Worship for Sunday 12th June, by Matt Smith

Call to Worship

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honour.

Psalm 8:1-5 NIV

The picture above is of a piece of artwork situated at Queens Foundation Theological College where I study. On the first weekend of our training we are offered to reflect on it. One side of the cross is neat and organised where the other side of the cross is messy and jumbled up. In our lives our faiths can reflect either side, sorted out, packed into neat boxes and held within a framework of beliefs and rules, and then sometimes all the boundaries disappear and our faith is messy, confusing and mixed up. Either side is fine, in fact moving from one side to the other is good for us to do through our lives because it means we are wrestling with the hard topics. I wonder which side you are on today? Will you take up the Holy Spirts invitation to journey into uncertainty and messiness? Will you find that in the mess of life, there is still a cross to be found even if it looks different to before?

Hymn – I am a new creation

I Am a New Creation,
No more in Condemnation,
Here in the Grace of God, I stand.

My Heart is Overflowing,
My Love just keeps on Growing,
Here in the Grace of God, I stand.

And I will Praise You, Lord,
Yes, I will Praise You, Lord,
And I will Sing of all that You have done.

A Joy that knows no limit,
A Lightness in My Spirit
Here in the Grace of God, I stand.

And I will Praise You, Lord,
Yes, I will Praise You, Lord,
And I will Sing of all that You have done.

A Joy that knows no limit,
A Lightness in My Spirit
Here in the Grace of God, I stand.

Songwriters: Dave Bilbrough

Singing the Faith 553


Creator God, we praise you for all of the creation that we see around us, that is beyond our knowledge in the skies above and the waters below. We praise you for the wonders that we see from day to day, that each day the sun rises and sets, for the seasons that bring about new life, flowers and food.

Loving God we come with the knowledge that your creation has been marked with our misuse of it, of looking for what we want now rather than what is best for the world. Our Greed has damaged the world, but also our lives, those of others and our relationship with you. Loving God, Have mercy on us.

We thank you that you did not abandon us when we probably deserved to be, but that you instead made a way for us to be made right with you once again, through you sin Jesus Christ. We thank you that through him, our sins are forgiven, we are free again to come back to you forgiven by your grace and mercy.

Help us Lord, with your presence in us through the Holy Spirit to live renewed lives, set free from the chains of guilt and pain that hold us back, safe in the knowledge of your forgiveness.


Hymn – One more Step

One more step along the world I go
One more step along the world I go
From the old things to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

And it’s from the old I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

‘Round the corners of the world I turn
More and more about the world I learn
And the new things that I see
You’ll be looking at along with me

And it’s from the old I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

As I travel through the bad and good
Keep me traveling the way I should
Where I see no way to go
You’ll be telling me the way, I know

And it’s from the old I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

Give me courage when the world is rough
Keep me loving though the world is tough
Leap and sing in all I do
Keep me traveling along with you

And it’s from the old I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

You are older than the world can be
You are younger than the life in me
Ever old and ever new
Keep me traveling along with you

And it’s from the old I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you

Songwriters: Daniel Shiells

Singing the Faith 476

Reading Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.


How can you be sure? I wonder when the last time you were asked that question, or maybe it was you asking it! How can I be sure this utilities package is the best for me? How can I be sure the item Ive paid for will be delivered on time? If the world wasn’t confusing enough, the last decade seems to be getting even more uncertain. Coming out of the EU, a global pandemic, a war on the doorstep of Europe, food shortages job losses, what can we be certain of anymore? For the younger generations, times and technologies are changing so fast and an awareness of the failings of large corporations that have not always been truthful, we are growing up in an age of uncertainty and a real doubt about being sure of what people say. Fake news, politicians’ lies, falsified emissions reports, just to name a few, mean we don’t know who to trust. Unfortunately the church hasn’t come through this unscathed either as we read of corruption and abuse that has come to light in the last decade. It’s not a surprise that the younger generations have drifted from the church and faith and yet we still hold onto a truth and certainty that is not based on the whims on humankind but a good creator God.

In this passage Paul is wrestling with one of those “how can you be sure” questions. Through the words and actions of Jesus, the apostles have taught that the moment a person believes in God through Jesus his Son then they have been saved, their sins forgiven, wiped clean from the pages of our life, ready like the thief on the cross to be with God in paradise. Paul expresses this as Justified by faith. In tension with this is the final Day of Judgment. How can I be sure that my justification by faith now (my faith in God through Jesus) is enough to not be condemned on the final day of judgement? Pauls answer to this is a resounding YES it is because our hope in sharing in the Glory of God and that when our hope is put in God, that hope does not disappoint us.

Paul goes on to talk about being at peace with God, not in the form of calm and quiet reassurance, but oneness with him, joined and no longer separated. The barriers that kept us apart, sins, have been removed by Jesus so that we are no longer at odds with God, but at peace. The image of the wrathful God is replaced with a graceful, loving relationship, initiated by God, offered freely by God, made possible by God.

But our initial response to God needs to continue and we recognise that just because we become believers everything will go swimmingly, in fact, the closer that we get to God, the more that our faith and belief in him will be attacked. Paul doesn’t rejoice necessarily in the things that challenge and threaten our peace and assurance, but the end result.

When I was a builder, I would be asked to install handrails and banisters for people on stairs. When I did them, I focused on getting the angles right, at the right heights and covering up the attachments so that it looked good. At the end of all that the handrails looked really good, but my final job was to check that they worked. I had to pull on them, put my weight on them to make sure that they were stable and not going to fall off in the case of someone slipping on the stairs. This was always risky, it came off I had to start all over again. It was risky, it was painful at times and costly but when they held firm I knew that more importantly than looking good, it offered support! Paul’s boasting in sufferings is not because he enjoys suffering but the knowledge that the hope in God, holds firm when tested.

Our faith may look like it had a number of hammer blows to it, the paint might be chipped and chunks taken out, but when we know that through all of it, like my handrails, our faith in God stands firm, our hope was right to be placed in him, then we can celebrate that hope was not in vein. How then can we be sure? Really by our hope being tested and found to be true. Church, this is the Gospel message that we have to offer a world that is searching in the dark for truth, a world that has lost hope, because our hope is sure in God. Amen

Hymn – All I once held dear

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this


Knowing You, Jesus
Knowing You, there is no greater thing
You’re my all, nothing less
You’re my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord

Now my heart’s desire is to know You more
To be found in You and known as Yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness


Oh, to know the power of Your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like You in Your death, my Lord
So with You to live and never die


Songwriters: Graham Kendrick

Singing the Faith 489


How can we know what to pray for today, our world is broken, people are suffering and sometimes it feels like there is too much bad news. So Lord we come before you today, without knowing the words to say or the things to do to fix it all, trusting in you to help us.

Help us to speak up for those who need help. Lord if that is through actions, words or giving, help us to support those who are already doing your good work in the places that we cannot get to. Places that are suffering the effects of war, drought, floods, oppressive governments and so much more all over the world.

We pray that those leaders in the world and particularly our country and our government, who have the power to influence decisions that can make the world a better place. We pray too for those Christians who are your voice and light in those places that they may continue to work for the good of everyone.

We pray for our churches, staff and members, who have battled with so much over the last few years trying to keep worship available in safe ways. We pray Lord for patience, perseverance and understanding. We pray for a reawakening of a passion for your name, your mission, your praise in our churches so that even in the difficult times we can find a joy, energy and power to proclaim the Good News to those who need to hear it.

There are so many other things to pray for Lord, we take a moment to bring things that we have on our hearts and minds to you now….

All this and so much more we offer to you lord, creator of the heavens and earth, friend and saviour. In the name of the Father, the Son and Spirit we pray.


Hymn – This I Believe – Hillsong

Our Father everlasting
The all-creating One
God Almighty
Through your Holy Spirit
Conceiving Christ the Son
Jesus our Saviour


I believe in God our Father
I believe in Christ the Son
I believe in the Holy Spirit
Our God is three in One
I believe in the resurrection
That we will rise again
For I believe in the Name of Jesus

Our Judge and our Defender
Suffered and crucified
Forgiveness is in You

Descended into darkness
You rose in glorious light
Forever seated high


I believe in You
I believe You rose again
I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord x2

Chorus x2

I believe in life eternal
I believe in the virgin birth
I believe in the saints’ communion
And in Your Holy Church
I believe in the resurrection
When Jesus comes again
For I believe in the Name of Jesus


Songwriters: Hillsong Music

© Hillsong Music Publishing Australia


May this week bring you goodness, joy and blessing, but if it brings trials and temptations instead, may you know even more surly the Love of the Father who cares, the fellowship of Christ our saviour and the power of the Holy Spirit to endure all things.