Worship for Sunday 13th February 2022, by Rev. Sharon Read

Today we look at Luke’s version of the Beatitudes and consider blessings and woes.

Call to Worship

We are blessed to be here today.
We are blessed to be together today.
We are blessed to be a family.
We are blessed that God is with us.
Let us enjoy his blessing as we worship today.

Hymn STF 1

1 All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Serve him with joy, his praises tell,
come now before him and rejoice!

2 Know that the Lord is God indeed;
he formed us all without our aid.
We are the flock he comes to feed,
the sheep who by his hand were made.

3 O enter then his gates with joy,
within his courts his praise proclaim.
Let thankful songs your tongues employ.
O bless and magnify his name.

4 Trust that the Lord our God is good,
his mercy is forever sure.
His faithfulness at all times stood
and shall from age to age endure.

A prayer of adoration

Father, we worship and adore you 
for the light you bring to this dreary time of year,
when we long for spring.
Thank you for the blessing of every shoot and bud,
the reminders of your presence
and your ever-circling, ever-giving love.

A prayer of confession

Lord, we confess that curses come to our lips more readily than blessings. Our thoughts are critical rather than looking for the good. We condemn others and turn away before we think what we might do to turn things around and draw blessings from a situation.

So, Lord, we ask for your forgiveness, and we turn to you for a blessing of light upon the dark confines of our thinking. Bless us with your way of seeing, so that our lives might be a blessing to others. Amen.

Assurance of forgiveness

Sometimes our mindset has been so misguided, and for so long, we fail to see how you can forgive us. Mired in dark thoughts that hastily curse and rarely bless, we are ashamed when a ray of holy light reveals the dust and ashes of our lives.

Yet with you, Lord, there is forgiveness and redemption, the chance to turn our thoughts around, and bless with the blessings that come from you. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Song: 10,000 reason Matt Redman

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before, O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

[Verse 1]
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes


[Verse 2]
You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless you, Lord

Luke 6:17-26 NIV

Blessings and Woes

17 He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coastal region around Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, 19 and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

20 Looking at his disciples, he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
    for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.
22 Blessed are you when people hate you,
    when they exclude you and insult you
    and reject your name as evil,
        because of the Son of Man.

23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.

24 “But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have already received your comfort.
25 Woe to you who are well fed now,
    for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
    for you will mourn and weep.
26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you,
    for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Hymn STF 409

Let us build a house
Where love can dwell
And all can safely live
A place where
Saints and children tell
How hearts learn to forgive

Built of hopes and dreams and visions
Rock of faith and vault of grace
Here the love of Christ shall end divisions

All are welcome, all are welcome
All are welcome in this place

Let us build a house where prophets speak
And words are strong and true
Where all God’s children dare to seek
To dream God’s reign anew

Here the cross shall stand as witness
And a symbol of God’s grace
Here as one we claim the faith of Jesus

All are welcome, all are welcome
All are welcome in this place

Let us build a house where love is found
In water, wine and wheat
A banquet hall on holy ground
Where peace and justice meet

Here the love of God, through Jesus
Is revealed in time and space
As we share in Christ the feast that frees us

All are welcome, all are welcome
All are welcome in this place


Today there is a lot of pressure on our young people to ‘get qualified’ in order to achieve the best career that life has to offer them. Success is equated with having a fulfilled life. There is nothing wrong with ambition, but Jesus invites us to think a bit deeper. So often we hear people say, ‘I am so blessed.’ This may very well be a great testament to all that is good in their lives, but the danger is that we measure blessedness with what we possess. In other words, the more we own means we are more blessed. However, Jesus’ kingdom teaching turns this thinking upside down. In Luke chapter 6, Jesus declares blessedness to the poor, to those who are hungry, those who mourn, and to the hated and rejected. This would indicate that his blessedness has nothing to do with how much we own. In fact, Jesus said, ‘Woe to you who are…’ rich, full and laughing (Luke 6.24–25). Jesus was not against people being happy, wealthy and even having treasures, He would just rather that he is our greatest treasure. God wants to be our greatest possession. God is our greatest possession, even if we don’t realise it.

Jesus’ teaching of the woes indicates there are potential barriers to living a blessed life. So how do we live a blessed life? The prophet Jeremiah and the psalmist both point to being rooted in the Lord. To be rooted in the Lord is described as being like ‘a tree by water’ (v.8). We are blessed when we are rooted in Christ. This stems from a deep desire to know him and to have him in every part of our lives. It means we surrender and submit to God. God is the one who keeps us settled and grounded.

Paul writes to the Corinthians that we worship Christ who ‘is proclaimed as raised from the dead’. We are rooted in the one who not only is alive, but also the one who gives life. When we recognise that we are the blessed people of God, we not only live a life that is blessed, we become a blessing to others. It is impossible to keep God’s blessing to ourselves – we desire that others may know God and his blessing. The challenge for us today is to live in the overflow of God’s blessing. Do you recognise how blessed you are? How might you bless someone today? This week’s Bible passages also challenge us to ask: who are the poor and hungry among us? Bless and draw close to them and to all who are rejected. This is where we so often find Jesus. Be blessed and go be a blessing to others.

Hymn STF 518

1 Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

2 Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

3 Not for ever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

4 Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our guide;
through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

Prayers of Intercession

Lord, we pray for those whose hope is for this life only, especially those who are facing their own death, or that of a loved one. Enlighten them, we pray; pierce their darkness with rays from heaven that they might find faith and see beyond.

We pray also for those whose faith has taken a blow due to circumstances – those who have fallen sick, or become unemployed, or who suffer the pain of broken relationships. Amid all their loss, Lord, remind them of the promise of resurrection, and the reality of lesser resurrections that point the way to it – restoration of health, new opportunities, and the rekindling of love – all leading to rebirth of hope.

We bring before you a world of people with past regrets, bowed down by concerns in the present, and fears for the future. Help us all, we pray, to be uplifted by the reality of Christ’s resurrection, which leads to a bright tomorrow beyond all our tomorrows.

Hymn STF 673

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 your self 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 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 the 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.

Closing Prayer

Lord, as we step into this week, 
help us to cultivate our relationship with you.
We want to be rooted in you. 
Show us our barriers to receiving your blessing. 
Help us not only to recognise how blessed we are, 
but also show us ways that your blessing 
can overflow to others through us. 

Prayers and reflection from © rootsontheweb