(. . and Wednesday February 3rd).
[Did you miss last Sunday’s services? They can still be found at Worship Archive – January 24th 2021.]
Midweek Service from Connexion for February 3rd 2021:
Sunday Service from Connexion for January 31st 2021:
SEED TIME AND HARVEST
Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy (Psalm 126:5-6)
THEME: SEEDING – Rev B Chinhara, Mission Director
Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for January 31st 2021:
Theme: Save, O Lord, Your People
Occasion: Covenant Sunday
Old Testament: Jeremiah 31: 7-14
New Testament: Ephesians 1: 3-14
Gospel: John 1: 10-18
[Click or tap on a Bible reference above to jump down the page to the Bible reading to listen and/or read it for yourself and then click or tap on Back to top to come back here.]
Here are the songs for Sunday morning service. Click or tap on a song to open it in YouTube, or go to the Songs for worship webpage to find them embedded.
O Jesus I have promised.
You are my all in all.
Come, let us use the grace divine.
Make me a channel of your peace.
You can listen and join in with prayers from the English Methodist Service Book. They can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.
Click or tap here to jump down the page to find the text of the traditional Covenant Day Service as found in the English Methodist Service Book (pages D1 to D11).
Below is the story of the Ant and the Dove, but listen also to the audio given above for the full message from Rev Phiri.
The Ant and the Dove:
One hot day, an ant was searching for some water. After walking around for some time, she came to a spring. To reach the spring, she had to climb up a blade of grass. While making her way up, she slipped and fell into the water.
She could have drowned if a dove up a nearby tree had not seen her. Seeing that the ant was in trouble, the dove quickly plucked a leaf and dropped it into the water near the struggling ant. The ant moved towards the leaf and climbed up onto it. Soon, the leaf drifted to dry ground, and the ant jumped out. She was safe at last.
Just at that time, a hunter nearby was about to throw his net over the dove, hoping to trap it.
Guessing what he was about to do, the ant quickly bit him on the heel. Feeling the pain, the hunter dropped his net. The dove was quick to fly away to safety.
One good turn begets another.
12 Everyone in Jerusalem,
come and praise the LORD your God!
13 He makes your city gates strong
and blesses your people by giving them children.
14 God lets you live in peace,
and he gives you the very best wheat.
15 As soon as God speaks, the earth obeys.
16 He covers the ground with snow like a blanket of wool,
and he scatters frost like ashes on the ground.
17 God sends down hailstones like chips of rocks.
Who can stand the cold?
18 At his command the ice melts, the wind blows,
and streams begin to flow.
19 God gave his laws and teachings
to the descendants of Jacob, the nation of Israel.
20 But he has not given his laws to any other nation.
Shout praises to the LORD!
7 The LORD says:
Celebrate and sing for Israel, the greatest of nations.
Offer praises and shout,
“Come and rescue your people, LORD!
Save what’s left of Israel.”
8 I, the LORD, will bring my people back from Babylonia
and everywhere else on earth.
The blind and the lame will be there.
Expectant mothers and women about to give birth
will come and be part of that great crowd.
9 They will weep and pray as I bring them home.
I will lead them to streams of water.
They will walk on a level road and not stumble.
I am a father to Israel, my favourite children.
10 Listen to me, you nations nearby or across the sea.
I scattered the people of Israel,
but I will gather them again.
I will protect them like a shepherd guarding a flock;
11 I will rescue them from enemies
who could overpower them.
12 My people will come to Mount Zion and celebrate;
their faces will glow because of my blessings.
I’ll give them grain, grapes, and olive oil,
as well as sheep and cattle.
Israel will be prosperous and grow
like a garden with plenty of water.
13 Young women and young men, together with the elderly,
will celebrate and dance,
because I will comfort them and turn their sorrow
14 I will bless my people with more food than they need,
and the priests will enjoy the choice cuts of meat.
I, the LORD, have spoken.
3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! 4 Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5 God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. 6 God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.
7-8 Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, 9 and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10 Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.
11 God always does what he plans, and that’s why he had Christ choose us. 12 He did this so that we Jews would bring honour to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. 13 Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. 14 The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honoured and praised.
10 The Word was in the world,
but no one knew him,
though God had made the world with his Word.
11 He came into his own world,
but his own nation did not welcome him.
12 Yet some people accepted him and put their faith in him.
So he gave them the right to be the children of God.
13 They were not God’s children by nature
or because of any human desires.
God himself was the one who made them his children.
14 The Word became a human being and lived here with us.
We saw his true glory,
the glory of the only Son of the Father.
From him all the kindness and all the truth of God
have come down to us.
15 John spoke about him and shouted, “This is the one I told you would come! He is greater than I am, because he was alive before I was born.”
16 Because of all that the Son is, we have been given one blessing after another. 17 The Law was given by Moses, but Jesus Christ brought us undeserved kindness and truth. 18 No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like.
The Covenant Service (taken from the English Methodist Service Book, pages D1 to D11:
Prayer of Adoration
Let us pray.
Let us adore the Father, the God of love.
He created us; he continually preserves and sustains us; he has loved us with an everlasting love, and given us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
You are God; we praise you; we acknowledge you to be the Lord.
Let us glory in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor; he was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin; he went about doing good and preaching the gospel of the kingdom; he became obedient to death, death on the cross; he was dead and is alive for ever; he has opened the kingdom of heaven to all who trust in him; he sits at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father; he will come again to be our Judge.
You, Christ, are the King of Glory.
Let us rejoice in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life.
By him we are born into the family of God, and made members of the body of Christ;
his witness confirms us;
his wisdom teaches us;
his power enables us;
he will do for us far more than we ask or think.
AII praise to you, Holy Spirit.
Confession of Sin
Let us humbly confess our sins to God.
God our Father, you have set forth the way of life for us in your beloved Son: we confess with shame our slowness to learn of him, our failure to follow him, our reluctance to bear the cross.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
We confess the poverty of our worship, our neglect of fellowship and of the means of grace, our hesitating witness for Christ, our evasion of responsibilities in your service, our imperfect stewardship of your gifts.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and forgive us.
Let each of us in silence make his own confession to God.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
The Minister stands and says
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Amen. Thanks be to God.
Father, you have appointed our Lord Jesus Christ as Mediator of a new covenant: give us grace to draw near with fullness of faith and join ourselves in a perpetual covenant with you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Collect of the Day may also be read.
The Ministry of the Word
The Old Testament Lesson
The Book of Jeremiah, the thirty-first chapter, beginning at the thirty-first verse.
Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The Letter to the Hebrews, the twelfth chapter, beginning at the twenty-second verse.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking.
The Gospel according to John, the fifteenth chapter, beginning at the first verse,
The people may say: Glory to Christ our Saviour.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you, By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.
The people may say: Praise to Christ our Lord.
A hymn may be sung.
In the Old Covenant, God chose Israel to be his people and to obey his laws. Our Lord Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, has made a New Covenant with all who trust in him, We stand within this Covenant and we bear his name.
On the one side, God promises in this Covenant to give us new life in Christ. On the other side, we are pledged to live no more for ourselves but for him.
Today, therefore, we meet expressly, as generations of our fathers have met, to renew the Covenant which bound them, and binds us, to God.
This or some other hymn:
Come, let us use the grace divine,
And all, with one accord,
In a perpetual covenant join
Ourselves to Christ the Lord:
Give up ourselves, through Jesu’s power,
His name to glorify
And promise in this sacred hour,
For God to live and die.
The covenant we this moment make
Be ever kept in mind:
We will no more our God forsake,
Or cast his words behind.
We never will throw off his fear
Who hears our solemn vow;
And if thou art well pleased to hear,
Come down, and meet us now.
To each the covenant blood apply,
Which takes our sins away;
And register our names on high,
And keep us to that day. Amen.
The people stand, and the Minister says:
Beloved in Christ, let us again claim for ourselves this Covenant which God has made with his people, and take the yoke of Christ upon us.
To take his yoke upon us means that we are content that he appoint us our place and work, and that he himself be our reward.
Christ has many services to be done; some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both, In some we may please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power to do all these things is given us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this Covenant of God our own. Let us give ourselves anew to him, trusting in his promises and relying on his grace.
The people sit or kneel, and the Minister says:
Lord God, Holy Father, since you have called us through Christ to share in this gracious Covenant; we take upon ourselves with joy the yoke of obedience, and, for love of you, engage ourselves to seek and do your perfect will. We are no longer our own, but yours.
I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal. And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
[You might also be interested in: Methodist Emphases.]