Worship archive – June 28th 2020

. . and other special occasions.

Mid Week Services from Connexion for July 1st 2020:

Message in English for Wednesday July 1st 2020, with Mrs Chandahwa.
Message in Ndebele for Wednesday July 1st 2020, with Rev P Dhlamini.
Message in Shona for Wednesday July 1st 2020, with Rev Edwell Goredema.

Sunday Afternoon Services from Connexion for June 28th 2020:

Message in Shona for Sunday June 28th 2020, with Mrs R Maponga.
Message in English for Sunday June 28th 2020, with Rev Gracious Chiwara.
Message in Ndebele for Sunday June 28th 2020, with Mr K Tapela.

Sunday Services from Hillside Circuit for June 28th 2020:

Date: June 28th
Occasion: 4th After Pentecost
Psalm 13
Old Testament: Genesis 22: 1-14
Letter: Romans 6: 12-23
New Testament: Matthew 10: 24-39
Theme: Your faith shall be tested

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.

Mighty to save.
You are my all in all.
O, for a heart to praise my God.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus.
Who is on the Lord’s side?
When we walk with the Lord, (Trust and obey).

Message for Hillside Circuit in English for June 28th 2020, with Rev Margaret James (part 1).
Message for Hillside Circuit in English for June 28th 2020, with Rev Margaret James (part 2).
Message for Hillside Circuit in English for June 28th 2020, with Rev Margaret James (part 3).
Message for Hillside Circuit in Shona for June 28th 2020, with Rev Bekithemba Phiri.

If you would also like to use prayers from the Methodist Service Book, they can be found at the Prayers for worship webpage.



PSALM 13 v 5 & 6
GENESIS 22 v 1-14
ROMANS 6 V 12-23
MATTHEW 10 v 24-39

This theme was chosen long before we were hit by the COVID 19 lockdown but all of us have had our faith tested in various ways.  We have had to isolate at home, for single people this has meant loneliness, while for families there have been stresses caused by being together all the time without a break.  Parents and children have got on each other’s nerves.
Some families have experienced the sorrow of the death of loved ones and being unable to attend the funerals.  We have worried about family and friends who were caught away from their friends, in foreign countries.
At the beginning it was very difficult to buy food!  There have been serious water restrictions!  We have been depending on data and internet connections and they have caused problems.
Many people have lost their jobs, and especially those who depend on some form of informal employment.  Even when we thought that we had some money we have found that the prices of everything has shot-up enormously.
Even in this situation I have been amazed at how generous our members have been in paying their tithes and in contributing to the costs of all the things that have been required for us to re-open our churches.
All of us who are Christians have greatly missed our worship services – a sermon on the internet it not the same at all.  Even at the services today, we are not allowed to sing because singing is said to spread the virus!  We miss our Bible Study groups, prayer meetings and fellowship with all our friends.

In all these ways and others, our faith has been tested.  We remember that in the letter of James 1 v 2 & 3 James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”
We remember that in Hebrews 10 v 25 we read  “Let us not give up meeting together, … but let us encourage one another”.

Our Old Testament lesson today (Genesis 22 v 1-14) tells the strange story of how Abraham believed that God wanted him to sacrifice Isaac, the precious son of his old age, who had been born in fulfilment of God’s promise.  What a terrible test that must have been for Abraham!  How he must have been stressed out about how the God who had previously led him in such wonderful ways could ask such a terrible sacrifice from him.
Amazingly Abraham believed that God would somehow intervene even at the last minute.
In verse 5, when he leaves the servants, he says “We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
In verse 8, in response to Isaac’s question about the lamb for burnt offering, Abraham says, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering.”
Both of these statements show that Abraham had a calm confidence that God would provide an answer somehow.  It is not surprising that Paul in Romans 4 v 3 says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”.  That was why he was known as the Father of the Jewish nation.

In Psalm 13 cries to the LORD for deliverance from a serious illness that threatens to be fatal but then in verses 5 & 6 he says, “But I trust in your unfailing love;  my heart rejoices in your salvation.   I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”   This is another example of trusting in God even though the situation looked very bad.

Through 20 centuries of Christian History there have been many examples of people who have trusted in God even in times of great trouble and persecution.
500 years ago, Martin Luther put a notice on his church door with a series of 95 statements about the practices of the Roman Catholic Church that he had discovered were contrary to what the Bible said.  He was arrested, tried and only escaped thanks to powerful friends.
In the 18th Century John and Charles Wesley started preaching that salvation was by faith and not by good works or church ceremonies.  They faced a great deal of opposition such as attacks by mobs, being forbidden to preach and stones being thrown at them.  These and many others knew times when their faith was tested and they stood firm for what they knew was right.

We should not be surprised that we are also facing times of difficulty and we wonder why God has allowed us to experience so many trying times.  The truth is that experiencing times of difficulty should strengthen our faith.  God allowed Job to experience terrible tragedy.  All his children were killed.  All his property was attacked by enemies and he, himself, became ill but he didn’t waver in his faith.  In Job 19 v 25 – 26 he says,  “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.”  What tremendous faith in the presence of adversity!

We have experienced the testing of our faith in many different ways but we know the truth of the promise of Jesus when he said, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28 v 20) 

Jesus is with us at all times and in all places.  Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome said, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8 v 28.  And again a few verses later “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  … No , in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (verses 35 & 37).

Let us remember that God is calling us to be faithful even though our faith is being tested.
Let us continue to walk day by day with Jesus, no matter what may be happening around us.

We are not allowed to sing in church, but I want us to read the hymn 687
I will read the verses and I encourage you to read the choruses quietly, together.

WHEN WE WALK WITH THE LORD In the light of his word,
What a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil he doeth richly repay;
Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay
For the favour he shows and the joy he bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet,
Or we’ll walk by his side in the way;
What he says we will do, where he sends we will go –
Never fear, only trust and obey.