Lord, thank you that you are with us…
Thank you that you love us…
Thank you that in this moment’s stillness and beyond
you offer us through your presence your gentle peace…

Gentle, loving Lord,
we give you thanks for the life given and the love shared
by those who have been mothers to us.

We give you thanks for the mothering love of the church family.
For the unjudging acceptance of who we are.
For undemanding love that reaches out in love to us
wanting nothing in return.

Such love.

And Lord, in the stillness of this time and place,
we come to you with our prayers for all your children in this world,
wherever they are, whether they have a faith or whatever that faith may be,
whatever their ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, sexuality, whatever …
we come with our prayers for each and every one of your children,
especially at this time.

We pray too for those known to us
going through difficult times,
those with health problems,
those who are fearful for themselves or others.
And Lord, we pray for Sylvia’s family and all those who have lost loved ones.
May they know your gentle presence enfolding them in your love.

Finally, Lord, we pray for all that is happening with the pandemic throughout the world.
We pray for the leaders of the world having to make such difficult decisions.
We pray for all those involved in providing care
and we thank you for the NHS and all who work in it,
Lord, be with them all and give them the strength they need at such a difficult time.
We pray and give thanks for all those key workers
providing the food and the services we need at this time.
Lord, in the stillness, may we know your presence,
and may we know your presence throughout the coming week.
Lord, thank you for such love.

Hymn StF 639 – Through the love of God our Saviour

                   Set to the traditional Welsh melody “Ar hyd y nos”

                   and chosen in grateful memory of Sylvia Jones.

Through the love of God our Saviour,
all will be well.
Free and changeless is his favour,
all, all is well.
Precious is the blood that healed us,
perfect is the grace that sealed us,
strong the hand stretched forth to shield us,
all must be well.

Though we pass through tribulation,
all will be well.
Ours is such a full salvation,
all, all is well.
Happy, still in God confiding,
fruitful, if in Christ abiding,
holy, through the Spirit’s guiding,
all must be well.

We expect a bright tomorrow,
all will be well.
Faith can sing through days of sorrow,
‘All, all is well.’
On our Father’s love relying,
Jesus every need supplying,
in our living, in our dying,
all must be well.

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