Worship for Sunday 13th March 2022, by Rev. Krystyna Kwarciak

Call to worship:

            The Lord is our light and our salvation;

            whom shall we fear?

            The Lord is the stronghold of our lives;

            of whom shall we be afraid?

            For he will hide us in his shelter in the day of trouble;

            he will conceal us under the cover of his tent;

            he will set us high on a rock.

            Hear us, O Lord, when we cry aloud,

            be gracious to us and answer us!

            Come, let us seek God’s face together.

            Your face, Lord, do we seek.


Opening Prayer

Light-giving, salvation-making God,

we have staked our living and our dying

and our being raised to new life

on your steadfast love and faithfulness.


You have promised

to hide us in your shelter in the day of trouble.

You have promised to set us high on a rock,

above those powers and forces

that batter us,

that tempt us,

that work against us.


We have sought your presence here,

listening for your Word:

your Word that gives life;

your Word that heals the wounded heart;

your Word that speaks truth.


Teach us your Way, O Lord Jesus.

Lead us on a well-lighted path.

In the times when you are silent,

grant us the courage to wait,

trusting in your grace that brings your resurrection power

to our dead ends.


You are doing a ‘new thing’ among us.

though, it is hard to see at times what that ‘new thing’ is.

We bring to you our grieving over what is being lost,

our fears about what the future might hold,

our desire to love and serve you.


By the power of your Holy Spirit,

you are refining us,

purifying our discipleship,

pulling us into following Jesus

In this new world.


Grant us mercy and grace

to trust you more deeply,

for the only secure place is with you,

our light and our salvation,

the stronghold of our life.


We pray all these things in the name of Jesus,

the first-born of your new creation

our hope, our life.



StF 397: The Spirit lives to set us free

The Spirit lives to set us free,
Walk, walk in the light.
He binds us all in unity,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.

Jesus promised life to all,
Walk, walk in the light.
The dead were wakened by his call,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.

He died in pain on Calvary,
Walk, walk in the light.
To save the lost like you and me,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.

We know his death was not the end,
Walk, walk in the light.
He gave his Spirit to be our friend,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.

The Spirit lives in you and me,
Walk, walk in the light;
His light will shine for all to see,
Walk, walk in the light.
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light,
Walk in the light of the Lord.


Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
 of whom shall I be afraid?


Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
yet I will be confident.

For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
 be gracious to me and answer me!
‘Come,’ my heart says, ‘seek his face!’
 Your face, Lord, do I seek.
 Do not hide your face from me.


I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!


The psalm for this Sunday is Psalm 27 which is believed to have been written by King David as he was fleeing from his cruel and unpredictable father-in-law, Saul. When he was saying, praying these words, David didn’t know his future fate or whether his next step would be his last. There was always the possibility that in his hurry, David would slip on a rock and fall in the treacherous terrain of the Judean Desert or that Saul would have an ambush prepared for him in his city of refuge called Ziklag where he was hoping to find shelter.

Have you ever been in a dangerous situation and wondered if you would get out of it alive? 

I haven’t. But for my Ukrainian friends, colleagues and the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees trying to reach the border of my home country the question: ‘Whom shall I fear, of whom shall I be afraid?’ (Ps. 27,1) is not a rhetorical one, and the words ‘an army will encamp me, a war will rise up against me’ (Ps 27,3) are a reflection of their everyday reality.

King David gives us a good example of someone who was able to worship in the midst of warfare, which explains why his prayers, especially Psalms 27 and 31, have taken on special meaning in the hearts of Ukrainians. Pastor Anatoliy Raychynets from the Ukrainian Bible Society says: ‘These ancient prayers, written several thousand years ago, now we see, are so alive, living.” He prepared a video compilation which shows countless people reciting Psalms 27, 31 and 46 from their bunkers and other safe locations. Pastor Anatoliy promises to continue ‘storming the gates of heaven with praise and prayer’ together with his virtual congregation, and is encouraging Christians from all over the world to join in.

One of my friends from university, a Ukrainian from Kharkiv, used to say that Ukraine was the most spiritual country in Europe. Our fellow students would tease him about it and even started calling him ‘his Holiness’, a nickname that stuck. As I’m reading the news, I can’t help but think that there was some truth in his claims.

The Ukrainian Bible Society has received an unprecedented number of requests for Bibles in the past two weeks. One pastor was so desperate that he pleaded for damaged Bibles or even copies with pages missing. It’s so humbling to read that amid all the chaos, confusion of the war and the desperate humanitarian needs there, people in Ukraine are asking for Bibles.

I have recently come across this quote from the book ‘Journey to the Cross’ by Paul David Tripp: ‘Lent is about remembering the suffering and sacrifice of the Saviour. […] Lent is about giving ourselves in a more focused way to prayer, crying out for the help that we desperately need from the only one who is able to give it.” I like the way the author of the book describes Lent, not just as a time of abstinence and reflection, but a time of ‘crying out to God’. Perhaps this Lent we could try to embrace the spiritual practice of reading, praying Psalms 27, 31 and 46 in solidarity with our Ukrainian brothers and siters, and in this way help them to ‘storm the gates of heaven’ with our praise and prayers.

Discussion questions:

1) If God had written Psalm 27 just for you, what words and phrases would he have underlined? Why?

2) What situation has driven you to God to find shelter and refuge? What words describe your sense of his presence at these times?


StF 512: Stupendous height of heavenly love

Stupendous height of heavenly love,
Of pitying tenderness divine;
It brought the Saviour from above,
It caused the springing day to shine;
The Sun of Righteousness to appear,
And gild our gloomy hemisphere.

God did in Christ himself reveal,
To chase our darkness by his light,
Our sin and ignorance dispel,
Direct our wandering feet, aright:
And bring our souls, with pardon blest,
To realms of everlasting rest.

Come, then, O Lord, thy light impart,
The faith that bids our terrors cease;
Into thy love direct our heart,

Into thy way of perfect peace:
And cheer the souls, of death afraid,
And guide them through the dreadful shade.

Answer thy mercy’s whole design,
My God incarnated for me.
My spirit make thy radiant shrine,
My Light and full Salvation be;
And through the shades of death unknown,
Conduct me to thy dazzling throne.

Closing prayers

God of mercy, by whose grace
in all who suffer is Christ crucified,
we pray for those in danger today,
for all who know oppression, injustice or fear,
whose land is invaded,
or whose home is unsafe.
Be with them and shelter them in your love;
give them courage and hope;
enfold them in your grace.
Touch their wounds; heal their trauma.
May the strength of the earth be theirs,
the freedom of the sky, the peace of the trees.
We bear in our hearts all who are afraid.
May they bear our love in theirs, for we are one.
In the unity of your Holy Spirit
you hold us together as one humanity,
one world, one body, one hope.
May your Peace change the hearts
of those who misuse power.
May the Peace of Christ
be with us all.

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

For thine is the kingdom

The power, and the glory

For ever and ever.



StF 611: Brother, sister, let me serve you

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
and companions on the road;
we are here to help each other
walk the mile and bear the load.

I will hold the Christ light for you
in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you,
speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping;
when you laugh I’ll laugh with you;
I will share your joy and sorrow,
till we’ve seen this journey through.

When we sing to God in heaven,
we shall find such harmony,
born of all we’ve known together
of Christ’s love and agony.

Brother, sister, let me serve you;
let me be as Christ to you;
pray that I may have the grace to
let you be my servant too.



God is our light, our hope, our all in all:

Blessed be God, now and forever!

Christ is our home, our life, our joy:

Blessed be God, now and forever!

Our worship concludes; our service continues.

Blessed be God, now and forever!