Thursday, 21 January 2021

The Conversion of Paul -- January 24, 2021



Prelude    Old Sage  (Steve Bell)

Welcome 


Gathering Hymn    432 Jesus Calls us Over the Tumult

Jesus calls us o'er the tumult
of our life's wild, restless sea;
day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
saying "Christian, follow me."

As, of old, apostles heard it
by the Galilean lake,
turned from home and toil and kindred,
leaving all for his dear sake.

Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world's golden store,
from each idol that would keep us,
saying "Christian, love me more."

In our joys and in our sorrows,
days of toil and hours of ease,
still he calls, in cares and pleasures,
"Christian, love me more than these."

Jesus calls us; by thy mercies,
Savior, may we hear thy call,
give our hearts to thine obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.

Gathering 
Let us worship God, whose Word brings life and light
God's Word is awesome and amazing. We can rely on God's Word.
Let us worship God, whose Word is good
God's Word is brighter than diamonds and worth more than gold. We will receive God's Word today, and worship our Rock and our Redeemer.


Collect for the Anniversary of the Church
Almighty God, watchful and caring, our source and our end, all that we are and all that we have are yours. Accept us now, as we give thanks to you for this place where we have come to praise your name, to ask your forgiveness, to know your healing power, to hear your word, and to be nourished by the body and blood of your Son. Be present always to guide and to judge, to illumine and to bless your people. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Proclamation of the Word 

A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles 26.9–23


‘Indeed, I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things against the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is what I did in Jerusalem; with authority received from the chief priests, I not only locked up many of the saints in prison, but I also cast my vote against them when they were being condemned to death. By punishing them often in all the synagogues I tried to force them to blaspheme; and since I was so furiously enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities.

‘With this in mind, I was travelling to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, when at midday along the road, your Excellency, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and my companions. When we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.” I asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you. I will rescue you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

‘After that, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout the countryside of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and do deeds consistent with repentance. For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had help from God, and so I stand here, testifying to both small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would take place: that the Messiah must suffer, and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.’

Listen to the Leading of the Spirit              R: Thanks be to God

Canticle 16      A Song of Creation 3      Song of the Three 35–36, 61–65 

Invocation

Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

The People of God

Let the people of God glorify the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Doxology

Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord,
* praise him and highly exalt him for ever. 

A Reading from the letter of Paul to the Galatians 1.11–24

For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.

Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days; but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie! Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only heard it said, ‘The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me.

Listen to the Leading of the Spirit          R: Thanks be to God

Gradual Hymn      Keep Calling Me 

Christ you stand before us all
Christ you come and Christ you call
leave it all behind and join my journey
Come with me and find your life
Live my love and shine my light
Leave it all behind you
Come and follow

And you keep calling me
You keep calling me
You keep calling me
Come and follow

You keep calling me
You keep calling me
You keep calling me
and I will follow

You beckon us to walk your way
Your kingdom come on earth this day
To lose our life yet find it in the rising
Find it in your love for all
Find it in compassion's call
to seek the lost
to whom your grace is calling

And you keep calling me
You keep calling me
You keep calling me
Come and follow

And you keep calling me
You keep calling me
You keep calling me 
and I will follow

You keep calling me
and I will follow                                                                                       

David MacGregor 
(C) 2014 Willow Publishing

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Matthew 10:16-22 


‘See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 

Homily

Offering Hymn    All Will Finish Well    (Tune In!   Dave Brown) 
You in all our worries, you offer peace, you of the ages. 
In this world where injustice reigns, you are in the midst of pain 
You are the life. 
We long for your justice, wait for the day all will be mended. 
In this world you’re the cry of rage, 
the silence of the unmarked grave, you are the right. 

You’re the start, the voice inside the heart, 
calling us to take the risk of life. 
You’ve been there, from lonely to despair, 
in our tears for loss and love. 
All will finish well 

You break into history blessing the poor, you of the powerless. 
In this world where the leaders lie, you’re the truth that will surprise. 
You are the love 
We downcast and dubious, throw out our nets, already doubting. 
In this world we are lost alone. You’re the word that brings us home. 
You are the north 

You’re the start, the voice inside the heart, 
calling us to take the risk of life. 
You’ve been there, from lonely to despair, 
 in our tears for loss and love. 
All will finish well 

You’re the start, the voice inside the heart, 
calling us to take the risk of life. 
You’re the name that sets us free from shame. 
In our tears for loss and love 
all will finish well one day.             

An Affirmation of Faith     (The Glory of Blood, Sweat and Tears by Dorothy McRae-McMahon)

In response to the word, let us celebrate our faith:
We celebrate the miracles of grace which change us,
Born from the womb of God
And the deeply respected struggles
Of our bodies, minds, hearts and souls,
Surrounded by costliness,
Yet free for us in the journey toward abundant life.
We celebrate
the moments when we are turned around
and look on ourselves and the world
as though we make a new entry
and a different start
with living water for our thirst
and life-giving bread for our hunger.
We celebrate
the wonder of a creation
in which nothing is limited
to our horizons of sight
or boundaries of energy, courage or hope
but which leaps forth
in amazing surprises of good
and endless transformations
towards its true fullness
in the imagination of God.


Intercessions: Litany for the Unity of the Church

Upon these joint feasts of Saints Peter and Paul, let us remember in prayer that Christ prayed that all might be one, and lift up to Almighty God our petitions for Christian unity.

O God, the Creator of the world, who established and sustains the Church of Jesus Christ: 
Have mercy and hear us.

O God, in whom we share a variety of gifts and a variety of service, and yet in whom we confess with one voice: Have mercy and hear us.

O God, the Source of all truth and goodness, who is the same God working in us all: Have mercy and hear us.

We, your servants, pray that you would help us to break down the walls that divide us and to keep us from discord, disunion and division; from the guilt of schism and the sin of separation: O Lord, save your Church

Spare us from envy and strife, from pride and prejudice, from sectarianism and stubbornness, and from whatever may hinder godly union and concord: O Lord, save your Church

Deliver us from lust of power and friendship with a godless world; and forgive us for forsaking our first love, for unfaithfulness and toleration of untruth, for failure to hold fast to your Word and the things you have committed to us, and for being apathetic in our mission:
O Lord, save your Church

We humbly pray that you would strengthen us with your uniting love so that in union with you we might purge the Church from all error and unbelief, that it may be the pillar and ground of the truth:
Make us one in the likeness of Christ.

That your Church may preach the Gospel to every creature, set forth the truth that frees all humanity, and so lift up your love that every nation and people may be drawn together into your glory:
Make us one in the likeness of Christ.

That your Church may remember the sheep that are not of the fold, seek out the wandering and the lost, proclaim the forgiveness of sins to the penitent, keep a heart of compassion for all people, and defend the cause of the poor and the oppressed:
Make us one in the likeness of Christ.

That your Church may remember to listen to your Word and to follow your will, so that we may teach what we learn; and that we may follow Christ and be an example of what we would commend to the world:
Make us one in the likeness of Christ.

Gracious God, heavenly Father, accept these prayers for your Holy Church. You have built the Church upon a rock. You have given to us the gifts of your Spirit. Grant, we pray, all that we ask, that your Church may grow and prosper in the good news of the Gospel. And bring us at the last to a perfect union with you in your heavenly kingdom. For we ask it in the name of him who is the Rock and the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The Lord’s Prayer

Collect for St. Paul

Almighty God, by the preaching of your servant Paul you caused the light of the gospel to shine throughout the world. May we who celebrate his wonderful conversion follow him in bearing witness to your truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Closing Hymn     Will You Come and Follow Me     (John Bell and Graham Maule)
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 name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you,
and you in me?

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?

Will you let the blinded man 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?

Will you love the "you" you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell that fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you've found
to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound in you,
and you in me?

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.

Dismissal
The Spirit is upon us, so go out into the world, for we have been anointed:
to share the good news with everyone we meet, to bring freedom to those held captive, to bring hope to those who have been displaced, to tear down all structures of oppression, to declare that this is God’s time. Amen! Alleluia!!

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