The Sunday Service in Hagley

The Parishes of Clent and Hagley

 

Worship for 17 January – Epiphany 2

 

 

 

We will be using this service together on Zoom at 10.30 am.

 

 

 

 

A call to worship and Opening Prayers

 

 

We have come together in the presence of God.
Let us put aside our concerns and distractions.

Let us open our hearts,
so that we may receive God’s love
and allow ourselves to be transformed.
 

We are named and called by God.

Let us respond to God’s call.
We gather in God’s name

and we meet in God’s presence -
God with us,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Amen.

 

Living God, we gather this morning as Jesus’ disciples.
Open our hearts to hear your word afresh -
and take away our preconceptions,
that we may be surprised by you,
humbled by you
and faithful to you,

like Philip and Nathanael.
Amen.

 

 

Hymn                     In Christ alone         

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENtL_li4GbE

 

In Christ alone my hope is found,
he is my light, my strength, my song;
this cornerstone, this solid ground
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

 

In Christ alone! - who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones he came to save:
till on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied
for every sin on him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.

 

There in the ground his body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain:
then bursting forth in glorious day
up from the grave He rose again!
And as he stands in victory
sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
for I am his and he is mine -  
bought with the precious blood of Christ

 

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me;
from life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
can ever pluck me from his hand;
till He returns or calls me home,
here in the power of Christ I'll stand!

 

 

Prayers of thanksgiving                                                    

 

We thank you, O God,

for the times when we are very aware your presence,

when we sense you speaking to us,

or see new insights.
Help us, once again, to make space for you,

to be able to hear you and to recognise your presence with us.

Help us also not to get in the way of others finding you:
for Jesus’ sake.

Amen.

 

Loving God,
we give thanks that you see each one of us as special
and call us to be your disciples.
Grant us the generosity of Philip,
the integrity of Nathanael,
and the humility of your Son,
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Amen.

 

 

Asking for God’s forgiveness

 

Loving God,

we ask you to speak to us,

as Jesus spoke to Philip and Nathaniel.

Show us anything for which we need
to say sorry – and change our ways.
 

And so we come before you now in penitence.

 

For times we’re been so busy talking and doing

we fail to hear you:

Father, forgive us.

 

For times we have not said “Come and see”, like Philip:

Father, forgive us.

 

For times we judge others quickly and wrongly, like Nathaniel:

Father, forgive us.

 

For times we follow you slowly and reluctantly:

Father, forgive us.

 

Generous God,

forgive us, inspire us,
and fill us with generosity of heart and spirit.
Amen.

 

 

A Collect

 

Eternal Lord,
our beginning and our end:
bring us with the whole creation
to your glory, hidden through past ages
and made known
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

An Old Testament Reading       1 Samuel 3.1-10

 

Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD under Eli. The word of the LORD was rare in those days; visions were not widespread.

 

At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his room; the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ and he said, ‘Here I am!’ and ran to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call; lie down again.’ So he went and lay down. The LORD called again, ‘Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ But he said, ‘I did not call, my son; lie down again.’ Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, and the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel again, a third time. And he got up and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you called me.’ Then Eli perceived that the LORD was calling the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

 

Now the LORD came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’

 

 

 

Hymn                     There is a Redeemer

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61CJdXmxxLU

 

 

There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God's own Son,
precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One.

 

Thank you, O my Father,
for giving us your Son,
and leaving your Spirit
till the work on earth is done.

 

Jesus, my Redeemer,
name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
O for sinners slain.

 

When I stand in glory,
I will see his face,
and there I'll serve my King for ever
in that holy place.

 

 

 

A Gospel Reading            John 1.43-51

 

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’

 

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’

 

 

 

 

 

A Reflection on the calling of Philip and Nathaniel

 

Despite not having Sunday themes any more, God’s calling us is very much the theme of our readings today’s – both from John’s Gospel and also from 1 Samuel. 

 

The Gospel story tells us about Philip and Nathaniel.  Nathaniel is fairly sceptical about Jesus when Philip first tells him about him.  “Can anything good some out of Nazareth?”, he says.  But his mind isn’t completely shut.  He’s prepared to go with Philip and meet him, and when he meets Jesus, the experience is such that it changes his life and he becomes a disciple. 

 

In Jewish literature, the fig tree is symbolically the place when people study the Torah – the first five books of the Bible, the Jewish law.  So it would seem that Nathaniel is someone who studies faith and is open to discovering new things.  When he meets Jesus, whatever his previous understanding of things are, he sees everything in a new light, and commits himself to follow him.

 

This a story that’s relevant for us – because God has called each of us to follow the way of Jesus.  Our task is to recognise that call, and to respond to it - to leave behind any cynicism, and be open-minded to seeing everything in a new light.  Our task is to make a commitment and to change the way we live – and to do so again and again.   

 

Today’s readings also tell us that we don’t just have obligations in relation to ourselves, but that we have responsibilities for each other, as well. 

 

In I Samuel, it’s Eli – who’s old and who’s “eyes are dim”, as the text puts it – who helps the young boy Samuel respond to God.  Samuel can hear God’s voice, but he’s completely confused about who it is who’s speaking to him and what he should do.  Eli has to help him and guide him.

 

In the Gospel reading, Nathaniel only comes to faith because of Philip. It’s Philip who tells him about Jesus, and leads him to him.  It’s Philip who responds to Nathaniel’s cynicism by saying “Come and see”.

 

Both readings suggest that bringing others to faith is a task we all share in.  We have a responsibility to help others to see things more clearly, to be open-minded about this person from Nazareth, and to make that first step of “going and seeing”.  And Eli’s example reminds us that we all have a particular responsibility to foster and develop the faith of children, and to make sure that they’re welcomed and valued in our Christian community.

 

The Psalm set for today – Psalm 139 – has these verses:

 

O Lord, you have searched me out and known me;

you know my sitting down and my rising up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.

You mark out my journeys and my resting place
and are acquainted with all my ways.

You yourself created my inmost parts . . .

I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

Those words have a lovely echo with Jesus’ encounter with Nathaniel – with Jesus knowing all about him.  They also remind us of something else that’s really important – that each of us are precious in God’s sight.

 

Jesus’ call to us follows on from God’s delight in us as human beings.  It’s because God loves us, and because you and I are precious in God’s sight, that we’re called (in Jesus) to a new kind of life.   We’re each precious in God’s sight – and we’re each called to follow the way of Jesus, and to nurture and encourage one another.

 

If we follow the example of Nathaniel, and continue to go and find out more about this Jesus, surely our eyes too will continue to be opened, and we will continue to perceive things in a completely new light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hymn                     When God almighty came to earth

       for tune:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKab6pf2q3I

 

 

When God Almighty came to earth
he took the pain of Jesus’ birth,
he took the flight of refugee,
and whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

 

When God Almighty went to work
carpenter’s sweat he didn’t shirk,
profit and loss he didn’t flee,
and whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

 

When God Almighty walked the street
the critic’s curse he had to meet,
the cynic’s smile he had to see,

and whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

 

When God Almighty met his folk
of peace and truth he boldly spoke
to set the slave and tyrant free,
and whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

 

When God Almighty took his place
to save the sometimes human race,
he took it boldly on a tree,
and whispered, “Humbly follow me.”

 

When God Almighty comes again
he’ll meet us incognito as then;
and though no words may voice his plea,
he’ll whisper, “Are you following me?”

 

John L Bell and Graham Maule

 

 

 

Intercessions

 

God of all compassion,
we pray in Jesus’ name for all those sitting under the fig trees
of conflict,
waiting for peace to shelter them…
God of compassion,
hear our prayer.
 

For all sitting under fig trees of suffering,
waiting for healing to cover them…
God of compassion,
hear our prayer.
 

For all sitting under fig trees of loneliness,
waiting for others to befriend them …
God of compassion,
hear our prayer.
 

For all sitting under fig trees of decision,
contemplating the future of communities,
nations and the world…
God of compassion,
hear our prayer.
 

And we give thanks for all who have
pruned and shaped the fig trees
that have sheltered and protected us.
 

God of compassion,
hear our prayer.
Amen
.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord's Prayer

 

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.  Amen.

 

 

 

Hymn                     Will you come and follow me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk6IUalJ3sk

 

1.  Will you come and follow me,

     if I but call your name?                

     Will you go where you don't know     

     and never be the same?                   

     Will you let my love be shown,

     will you let my love be known,

     will you let my life be grown  

     in you, and you in me?          

 

2.  Will you leave yourself behind

     if I but call your name?          

     Will you care for cruel and kind

     and never be the same?                   

     Will you risk the hostile stare

     should your life attract or scare?            

     Will you let me answer prayer

     in you, and you in me?          

 

3.  Will you let the blinded see

     if I but call your name?

     Will you set the prisoners free

     and never be the same?

     Will you kiss the leper clean,

     and do such as this unseen,

     and admit to what I mean

     in you, and you in me?

 

4.  Will you love the 'you' you hide

     if I but call your name?

     Will you quell the fear inside

     and never be the same?

     Will you use the faith you've found

     to reshape the world around,

     thro' my sight and touch and sound 

     in you, and you in me?  

 

5.  Lord, your summons echoes true

     when you but call my name.

     Let me turn and follow you

     and never be the same.

     In your company I'll go

     where your love and footsteps show.

     Thus I'll move and live and grow

     in you, and you in me.

 

                             

A Closing Prayer and Blessing

 

 

May we speak words of truth and gentleness;
may we hear words of encouragement and kindness;
and may Jesus,  the Word made flesh,
bless us with peace, integrity and wisdom.
Amen.

 

 

May Christ the Son of God perfect in us the image of his glory
and gladden our hearts with the good news of his kingdom;

and may the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.
 

 

As we leave this worship, Lord, in your name,
help us to see you,
to recognise you
and to follow you.
Amen.

 

 

 

 

Some material included in this service is copyright:

© The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2000

 

Some material is Copyright

© Roots for Churches Limited

 

Hymns and songs are reproduced under CCLI numbers:

742099 (St John’s)

493867 (St Leonard’s)

154120 (St Saviour’s)