Call to worship
Prepare to step out in faith, even into troubled waters, over steep mountains,
Only God knows where we might need to go.
Don’t be afraid.
He will guide our steps along the way,
Teaching us to walk humbly,
To love boldly,
To serve Him with body, soul, mind, and strength.
Let us pray for the humility and courage to follow where God’s Spirit leads:
My Lord and my God,
My soul thirsts for you! – for your Spirit’s living waters,
My whole being from the inside out yearns for your presence,
My personality clings to you to hold me together, upright,
My inner depths look up to you, longing for your smile,
My soul cries out to you, to flow in your life now and forever.
Your love is better than life! – better than any other thing,
Your presence with me is the only thing that satisfies me,
Your personality – wonderfully complete – is what embraces me,
Your deep mercy and grace is all that I live for;
Your life in me and through me to others is my greatest joy.
As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after you
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship you
Ch: You alone are my strength, my shield
To you alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship you
I want you more than gold or silver
Only you can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye
You are my friend and you are my brother
Even though you are king
I love you more than any other
So much more than anything.
The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of King Jabin of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-ha-goiim. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help; for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and had oppressed the Israelites cruelly for twenty years.
At that time Deborah, a prophetess, wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel. She used to sit under the palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the Israelites came up to her for judgement. She sent and summoned Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali, and said to him, ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you, “Go, take position at Mount Tabor, bringing ten thousand from the tribe of Naphtali and the tribe of Zebulun. I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the Wadi Kishon with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.
1 Thessalonians, 5,1-11
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, ‘There is peace and security’, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then, let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
‘But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
Researchers claim that some of the largest water deposits are in the driest areas of Africa, in and around the Sahara Desert. This explains why in the middle of a desert a spring may suddenly appear and then vanish back into the ground. Perhaps darkness is like that also. Apostle Paul reassures us that the darkness that surrounds us and seems to cover the world, in reality conceals great amounts of light. This light is hidden in the hearts of God’s children and sometimes shines forth very brightly, only to disappear again, like water in the desert. But even when we can’t see it very clearly, even when we are going through a difficult, dark time in our lives, we can be certain that God’s light is there, safely guarded by Him in our hearts and we will always be ‘children of light, children of the day’, His children.
According to an ancient Jewish teaching about creation, when God created light on the first day, it was possible to see from one end of the world to the other. What happened to that light? Messianic Jews believe that God concealed it – when people began to sin, God hid his light beneath the material substance of this world, but it shone out again in the person of the Messiah, Jesus, who came to earth to rekindle it in people’s hearts.
Darkness tried to overshadow the light of God coming into the world from the beginning and darkness threatens to overcome his light in this world also today, in uncounted ways. But even the scandal of the crucifixion could not snuff out the light of salvation and we all belong in the light that Jesus brings, we are called to reflect his light into dark places, to be overcomers of darkness.
I would like to share with you a true story:
During the Second World War, German paratroopers invaded the island of Crete. When they landed, the islanders met them, bearing nothing other than kitchen knives. The consequences of resistance were devastating, the residents of entire villages were lined up and shot.
Overlooking the airstrip today is an institute for peace and understanding founded by a Greek man named Alexander Papaderous. Papaderous was just six years old when the war started. He home village was destroyed and he was imprisoned in a concentration camp. When the war ended, he became convinced his people needed to let go of the hatred the war had unleashed. To help the process, he founded his institute at this place that embodied the horrors and hatreds unleashed by the war. One day, while taking questions at the end of a lecture, Papaderous was asked, “What’s the meaning of life?” There was nervous laughter in the room. It was such a weighty question. But Papaderous answered it.
He opened his wallet, took out a small, round mirror and held it up for everyone to see. During the war he was just a small boy when he came across a motorcycle wreck. The motorcycle had belonged to German soldiers. Alexander saw pieces of broken mirrors from the motorcycle lying on the ground. He tried to put them together but couldn’t, so he took the largest piece and scratched it against a stone until its edges were smooth and it was round. He used it as a toy, fascinated by the way he could use it to shine light into holes and crevices.
He kept that mirror with him as he grew up, and over time it came to symbolise something very important. It became a metaphor for what he might do with his life:
‘I am a fragment of a mirror whose whole design and shape I do not know. Nevertheless, with what I have I can reflect light into the dark places of this world, into the black places in the hearts of men, and change some things in some people. Perhaps others may see and do likewise. This is what I am about, this is the meaning of my life.’
This is what we are about. This is the meaning of our life. We are all ‘children of light, children of the day’, called to rest in the light and love of God’s presence and reflect it into the darkness that surrounds us, into the dark places of the world. God has created us to be ‘overcomers of darkness’, to change, perhaps not everything in everyone, but ‘some things in some people’.
- Can you think of a Bible passage/person/book/place/event that God is using to shine His light into your life? How do you reflect that light into other people’s lives?
- In what ways can we live out our call to be ‘overcomers of darkness’ during lockdown?
Darkness like a shroud covers the earth;
Evil like a cloud covers the people.
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear on you-
Nations will come to your light.
Ch: Arise, shine, your light has come,
The glory of the Lord has risen on you!
Arise, shine, your light has come,
Jesus the Light of the world has come.
Children of the light, be clean and pure.
Rise, you sleepers, Christ will shine on you.
Take the Spirit’s flashing two-edged sword
And with faith declare God’s mighty word;
Stand up and in His strength be strong.
Here among us now, Christ the light
Kindles brighter flames in our trembling hearts.
Living Word, our l, come guide our feet
As we walk as one in light and peace,
Till justice and truth shine like the sun.
Like a city bright so let us blaze;
Lights in every street turning night to day.
And the darkness shall not overcome
Till the fulness of Christ’s kingdom comes,
Dawning to God’s eternal day.
Graham Kendrick Copyright © 1985 Thankyou Music
We want to have glimpses of the future so that we might know that we are secure.
We want to have the security to know that tomorrow will be alright.
We want to have life all buttoned down and figured out so there will be no surprises.
We want you to rid us of all anxiety and worry and fear.
We want to know that when the great call comes for us we will be safe.
We want all darkness and all uncertainty removed from our lives.
Become alive for us again in these quiet moments. Become alive for us now.We pray that in this teachable moment you would again open to us your powerful and grace-filled presence.
Lead our spirits to find the courage to say, “All will be well because we are yours.”
Lead our spirits to find the ability to live one moment and one day at a time.
Lead our spirits to serenity and a peace which the world cannot give.
Lead our spirits to know that with your power we can cope with whatever surprises life presents to us.
And lead our spirits to know that whether we wake or sleep, living or dying, we are yours into the ages of all ages.
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
For thine is the kingdom
The power, and the glory
For ever and ever.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Be all else but naught to me, save that Thou art;
Be Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
Be Thou ever with me, and I with Thee, Lord;
Be Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son;
Be Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my Breastplate, my Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my whole Armor, be Thou my true Might;
Be Thou my soul’s Shelter, be Thou my strong Tow’r,
O raise Thou me heav’nward, great Pow’r of my pow’r.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise;
Be Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Be Thou and Thou only the first in my heart,
O high King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of heaven, Thou heaven’s bright Sun,
O grant me its joys, after vict’ry is won;
Great Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be Thou my vision, O Ruler of all.
In the darkness, light shines.
In the midst of troubled waters, a hand reaches out.
We are not alone on this journey of faith.
When we seek God, we shall find God.
God forgives, renews, and restores – let us go forth and do the work of God.