Sunday 3rd October 2021

Worship at Home, 3 October 2021

Invitation to worship – The Lord’s compassions never fail. Great is his faithfulness.

We pray together.

Thank you, Lord for the constancy of our surrounding world: the pattern of day and night, the seasons. It reflects the constancy of your love, for your created world and for us. We thank you for your unchanging love. Whatever changes, we know that we are held in your eternal embrace, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Reading – Our reading this time is Mark 10: 13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.


The older among us will remember some old Sunday School choruses:

‘When mothers of Salem their children brought to Jesus, the stern disciples drove them back and bade them depart, but Jesus…’ Or ‘Jesus died for all the children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight…’

And on the walls of Sunday schools there was often a picture of Jesus surrounded by a huge crowd of children, with him embracing them all.

It would be easy to stay with those rather sentimental images, but that would be to miss the main challenge of this passage: ‘Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it’ (v.15).

Children are very trusting, and we recoil in horror from any adult actions that betray that trust. But how can we ‘enter the kingdom like a little child’, because we as adults have learned, quite rightly, not always to trust? It is a question of faith…

It is our Christian faith that Jesus came to establish, set up, the Kingdom of God on earth: a kingdom of peace and justice, of joy, of human brother- and sisterhood. But so much reality in our newspapers, on television, seems to deny that. But remember that most news is bad news. If it were not bad news, it would not be news! But look more deeply: think of the many, many kind actions that people show to one another day by day. Think of the, not always noticed, actions of compassionate governments.  Think of the many charities. Think of the United Nations agencies.  Think of the churches, think of other religions. Some actions by religious bodies are in denial of their founding reality, as we know only too well of the Christian Church. But that does not deny their real basis. The kingdom of God has grown, despite many faltering steps, and is still growing today, but it is not automatic…

So where do we fit in? Prayer. Every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray ‘your kingdom come’ And we fill that out by our prayers of intercession, in church or privately. And our actions, the charities we support, in our relationships with others, in so many possible ways. And we ought constantly to be asking ourselves, ‘What Kingdom-building activities am I doing today?’ So step into the reality of the kingdom and know the joy it brings. May God, through the Spirit of Jesus, be with you as you do that day by day. Amen.

Our hymn this time is ‘The Kingdom of God is justice and joy’ (StF 255)

The kingdom of God

is justice and joy,

for Jesus restores

what sin would destroy;

God’s power and glory

in Jesus we know,

and here and hereafter

the kingdom shall grow.

The kingdom of God

is mercy and grace,

the prisoners are freed,

the sinners find place,

the outcast are welcomed

God’s banquet to share,

and hope is awakened

in place of despair.

The kingdom of God

is challenge and choice,

believe the good news,

repent and rejoice!

His love for us sinners

brought Christ to his cross,

our crisis of judgement

for gain or for loss.

God’s kingdom is come,

the gift and the goal,

in Jesus begun,

in heaven made whole;

the heirs of the kingdom

shall answer his call,

and all things cry ‘Glory!’

to God all in all.

Prayers of intercession

Lord, thank you for the privilege of being builders of your kingdom in our daily lives. We often fail, but help us this and every day to live more nearly as we pray. And forgive us when we fall short. We know that you do forgive us and we thank you for that.

Through our prayers and in our lives, may your kingdom come

Lord, we think of the troubled places in the world, so many. Raise up people there to rebuild what others have destroyed, and so bring in the peace and joy of your kingdom.

Through our prayers and in our lives, may your kingdom come

Lord, we remember migrants and refugees. We think of Afghans who have fled their country and have arrived on our shores. Guide our government and local authorities as they find somewhere for them to settle. May they find a warm welcome in their local communities.          

Through our prayers and in our lives, may your kingdom come.

Lord, we think of migrants crossing the Channel in flimsy boats. Keep them safe. May they be treated with dignity and compassion.

Through our prayers and in our lives, may your kingdom come.

Lord, we remember the crisis facing the world with climate change, droughts, floods, wild fires, rising temperatures and rising sea levels. We think of the climate summit in Glasgow in November. We pray for governments as they seek solutions and we pray for ourselves. Help us to contribute in our own small way to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Through our prayers and in our lives, may your kingdom come.

Lord, we think of our church community, and those we know personally, who need our prayers… [a pause for us to name them]… Bless them, Lord. May they know your presence and peace.

Lord, we know that you hear our prayers and will answer them according to your perfect will. Amen.

A blessing

Be a bright flame before us.

Be a guiding star above us.

Be a smooth path beneath us.

Be a kindly shepherd behind us,

now and always. Amen                                                                                          Revd Tony Coates

About the Author