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Leytonstone United Free Church Sunday 14th March 2021

Welcome

Mothering Sunday

Janosch leads us today as we celebrate three things at the same time. First, It’s the fourth Sunday of lent, a time where we are preparing for the big holiday that Christianity is all about: no it’s not Christmas. It’s Easter.

At Easter we commemorate how Jesus died to blot out our sins - and rose from the dead to give us eternal life. And while that’s no mean feat, we still manage to forget about that once in a while. So it’s good to take some time and live towards that celebration.

Today is Laetare or Refreshment Sunday, marking that we’re halfway through the lent season. Traditionally, the first hymn of Laetare would start with “Rejoice, O Jerusalem”. So rejoicing in the LORD and what he has done for us is going to be a major theme today.

And if you gave up something for lent, maybe you’ll be rejoicing just for knowing that you’re halfway through now!

Besides being the fourth Sunday of lent, it’s also Mothering Sunday today. Mothering Sunday is a medieval tradition where people would go back to their ‘mother church,’ where they were born, grew up or where baptised. With the pandemic no-one will be travelling much today, so I am very happy all of you chose to join us today.

And last but not least, we are also celebrating Mother’s Day today. While I’m sure that you’ll agree that it should probably be Mother’s Day 365 days a year to pay tribute to how awesome they are, it’s good to have a day like this to put mothers in the spotlight - and maybe reflect on how we treat mothers and carers on the days that aren’t marked as Mother’s Day.

Calling out on all mothers, did you get the Mother’s Day treatment today? Maybe some soggy toast and luke-warm tea in bed? Let us know!

Call To Worship

Today is a day of thanks, love and celebration,

We gather together in prayer, word and song.

Today may be a difficult day for some, please hold them in your prayers

And help them feel loved and cared for.

Lord, We thank you for mothers and carers everywhere,

And for the special love they have for their children.

We thank you Jesus for your special care and comfort,

And the perfect love you have for us all.

Help us all to show your love to those who care for us,

And to the people we meet in our lives.

Amen.

Song

All Creatures Of Our God And King

All creatures of our God and King Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia!

Bible Reading

Ephesians 2: 4-10

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Prayer

Loving Father I am astonished at the abounding and overflowing riches of your amazing grace, which I so often take for granted.

Thank You that I will be one of the myriad of voices that will be singing Your praises and standing as a witness to Your amazing grace and unconditional love.

Me, a sinner, saved by grace.

Thank You in Jesus' name

Amen

Song

How Great Thou Art

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Prayers

Intercessions

Take a moment to bring to God the concerns of those people and situations that are in our thoughts that are especially in need of prayer right now: Those close to us, our community, our nation, our world and our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We thank you for all mothers and carers around the world, and for all they do for their children.

We thank you for their patience when we don’t get things right.

We thank you for their encouragement when we find life hard.

We pray that mums would feel really special today and that you would remind us every day to show them as much love and help as they give to us.

Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

On earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespassed against us.

Lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

Forever and ever.

Amen.

Bible Reading

Psalm 107: 1-3 & 21-22

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;

His love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story

Those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,

Those he gathered from the lands,

From east and west, from north and south.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

And his wonderful deeds for mankind.

Let them sacrifice thank offerings

And tell of his works with songs of joy.

Reflection

Let The Redeemed Of The LORD Say So

The apostle Paul, who wrote the letter to the Ephesians we read earlier, time and time again reminds us that God gave us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life not because we deserve it - but purely because of his infinite love. Only out of grace.

God didn’t come up with a plan to redeem us from sin and death after he saw us struggling - that plan has always been there. His mercy for us existed long before we did. It is part of what he is, what makes him who he is. The covenant of grace was made before anything existed, it is as timeless as God himself.

In Psalm 107, the writer starts with a call to worship tied to a similar message:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

The 18th century author William Romaine, an evangelical divine of the Church of England, commented on this verse that the word endures is added in translation. The original text doesn’t have a verb at all - and neither does it need one, because there was no time when his love wasn’t there yet - and there won’t be a time that his love stops.

His love forever.

Always.

And because we can always rely on God’s love, we know that we can always come to him - whatever we are struggling with, and however far away we feel like we have gotten from him.

And we know that God will have mercy, that he will forgive and drench us in forever love.

What a reason to be grateful. What a reason to be cheerful. What a reason to sing out in praise: “Let us give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let us sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy” for all the world to hear.

Let us rejoice in God’s love.

His love forever.

Prayer

Loving Father,

we thank You and praise Your name for You are a good and faithful God –

and Your steadfast love endures forever.

Amen.

Song

Forever

Give thanks to the Lord Our God and King, His love endures forever.

Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices Who wondrous things has done.

Mother's Day Reflection

Mother’s Day is a special day.

Each year we pause to think about our mothers and those who have shaped our lives. We give thanks to God and share memories as we think about our mothers who have gone before us.

We give thanks to God and reach out in love to our mothers who are in our lives today. We give thanks to God and celebrate those, who like mothers, have shaped us.

We give thanks to God and celebrate those who are mothers, or like mothers, to the ones we love.

Prayer

God with a mother’s heart,

you gather us as your children.

You comfort and hold us in your warm embrace.

When we hurt your arms enfold us.

When we are afraid your wings protect us.

When we are hungry you feed us with the bread of life.

God with a mother’s heart,

your love surrounds and supports us,

in good times and tough,

in the midst of joy and pain,

always and everywhere.

You will never leave nor abandon us.

God eternal and loving one,

God with a mother’s heart,

we thank you this day

for being part of your family.

Amen.

The Grace

May the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Love of God,

and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

be with us all

forever more.

Amen.

Let us go and Serve the lord

Credits:

Created with images by congerdesign - "breakfast breakfast in bed muesli" • JillWellington - "daffodils spring easter" • Hucklebarry - "bible scripture book" • jaefrench - "bible worship christian" • Himsan - "prayer hands church" • webandi - "candle light candlelight" • AgnieszkaMonk - "book bible text" • geralt - "cross sunset sunrise" • Kranich17 - "cloud heart love" • BarbaraJackson - "sunset girl worship" • 5540867 - "girl mother daughter" • pixel2013 - "bag gypsofilia seeds gypsophila bag"